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Grant will assist Ohio teachers of U.S. history

Teachers of American history in Ohio will benefit from a nearly $1 million grant to History in the Heartland II: Explore History, a partnership that includes The Ohio State University's Department of History, the Ohio Historical Society, and Mid-Ohio Educational Service Center.

The grant from the U.S. Department of Education will offer professional development to K-12 history and social studies teachers in the 13 counties surrounding Ohio State's regional campuses in Lima, Mansfield, Marion, and Newark. The Explore History initiative is one of 124 Teaching American History grants awarded to fund proposals in 38 states.

Stuart Hobbs, director of Ohio State's History Teaching Institute and project director says Explore History emphasizes the role of local historic sites as resources for teachers.

“With this grant, we'll be able to provide social studies and history teachers with expanded content knowledge in American history,” said Hobbs. “We'll also provide them with resources, especially primary sources, that they can take back to their classroom and will improve their teaching.”

“Primary sources are the letters, documents, photographs, and even buildings that were created in the past and survive into the present,” explained Hobbs. “They are the blocks from which historical narratives are built.”

“By giving teachers more knowledge of their subject and more resources to teach that subject in creative ways, student learning will improve,” said Hobbs. “Ohio will benefit from students who not only know more about American history, but also have improved skills in reading, in analyzing texts and visual sources, and in interpreting arguments.”

The 13 counties that will benefit from the grants are Allen, Auglaize, Hardin, Seneca, Wyandot, Marion, Union, Delaware, Licking, Knox, Richland, Morrow, Richland, and Crawford.

Each year, approximately 36 area teachers (108 over the three years) will participate in five monthly seminars linked to the Ohio Academic Content Standards. Four will be held at historic sites or museums; one will be held at the Ohio Historical Center in Columbus. In addition, teachers will attend an intensive, four-day summer institute. The whole process will begin again in fall 2007 and repeat in 2008.

Explore History expands some of the teaching initiatives developed through earlier History in the Heartland and History WORKS grants that focused on history teachers in Columbus and other school districts.