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Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Commission
Education Committee Meeting
November 9, 1998
Present were: commission members, Hal Stearns, Darrell Kipp, Terry Korpela, executive director Clint Blackwood and recorder Rita Cortright. Guests included Gail Gray and Denise Juneau, OPI; Kris Gallas, MHS; Jane Weber, L&C Interpretive Center; Jonathan Matthews, Carroll College; and Carla Wambach, retired educator. Jeanne Eder, Bonnie Sachatello-Sawyer, Erik Burke and Norm Anderson were unable to attend.
Chairperson Terry Korpela called the meeting to order and introductions were made. Mr. Blackwood provided background on the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Commission (LCBC) saying that even though they have only met twice, education has surfaced as one of their most important topics. As a result, this Education Committee was established and has met once previously, on August 31. Mr. Blackwood reviewed the current committee membership and welcomed suggestions of others to be added.
Mr. Blackwood noted that minutes of the August 31 meeting were mailed, along with his memo outlining three general areas for discussion by the committee at this meeting: the further development of a listing of existing Lewis & Clark educational opportunities; a listing or catalog of educational opportunities that are being planned or developed; and a listing of what might be missing from the first two lists. Mr. Blackwood stated that the underlying challenge of this committee is to advise back to the LCBC what role the commission should take as it relates to education. He listed some potential areas of focus, such as: developing new curriculums; serving as a clearinghouse of information; and facilitating a "train the teachers" program. Mr. Blackwood spoke briefly on Kim Hart’s proposal which, if funded, would have created a program to train Montana teachers on Lewis & Clark curriculum with the use of hi-tech educational outreach technology, and then serve as a model in other states. However, Mr. Hart’s memo states that he did not receive the funding. Mr. Blackwood opened discussion on whether the committee should stay with the three agenda items or develop new focus areas. He spoke about developing traveling trunks, developing a speaker’s bureau, compiling a listing of existing Lewis & Clark curriculums, and compiling a reading and reference list, both in print and electronically. Mr. Blackwood said a "train the teachers" program is being conceptualized at a national level by the U.S. Department of Education and the Nation Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Council, but lacks funding at this time. He suggested this program could serve as a model for Montana, but on a much smaller scale. He suggested it would be useful for the committee to create some focus areas and then set about the task of paring and prioritizing those areas. He also recommended that the committee consider whether they want to be hands-on or serve in an advisory capacity, in which case they would need to seek funding for contracted services or staff. Once the focus areas are identified, the committee could spend time developing the scope of work, and goals and objectives, which could serve as the basis for a Request for Proposal. Ms. Korpela spoke on the far-reaching effects of education as it relates to the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial and thanked Mr. Blackwood for beginning the process of helping to identify focus areas. Ms. Gray spoke on the commitment to a balanced approach and the need for advice from professional, experienced people. She said the review of curriculum and listing of resources could be done by the committee and OPI would be interested in the "train the teachers" component. Ms. Juneau suggested doing a teacher-created curriculum through the RPF process and have the committee review the lesson plans and then package them together. Ms. Gray said a broad perspective and review is necessary to assure a legitimate, balanced approach. She said the Supt. Of Public Instruction sometimes adopts a year-long focus area and said in the coming year the focus could be on a balanced approach in terms of Lewis & Clark’s experience in Montana. Ms. Korpela noted Norm Anderson’s concern that Montana history education is not a state requirement in Montana’s high schools, but is required in elementary and middle schools. She questioned how U.S. History or Government teachers at the high school level could incorporate Lewis & Clark curriculum and still accomplish the required areas of study. Ms. Korpela suggested approaching the Legislature regarding requiring Montana history as a graduating requirement. Ms. Gallas reported on the efforts of R. C. Parker of Billings, who recently contacted the Historical Society regarding his desire to mandate Montana history in high school. He met with the Governor today and will probably propose legislation as his next step. She said the lack of resources would make it undesirable to mandate Montana history at the high school level. Ms. Juneau said she did not expect any action as nobody mandates curriculum at any level in Montana. Ms. Korpela reviewed by saying that once focus areas are identified by the committee, funding sources need to be considered. She called on Mr. Matthews for his perspective. He spoke on the use of grant funds to hire a graduate level students to perform tasks once they are identified by the committee. He did not feel that committee members would have personal time to devote to the work. The Internet was identified as a useful tool for disseminating information, as was in-service training. Ms. Wambach spoke on her experience as an elementary educator, specifically conducting PIR days for the Helena school district. The most recent was, "Spend a Day with Lewis & Clark," this past August, which she said was very successful. Ms. Gallas suggested considering the use of interns. Ms. Gray said OPI had just received and plans to disseminate a list of all the Internet sites pertaining to Lewis & Clark. She said having a "seal of approval" from the LCBC would lend credibility to the information. Ms. Weber addressed the Commission’s role as a clearing house and the need to insure quality before providing a stamp of approval. Ms. Gray said they are comfortable with the content of this list because of its source, but that is not always the case. Mr. Kipp suggested developing a set of guidelines for obtaining the Commission’s "seal of approval." He said a goal of the committee could be to acknowledge the high-caliber activities that should go into the classroom. As an example, a website could be reviewed in relation to the committee’s guidelines to insure that the Native American perspective has a genuine presence, is factually correct, and Montana-based. He spoke about involving community colleges by encouraging them to develop a Lewis & Clark course specific to their tribe and offer it one quarter as an elective. Ms. Gallas asked how the approval of a website would be apparent and Mr. Matthews said this could be accomplished by linking our own webpage to validated sites. Mr. Blackwood said the Commission does not yet have a specific website. Mr. Blackwood said he would like at the end of this meeting to have developed a list of specific goals. The first goal identified during discussion was:
- Develop a set of guidelines to obtain the Commission’s "Seal of Approval" that consider:
- Native American
- Factual accuracy
- Higher level thinking skills
- Connections to American/World history
How do we advertise approved items?
