Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) educators who teach U.S. History will have additional resources to make sure their students master the subject thanks to a $1.4 million grant the school system earned from the U.S. Department of Education. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently announced that GCPS is one of only four school districts in Georgia selected for the Teaching American History grant. The funding will support more than 150 high school social studies teachers as they work to raise the achievement of Gwinnett students.
"Our high school teachers are very excited about the opportunity," says Debbie Daniell, the school district”s director of social studies. "It will help our American history teachers enhance their classroom teaching experience–for their students and for themselves."
The Teaching American History grant program improves teachers understanding of American history through intensive professional development, including study trips to historic sites and mentoring with professional historians and other experts. Under Ms. Daniell”s leadership, GCPS is using the grant to create, implement, and fund the Gwinnett County Public Schools Teaching American History (TAH) Project–American History: Examining Years of Economic Strides. The program will encourage critical thinking and historical investigation into central themes and concepts in American history through the lens of economics. It will help teachers gain a better understanding of how to apply economic analysis and reasoning to the events taught in their traditional American history courses.
Daniell explains, "Our goal is to bring history alive for students, helping them to better understand the significance of events that have occurred. But we want to go a step further. By addressing the immediate and sometimes long-term economic impact of historical events, we can help students better understand our world and how the events of today help shape the future."