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$1 Million Grant To Improve American History Education In Southwest Virginia

October 30, 2002-- Several departments and programs at the University of Virginia will team with the Scott and Russell County school systems and the Southwest Virginia Public Education Consortium of 14 other school districts to improve American history education. The Virginia Center for Digital History (VCDH), with assistance from the Center for Liberal Arts, will spearhead the Charlottesville portion of the effort and U.Va.’s College at Wise will be part of the Southwest Virginia initiative.

The U.S. Department of Education awarded the school districts a three-year, $1 million grant that will fund professional education and training seminars, mentoring programs, the development of classroom materials, and a special American history Web site.

The initiative will seek to improve the standardized test scores in history in Southwest Virginia, the poorest region in the state, said historian William G. Thomas, VCDH director. Other partners include history departments at Virginia Tech and Emory and Henry College, regional history museums, and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.

To create a professional development program of the highest quality, the project will connect teachers in grades 4 through 11 with university faculty in seminars, workshops and credit courses. U.Va.’s extensive digital archives will be a key part of the program, to be conducted in the schools and at participating universities.

The Center for the Liberal Arts will arrange a series of programs on the U.Va. Grounds, involving U.Va.’s history faculty, who will also travel to Southwest Virginia to work with teachers there.

Known as the Foundations Project, the effort will focus on three major content areas, Thomas said. The themes are colonial and revolutionary America with an emphasis on nation-building; 19th century America with an emphasis on the Civil War and Reconstruction; and 20th century America with an emphasis on the Cold War and civil rights.


The Virginia Center for Digital History will receive $256,208 to develop teaching materials as well as content for the Web site and to lead U.Va. outreach to school districts. The center will work with the Corcoran Department of History, the Miller Center of Public Affairs, the Curry School of Education, the Woodson Institute for African and African-American Studies, the Center for Liberal Arts, the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, and the College at Wise.

Contact: Bob Brickhouse, (434) 924-6856

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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