Fort Worth schools history program wins $1 million grant

FORT WORTH -- A professional development program for Fort Worth history teachers has won a $1 million grant from the Education Department.

The Fort Worth district was the only one in Texas to win a three-year Teaching American History grant, part of a $115.3 million initiative that went to 124 districts nationwide.

Fort Worth's Project HOPE: History Opening Paths to Excellence aims to improve history classes in third, fifth, eighth and 11th grades while narrowing the achievement gap for limited English-speaking and special education students, said Tracy Marshall, who oversees grants for the district.

"We would not be able to do these kinds of professional development without these dollars," Marshall said.

The program offers a core group of 60 teachers in those grades professional development that includes partnering with history professors from the University of Texas at Arlington and Texas Christian University, Marshall said. Teachers will also attend a four-day history lecture and investigation session each year as well as a four-day summer institute that will be at a historic site or museum to do hands-on research on key historical individuals.

An additional 650 teachers will receive related training opportunities.

Marshall said the training will also help teachers better learn how to teach limited English-speaking and special education students.

Fort Worth missed federal No Child Left Behind standards in 2008 and 2009 largely because of low passing rates on state tests for special education students. Last week, the district met those standards but must do so for a second year to be removed from federal sanctions.

Eva-Marie Ayala, 817-390-7700