Gwinnett County Public Schools is one of only four systems in Georgia to receive the U-S Department of Education’s Teaching American History Grant. With these fund Gwinnett students are expected to not only have American History come alive for them, but gain a relevant understanding of how this nation’s history impacts them today and shapes their futures.
The teaching American History Grant will support more than 150 high school social studies teachers in their efforts to improve achievement among Gwinnett students. “It will help our American history teachers enhance their classroom teaching experience-for their students and for themselves”, says Debbie Daniell, the Gwinnett County District Director of Social Studies. The grant will allow teachers the opportunity to advance their understanding of American history through intensive professional development, including study trips to historic sites and mentoring with professional historians and other experts. Armed with broaden teaching tools, these teachers will be more effective as history educators.
Debbie Daniell’s is working to create and implement the Gwinnett County Public Schools Teaching American History (TAH) Project- American History: Examining Years of Economic Strides. The goal is to develop critical thinking and historical investigation into central themes and events in American history through the lens of economics. Daniell explains that teachers will gain a better understanding of how to apply economic analysis and reasoning into their traditional American History courses. For students, Daniell says, “the goal is to bring history alive and help them better understand the significance of events that have occurred. “ Going a step further, the system wants to address the immediate and sometimes long-term economic impact of historical events so that students can better understand the world and how events of today can shape the future.
Dr. David Martin of the Georgia Council on Economic Education gives the system high marks for incorporating economic history into the overall study of American history. Martin agrees that the goal of helping teachers better understand the economic strides our country has made, and incorporating that knowledge into the American History lessons is valuable to teachers, students and ultimately the community.
Teachers will attend seminars with history professors from higher education institutions including: Georgia State University, University of Georgia, Kennesaw State University, Winthrop University, and the University of Wisconsin. Adding to the project’s support, Gwinnett County School System and the Georgia Council on Economic Education have partnered with the National Archives, the New York Stock Exchange, the Smithsonian Institute and the Council on Economic Education.
A total of $115.3 million dollars was awarded to 124 school districts across the country.