- through Commission, OPI and various websites and links
Why do we approve items?
- to differentiate materials for teachers/users
- to lend credibility to the materials
- to promote Commission and lend it credibility
Mr. Blackwood reviewed briefly the letter he received from Kim Hart dated November 9, 1998, which is attached. Mr. Hart’s firm is interested in obtaining the Commission’s seal of approval for their project and possibly developing a joint project with Idaho and Montana. He reported they may also have identified some potential funding sources. Ms. Gallas asked if the full Commission needs to consider establishing guidelines for endorsement of curriculums and products and Mr. Blackwood said this has been discussed and he is monitoring what is happening on the national level. Ms. Weber said the National Council has tentatively endorsed the $50 million "train-the-teacher" project. Mr. Stearns shared some responses expressed by teachers at the State Teachers’ Convention in Great Falls. He said the most exciting area for teachers is the opportunity for the interdisciplinary team approach.
Based on earlier discussion, the second goal developed was:
- Encourage higher education institutions (to include Native American colleges) to develop a course or activity based on something special/unique to local area and/or people.
- Over next three years, bring resulting materials/plans to a statewide symposium (2003)
- Publish proceedings on the Internet and in print
- Could serve as a model for other states
- Not primarily focused on K-12 teaching materials
- Purpose is to bring Native American scholarship into the field
- Focus is on higher education audience
Ms. Korpela expressed concern that the list of duties was growing, without identifying who would perform the work or where the finances would come from. Mr. Stearns added the caution that the Commission not reinvent the wheel; that teachers simply want to know where to locate teaching tools.
The third goal developed was:
- To be an effective clearinghouse of information (be the connector, not the supplier)
- Traveling trunks
- Speakers’ bureau
- Native American information
- Best K-12 curriculums
- Maps (1800 & 1814)
- Pen pals (communities)
- Best (middle school) interdisciplinary curriculum
- Supportive/enrichment materials (books & tapes)
- Need to get a good web address
- Activities (field trips, lecture series, events)
Mr. Blackwood said in the process of serving as a clearinghouse, some items will contain the LCBC logo and some will not. Concern was expressed about who will actually perform the approval process. Discussion of websites took place. Mr. Blackwood said he did not want the sole responsibility of establishing and maintaining a website due to present funding and the time required for setup and maintenance. Mr. Matthews suggested establishing a small site that can be linked to other sites.
Mr. Blackwood asked if the Commission should take on the project of a local "train the teacher" program.
This could be a week-long immersion experience for teachers, a summer institute, to train them to more effectively incorporate curriculums and access information. The following goal was developed:
- Develop & implement a statewide teacher immersion program
- Training institute - symposium
- Teachers develop curriculums while they learn
- Include L&C experts, Foundation members, Native Americans
- Applicants need to apply and be supported at home for in-service training
- Utilize METNET technology to reach more teachers
Mr. Blackwood said this list of goals can be expanded as new ideas surface. He asked Ms. Korpela to report on these four initial goals at tomorrow’s Commission meeting. Mr. Stearns suggested listing the four goals on one sheet and routing it to teachers to solicit their comments as a means to insure that the committee is on track. Ms. Weber offered to provide a list of interested teachers to Ms. Gray. Mr. Stearns suggested contacting the elementary teachers that have been selected as Centennial Bell Award recipients. OPI offered to work with Mr. Blackwood to coordinate this teacher solicitation on proposed focus areas. Mr. Kipp asked Mr. Blackwood whether fundraising was a part of his job description and Mr. Blackwood answered that he has compiled a 2-page funding request proposal. He explained that at the last full Commission meeting the consensus was that the atmosphere was not right to ask the 1999 Legislature for funding. He said he questioned that and has spoken to Mr. Cockhill and Mr. Cohn. As a result, he identified three main areas where funds were needed; education, community assistance, and promotion. A grant writer could be hired to look for funding sources, and money will be needed to hire or contract for people to accomplish the work.. This issue will be discussed at tomorrow’s Commission meeting to further develop strategies with regard to the Legislature. He said the four focus areas identified by the Education Committee will be fleshed out as work progresses on the Legislative side, and as work continues on promotions and the licensing program. Mr. Blackwood asked committee members to poll their respective contacts regarding the listed goals.
Discussion took place on agenda items for the next meeting. This included further defining the focus areas, which may include modifying the listed items; discussing the parameters or scope of work; talk about who and how the work will be accomplished; and estimate some time lines and costs. A committee meeting will be scheduled adjacent to the next Commission meeting. Ms. Gray offered use of OPI’s conference room if held in Helena.
The meeting adjourned.
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