Teachers, educators get first-hand history lesson

Published 12:09 am Sunday, August 8, 2010

A U.S. Department of Education Teaching American History Grant awarded to the Gallia-Vinton Educational Service Center provided funding for a unique summer study tour for some area educators.

Thirty teachers and five administrators from area school districts participated in a six-day field experience in Philadelphia, home to many of the ideas and events that brought about the American Revolution and American independence.

The journey was the culminating experience for the first phase of the three-year grant project entitled Five Star Liberty Fellowship.

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Throughout the past school year, the participating teachers took part in learning experiences designed to increase their content expertise and enhance their knowledge of classroom instructional practices.

Scholars and specialists provided instruction in the use of primary sources, the study of historical events, issues, personalities, turning points, and interpretations of events.

The visit to historically-rich Philadelphia allowed the teachers to gain first-hand experience with locations, artifacts, actions, and personalities central to the birth of our nation as well as to the content of the first year of study.

When asked to comment on the summer tour, Chesapeake teacher Veronica Angle wrote, “It was surreal to stand on the battlefields at Brandywine and Trenton where many men lost their lives for my freedom.”

Fellow teacher Robin Blankenship shared her sentiments as well, stating, “What a wonderful learning experience! For a week, I traveled back in time – a time when freedom was questionable and courage was a necessity.”

Many partners have collaborated with the Gallia-Vinton Educational Service Center to plan and implement the grant.

Local partners include the University of Rio Grande and school districts in Gallia, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, and Vinton counties.

Phase II of the Five Star Liberty Fellowship will begin soon after the start of the new school year with the focus of study being Unity to Division: The Agrarian South and the Industrial North.

For more information about the Five Star Fellowship, contact Dr. Denise Shockley, Gallia-Vinton Educational Service Center, at 740-245-0593.