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Lisa Shores, a 5th grade teacher at Byng Elementary School, was one of four local educators who presented a session at the recent annual National Staff Development Council Conference in Dallas.

She is a participant in one of the two Teaching American History Grant projects for 5th grade American history teachers in 10 area schools.  The projects, which serve 20 teachers, are examples of the professional development model being used by the Center for Advancement of American History at East Central University.

Shores, along with Richard Cooper and Kevin Lynch, "master teachers" who work out of the center, and C.J. Vires, associate vice president for sponsored programs and research at ECU, spoke on the productive partnerships the TAH grants have created.

The foundation of the professional development model consists of three elements: the presentation of current professional American history content information, the development and practice of sound historical analysis and thinking, and the application and teaching of the first two elements.

One of the most important products of the projects has been the creation of a community of educators, from elementary, secondary and university levels, who share a common desire and task - to improve their skills and knowledge in American history so they can improve the knowledge and skills of their students.

The TAH Grant projects involve participants in a three-year, year-long program,  and  Shores said that "the resources from the grant are utilized more when we are able to meet together and plan activities and lessons we can actually take back to our classroom and use immediately."

Although she has been involved in several professional development programs, Shores said she appreciates how the history grant gives teachers a chance to have "time in the summer to plan, organize and gather materials that help them teach the state objectives to students."

Teachers and others interested in more information should contact the Center for Advancement of American History at ECU at 580-559-5558.

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