HM - March 2019 - Florida Council Spotlight

State Council Spotlight


The Florida Council for History Education 2017- Present

By Tammara Purdin and Jennifer H. Jaso 

Our Story

The story of the Florida Council for History Education (FLCHE) begins in professional development. In the summer of 2010, a passionate group of educators who taught different grade levels and content but had common interests in history, history education, and professional development came together through a Teaching American History (TAH) grant. As we broadened our perspectives and shared our passion for teaching, we explored avenues to advocate for history education in Florida.
By 2016 in Niagara Falls, NY, when participants in our original cohort were gathering at the NCHE annual meeting, we were ready to establish a Florida affiliate of the National Council. We met with several NCHE board members, the executive director, and the director of conferences and events. Before we left Niagara Falls, we held our first unofficial Florida meeting, and decided we were ready to launch our non-profit. Over the course of the next 15 months, we met and planned while continuing to balance our responsibilities as full-time teachers with families. The FLCHE now holds an annual conference, promotes community outreach and partnerships, and provides professional development for Florida teachers. 
Annual Conferences 2017 - 2019

The old Osprey School House at Historical Spanish Point, located on Little Sarasota Bay, served as the perfect location for our first conference in 2017. Over 60 participants narrowly fit into two historic schools rooms to interact with and learn from historian J. Michael Francis.

We decided to make every attempt to host our conferences at historical venues, and we held our 2018 event at the Italian Club in quaint Ybor City. Pre-conference events included guided tours of the Henry Plant Museum, a private tour of the Columbia Restaurant, and a historic walking tour led by historian Gary Mormino. Keynote speakers were Dr. Heather Russell and Theresa Schober, and a panelist of locals shared the history of Ybor.
Our third annual conference will be at the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center in historic St. Augustine on August 2-3, 2019. Our conference theme, “Breaking Barriers in History,” aligns with this year’s National History Day theme, and Drs. David Colburn and Kathleen Deagan will provide keynote addresses.

Community Outreach and Professional Development

Sip and Scholarship: Sip and Scholarship is an evening of libations and stories of the past. Through informal lectures, scholars share narratives of historical events while participants enjoy a glass of wine or a local brew. Through these casual and interactive opportunities, the FLCHE has brought such scholars as J. Michael Francis and Roger Smith to the community so that we can all share and discuss Florida history.
National History Day: The National History Day (NHD) contest engages over half a million middle and high school students worldwide in conducting historical research. The FLCHE has sponsored a NHD intern, and she, in turn, became a FLCHE board member. This May, we will partner with “La Florida: The Interactive Digital Archive of the Americas” to sponsor a Florida History Day Heritage Award. FLCHE members participate in judging county and state History Days. Our partnership with Ashland University’s has provided us with opportunities to support teachers’ content-centered professional development. We provide the venue and advertise the event, and our partner arranges for the scholars and materials and provides breakfast and lunch for participants.
Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS): We are honored to announce that the TPS Eastern Region granted $20,000 for our proposal, “It’s Elementary, My Dear: Primary Sources in the Classroom.” Through our grant, we will assist elementary teachers in using Library of Congress primary and secondary sources to support historical thinking in elementary classrooms. The project will generate 78 lesson plans for grades K-5.  In addition to documenting appropriate alignment with specific grade level standards, the project will emphasize integration with language arts. Our cohort will consist of 30 elementary educators from our local area, led by three FLCHE executive board members. We are excited to provide Florida teachers with this professional development.
FLCHE attendees listen to Panelists discuss the history of Ybor City, Florida at FLCHE Conference 2018

FLCHE Mission: FLCHE is an organization of professionals dedicated to the advocacy of history in education by promoting history as a way to appreciate the progress and awareness of past and present events. We are a community where collaboration fosters historical mindedness maintaining intellectual rigor for history education. We look forward to many more successes as we promote and advocate for history.

Dr. Tammara Purdin, Executive Director of FLCHE,  teaches at Lamarque Elementary in North Port, Florida
Dr Jennifer Jaso, Secretary for FLCHE, teaches at Sarasota Middle School in Sarasota, Florida. 

About NCHE

The National Council for History Education provides professional and intellectual leadership to foster an engaged community committed to the teaching, learning, and appreciation of diverse histories.