Examining teaching grants | Arkansas Blog

Monday, July 20, 2009

Examining teaching grants

Posted By on Mon, Jul 20, 2009 at 12:48 PM

I posted some Little Rock School Board correspondence recently between Board member Baker Kurrus and Superintendent Linda Watson concerning a federal grant the district has sought to provide training to history teachers.

For those who were engaged by the topic -- and several were -- here's a continuation of the questioning.

EMAIL FROM SUPERINTENDENT WATSON TO BOARD MEMBER KURRUS

She answers additional questions he had posed.

1.  How many teachers annually attend the training sessions, and what is the total annual amount of the grant?  

 2006-09 Grant

Annually, an average of 145 teachers attended training.  Yearly, 25 teachers participated in the year long history academy and 25 teachers participated in the UALR/LRSD Summer History Institute.  On an average year of the grant, an additional 95 teachers participated in at least three hours of one or more of the other trainings provided. 

Teachers had the opportunity to participate in two types of grant activities:  intense training of 30-60 hours that teachers committed to complete and an array of other activities available to teachers that provided 3-6 hours of training per activity.    

Total Annual Amount Grant
$326,352
Total Annual Cost Per Trainee
$2250.70


2009-2012
No data available.  A similar format exists for the upcoming grant.

2.  Is attendance mandatory for all history teachers?  If not, isn't it true that most of the teachers who really embrace non-mandatory professional development are the highly-motivated teachers who need it the least?


2006-09 Grant
Attendance was not mandatory for all history teachers.  However, professional development opportunities provided by the grant that occurred during district PD days were scheduled for all secondary American history teachers.   Teachers could choose to participate in the intense trainings and other grant activities described in question one.

2009-2012 Grant
Attendance will not be mandatory for all American history teachers.
However, professional development opportunities provided by the grant that occur during district PD days will be scheduled for all secondary American history teachers.


Many times the teachers that embrace non-mandatory professional development are highly motivated.

“To teach history requires good history content and historical research, it requires knowing and using the best in learning research and pedagogical technique and it requires the practical application of both those bodies of knowledge in the classroom.” (History Matters, Jan.2005)  This grant provides funding for all American history teachers to participate in professional development to improve and enhance instruction.

District professional development days provide training for highly motivated teachers as well as teachers that participate in training less frequently.  A variety of other trainings provided by the grant give teachers an opportunity to attend those that best meet their professional needs and interest. 

Strategies for recruiting teachers and plans for recruiting specific grade levels have been addressed in the 2009-12 grant.   For example, when recruiting teachers, additional efforts will be made to recruit 6th grade teachers to participate in grant activities.  The revised state frameworks moved the teaching of American history from 8th grade to 6th grade.  Teachers in the 6th grade previously taught ancient world history.  Professional development for teachers teaching new content will be provided.

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