Montana State University

MSU, Bozeman schools receive $1 million to enhance teaching in state

September 14, 2007 -- By Evelyn Boswell, MSU News Service

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Tel: (406) 994-4571
BOZEMAN -- A new $1 million grant will help the Bozeman School District and Montana State University work together to facilitate American history education in Montana schools.

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester presented the three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education on Friday. The grant is aimed at pairing mentor teachers from Bozeman with teachers in under-served school districts, especially in central and eastern Montana, recipients said.

The "Teaching American History Grant" emphasizes the significance of the American West in understanding American history, said Robert Rydell, MSU history professor and co-director of the grant with Jim Bruggeman, principal of Irving School in Bozeman. Bradley Snow, a doctoral student of history, is project director.

The grant will fund a variety of activities for teachers in kindergarten through 12th grade, Rydell said. Some of those activities will occur on the MSU campus, and others around the state. The grant provides for lectures, hands-on activities and in-service training led by a research historian from MSU, an instructional specialist and a master teacher.

Bruggeman said the grant creates a partnership among the Bozeman School District, MSU's Department of History and Philosophy and Department of Native American Studies, the Northwest Regional Education Labs in Portland, Ore., and the National Counci l for History Education. David Swingle, former principal of the Bridger Alternative High School in Bozeman, will coordinate outreach.

This is the third grant that joins MSU humanities departments and the Bozeman public schools, Bruggeman said.

"It's been a great experience," Bruggeman said.

Rydell said the new grant will build on the success of the other two grants. The first one began in 2002 and focused on the chronological treatment of history from Lewis and Clark through World War II. The second, still under way, helps teachers use biographies to teach history. The first two grants were aimed at Bozeman teachers, but the latest one branches out to the rest of the state. Bozeman teachers will still be involved, but they will be more in the role of mentors.

"There have been very few districts in the country that have received two American history teaching awards," Rydell said. "Three is highly unusual."

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or