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UMass and Amherst-Pelham schools team up to win $864,000 American history teaching grant

Amherst-Pelham Regional schools, in partnership with the UMass Donahue Institute, have recently received an $864,000, three-year grant to work with teachers throughout western and central Massachusetts in improving the teaching of American history. The Amherst-Pelham program is called the Constitutional History Renewal Project (CHRP) and will feature weekend seminars and two-week summer sessions designed to use the debates over the adoption and amendment of the Constitution as a centerpiece for the teaching of American history.

The grant will run for three years and was awarded out of the "Teaching American History" program of the Federal Department of Education. The CHRP represents a unique collaboration between Amherst-Pelham schools, the UMass Donahue Institute, the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association (PVMA), and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst campus.

Both the History and Political Science departments at the University will provide faculty and support. Dr. Michael Hannahan, Director of the University of Massachusetts Civic Initiative says the grant is a unique group effort. "This grant brings together a talented team for an important task," Dr. Hannahan said. "The CHRP will represent the best efforts of the University, the Amherst-Pelham Schools, and local history programs like the PVMA. The Civics Initiative is a new effort for the University and is dedicated to bringing the resources of the 5-campus UMass system to bear on civic education, international democracy, and the civic health of local communities."

Dr. Jere Hochman, Superintendent of the Amherst schools sees the grant as an opportunity to "take a fresh look at our curriculum, especially student understanding of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and governance in a multicultural nation."

The University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute is the public service, outreach and economic development unit of the University of Massachusetts President's Office. Established in 1971, the Institute strives to connect the Commonwealth with the resources of the University, bridging theory and innovation with real world public and private sector applications.

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