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>