Kentucky Historical Society
KHS Partnership Awarded $1 Million Grant from U.S. Department of Education
FRANKFORT, Ky. – The successful partnership between the Kentucky Historical Society (KHS), professors from the University of Kentucky, and school districts in eastern Kentucky has been awarded a fourth $1 million grant from the U. S. Department of Education’s Teaching American History program to provide an intensive professional-development training program in American history for teachers in that part of the state.
The grant project, entitled “Democratic Visions: From Civil War to Civil Rights,” will begin in July 2008 and conclude in June 2011, with the goal of raising student achievement by improving teachers’ content and pedagogical knowledge in American history. Each year of the project, teachers will participate in two separate two-day seminars, a one-week summer institute, an online book discussion, and a videoconference. The summer experiences will include a bus trip to Civil War sites in Kentucky, a digital history lab/archival workshop, and an in-depth study of the civil rights movement using the city of Memphis, Tennessee, as a lens.
The grant, which also includes Berea College and the Kentucky Heritage Council as partners, is based at Powell County Schools in Stanton, and also includes Bath, Carter, Estill, Fleming, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Pulaski, Rockcastle, and Rowan County Schools. An orientation meeting for district administrators is scheduled for Monday, June 16, at Natural Bridge State Park.
Featured historians include Shearer Davis Bowman, senior lecturer in history at the University of Kentucky, Chad Berry, Goode Professor of Appalachian studies and director of the Appalachian studies program at Berea College, and Gerald Smith, director of African American studies at the University of Kentucky. Educators and other history professionals from the Kentucky Historical Society and the Kentucky Heritage Council will complement the work of these historians. In addition, the project boasts two master teachers who will visit in the participants’ classrooms six times a year for individualized assistance. The Kentucky Historical Society will manage the project for Powell County Schools.
Two previous grant awards went to a consortium of districts based at Harlan Independent Schools in 2002 and 2003. The Harlan-based program, known as “American Legacies,” served 130 teachers from 2002 to 2007. The third project, called “Documenting American Democracy” and based at Letcher County Schools in Whitesburg, served thirty-six teachers from 2004 to 2008.
“This program, which fully reimburses all travel expenses and substitute costs incurred by teachers and provides all materials free of charge, will be a lifesaver for these districts whose professional-development budgets have been slashed and with gas at $4 a gallon,” says KHS project administrator Rebecca Hanly. “The U. S. Department of Education’s Teaching American History program has to date awarded twenty-one grants in Kentucky, including the four administered by the Kentucky Historical Society, providing much-needed funding for professional development in history, a content area not often found on the menu of workshop offerings available to teachers locally.”
Kentucky Historical Society staff members for the Teaching American History projects are now documenting and studying the rate of improvement in the Social Studies Index score on the Kentucky Core Content Test for schools in which teachers have participated in their TAH training programs long-term (three years or more). Initial findings suggest that sustained participation in one of KHS’s TAH programs has helped several schools to reach proficiency (a score of at least 100 on a scale of 1-140) in social studies. For example:
- Pineville Middle School (Pineville Independent); one teacher participated for four years, SSI rose from 77.1 in 2003 to 106.5 in 2007.
- Rockcastle County Middle School (Rockcastle County); two teachers participated for four years; SSI rose from 75.5 in 2003 to 102.3 in 2007.
- South Elementary School (Corbin Independent); one teacher participated for four years; SSI rose from 73 in 2003 to 111 in 2007.
For more information or to inquire about participating in the “Democratic Visions: From Civil War to Civil Rights” grant program, contact Rebecca Hanly at 502-564-1792, ext. 4475 or by email.
An agency of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet, the Kentucky Historical Society, since 1836, has provided connections to the past, perspective on the present, and inspiration for the future. KHS operates the Old State Capitol, the Kentucky Military History Museum, and its headquarters, the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History. Since 1999, the thirty-million-dollar Center has welcomed more than one million visitors. For more information about the Kentucky Historical Society and its programs, visit the Web site.