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U. S. Dept. of Education Awards Nearly $1 Million for Teaching History
“ Through a Local Lens”
City Schools and TCC partner on “Growing American History Teacher Scholars

NORFOLK, PORTSMOUTH, Va., Oct. 17, 2003 — In an innovative partnership, Tidewater Community College, Portsmouth City Public Schools and Norfolk Public Schools have won federal funding of $975,000 for a “Teaching American History Program.” The groundbreaking initiative will create quality programming for Portsmouth and Norfolk public schools using local historical institutions, and pair TCC faculty as “teacher-scholar trainers” with K-12 teachers over a three-year period.

“This is a remarkable venture that will deepen and enrich our students’ understanding of American history — fortified with local history — through concerted preparation of our social studies teachers,” states David C. Stuckwisch, superintendent of Portsmouth City Public Schools.

John O. Simpson, superintendent of Norfolk Public Schools, explains, “Norfolk Public Schools and Portsmouth City Public Schools have partnered many times in the past. It is my belief that each of these partnerships has strengthened our two organizations and the communities we serve . . . In keeping with our instructional focus at Norfolk Public Schools, this program stresses a pro-active rather than a reactive approach. I am especially pleased with the strong accountability component which focuses on raising student achievement.”

TCC President Deborah DiCroce praises the project, citing the power of collaboration to improve student success. “As efforts intensify to achieve Virginia’s Standards of Learning, this program pulls the best minds from our college and area institutions to work with dedicated teachers in our city schools. Taking collaborative action is key to improving the success of our youths in an increasingly knowledge-based world.”

“History is finding its place in the sun like never before — from the History Channel to the U.S. Congress, which, fortunately, recognizes the dire need for our children to know their country’s past,” note TCC history professor Helena Krohn and faculty member Daniel Lewis, who helped develop the initiative, also known as Growing American History Teacher Scholars. Lewis, who has been named program director, will work with TCC professors to “teach the teachers.”

“This reflects the community college commitment to excellence in teaching,” adds Krohn.

TCC serves as a key partner in the project due to its primary mission of teaching; its successful experiences serving high-risk students; and its success educating industry and government groups. TCC’s Workforce Solutions Division, which will coordinate training arrangements, has an exemplary record of administering professional development programs for government agencies, private business, education and the military in the Hampton Roads region.

Growing American History Teacher Scholars will teach national history “through the lens of the local area’s past,” explains Lewis. “This area is so rich with roots of American history that it makes sense to tap our museums, libraries and experts to contribute to the teachers’ curricula and classroom materials.” Participating institutions include the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and Lightship Museum, Portsmouth-based Juneteenth Festival Company, Hampton Roads Naval Museum, Norfolk Public Library, Hampton University Museum, Mariners’ Museum, The Civil War at Endview, Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Virginia Historical Society and the Norfolk Naval Shipyard.

Additionally, the three-year program will include ongoing teacher mentoring, an experimental evaluation system, and a public lecture series.

The public lecture series, featuring accomplished historians, will focus on connections between local and national history and serve as a capstone experience for the teachers. Critically acclaimed historian Alf Mapp Jr., professor emeritus at Old Dominion University, will serve as series keynote.

“We’re excited about the long-term potential for the Growing American History Teacher Scholars program. It will bring some dynamic resources to the region and to our schools,” says Superintendent Stuckwisch. “Our teacher-scholars will become coaches/mentors to other teachers, improving history education in a self-perpetuating continuum.”

For more information about the Growing American History Teacher Scholars, visit:

Tidewater Community College, the second largest of Virginia’s 23 community colleges, enrolls more than 34,000 students annually. It is the 37th largest in the nation’s 1,600 community college network. TCC enrolled 43 percent of the region’s residents who attended a college or university in Virginia last fall.

Founded in 1968 as part of the Virginia Community College System, the college serves the South Hampton Roads region with campuses in the cities of Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach, and with a regional Visual Arts Center in Olde Towne, Portsmouth, the TCC Jeanne and George Roper Performing Arts Center in Norfolk’s downtown theater district, and the new Advanced Technology Center in Virginia Beach. For TCC information, call 757-822-1122 or visit online,

Media Contact: Laurie White, Chief Communications Officer
Media Contact: Carol Rowe, Portsmouth City School District, 757-393-5142,