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W&M receives $1.31 million grant to implement new history curriculum

  • Project CivisThe project is being led by Jeremy Stoddard and Carol Tieso. Tieso is the Class of 1964 Term Distinguished Associate Professor of Education and a member of the board of directors for the National Association for Gifted Children. Stoddard is an assistant professor of history and social studies education.

    Photo by Stephen Salpukas

    Project Civis
The College of William and Mary's School of Education has received a $1.31 million grant from the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Program to fund a project that will bring new U.S. history curriculum to middle schools around the nation.

A collaborative effort between researchers in the School of Education and Arts & Sciences and educators from Colonial Williamsburg, the project - titled "Project Civis" -- will address the cognitive and affective needs of promising middle school students who are at-risk for underachievement. The curriculum units will focus in particular on historical inquiry and democratic citizenship.

"This latest Javits project extends our work in curriculum development into middle school, a pivotal time in students' school experiences," said Virginia McLaughlin, dean of the School of Education. "The curriculum units will focus on topics of real interest to adolescents and incorporate technologies that will actively engage them in learning."

So far, school districts in Virginia, Alabama, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Hawaii have expressed an interest in participating in the project.

"One of the most exciting aspects of the project will be the involvement of educators from Colonial Williamsburg," said Carol Tieso. "The collaborative aspects of the project, as well as the College's location within the Historic Triangle area, were important components in the success of the grant proposal."

The project is being led by Tieso and Jeremy Stoddard. Tieso is the Class of 1964 Term Distinguished Associate Professor of Education and a member of the board of directors for the National Association for Gifted Children. Stoddard is an assistant professor of history and social studies education.

Other researchers collaborating on this project include: Judi Harris, professor and Pavey Family Chair in Educational Technology; Mark Hofer, Dorman Family Term Distinguished Associate Professor; and James Whittenberg, Pullen Professor of History.

"This is a very strong team of faculty contributing different areas of expertise," said McLaughlin. "We look forward to some exciting curriculum products and research."

The Javits Program is operated by the U.S. Department of Education. According to its Web site, its purpose is to "carry out a coordinated program of scientifically based research, demonstration projects, innovative strategies, and similar activities designed to build and enhance the ability of elementary and secondary schools to meet the special education needs of gifted and talented students."