Biographies of the nation (2010-2013)

Title: "Biographies of the Nation"

Professional development program in history, serving Great Falls, Helena, and Bozeman teachers.
LEA: Great Falls Public Schools, Great Falls, MT
Partners: Montana State University’s (MSU) Department of History and Philosophy and Department of Native American Studies, the Montana Council for History and Civics Education (MCHCE), the American Computer Museum and Education Northwest (formerly NWREL).
Project Wiki: Biographies of the Nation Participant Wiki

Project Summary, Objectives, and Performance Measures
Biographies of the Nation is a three-year professional development program in American history for K-12 teachers in three of Montana’s largest school districts. The Great Falls Public Schools (LEA), in conjunction with the Helena and Bozeman Public Schools, and our partners, Montana State University, the Montana Council for History and Civics Education, and the American Computer Museum, will serve 36 teachers annually and 54 teachers over the life of this grant. 

During each year of the grant, we will take an era of American history (Colonial and Early National Period, the Era of Sectional Conflict, and the Era of Global Power) to examine each era’s political and social conflicts through the lives of individuals. To do this, we will offer annual two-day fall colloquia, three-day winter colloquia, four-day summer institutes, and master-teacher-led book study groups that focus on how biography and history can be woven together to teach students major historical themes and narratives in ways that will help them understand how history is relevant to their own lives. 

Our external evaluator, Education Northwest, will measure the success of the project based on the following objectives and performance measures: 

(1) Increase teachers’ knowledge of American history
(1.a.) Percent of participants who complete 75% of hours offered (GPRA 2) 
(1.b.) Average percent change in scores of participants who complete at least 75 % of hours offered by project (GPRA 1) 
(1.c.) Development of a community of practice at local sites

(2) Improve the quality of American history instruction
(2.a.) Percent of participating teachers regularly using strategies to help students “think like an historian,” and apply “contextualized storytelling.” 
(2.b.) Number of participants who develop high quality Instructional Plans 

(3) Increase student achievement and attitudes toward studying history
(3.a.) Annual % of students (of participating teachers) who improve achievement on lessons/units taught from project Instructional Plans 
(3.b.) Annual % of positive student attitudes toward studying history

(4) Disseminate and extend project activities
(4.a.) Annual dissemination of project materials and resources
(4.b.) Annual extension of activities to a broader audience

MCHCE's Biographies of the Nation