Southeastern, Tangipahoa schools receive $900,000 Teaching American History grant
Contact: Christina Chapple
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TOUTING TAH SUCCESS – Southeastern Louisiana University President Randy Moffett, Tangipahoa Parish Superintendent Mark Kolwe and other dignitaries visited the Teaching American History grant program summer institute June 25 to celebrate the awarding of a second three years of funding for the successful program. From left, are Tammy Bourg, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Tommy Bellavia, assistant superintendent; Gerald Guidroz, dean of Continuing Education; Michael Kurtz, dean of Graduate Studies; Moffett; Ann Trappey, TAH project director; Kolwe; William Robison, head of the Department of History and Political Science and TAH academic coordinator; and TAH summer institute faculty Ronald Traylor and Charles Elliott, both members of the Department of History and Political Science faculty.
HAMMOND – The Tangipahoa Parish School System and its partner Southeastern Louisiana University have been awarded a second phase of funding by the U.S. Department of Education for a successful program designed to improve student achievement and teachers’ knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of American history.
The three-year $899,425 Teaching American History (TAH) grant will fund phase two of “Louisiana’s Role in Traditional American History,” originally funded in 2004 through at $999,000 DOE grant. The TAH grant serves elementary, middle, and high school social studies teachers in the parishes of East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Washington, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana, and the cities of Bogalusa, Baker, and Zachary.
Through the TAH grant, teachers can earn graduate credit and continuous learning units (CLUs) by participating in summer institutes, Saturday workshops and field trips, “travel” courses to sites such as Civil War battlefields, and special telecourses.
“Our first TAH program received high praise from the Department of Education and served hundreds of teachers,” said William Robison, head of Southeastern’s Department of History and Political Science. “We are thrilled to be able to continue this work for three more years.” Robison, as academic coordinator, and Tangipahoa Parish teacher Ann Trappey as project director will again serve as the grant’s administrators.
Visiting a TAH summer institute on June 25, Southeastern President Randy Moffett told participating teachers from Livingston, Tangipahoa, St. Tammany, and East and West Baton Rouge parishes that the grant typifies Southeastern’s commitment to “providing a good undergraduate education to future teachers and to working with teachers such as you to enhance what goes on in your classrooms.”
“You are preparing our future students,” he said. “Programs such as this provide us with a way of working with you, and that makes a very nice circle.”
Tangipahoa Superintendent Mark Kolwe also praised the partnership. “The TAH program has provided additional resources for not only our social studies and history teachers; it has helped prepare teachers across the curriculum. I wish we could have more of these opportunities for teachers in other subject areas,” he said.
During its first phase, the TAH grant program offered summer institutes on American and Louisiana history, Saturday workshops featuring distinguished scholars, field trips to partner sites, travel classes, and telecourses aired on Louisiana Public Broadcasting and the Southeastern Channel. Participants also had opportunities to attend the annual Deep Delta Civil War Symposium and to take regular history graduate classes.
“Several participating teachers are nearing completion of the master’s degree in history at Southeastern,” Robison said. “The grant continued its activities even after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated much of the region, attracting almost 200 teachers to a special workshop on ‘Hurricanes, Epidemics, and Floods: Natural Disasters in Louisiana History.’”
Robison said the next three years of funding will expand upon the original grant by examining American history in global, national and local dimensions. Topics will include leadership in year one, liberty and diversity in year two and discovery and creativity in year three.
Robison said a series of telecourses, “History for Teachers–Using Biography to Teach American History,” will be televised on the Southeastern Channel and available on-line via streaming video. The department also will offer travel classes each June, focusing on the United States Presidency and featuring visits to the Bush, Carter, Clinton, and Johnson presidential libraries.
Participating teachers will receive a $65 stipend and six CLUs for each Saturday workshop or field trip; free tuition, a $600 stipend, three hours graduate credit, and 45 CLUs for each summer institute; and free tuition, a $200 stipend, three hours graduate credit, and 45 CLUs for other approved graduate classes.
To encourage future teachers to participate in grant activities, seniors in Southeastern’s bachelor’s degree in social studies education program will also be invited to participate in TAH programs, although they will not quality for free tuition.
Robison said the grant also includes funds for production of a documentary film examining the World War II role of Louisiana soldiers, military installations and training exercises, prisoners of war held in the state, and the war’s impact on Louisiana during and after the conflict.
Other major grant partners include the Louisiana State Region II Service Center, Louisiana State Archives, Louisiana State Museum, State Library of Louisiana, Historic New Orleans Collection, Louisiana Office of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism, Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and Museum, Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, George H. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, William J. Clinton Presidential Library, and National World War II Museum.