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KU News Release

Dec. 6, 2005
Contact: Bill Tsutsui, Center for East Asian Studies, (785) 864-9435, or Loralee Baker-Rapue, Olathe District Schools, (913) 780-8246.

KU, Olathe teachers' collaborative projects set stage for history grant

LAWRENCE -- This fall, the Olathe District Schools (USD 233) and University of Kansas faculty announced their fourth collaborative project in which district teachers and KU faculty are working together to provide staff development for teachers and enhanced programs for district students.

The most recent project is a three-year federal Teaching American History grant to the Olathe district in partnership with KU's history department, KU's Dole Institute of Politics and the Kansas State Historical Society in Topeka. The $661,650 U.S. Department of Education grant funds seminars and workshops designed by KU faculty for 20 history teachers in the seventh through 12th grades.

William "Bill" Tsutsui, KU associate professor of history, worked with Maureen Donegan, Olathe district social studies coordinator, to write the grant titled "Connecting Learning and Instruction in Olathe (CLIO): In Search of the Common Good."

" Our history faculty is working with our history teacher colleagues in Olathe to better equip them with the skills to teach the histories of Kansas, the United States and the U.S. in a global context," Tsutsui said.

Donegan noted: "Working with KU has provided our teachers with the content knowledge and resources they needed to enhance and expand course offerings for Olathe students. We are looking forward to extending the partnership that we formed in developing our International Studies program through the Teaching American History grant."

CLIO teachers will examine the concept of the "common good" in America and how the concept has changed through time and historical circumstance as well as how it applies to the nation's international role. Internationally recognized scholars from KU in American history will cover chronological periods from the 18th century to the present.

KU history faculty serving on the CLIO advisory committee include Karl Brooks, assistant professor; Jonathan Earle, associate professor; Paul Kelton, assistant professor; Jeffery Moran, associate professor and department chair; Kim Warren, assistant professor; Jennifer Weber, assistant professor; Theodore A. Wilson, professor; Donald Worster, the Hall distinguished professor of U.S. history; and Tsutsui. They serve with Donegan and Virgil Dean of the Kansas State Historical Society.

The grant will include five semester-long seminars during the academic year over three years and three two-week summer workshops. In the summer 2006 workshop, the Olathe teachers will use resources at the Kansas State Historical Society in Topeka and in summers 2007 and 2008, they will use KU's Dole Institute resources. Each June, an additional 16 district history teachers will join the project to attend a National Council for History Education colloquia.

The CLIO grant follows a progression of recent collaborative projects between the Olathe district and KU that included


-- a 2003 National Endowment for the Humanities grant funding KU-taught seminars for 13 Olathe teachers on teaching Eastern civilizations

-- a series of Freeman Foundation grants (2001-06) that funded seminars for teachers and helped establish an exchange between Olathe North High School and Kaifeng High School in Henan, China

-- a 2005 NSF grant to KU's Center for Research on Learning with Olathe science teachers to work with Chinese researchers on exploring bioindicators for monitoring environmental health. The project advances a unique research and education collaboration with KU, the United States and three universities in China: Tianjin University, Xhengzhou University and Sichuan University. KU researchers spent two weeks visiting campuses in China and two Olathe teachers joined them for one week.

In 2002, as part of the Olathe district's preparation for a new international studies program, Jan Heinen, Olathe district director of middle level education, worked with KU's Center for East Asian Studies to develop the NEH grant for teaching Eastern civilizations.

In 2005, Olathe North and Kaifeng High School established an exchange through programs funded by a series of Freeman Foundation grants (totaling more than $1 million) to KU's Center for East Asian Studies. The grants provided seminars for K-12 teachers on teaching about Asia and developed partnerships between schools in China and in Kansas and Missouri. The grants also funded travel for 22 Kansas K-12 teachers to visit China and Japan in 2004 through the Kansas Consortium for Teaching About Asia. Donegan was among the teachers traveling with the group.

Last month, through an NSF grant, KU researchers and Olathe teachers met with colleagues in China to explore projects examining atmospheric conditions (air pollutants), bioindicators and biodiversity as measures of environmental health.

Carol Williamson, Olathe district science coordinator, and Angela Epps, who teaches in Olathe North's 21st Century Program, joined KU grant investigators Dennis Lane, N.T. Veatch distinguished professor of civil, environmental and architectural engineering, and Steve Case, assistant professor with the Center for Research on Learning, to meet with Chinese students and researchers in four major cities. Carrie Cote Hohl, graduate student in environmental engineering from Stanley, also joined them.

The Olathe teachers helped establish the Distributed Human Network with their sister school in Kaifeng. The Internet-based network is student science education outreach program that builds on the exchange program established this year between the sister schools. Epps' travel was funded through the NSF grant and Williamson's was supported by the Olathe district.

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