The American History for ALL Project (the Project) has been designed to address the unique and underserved needs of self-contained special education students and their teachers. The applicant is District 75 in New York City. District 75 provides citywide educational, vocational, and behavior support programs for students who are on the autism spectrum, severely challenged, and/or multiply disabled. District 75 consists of 56 school organizations, over 300 specialized service off sites, home and hospital instruction, and vision and hearing services. District 75 serves more than 23,000 pupils all of whom have Individualized Education Plans.
The goals and objectives of the Project are to: increase traditional American history content knowledge and pedagogical skills by trainees and increase American history achievement by students. Objectives will be measured by changes in American history content/pedagogical skills of trainees using a pre/ post test assessment (that derives 50% of its questions from the Advanced Placement test in American History). Pupil American history skills will be assessed using New York State Regents, New York State Competency tests, and a variety of NYS approved alternative assessments. Expected outcomes include statistically significant increases on the pre to post trainee assessment and statistically higher levels of American history achievement by target pupils when compared to a matched control group of non-participants.
The Project will serve 32 teachers per annum and 72 over the proposed five-year program period. Teachers and pupils in grades 4 – 12 are targeted for program services. Renowned major project partners are: New York Historical Society; Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and the Museum of the City of New York.
Beginnings to 1607, Colonization, Settlement, and Communities, Revolution and the New Nation, Civil War and Reconstruction, Expansion/Reform, Development of Modern America, Modern America and the World Wars, and Contemporary America are the eras that will be covered each year. The content of these important historic periods will be studied during each of the five years from the following perspectives: Historical Documents; Stories of Individual Americans; History through the Arts; Historical Field Studies; Supreme Court decisions. Project components important for our pupils will include: a focus on multi media and news broadcasting to disseminate facts about historical events, extensive research via public and museum Library resources, and engagement of students in debates on historical topics and time periods.
The unique learning needs of District 75 students call for educators to be trained not only in historical instructional methodologies but also in differentiated instruction tied to content. Professional development will be presented with recommendations for flexibility to allow trainees to address the needs of all students. For example, whether teachers are called to use picture symbols (PECS) to facilitate opportunities for communication or are encouraging students to delve into multi-media resources to explore different American history eras, teacher's knowledge of American history content is critical. Professional development will be conducted both during the school year and summer institutes.