Amherst history teachers awarded federal grant
As a way to teach history students in a more in-depth manner, four instructors at Amherst High School will be traveling to several national landmarks this summer — part of a federal grant to enhance learning.
Erin Esford, Matthew Murray, Christopher Vaughan and Anne Ward have been awarded grants by the National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks of American History program, which allows them to travel to historic sites and learn about the area’s culture.
Since 2006, at least one teacher from Amherst High School has been awarded the grant each year, which is something that Ward feels benefits not only teachers in the history department, but students as well.
“We are so lucky that federal funding is so strong for this,” Ward said. “We are proud that four of the 10 of us who are in the department are able to do this. We certainly have established ourselves as people who want to be involved in this program.”
While the grant has allowed Esford to previously travel to Ellis Island and Old Fort Niagara, she said she is looking forward to her training at the Maritime Museum Association of San Diego.
“These seminars have given me the opportunity to learn from experts in the field of history, collaborate with teachers from all over the country and, most notably, incorporate new resources and firsthand knowledge of various places into my lessons.”
Ward’s grant has placed her in Philadelphia, while Vaughan and Murray will be in Boone, N.C.
“During these programs, it’s really intensive,” Murray said. “The programs bring in professional speakers. I think what we do with the programs shows that we have high standards for our students.”
Ward said that through photographs and detailed notes, she and her colleagues will return with real-life lesson plans to offer to students.
“Because the program allows us to meet other teachers and find out what they may be doing, the students will be able to learn so much more,” she said. “It’s a collaborative effort.”
Each of the teachers will be traveling to their destinations in July and August.