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2016 Amistad Commission Summer Institute for Teachers

Amistad Commission Summer Curriculum Institute for Teachers - Southern Region
Rowan University, Galloway, NJ
July 25-27, 2016
Application Information and Instructions

Amistad Commission Summer Curriculum Institute for Teachers - Northern Region
Bloomfield College, Bloomfield, NJ
August 1-3, 2016
Application Information and Instructions

Our goal is to enhance current instructional practices by using special topics in history to fulfill the mandate of the Amistad legislation (P.L. 2002, c. 75); to infuse African-American history into the K-12 social studies curriculum; as well as to give educators the opportunity to design curriculum materials while earning professional development credits. In addition, the institutes are designed to enhance educators' curricular approaches by taking advantage of the rich resources offered at Rowan University College of Education and Bloomfield College.

Between the two institutes, up to 150 educators will work in collaboration with knowledgeable historians and scholars experiencing multimedia history-based presentations and using primary resource materials provided by the Amistad Commission and its team of experts in the field.

The institutes offer unique, thematic presentations, multicultural literacy and informational texts, and other selected materials designed to help users understand how to apply rubrics and evaluate the quality of instructional resources, define the knowledge and skills students should have within their K-12 education to meet the New Jersey Student Learning Standards, across curricula, with the primary focus of English Language Arts (ELA) and Social Studies, and how to prepare their students to master the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessments. Attendees will also see how all ELA and social studies teachers can use Amistad online to prepare for the PARCC assessments: writing to text, identifying academic vocabulary, and making cogent conclusions, using solid evidence from texts.

This year, The Summer Institute will examine a number of dynamic several topics related to the transition period from slavery through 1877:

  • The Reconstruction Era and the dramatic changes in the American social, economic and political landscape.  For some scholars, the Reconstruction Era starts with the American adjustment to the end of slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. Supporting this viewpoint is noted historian Eric Foner in his seminal work, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877. However, the dominant view is that the Reconstruction Era begins with the Reconstruction Act of 1867 and ends with Rutherford B. Hayes assuming the presidency in 1877;
  • Harriet "Moses" Tubman (1822-1913), who exhorted President Lincoln to end slavery for moral and practical reasons; and whose activism extended to serving as a Union spy, scout and suffragette and civil rights activist;
  • The Freedman's Bureau that provided assistance to tens of thousands of former southern slaves and poor whites facing starvation with the destruction of the plantation economy. Staff from Family Search will provide technical assistance in identifying and primary sources (slave records, census reports, military records, etc.);
  • W.E.B. du Bois, who considered the Reconstruction Era as a "pivotal moment in the long struggle for political and economic democracy" (Foner, Reconstruction xviii), conducted a study of Philadelphia's Black community that many held responsible for the post-depression (1893-96) crime and civil disorders, entitled The Philadelphia Negro. This summer, the Amistad Commission will examine the "Negro Problem" and the internal class structure through the lens of du Bois' case study of Philadelphia's central Seventh Ward running north-south from Spruce to South Street and east-west from Seventh Street to the Schuylkill River; and
  • The Great Migration (1910-1970) of Blacks or African Americans moving out of 14 states in the south, especially from Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, that showed a 30 year significant decline in Black population starting in 1920.

Each of the regional institutes is designed to provide educators with the opportunity to use the Amistad online resource to examine the prevailing and diverse narratives of the events through first person narratives; using historians, lawyers and educators to analyze contemporary primary sources and opposition texts, and using "informational texts" methods and strategies that were created specifically for educators to use in their classrooms and required by the New Jersey Student Learning Standards in ELA and across curricula.

Each day, educators will also spend some time participating in and observing reenactments of events surrounding the dates being studied. They will see how they can utilize various cross curricular resources, such as speeches, dialogues, and the dramatic arts that are found in Amistad online resource. Educators will end each day with a discussion and activity on how these events and informational texts can be assessed using a PARCC-like format. The PARCC-style assessments can be found on the Amistad online resource.

Finally, in a concerted effort to ensure that each institute is a turnkey district-by-district endeavor of curriculum redesign for school year 2016-2017, each participant will be trained to use the Amistad web-based curriculum, a premier multimedia resource for educators in New Jersey. The Amistad Summer Institutes want to guarantee opportunities for the multitude of district curriculum specialists and classroom teachers who will require training for statewide compliance with the Amistad legislation and implementation.