Danice, Michael, and I hope your landing on to the flight deck of a new school year has been smooth. For any number of reasons, I failed to put out a Summer 2016 Newsletter, in part because I was waiting for news of our NEH grant application. This issue catches up on all the news. I will categorize them according to MCHCE’s various activities for the past year.
Before I begin, my congratulations go out to MCHCE board member and National History Day Coordinator Michael Herdina, who has taken the position of Director of Outreach and Development for the Gallatin History Museum in Bozeman. His assignments include recruiting businesses to join, assisting with recruiting individual members, writing curriculum, helping to design exhibits, designing the museum’s school programs, writing grants, and much more. Danice Toyias and her family have finally returned to Montana. Danice is the Alternative Learning Center Supervisor at Thompson Falls High School. This fall she is also teaching a Drama course.
2016 MEA/MFT Educator’s Conference
MCHCE will have an active presence at this years Educator’s Conference in Helena on Thursday and Friday October 20-21st. (Note the MCHCE/MHS Wednesday evening event at MHS that kicks off the conference that begins the next day.) Here are some of the MCHCE highlights.
1. On Wednesday, October 19th at 5:00 PM, the Montana Historical Society and MCHCE are sponsoring a reception at the Montana Historical Society Museum, featuring activities including, among many other things, a Montana History Scavenger Hunt. I recommend that you register early and on-line for this event at the MEA-MFT Educators Conference pre-registration site: http://mea-mft.org/educators_conference.aspx
2. Thursday, October 20th, The MHS and MCHCE also are sponsoring a one-day institute entitled “Bringing History Alive with Documents and Photos” led by Martha Kohl and Deb Mitchell of MHS. This sectional will be held at the Montana Historical Society, 225 North Roberts Helena, (across the street and directly east of the State Capitol) Tour the Montana Historical Society’s galleries, library, archives, and museum storage. This workshop takes full advantage of the magnificent collections at the Montana Historical Society to investigate resources for teaching Montana and U.S History. Spaces limited. I recommend that you register early and on-line for this event at the MEA-MFT Educators Conference pre-registration site: http://mea-mft.org/educators_conference.aspx
3. MCHCE BOARD MEETING. Helena High School, room #16 at 8:00 AM on Friday, October 21st. We invite all MCHCE members to attend. Light refreshments will be served.
4. Keynote address by Robert Swartout, Emeritus Professor of History, Carroll College, Co-Sponsored by MCHCE and the Montana Council for Social Studies (MCSS). Dr. Swartout's address will focus on three crucial events in twentieth-centruy American history that usually receive only minor attention in U.S. textbooks.
5. MCHCE Keynote by Paul Coats, Nurse Practitioner Leader in the Save the Brain concussion campaign: “Save the Brain! Learning After Concussive Injuries.” Concussions are incredibly common and have a huge impact on a student's ability to acquire, retain and utilize new information. In this presentation, participants will get to see what happens to the brain in a concussion and be provided with practical tips for helping students recover and return to successful learning. 11:00 AM, Thursday, Helena High School Little Theater.
6. During the Educators Conference, speakers will present over twenty sectionals on a wide variety of topics under the banner of MCHCE, including sectionals by Chuck Broughton, Sally Broughton, Delaloy Ryder, Sonia Gavin, Amy Collins, Jodi Delaney, Martha Kohl, Jim Bruggeman, Danice Toyias, Michael Herdina, Rich Aarstad, Danny Waldo, Margarita Khachatryan, and Paul Coates. Note that most, but not all, of the MCHCE-sponsored sections will be held in one of the following rooms in Helena High School. Rooms: 16, 17, 18, 19, 2, 22, 23, - off the Helena Avenue Hallway adjacent to the Library.
7. I want to bring to your attention one of the aforementioned sections for all 6-12 grade teachers who want to initiate a National History Day project in your classroom: Michael Herdina (MCHCE’s MT National History Day Coordinator) will introduce teachers to the Montana National History Day program. He will go over how to set a program up and how to prepare your students for all competitions up to and including Nationals. Noon, Helena High Room #19, Thursday, October 20th. Check your schedule for last-minute changes.
8. Come join us in the MCHCE hospitality room (HHS Room 16) for light refreshments, to learn about the Montana Council for History and Civics Education, the Montana Civic Education Program, and to share with colleagues.
National History Day
For the past two years, MCHCE has organized National History Day (NHD) in Montana schools as well as sponsoring the MT NHD state competition. The second MCHCE- sponsored state competition held on March 2nd at Sacajawea Middle School in Bozeman. It was a great success, thanks to all our volunteers and the outstanding leadership of MCHCE board member Michael Herdina who now is the Outreach Director for the Gallatin History Museum in Bozeman.
The 2016-2017 Montana state National History Day competition will be held at the Bozeman Catholic Community Center and the Gallatin History Museum on April 8, 2017. We are looking for judges and volunteers to help us run the event. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Michael (firstname.lastname@example.org). We need at least 30 volunteers to make this event work. Please help us out.
It is time for teachers to organize a 2016-2017 NHD team. Contact Michael Herdina (email@example.com) for advice and assistance for your projects. Also, Martha Kohl (firstname.lastname@example.org) at the Montana Historical Society is a strong supporter of the program and has offered her advice and support for your students’ NHD research projects.
The 2016 state competition involved 101 student Entries and 164 participants at state last year. in five categories: Junior and Senior research paper, individual and group exhibits, documentaries, and websites – as well as nearly 200 teachers, parents, grandparents, and volunteers. At the national NHD competition in College Park, Maryland, Emma from Sacajawea took 10th overall at the National competition in Junior Individual Exhibit with her project "Michelangelo and the Painting of the Sistine Chapel."
