American Social History Project • Center for Media and Learning

Teaching American History: The End of an Era

Published March 10, 2015
Cake baked by TAH teacher Eve Creary for final TAH seminar on August 19, 2014

On August 19, 2014, ASHP-CML led its final Teaching American History (TAH) professional development workshop, hosted by the Museum of the City of New York. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the TAH program directed significant resources toward professional development for K-12 teachers of U.S. History around the country. This funding enabled ASHP-CML and many other cultural and university partners to work with local school districts and teachers.

Our first TAH workshop took place in Staten Island on March 5, 2004, and TAH-funded professional development programs have had a major impact on ASHP-CML over the past decade. In all, 11 current and former ASHP-CML staff members (Ellen Noonan, Frank Poje, Leah Potter, Isa Vasquez, Donna Thompson Ray, Madeleine Lopez, Abigail Lewis, Leah Nahmias, Ellen Zitani, Michele James, and Peter Mabli) worked independently and with seven partner organizations (Education Development Center, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Historical Society, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Queens College Program in Social Studies Education, Paley Center for Media, Museum of the City of New York) to plan and present a whopping 286 seminar and summer institute days for more than 500 New York City teachers (and a few in Pennsylvania). Beyond the prodigious human effort those numbers represent, TAH programs stretched ASHP-CML’s professional development work in new directions. We learned a great deal from our partners and teachers, and worked with large groups of middle school and elementary level educators for the first time. We also adapted our materials and approaches to the needs of English Language Learners (ELLs), special education students, and, eventually, to align with the Common Core standards. From TAH work grew the impetus and resources to create HERB: Social History for Every Classroom. So we raise a toast to TAH and await the next chapter in ASHP-CML’s K-12 professional development programs.

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