Teachers visit presidential libraries through TAH summer institute
Contact: Elise Doster
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TAH PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY FIELD TRIP – Participants in Southeastern Louisiana University’s 2008 Teaching American History summer institute gather for a group picture at the Geroge Bush Presidential Library and Museum. The are, from left, front, Shirley Hammond, education specialist for the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum; Billy Morris; Tiffany Portie; Rebecca Templeman; Margaret Penton; Judy Anger; Kathryn Smith; Southeastern professors Charles Elliott and Ronald Traylor; James Olson, director of Certificate in Advanced International Affairs Program, Bush School of Government and Public Service; Tonja Thompson; TAH Project Director Ann Trappey; David Locker; Dana Morrison; Angela Corkern; Randall Kinsey; Sheryl De Gruy; Mike Smith; Javia Lazard; back, Glen Sutherland; Floyd Trascher; Dustin Easley; Warren Finch, director of the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum; Ron Kuerner; Cory Delatte; Thornton Cappel; Michelle Mount; Jeffery Watts; Cindy Grimmer; Camile Gautreaux; Helen Bahm; Erin March; Shea Collier; Adam Jenkins.
“This was the greatest professional development activity of my teaching career,” said Angela Corkern, a teacher at Tangipahoa PM High School.
The participating teachers spent the two weeks prior to their field trip to the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum and the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum studying national and local leaders as part of the 2008 TAH summer institute.
Funded by a second three-year grant for $899,425 from the U.S. Department of Education, the TAH program is designed to enrich teaching material for elementary, middle and high school social studies teachers. Originally funded in 2004, the program serves 14 area parishes including East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Point Coupee. St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Washington, West Baton Rouge, West Feliciana, and the cities of Bogalusa, Baker and Zachary.
William Robison, head of Southeastern’s Department of History and Political Science, said the program originally focused on Louisiana history, but that the second phase grant has sparked interest in studying American history as a global influence.
Through the TAH program, teachers can earn graduate credit and continuous learning credits by participating in summer institutes, workshops, field trips and telecourses throughout the year. Participating teachers also receive free tuition and stipends for each completed course or workshop.
Madisonville Jr. High teacher Ron Kuerner said the TAH summer institute is “fantasy history camp” for teachers.
“I’m taking more back to the classroom than ever before,” said Kuerner.
Ann Trappey, project director of TAH, said the most rewarding part of the program is actually visiting historical places and museums. She accompanied the teachers along with Southeastern history faculty Charles Elliot and Ronald Traylor.
“Visiting the presidential libraries and museums gave the history we learned a personal touch,” said Trappey. “We got an up-close view of their personal lives and emotional times and for many of us, it changed our perspectives of the presidents for the better.”
Elliot said the TAH program and summer institute field trips gives teachers a deeper and broader understanding of the subjects they teach.
“They get to interact with other teachers from all backgrounds and social studies disciplines to network, build and exchange ideas and share tricks of the trade,” said Elliot. Robison said the TAH program reaches about 300 teachers per year. He expects 10 or more TAH teachers to receive master’s degrees in history from Southeastern within the next few years.
“This is a positive program for Southeastern and the teaching community,” Robison said. “The grant allows teachers to study, network and receive hands-on experience without financial strain.”
Summer Institute participants include:
Tangipahoa -- Helen Bahm, Angela Corkern, Sheryl De Gruy, Corey Delatte, Dustin Easley, Carol Fornea, Erin March, Michelle Mount, Margaret Penton, Kathryn Smith, Tonja Thompson, Jeffery Watts.
Livingston -- Cindy Grimmer, Floyd Trascher.
St. Tammany -- Judith Anger, Shea Collier, Adam Jenkins, Ron Kuerner, David Locker, Michael Smith, Glen Sutherland, Rebecca Templeman.
East Baton Rouge -- Thorton Cappel, Camile Gautreaux, Randall Kinsey, Dana Morrison, Tiffany Portie, Billy Morris.
Iberville -- Javia Lazard.