Schools to share history teaching grant

October 28, 2003|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - A consortium of Franklin County's five public school districts and the Scotland (Pa.) School for Veterans Children will share a $725,000 federal grant that will be used to train their teachers in how to better teach American history.

The grant, which came through the office of U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., will be spent over a three-year period, said Michael Meier, a retired Chambersburg Area School District administrator who is coordinating the grant program.

"It's purely for professional development for secondary history and social studies teachers," Meier said. He said more than 90 teachers from the five school districts and Scotland School will receive the special training in the next three years.


"The amount of money was a surprise to us," said P. Duff Rearick, superintendent of the Greencastle-Antrim School District, where most of the seminars and programs will be held. "You don't get too many grants of this size for professional development for teachers."

Rearick said the result of the training will be to improve the instruction of American history to those who ultimately will assume civic responsibility - the students.

"The great thing about this grant is that it's for a consortium," Meier said. "No independent district could have gotten it."

The first training effort, under the direction of the National Council for History Education, will provide historians, learning specialists and history teachers from every class level who will present week-long seminars over the next three years focusing on 18th, 19th and 20th century American history.

Rearick said the project will bring nationally recognized historians to Franklin County to work with local teachers.

The second topic, also to be taught in three separate seminars over three years, deals with the subject of becoming an American. This project will include two day-long workshops.

The third topic, again in week-long seminars over three years, is the new media classroom, designed to teach teachers how to use technology in their classes.

The grant includes money to pay substitute teachers while the history teachers are taking the seminars.

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