Friday, September 29, 2006
History department helps local school district
By Rebecca Wyatt, OU Web Writer
Oakland University’s Department of History is helping the Waterford School District move toward the future by going back in time. Through a Department of Education grant, OU professors will help elementary, middle school and high school better prepare their students in the area of history.
“The Department of Education, concerned about the quality of history programs throughout the state, set up grants for school districts to partner with local universities for teacher training and program development,” said Karen Miller, history chair and professor.
Waterford Schools approached Oakland University about the program and the two worked on the grant. The program is designed to improve the background of the district’s history teachers. OU professors will host workshops, help teachers get access to materials, provide ideas for engaging students and develop reading lists.
Professors from the Department of History will make sure the school district understands the expectations of college freshmen and can tailor their programs to preparing students for college.
The education plan is funded by the grant for one year, but with documented progress, OU and Waterford can reapply for the grant and extend their partnership.
“The program was designed as a multi-year program. In all likelihood, it will continue even after the grant has expired,” said Miller.
Waterford is the first school district Oakland University’s history department has worked with in this manner, but Miller said it is possible they will work with other school districts in the future.
“Whatever we learn we would be more than happy to use to help out other districts,” said Miller.
Waterford will study student test results and interest levels to gauge the programs success. Using surveys of the faculty, the district has identified the problem areas and will focus on those.
“Our principle goal is to make sure they are operating at their highest capacity,” said Miller. “We will be potentially improving the quality of history education. In an ideal world, we’ll do well and other schools will want to duplicate our efforts, further improving the quality of history education throughout the state.”
For more information about Oakland University’s history department, visit the Department of History Web site or call (248) 370-3510.