The Professional Development School Network for Learning and Teaching American History brings together American history teachers from Illinois high schools (rural, small city and town, suburban, and urban), newly hired teachers of American history from similar districts across the state of Illinois, and faculty members from the Department of History at Illinois State University, Normal. In addition, the McLean County Museum of History in Bloomington, Illinois is a member of the Learning and Teaching of American History Network. The project is designed to increase the content knowledge and understanding of teachers.

During each academic year, the funded program offers six, all-day Teachers as Scholars reading colloquiums; two all-day Teachers as Reflective Practitioners teaching seminars; and an intensive weeklong Summer Institute. One principal objective of the project is to bring experienced mentor teachers together with newly hired teachers who had worked with these mentors as interns before and during their student teaching experience. Throughout the year the History Teachers as Mentors aspect of the program was sustained in two ways: first, by renewing the relationship between mentor and intern (now called protégé) in the colloquiums and seminars, and second, by having both the mentors and protégés provide in-service workshops for their respective colleagues who did not attend specific project activities.

Participants in the project have written reviews of and reactions to the required books they read during the academic year, and they developed lesson plans they taught based on the content of those books. In addition, the participants have identified and thought historically about a number of First-/ Second-/ and Third-Order documents that they encountered during their reading, teaching, and at the summer institute -- organizing them into Research Team Report Kits. These materials are posted on this project web site.

The project has met or is approaching its five principal objectives regarding increasing content knowledge and understanding, recruiting of participants, affecting student learning, mentoring new teachers, and developing a successful model for professional development. We hope this project and web site will serve as a valuable resource for your own learning and teaching of American history.

Respectively submitted by the project co-directors,

Dr. Lawrence W. McBride, Professor of History, Illinois State University
Dr. Frederick D. Drake, Associate Professor of History, Illinois State
Dr. Michael Gardner, Principal, Lincoln-Way East High School

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Last updated on December 10, 2003
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