PULLMAN —WSU history faculty and the Clarkston School District received a grant from the U.S. Department of Education for a three-year project, entitled “Confluences in American History.”
The goal of the grant is to improve the history teaching skills and knowledge of 70 teachers from the Clarkston area. The teachers will learn from WSU faculty via field seminars and workshops.
Administrators of the school district in Clarkston recognized that their students needed to understand history better and that their teachers needed to ignite an interest in history in those students.
To make history come alive for both students and teachers, the district turned to WSU faculty.
“At Clarkston’s invitation, we helped with a grant they were writing,” said Robert McCoy, assistant professor of history. “They wanted a broad spectrum of local, regional and even world history incorporated into field seminars and workshops for their teachers. Three of us had the expertise they wanted, and we agreed to participate.”
McCoy, an expert in Native American and U.S. Western history; associate professor Heather Streets, with expertise in world history; and associate professor Laurie Mercier of WSU Vancouver, with expertise in U.S. Western and labor history, will present most of the seminars and recruit other faculty from WSU and the University of Idaho whenneeded.

The first seminar will take place on May 31, followed by a summer seminar in New York presented by the Gilder and Lehrman Institute of America History, McCoy said. Teachers will receive the training in different sites, including historical sites in the region.

“The seminars will approach American history in chronological order starting with the colonial America and early Republic in May. The second and third years of the grant will cover late 19th century and 20th century American history,” McCoy said.

“We wanted to jumpstart our history teachers,” said Jan Goodheart, curriculum director at the time Clarkston School District prepared the grant. “We wanted to build a new excitement about history for our teachers by providing new ideas for activities and lessons. We expect the WSU faculty to integrate history, through regional sites and events, to present experience. When we provide teachers with this historic content, we expect that to make a big difference in their teaching.”