New program to focus on American History and Civics

Middle and high school students and teachers in Knox County will soon have the opportunity to experience American History and civics in new and engaging ways.

The project is being funded through a grant by the U.S. Department of Education that was awarded to the Kentucky Educational Development Corporation, an educational cooperative which Knox County belongs to.  The grant award was the only one in the nation that will support a three-year project known as the Presidential and Congressional Academies for American History and Civics.  Announcement of the funding came from the Congressional Offices of Harold Rogers (5th District of Kentucky) and Andy Barr (6th District of Kentucky).

KEDC CEO Nancy Hutchinson is looking forward to early projections and outcomes of Project H.E.A.R.T. (History Education through Advanced Research and Technology). “The goals of the project will increase teacher content knowledge, increase student achievement and interest, create partnerships with national and state agencies, and can improve teacher effectiveness with the peer-to-peer strategies involved.  KEDC member schools will benefit from this great opportunity as it reconnects back to our Teaching American History Network that was very successful with our educators.”

In addition to Knox, other partnering school districts include Casey, Garrard, Lee, Madison, Middlesboro Independent, Owsley, Perry, Pulaski, Rowan, Somerset Independent, and Wolfe.

Project H.E.A.R.T. will offer Presidential Academies for 300 veteran and new teachers to strengthen their overall knowledge of American History and Civics, along with Congressional Academies to support 600 students in high-need schools to develop a broader and deeper understanding of these subjects.  H.E.A.R.T. will use three yearly themes of 1) Constitutional Construct; 2) Constitutional Crisis; and 3) Constitutional Challenges to provide 98 hours of Professional Development each year.  Students of participating teachers will also be immersed into rich content during Congressional Academies with yearly themes and will include a follow-up trip to Washington, DC.

Social studies teachers in Knox County were notified of the opportunity to participate in Project H.E.A.R.T. in early October and the invitation was extended again in November to apply.  The final names of the Knox County teachers selected to participate have not been released, but early notification shows that Knox will have at least two participants during the spring 2017 semester.

Partners that will correlate services with KEDC include the National Council of History Education (NCHE), Gettysburg Foundation, Gettysburg National Military Park, the National Constitution Center, The Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement, the Library of Congress, Ellis Island Park Service, Clinton Presidential Center, United Nations, 911 Memorial, Georgetown College, Eastern Kentucky University, the Kentucky Council for the Social Studies, and the Kentucky Department of Education.

Social studies teachers that did not apply to participate during the initial application window encouraged to contact Frank Shelton, district liaison coordinating grant efforts with KEDC, for more information on future opportunities.

Posted on November 23, 2016