History education in Manatee County Public Schools received a substantial boost through a nearly $1.7 million grant from the federal government to fund a “Teaching American History Grant.”
This grant program, to be spread over five years, is designed to raise student achievement by improving teachers’ knowledge, understanding and appreciation for teaching traditional U.S. History to elementary students in Manatee County.
According to Dr. Ron Hirst, the district’s grant tesource specialist who helped author the application for this grant, 40 elementary history teachers will receive training that will include seminars and field trips to historical locales including Kennedy Space Center, St. Augustine and Key West. Professional development opportunities provided through the grant will be performed in cooperation with major grant partners including the American Institute of History Education, the University of South Florida’s History Department in Tampa, the University of South Florida’s College of Education at its Sarasota/Manatee campus and the Looking for Angola Project taking place along the Manatee River here in Southwest Florida.
“The teachers who take part in this professional development will share their knowledge and expertise with other teachers so this grant should have a district-wide impact,” said Hirst, who has accepted a new position as the principal at Bashaw Elementary. “In addition, this grant brings valuable online resources that will be available to all teachers even after the five-year grant program expires.”
This marks the second-straight year that the Manatee District has been the recipient of a federal Teaching American History Grant. Last year, the district received a grant of about $1 million to fund a three-year program to form a cohort of 25 American History teachers from grades five, eight and 11 to foster cooperation regarding subject matter, resources, best practices and to provide support for educators to strengthen their abilities. Additional funding of more than $700,000 can be acquired for another two years through that grant based on the success of the first three years.