Bedford County Schools Consortium Advised by Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library Receives $743,000 Teaching American History Grant

STAUNTON, VIRGINIA—A $743,000 grant to a consortium of public schools, led by the Bedford County Public School System in partnership with the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, will enhance the classroom teaching ability of 25 history teachers in underserved counties in western Virginia.  Awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, the Teaching American History grant will establish a three-year program of history education seminars for social studies teachers of grades five through twelve from the seven school districts.  The other districts are Alleghany, Bath, Craig, Giles, Highland, and Pulaski Counties.    The consortium is thankful for the letters of support that Governor Tim Kaine, U.S. Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner, and Congressmen Bob Goodlatte, Rick Boucher, and Tom Perriello provided for the application.

Congressman Goodlatte said “I believe that it is so important for young people today to have a better foundation in the history of the United States and the principles of our Constitution.  The 'American History in International Context' program, which is being led by the Bedford County Public School System and the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, will strengthen our teachers' sense of American history which will then be passed along to our children."  

The program, entitled “American History in International Context,” will establish a professional development program for public school teachers in these school systems to master the traditional elements of United States history.  Bedford County and the six other divisions in this consortium have never received or participated in a Teaching American History Grant.  In addition, five schools within the consortium are in need of improvement as defined by the U.S. Department of Education.  The resources that this grant provides will help meet the needs of these often underserved divisions.  

The participating social studies teachers from Bedford and the six other divisions will take part in a three-year professional development program.  The program will explore the full breadth of American history—from the first contact between natives and Europeans to the present—by focusing on critical intersections between the United States and the rest of the world.  Each year, participants will meet for one-day workshops in the fall and the spring to discuss reading and written assignments.  Each summer, the teachers will meet at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum for a week-long institute led by eminent visiting scholars.  At the end of the summer, the participants will take part in a visit to a historic site, such as Jamestown, Yorktown, Gettysburg, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.  Participants will emerge from this experience with an expanded knowledge of American history that will translate to improvement in student performance across this consortium.            

The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum is also involved in another Teaching American History program serving a different set of school districts, led by Waynesboro Public Schools.  The first year of that three-year program will be completed this summer.  

For an article from the Bedford newspaper about this grant, click here>

did you know?

Wilson was president throughout World War I. He sought a neutral position for the United States and even won reelection with the slogan “He kept us out of war.” Nonetheless, actions by the Central Powers (notably Germany) threatened this neutrality. Following years of attacks on American shipping and citizens on the high seas, particularly the sinking of the RMS Lusitania, public opinion began to turn. The final straw came with the release of the Zimmerman Telegram, forcing the United States to declare war on the Central Powers in April of 1917, joining the war on the side of the UK, Russia, and France.

Woodrow Wilson was President when the 19th amendment was ratified in 1920 giving women the right to vote.

Wilson piloted the ship that brought America onto the world stage. He made the first steps of leading us out of isolationism, violating Washington's tenet of avoiding foreign entanglements.

He led America during World War I. His fervent hope was for the US to join a League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations.

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "Life does not consist in thinking, it consists in acting."

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "The Constitution was not made to fit us like a straitjacket. In its elasticity lies its chief greatness."

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "I believe in democracy because it releases the energies of every human being."

The Seventeenth Amendment was formally adopted on May 31, 1913. Wilson had been president for almost three months at the time. The amendment provided for the direct election of senators. Prior to its adoption, Senators were chosen by state legislatures.

Wilson was the first president to receive a PhD which he got in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University. He had received his undergraduate degree from the College of New Jersey, renamed Princeton University in 1896.

Woodrow Wilson could not read during the first decade of his life. Though undiagnosed, he may have suffered from a learning disability

Woodrow Wilson was known as "Tommy" until his college years.

Woodrow Wilson during his boyhood, helped establish the "Lightfoot Baseball Club" with his friends. Wilson played second base and was an avid sport fan throughout his adult life.

Woodrow Wilson was the first president to attend the Major League Baseball Fall Classic. He saw the debut of a young 20 year old pitcher by the name of George Herman "Babe" Ruth.

Woodrow Wilson was a graduate of Princeton University and Johns Hopkins University and the only president to hold an earned doctoral degree.

Woodrow Wilson image is on the $100,000 bill although it is no longer in circulation