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North High teacher to go to Austria to study with group

October 15, 2009

Gretchen Smith, a social studies teacher and department chair at North Hagerstown High School, has been accepted into a select group of American and Austrian educators who will spend Oct. 24 to Nov. 1 in Salzburg and other locations in Austria.

They will attend a workshop titled "A Visionary Partnership across Continents: George C. Marshall and the European Recovery Program in Austria."

High school level U.S./European history, social studies, German and economics teachers were invited to apply for placement in the workshop. The workshop is a collaborative effort between the George C. Marshall International Center and the Austria Wirtschaftsservice in Vienna.

"This is an extraordinary opportunity, a professional development experience of the highest order. I am honored to represent Washington County Public Schools in this endeavor," Smith said.

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The group will interact with Austrian experts on the European Recovery Plan, or the "Marshall Plan," and visit sites affected by the plan.

The workshop begins with presentations, films and a lecture on Marshall's life and the cultural mission of the United States in Austria after World War II.

The educators will travel by bus for three days to see sites affected by the Marshall Plan: a factory in Mandling, a hydroelectric complex at Kaprun and the steel plant in Linz. Educational and cultural visits and discussions will be featured at each site.

The last stages of the workshop will be in Vienna, featuring lectures and presentations, and a visit to the Austrian National Library Archives, where an extensive collection of Marshall Plan photographs is housed.

The American teachers were selected by the George C. Marshall International Center. The Austrian educators were chosen by the Austrian Ministry of Education.

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