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Leadership and Change: Turning Points in American History

This project will serve schools in Manhattan and Brooklyn, where more than half the 8th-grade students failed the Intermediate Social Studies Test and nearly one-third of eleventh grade students failed the U.S. History and Government Regents Examination, which is required for graduation. For each of the first two years of the project, a cohort of 30 teachers will attend eight full-day workshops, a 5-day summer institute conducted by professional historians and four 2-hour history lectures by professional historians (open to all middle and high school U.S. history teachers in the district); the second cohort will follow this same pattern for Years 3 and 4. During Year 5, 30 teachers—selected from the two cohorts—will attend master American history workshops where they will work collaboratively to develop classroom materials based on the content. Participants will be chosen based on their educational experiences and backgrounds, their preparedness to teach U.S. history, and the levels of their students. The curriculum will demonstrate how history can be studied through the lives of the people who have shaped it; as such, biography will be an important element. The project strategies will include engaging students in hands-on history through oral history; curating museum exhibits in the classroom; encouraging student journalism as a means of exploring history; conducting mock trials and debates; accessing and using appropriate primary sources; integrating books, art and media into the classroom; using technology and Web resources effectively; accessing library and museum collections; and using maps. The products will include lesson plans, presentations, study units, classroom activities and modified primary documents.