Our heartfelt thanks goes out to Michael Herdina, MCHCE Board Member and MT NHD Director who has tirelessly sought grants and awards to fund NHD in Montana, including the following, without whose generous support, this event would not have been possible.:
Montana History Foundation has donated $1000. In addition, the Montana History Foundation is considering a proposed donation of $1500 to put on a NHD workshop at the 2017 Historical Society Conference.
The Montana Historical Society will make the following donations for our 2016-2017 NHD competition;
The Martha Edgerton Plassman Award ($500) for best student NHD entry using the Chronicling America website.
The Dave Walter Montana History Travel Award ($1000) to support student/advisor travel to the state competition.
MHS also makes a generous annual sustaining contribution of $2500.
The WEM Foundation has awarded us the MacMillan Award which consisted of $15,000 for the 2015-2016 competition and $15,000 for the 2016-2017 competition a sum that will keep the state competition funded for at least three years.
Murdochs has made a $250 contribution.
The CM Russell Museum will sponsor our 2017 NHD T-shirt/ button design contest and, as a prize for the best design, will provide a gift basket that includes a membership to the museum and guest passes.
Finally, our thanks go out to Scott Hellickson who gives our NHD project a sharp discount on IT support.
MCHCE Joins the Montana Civics Education Initiative (MCEI)
MCHCE is participating in the recently launched Montana Civics Education Initiative (MCEI) The Civic Education Initiative steering committee is working to link pre-service and in-service teachers in the state of MT with Civics Education organizations, the MUS, and local government and community organizations to share, collaborate, and communicate with one another. The goal is create more interaction, provide relevant professional development, and encourage a balanced approach to civic education that focuses both on content knowledge and opportunities to strengthen our communities.
If you are interested, I urge you to attend the MCEI Steering Committee Meeting during the MEA-MFT Educator’s Conference: Noon on Friday, October 21st at Helena High School Room #17. Thanks to Danice Toyias for organizing this.
In addition, Ryder Delaloye (Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Whitefish School District Civic Education Coordinator for the Montana Office of Public Instruction) will present two sectionals to acquaint you with the latest information on Civics Education and the Initiative: The Role of Civics Education in Shaping the Future (Thursday, October 20, 10:00 AM, Helena High, Room #17) and The Montana Civics Education Center ((Thursday, October 20, 3:00 PM, Helena High, Room #17).
2017 Montana History Teacher of the Year.
At its May board meeting, MCHCE board members chose as its Gilder-Lehrman Montana History Teacher of the Year Sean O’Donnell, history teacher at Flathead High in Kalispell. Here is a brief bio of Sean.
“In 1996, Sean O’Donnel received his bachelor’s degree in social science and secondary education from Carroll College and, in 2004, completed a masters of education in educational technology from Lesley University. O’Donnell’s passion for history and technology have been combined in his classroom, and his students have reaped the benefits. He organizes his history instruction around the “big questions” of American history, and engages his students in close studies of primary documents to discuss, debate, and answer these questions. O’Donnell approaches every single school day with enthusiasm, humor, and compassion. In addition to his classroom teaching, he has served as Speech and Debate Coach of Flathead High School, the Social Studies Department Leader, organized and facilitated the History Book Club for Flathead and Glacier High School teachers, lead and organized the yearly Flathead School Social Studies retreat, served as an adjunct professor of U.S. History at Flathead Valley Community College, and served on any number of district curriculum committees.
Sean O’Donnell will receive a $1,000 honorarium and Flathead High School library will receive a core archive of history books and educational materials from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. O’Donnell will also receive an invitation to a 2017 Gilder Lehrman Teacher Seminar, a weeklong program which offers teachers daily discussions with eminent historians, visits to historic sites, and hands-on work with primary sources.”
Last year’s field of candidates were very competitive – which is good. We, therefore, encourage you to nominate or ask a principal or parent to nominate a K-6 teacher that you believe deserves the award. For more information go to: http://www.gilderlehrman.org/programs-exhibitions/national-history-teacher-year.
Deadline for nominations is February 17, 2017. This year’s competition is open to all history or social studies teachers in grades K-6. (The 2016 National History Teacher of the Year Award honored an outstanding middle or high school teacher. The
2017 award will honor an elementary school teacher. Teachers can be nominated in either category throughout the year.)
National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks Grant
Well, three is not necessarily the charm. Looking for ways to rebuild our Teaching American History Program, MCHCE applied in 2013 and 2014 for an NEH Landmarks grant to fund two one-week traveling seminars focused on the history surrounding the Bozeman Trail. Sadly, NEH turned down both proposals. With high expectations and perhaps naïve hopes, we drafted another proposal for summer 2017 in partnership with the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. “All the West’s a Stage” was proposed to be held in Cody, WY during the centenary of Buffalo Bill’s death. We were just notified us a few weeks ago that we did not receive funding. However, we are now working to put together a teacher seminar in Cody at the same time and place. We’ll keep you posted.
MCHCE Website and Facebook Page
MCHCE continues to maintained regularly updated website (www.mchce.net) and a Facebook Page, and Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/mchce/) pages with information on history and history education, including useful lesson plans. Visit us there.
We ask all your recipients of this newsletter to consider joining or renewing your MCHCE membership. MCHCE Membership dues are $30, and membership carries with it a year’s subscription to The Montana Historical Society’s Montana: The Magazine of Western History. Of late, MCHCE has run on a shoestring budget and on the volunteer work of Danice Toyias (Deputy Director), Michael Herdina (NHD State Director), and myself. You may submit your membership or membership renewal on line at www.mchce.net or by printing out and sending in the mail-in form appended below.
Current MCHCE members: I will notify you by e-mail when your membership is due for renewal.