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September 16, 2005

Alabama teachers to receive hands-on training in teaching American history that inspires and creates dynamic learning

Colonial Williamsburg will conduct a Teaching American History training program for 75 Alabama teachers to enhance teachers’ skills during the 2005-2006 academic year at the American Village in Montevallo, Ala. The intensive day-and-a-half workshop session Sept. 30 – Oct. 1 is supported by a generous $29,750 grant from the Alabama Power Foundation Inc.

Following the hands-on training, participating teachers will be ready to engage their students in the exploration of European, African and American economic, cultural and political heritages, while using techniques that develop students’ critical thinking skills through the use of primary source documents and artifacts.

The Teaching American History Conference is an enhanced, off-site adaptation of Colonial Williamsburg’s onsite, week-long Teacher Institute in Williamsburg that inspires teachers throughout the country and serves about 500 teachers annually. The Teaching American History Conference workshop model carries the Teacher Institute methodologies to educators unable to attend the sessions in Williamsburg.

Using interdisciplinary techniques developed at the American Village and during the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute summer training session, staff members will immerse the Alabama teachers in living history methods to create dynamic learning experiences in the classroom. Peer teachers – graduates of the Teacher Institute – will serve as mentors as the participants debate the issues surrounding the American Revolution, construct biographies from primary historical documents and artifacts, and try on reproduction 18th-century clothing. The workshop will help teachers implement the Alabama educational standards and a significant portion of the grant will provide participants with educational resources, including lesson plans, videotapes, facsimile primary documents and subscriptions to Electronic Field Trips. Drawing on the 16-year experience of the Teacher Institute, the Teaching American History Conference was created and first tested in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 2003.

“The Teaching American History Conference allows us to provide an intensified training session for teachers with a common regional interest,” said Richard McCluney, the Royce R. and Kathryn M. Baker vice president of productions, publications and learning ventures, who oversees Colonial Williamsburg’s educational outreach initiatives including the Teacher Institute. “We are extremely pleased that the Alabama Power Foundation has made it possible to share our teaching techniques and the historical precedents for issues that face American society today.”

"We’re proud to make this experience available to Alabama teachers," said Alabama Power President and CEO Charles D. McCrary. "Every day, we entrust them with our state’s future – our children. As such, we have a responsibility to ensure that our teachers have an opportunity to take advantage of outstanding training programs."

Created to provide a meaningful way to invest in the future of Alabama and its citizens, Alabama Power Foundation Inc. is one of the largest corporate foundations in the nation and seeks to improve the quality of life of Alabamians and to strengthen the communities in which they live. Since 1996, Alabama Power Foundation Inc. has made grants to Colonial Williamsburg totaling $173,350 to provide teacher development opportunities for Alabama teachers.

For more information on the Teaching American History Conference, please contact Tab Broyles, Colonial Williamsburg’s manager of teacher programs at (757) 220-7975 or e-mail tbroyles@cwf.org or Rebecca Beatty, director of education at American Village Citizenship Trust at (205) 665-3535 ext. 23 or e-mail rbeaty@americanvillage.org.

Established in 1926, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century capital of Virginia. To learn more about the foundation’s educational outreach initiatives and teacher resources, visit the Web site www.history.org/history/teaching.

Media Contact:
Jim Bradley
(757) 220-7281



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