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The Palmetto Project: Perspectives in American History

Eleven schools in this district had failure rates exceeding 70 percent on South Carolina's 2008-09 U.S. History High School End of Course assessment. To meet the needs of teachers as identified through assessment and anecdotal data, the project will offer two 2-day colloquia focused on historical content aligned with teachers' instructional assignments, ongoing instructional planning to help teachers share knowledge and resources, and a summer institute that combines historical content, pedagogy and field studies at historic sites in South Carolina. During five days of field studies outside of South Carolina, master educators will model how to convey content in classrooms using effective methods, including primary documents, artifact research, the incorporation of literature to help young students grasp historical complexity and learning/digital technologies. The project will involve 50 teachers per year: 30 from the 4th and 5th grades in an elementary cohort, and 20 from the 8th and 11th grades in a middle/high school cohort. The Palmetto Project: Perspectives in American History will include direct content instruction in the eight National Assessment of Educational Progress historical periods, effective pedagogy for content instruction and the production of high-quality resources. The project curriculum will focus on traditional American history and correlate to South Carolina educational standards, with an emphasis on the Civil War. The project will help teachers use primary documents and integrate technology into classroom instruction as they apply pedagogical methods based on effective practices. Some participants will present at regional and national conferences. A project Web site will share teacher-developed lesson plans and resources, and the project evaluation findings will be published.