OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University’s Department of History, in partnership with Weber County School District, has received a federal grant worth almost $1 million targeted at finding new ways to improve elementary and secondary students’ knowledge of American history.
The Teaching American History program has awarded $995,860 in federal grant money to fund a three-year collaboration between the university and Weber County School district. The joint venture, called the UTAH (United Teachers of American history) Alliance, is the latest in an ongoing series of partnerships WSU’s history department has cultivated with the Weber School District in recent years. Gene Sessions, chairman of WSU’s history department, credits WSU alumni with helping earn the grant.
“Jeff Stephens, the curriculum director for the Weber School District, is a former student of ours,” Sessions said. “He approached us about helping write the grant proposal and when we met with the writing team, we discovered it was headed up by another WSU alum, Shanna Futral.”
Sessions foresees the grant enriching the American history experience for teachers and students in the district through the development of mentoring programs, workshops, trips, seminars and other activities wherein WSU history faculty will interact with district faculty to improve both course content and methodology.
Sessions believes WSU faculty will learn from their colleagues in the public schools, gaining a better appreciation for the challenges history teachers face in preparing students for college-level history studies.
Val Parrish, a former history teacher in the Weber County school system, will oversee the project. One of his first tasks will be to meet with district teachers and identify the subjects and topics in which they would like additional training.
The grant was one of 114 awarded for fiscal year 2002 by the U.S. Department of Education’s Teaching American History program. Weber was selected for funding out of a pool of over 400 proposals submitted.