Annoucement of the Grant
The U.S. Secretary of Education recently announced that the WWPL has been awarded a Teaching American History grant of $455,155 by the U.S. Department of Education. The award is listed through the Waynesboro Public Schools and will fund a three-year program providing history education seminars for high school teachers on the topic of comparative history.
When she announced the Teaching American History grants, U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said, “The Teaching American History grant program offers educators opportunities to work with colleges and universities, nonprofit organizations, libraries, or museums to learn more about our country's history, culture, and democratic tradition. By providing professional development for teachers, we can help them support young people in becoming active, informed citizens."
The WWPL’s proposal, entitled “Critical Connections in American History,” will establish a professional development program for public school teachers in four of Virginia’s “high-need” school systems to master the traditional elements of United States history. The three-year program will examine 12 critical intersections at which domestic and international influences combine to define the development of the United States as a nation that changed the course of world history.
The Teaching American History grant will enhance the teaching skills of 25 participating teachers and the history education of more than 40,000 students over the term of the grant, as well as the intellectual development of countless other students who will pass through the teachers’ classrooms in years to come. Each teacher will participate in three summer institutes structured around 12 critical events taught by eminent historians, reinforced with a year-long program of reading, three two-day explorations of key historical sites, and six discussion sessions held in the fall and spring of each year.
The project goals are to strengthen teachers’ understanding of American history, impart a sense of the interplay of factors that influenced national development, provide knowledge of primary documents and material artifacts, demonstrate the use of advanced technology and, ultimately, to improve students’ performance on standardized tests in American history.
The Local Educational Agency, the Waynesboro, Virginia, public school system, will partner with three other area school systems, Winchester, Fredericksburg, and Amherst County. The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History, the Gettysburg College Civil War Institute, and the Virginia University School Partnership will serve as educational partners. Casterbridge Tours will provide travel arrangements.