HM - April 2019 - Missouri Council Spotlight
State Council Spotlight
The MISSOURI COUNCIL FOR HISTORY EDUCATION
By Joan Musbach
NCHE State Representative
The Missouri Council for History Education operates with a Board of Directors of thirteen. Board members are a collection of active and retired K-12 classroom teachers from public and private schools, faculty members of universities and community colleges, curriculum coordinators and history specialists at national historic sites. The board meets monthly and is involved in organizing a number of initiatives to improve history instruction in Missouri classrooms.
The MOCHE 2018 conference was held at the Truman Museum and Library in Independence, Missouri. Among the highlights of that conference were featured speeches by Yohuru Williams and Merry Wiesner-Hanks. Teachers were able to participate in a modified simulation in the “White House Decision Center” regarding President Truman’s decision to airlift supplies into West Berlin during the Berlin Blockade. A wide variety of breakout sessions were available during the two-day conference. State History Day winners were featured at each of the two general sessions.
Under the guidance of Gary McKiddy, MOCHE Past President, and Francine Davis, MOCHE Board member, a curriculum has been developed and is available for free download on the MOCHE website www.mohistoryeducation.org.
The curriculum is designed for use with upper elementary and middle school students, since that is where most Missouri School Districts teach state history; but it is adaptable for high school grades as well. Dr. McKiddy and Ms. Davis have been presenting workshops about the curriculum and its integration into the local curriculum. The first workshop was at the MOCHE Conference at the Truman Library in September 2018; the second will be at the State Historical Society of Missouri's Conference on History in Kansas City in March of 2019 and the third will be at the MOCHE 2019 Conference in St. Louis.
Visiting Scholar Program
Over the years, MOCHE has established a mutually beneficial relationship with the Missouri Humanities Council. Beginning in 2017, with financial support from the MHC, MOCHE established its Visiting Scholars Program. It began sending nationally-renown historians to individual schools and districts to provide tailored professional development. To date, MOCHE has provided professional development workshops on topics ranging from women of the American Revolution to essay writing in the history classroom; from thinking historically to the history of Mexican immigration to the U.S.; from the history of food production to the challenges of teaching children’s historical fiction classics, such as My Brother Sam is Dead and Island of the Blue Dolphins. Scholars have visited schools in Columbia, MO and throughout the St. Louis region, including the Missouri School for the Blind.
The purposes of the Visiting Scholars program include: reaching a wider audience of Missouri history teachers than those that regularly attend the annual MOCHE conference, matching professional development to teacher needs and interests, and bringing a diverse range of scholars to Missouri. By working in dialogue with schools and districts, MOCHE arrives at a list of experts or a specific scholar who can provide the kind of training that teachers desire and need to best serve their students. MOCHE provides all of the expenses associated with the scholar’s visit. Schools and teachers provide a location for the professional development and an eager audience. Plans are afoot to bring a major scholar in the history of American race relations for the 2019-2020 year. The Visiting Scholars Program is chaired by St. Louis University Professor and MOCHE Board member, Flannery Burke.
Grant for a Summer Institute
As we plan for the future, MOCHE will apply for a regional grant with the Library of Congress' Teaching with Primary Sources program for a summer institute in 2020. The institute, entitled “Common Ground: Farms, Cities and Food Security during the Great Depression,” will bring urban and rural teachers together to utilize Library of Congress materials (such as FSA photographs) to develop curricula examining how people on farms and in cities responded to the shared economic catastrophe of the Great Depression. The content will include instruction on how to use primary sources in the classroom, how rural and urban people in Missouri sought to achieve food security during the depression, the context of New Deal agricultural policies, and environmental factors affecting food security.
In addition, MOCHE Board Members plan to begin a regular blog on our enhanced web site focusing on materials and strategies of interest to state history educators.