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January 31, 2007

CW takes Teaching American History conference to South Carolina

Seventy-five teachers in South Carolina’s Beaufort and Jasper County school systems will have the opportunity to attend a day-long conference on Teaching American History March 30 when Colonial Williamsburg’s education outreach goes on the road.

During the conference, the teachers will step back in time and meet people from the past while learning historical content and engaging classroom instructional strategies. Participants will receive a CD ROM with lesson plans, facsimile artifacts and documents and a subscription to one of Colonial Williamsburg’s distance learning programs, the Emmy-award winning Electronic Field Trips, broadcast live to classrooms across the country during the school year.

Last summer, Beth McCafferty and Deb Drury, who teach at Hilton Head International Baccalaureate School, attended an intense seven-day immersion into early American history at the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute in Williamsburg, Va., through the generosity of Hilton Head residents Mr. and Mrs. Theodore F. Craver. Their enthusiasm for the program prompted the Cravers to want to bring the program to more teachers in the Jasper and Beaufort school systems. Sponsoring a day-long workshop fit the Cravers’ desire to offer the program to teachers who do not have the resources to attend the week-long summer program.

Colonial Williamsburg’s professional development programs have expanded from the week-long summer Teacher Institute in Williamsburg to include day-long seminars to bring Colonial Williamsburg’s program to teachers across the country. During the 2007 school year, Colonial Williamsburg will present 10 one-day conferences in nine states – Alabama, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas.

Each conference focuses on the use of primary sources and active learning strategies that make history relevant and exciting for students. Teachers will learn how to use role playing, demonstrations, simulations and analysis of primary sources to make history come to life. One of the highlights of the day-long conference in Hilton Head will be the character portrayals of President George Washington and Oney Judge, a slave who ran from Washington to gain her freedom. In a theatrical tableau, the two character interpreters will discuss the views on liberty each might have had.

“Beaufort and Jasper County are fortunate to have Mr. and Mrs. Craver to help support history and social studies education in their community. Teachers will now have the resources to make the study of the American Revolution and the founding of our nation engaging and relevant to students,” said Colonial Williamsburg’s Tab Broyles, director of Teacher Professional Development. “The understanding of United States history is important to the development of our students as citizens and future leaders,” added Broyles.

Mr. Craver first learned of Teacher Institute from a story in the journal of Colonial Williamsburg, a quarterly publication for donors to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. A native of Fredericksburg, Va., Mr. Craver spent 40 years working for Litton Industries in California. He first learned of the opportunity to sponsor teachers to the summer program through his former boss and long-time friend, Glen McDaniel, who has sponsored teachers to Teacher Institute for many years. “We decided to sponsor the workshop in Hilton Head so we could get more teachers from our area involved in learning new ways to teach the history of the founding of our great republic,” said Mr. Craver. The March 30 conference will bring together 75 third-, fourth-, fifth-, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade teachers from the Jasper and Beaufort County schools.

As a result of this conference, Colonial Williamsburg staff and the Cravers hope teachers will return to their schools with increased historical knowledge and some new active methods of engaging students in learning – and most importantly, a new understanding of how we became Americans and our role as citizens.

For information or to register for the free conference, contact Molly Kerr at or 757-565-8986 or Tab Broyles at or 757-220-7975. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg’s Electronic Field Trips and other educational resources, visit

Media Contact:
Barbara Brown
(757) 220-7280