The immediate purpose of the Connecticut Urban Consortium Teaching American
History Program is to establish a leadership corps of American History teachers in
the participating middle and high schools who possess a rich understanding of United States Constitutional History. This corps of teachers will act as mentors to their colleagues--encouraging and supporting adoption of the content and instructional strategies presented in the program.
The long range purpose of the program is to strengthen the commitment of middle
and high school students in the New Haven, New London and Waterbury schools to
the ideals of United States Constitutional government , and to encourage their participation in productive civic action. The immediate purpose of the Connecticut
Urban Consortium Teaching American History Program is to establish a leadership
corps of American History teachers in the participating middle and high schools who possess a rich understanding of United States Constitutional History. This corps of teachers will act as mentors to their colleagues--encouraging and supporting adoption
of the content and instructional strategies presented in the program.
The long range purpose of the program is to strengthen the commitment of middle and high school students in the New Haven, New London and Waterbury schools to the ideals of United States Constitutional government, and to encourage their participation in production civic action.
1. To form a corps of teacher leaders that will introduce enriched content and innovative instructional approaches to teaching U.S. Constitutional History in their classrooms, and the role of the state of Connecticut in shaping and responding to Constitutional issues.
2. To provide support for new and tenured teachers in the Consortium school districts in strengthening teaching and learning U.S. Constitutional History, and the role of the state of Connecticut in shaping and responding to Constitutional issues.
3. To establish partnerships with Connecticut institutions of higher education and recognized history faculty and scholars associated with the state’s history rich organizations to broaden teachers’ knowledge, understanding and classroom application of U.S. Constitutional History.
4. To provide mentoring relationships between university faculty, master American History teachers and the staff of history-rich institutions and new and tenured teachers of American History in the Consortium school districts.
5. To involve Consortium American History teachers in the state and national organizations and activities that focus on teaching and learning U.S. History in the K-12 environment.
6. To provide Consortium districts with measurable, objective information on the benefits and successes of the project approach.
U.S. Department of Education
Teaching American History Grant Program
The Teaching American History program is administered by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Innovation and Improvement.
The Teaching American History Grant program is a discretionary grant program funded under Title II-C, Subpart 4 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The goal of the program is to support programs that raise student achievement by improving teachers' knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of American history.
The program supports competitive grants to local educational agencies. The purpose of these grants is to promote the teaching of traditional American history in elementary and secondary schools as a separate academic subject. Grants are used to improve the quality of history instruction by supporting professional development for teachers of American history. In order to receive a grant, a local educational agency must agree to carry out the proposed activities in partnership with one or more of the following: institutions of higher education, nonprofit history or humanities organizations, libraries, or museums.
The Teaching American History Grant program will support programs to raise student achievement by improving teachers' knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of American history.
Grant awards will assist local educational agencies (LEAs), in partnership with entities that have extensive content expertise, to design, implement, and demonstrate effective, research-based professional development programs.
By helping teachers to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of American history as a separate subject matter within the core curriculum, funded programs will improve instruction and raise student achievement.
The goal of this program is to demonstrate how school districts and institutions with expertise in American history can collaborate over a three-year period to ensure that teachers develop the knowledge and skills necessary to teach traditional American history in an exciting and engaging way.
Through these projects, districts will demonstrate comprehensive professional development approaches for providing high-quality American history instruction. Students will develop an appreciation for the great ideas of American history.
Program Design and Activities
Overview of the Program
A representative cadre of 36 teacher participants from the Consortium districts receives intensive content instruction in U.S. Constitutional History. This national perspective is linked to presentations of Connecticut case studies on how the state shaped and responded to Constitutional issues. The teacher participants also receive intensive mentoring in how to translate content into meaningful instructional strategies for the classroom. Through an adoption process, these teachers then act as mentors to other teachers of American History and Government in their districts to facilitate broad diffusion of the new content and instructional strategies developed through the program.
The program includes a summer institute at partner colleges and universities, two school-year field studies and symposia at history-rich sites, and school-year mentoring by Instructional Coaches.
Participating teachers are encouraged to strengthen their professional collegiality with the other Consortium school districts, and with local and regional history education organizations. Teachers become members in state and national professional organizations and participate in other activities that focus on American History in the K-12 environment.
The Program Curriculum
Each year the program addresses major themes and issues presented in the Constitution, such as Separation of Powers among the Three Branches of Government, Federalism and State Rights, The Bill of Rights. These themes and issues are examined within the context of events in American and Connecticut history. Participating teachers are provided guidance and practice in translating the program content into instructional strategies and lesson plans.
Whereas the Consortium Summer Institute focuses intensely on academic content, the Saturday symposia at history-rich sites within the Consortium regions introduce participating teachers to new resources in American History, such as historic sites and museums. State and local content experts familiarize the teachers with new approaches and materials for enriching classroom instruction.
Please refer to "Curriculum" for a full description of the Curriculum Framework for the Consortium Program.
Full-year teacher participants attend the 5-day Summer Institute at partner universities in July, and the two Saturday Syposia at historic sites during the school year. The full-year participants act as leaders to the adoption teams during the third year of the program.
The Management Committee determined that the optimum number of full-year teacher participants in the program would be 36. This would provide sufficient numbers to significantly impact the participating school districts’ American History curricula, and at the same time be compact enough to foster strong collegial interaction and lasting professional relationships. The Committee developed a proportional representation ratio of middle and high school teachers among the New Haven, New London and Waterbury school districts.
For this program to succeed, it is essential that teachers perceive it to be fully endorsed and supported by their school districts. Therefore, the Management Committee member for each district has taken the lead in recruiting teachers for the program, with support from the Program Directorand instructional coaches.
During the third year of the program, the full-year participants, Management Committee, Program Director and Instructional Coaches will recruit a corps of at least 36 Adoption Teachers, who will work with Full-Year participants in translating the content of the program into innovative instructional strategies for the classroom.
Full-year and Adoption Teachers complete an application form that provides baseline information for program scheduling, communication and evaluation.
The Consortium’s Faculty and Staff
To assure the high quality content for the program, the Consortium contracted with Dr. Richard A. Gerber, Professor of History at Southern Connecticut State University, and adjunct faculty member at New York City University and Charter Oak State College. Dr. Gerber is a highly regarded scholar of United States Constitutional history, and has published and lectured extensively on the subject. He meets regularly with the Program Director in developing the Consortium program syllabus, and in selecting appropriate scholars from Connecticut and throughout the United States.
The Consortium’s Research Associate
The Consortium contracted with Mary Pat Knowlton, MA, Education Coordinator for the Wethersfield Historical Society, to locate primary source materials for teacher participants. Using federal, state and local archival resources, Ms. Knowlton locates primary source materials on the themes and issues being presented in the program. She also responds to teachers’ requests for source materials to enhance their instructional programs.
The Instructional Coaches
The Consortium contracted with two exemplary retired teachers to act as coaches to facilitate adoption and diffusion of the Consortium program in the Consortium school districts. Peter Herndon will work in the New Haven School District, and Rocco Donofrio will work in Waterbury School District. The Program Director, Kathleen Hunter, will act as Instructional Coach for the New London Schools.