Social Studies Instruction Bolstered by $2.9 Million in Grants
District elementary school teachers and administrators gathered in September for a full day of professional development under the Gateway Arch to strengthen their teaching skills involving Missouri government and civics. The ongoing training is made possible by a $114,000 grant from The Educating for American Democracy (EAD) Implementation Consortium via the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The teaching of social studies and civics in the District will get a big boost thanks to two major grant awards designed to strengthen teaching expertise and broaden instruction in areas regarding civics, civil rights and history.
The District and St. Louis Public Schools partnered with the National Council for History Education to garner a three-year, $2.7 million American History and Civics National Activities grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The grant will be used to create “Amplifying Civil Rights Education (ACRE): The Long Civil Rights Movement,” an elementary and middle school history and civics program for grades 3-8.
Teachers in the program will learn to guide their students into deeper explorations of civil rights both in Missouri and the United States. Participants will investigate how people have removed, retained and restored civil rights for themselves and others. This professional learning supports educators as they teach diverse histories and content literacy that further encourage student engagement in civic life beyond school walls.
The training will include Saturday seminars, webinars and summer colloquiums with historians and teaching experts. Each year of the grant, participants will take a five-day summer trip tied to the content focus for the year. Next summer, they will tour Missouri. The second summer will include a trip to Philadelphia. The third year, they will travel to Washington, D.C.
The District, in partnership with the University of Missouri-St. Louis, was further awarded $114,000 from The Educating for American Democracy (EAD) Implementation Consortium via the National Endowment for the Humanities. Funding will be used for professional development and curriculum that equips third-grade educators with teaching skills and Missouri History and Government content so their students have a firm grounding and inquisitive mindset towards civics and history in preparation for middle and high school. The grant kicked off with a full-day professional development and ideation session at the Gateway Arch on September 16th.
Susan Hill, coordinator for K-12 social studies, said, “The grants bring special focus to the importance of civic literacy and the teaching of history, which is especially important because of the decades-long, national trend of reducing time spent on social studies instruction.”