SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 23, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Efforts to transform K-12 history education in California have received a major boost with Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) announcing a $5 million state grant to the California Historical Society (CHS). CHS will work with the California History-Social Science Project (CHSSP) at UC Davis to establish and implement Teaching California: an innovative, free, online resource of instructional materials to support the State's new History-Social Science Framework.
The objective of the program is to ensure California's large historical and archival resources, starting with those held at CHS, are readily accessible to all K-12 students to foster better understanding of the state's history, improve student literacy, and promote civic learning and engagement. The initiative creates a sustainable model for instructional material development in history-social science as well as other content areas.
"The tools of our education system must adapt to the tech we use every day. This $5 million investment by the state will provide students and their teachers with the resources they need to learn about – and from – the people, places, and events that have shaped California for thousands of years," said Assemblymember Ting, who spearheaded funding for the new initiative. "Teaching California will adopt the model of today's multimedia age to innovative learning."
Through Teaching California, CHS and CHSSP will develop dynamic, expansive online curriculum composed of primary and secondary source materials, drawing upon CHS's vast archival resources and those of the libraries across the state and nation. These resources will be carefully curated and tailored to provide K-12 teachers and students with online resources they need to analyze and understand the past. Critically, these materials will also embody an interpretation of history that places California at the center of the study of the past by offering local and state examples of national and worldwide histories, highlighting the rich, varied, and impactful contributions of Californians.
"The California Historical Society is honored to help lead this program and work together with educators throughout the State to help implement California's new History-Social Science Framework," said Dr. Anthea Hartig, Executive Director of CHS, who acknowledged the grant represents the largest investment ever made by the State in its 146-year-old historical society. "Teaching California helps ensure that California teachers and students will have access to the rich, complex history that has made our state what it is today."
Teaching California helps implement California's new History-Social Science Framework, which was adopted by the State Board of Education (SBE) in July 2016. The CHSSP served as the primary writer of the new Framework, which outlines an instructional approach that promotes student-centered inquiry and encourages students to develop clear and persuasive arguments based on their own interpretations of the past, using relevant evidence. The Framework also details how teachers can teach students history-social science, while at the same time developing their proficiency in English, as outlined in the Common Core and English Language Development Standards.
"At the heart of Teaching California is a one of a kind partnership between a state historical society and a statewide network of history educators, working together to help California students understand and appreciate the contributions of Californians to our national history and our global past," said Nancy McTygue, Executive Director of the California History-Social Science Project.
Teaching California will offer schools, teachers, and students a free and classroom-ready collection of resources designed to engage children in exciting and inspiring investigations of the past. At the same time, the collection will offer teachers a research-based approach to improve student reading, writing, and critical thinking skills.
Importantly, leaders from San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), along with several educators and history advocates from across the state participated in an announcement event at the California Historical Society's headquarters. With its exhibition galleries and free research library as a backdrop to illustrate resources that will be available through the new initiative, they had an opportunity to see first-hand rare artifacts and documents from the CHS archives that will be digitized as part of the program.
Dr. Brent Stephens, Chief Academic Officer, SFUSD, spoke to the significance of the grant, saying, "SFUSD's path-breaking work in teaching with primary source materials has proved to increase student engagement and learning. We look forward to working together to create Teaching California and enhance history education here and around the State."
Kate Bowen, who leads teacher training programs for the CHSSP, said the new materials will give her fifth graders at Patwin Elementary School in Davis a deeper understanding of history, adding, "The partnership between the CHS and CHSSP will give educators around California a golden opportunity to engage students in history. The carefully selected online sources will be ideal for teachers and students."
The $5 million grant was approved as part of the FY 2017/2018 fiscal budget (Assembly Bill 99, Section 82), which was introduced by Assemblymember Ting, chair of the Assembly Budget Committee. San Francisco Unified School District will contract with CHS to administer the grant in partnership with CHSSP to develop the resources for California schools. CHS and CHSSP will work with the State Department of Education to make the online resources available and accessible to all teachers statewide.
For photos and video from the announcement event:
SOURCE California Historical Society