ARLINGTON - University of Texas at Arlington history professors will share their expertise to improve the teaching of American History as part of a three-year, $1 million federal grant to the Fort Worth Independent School District.
The U.S. Department of Education recently announced that $115.3 million in Teaching American History grants have been awarded to 124 school districts this year. The program enhances teachers' understanding of history by providing money for professional development, including trips to historical sites and meetings with historians and university experts. The overall aim is to increase student achievement.
As part of Fort Worth's program, professors from the UT Arlington history department will give a series of full-day seminars on topics covered in fifth, eighth and 11th grade American history classes. Topics range from American colonization to the Civil War and contemporary America. The professors also will participate in a four-day Summer Institute.
W. Marvin Dulaney, associate professor of history, said the Teaching American History grant allows UT Arlington scholars to share their areas of in-depth study. That way, teachers can quickly get a sense of the up-to-date research and interpretations of events. Dulaney, for example, will lead lectures on abolitionism and the Civil Rights Movement, two subjects he has studied extensively and taught. Teachers also receive instruction in how to conduct historical research.
"We give them a lot of good content in terms of facts and detailed ways to approach different topics in American history," Dulaney said. "We're hoping that what we teach the teachers they will then teach the students in high schools and middle schools."
Fort Worth was the only Texas school district to receive a Teaching American History grant award this year. Tracy Marshall, grants director for the Fort Worth school district, said the strength of the district's university partners helped its proposal.
"The reviewers are really looking at the depth and knowledge of the professors themselves," she said. "They look at their credentials and their research areas and where they're aligned with what we're trying to teach the kids and I think that's really a strength."
The school district also is partnering with Texas Christian University in the grant.
Fort Worth's grant money will be implemented through a program called Project HOPE: History Opening Paths to Excellence. One of that initiative's aims is to narrow the achievement gap between special education and limited English proficiency students and other groups.
UT Arlington's history department is already working with the Fort Worth school district on a $1 million Teaching American History grant the district received in 2008. That grant runs through September 2011. The department also has worked with the Arlington and Dallas school districts on similar projects.
The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive undergraduate and graduate institution of nearly 29,000 students in the heart of North Texas. For more information, visit www.uta.edu.
The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.