Schools receive $1 million grant

By Bryant Million: PNT Staff Writer

Portales municipal school district will receive $1 million over the next three years to provide in-depth training in American history to 75 elementary and secondary teachers.

The school district will use the grant to partner with Eastern New Mexico University’s Department of History, Humanities and Social Sciences and other museums to improve teachers’ knowledge and understanding of traditional American history through intensive, on-going professional development. The grant also will benefit the districts of Clovis, Dora, Elida, Floyd, Fort Sumner, Grady, House, Melrose, Roswell, Tatum, Texico and Tucumcari.

“This federal funding will be used to raise the quality of teaching in our schools. It is an important investment in New Mexico students,” Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., said in a press release.

Wendy Brooks, a special education and history teacher at Portales High, said the program will consist of a series of three summer institutes and field trips. Teachers will be trained in museums at ENMU, the Roswell Museum and Art Center, the City of Las Vegas (N.M.) Museum and the Museum of Space History. Brooks said the program will focus on three topics: the Civil War, Western Expansion, and the Space and Nuclear Age.

“This will show us better ways to teach history and to get students excited to learn it,” Brooks said. “The better we know history as teachers, the better it will be for students.”
The goal of the program is to help teach American history in an exciting and engaging way, U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said in a press release. This year 124 new grants worth $118.2 million will be awarded to school districts in 37 states nationwide.

“These grants will give the New Mexico teachers a chance to enliven the history of New Mexico and the nation,” Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., said in a press release. “This is important because American students overall need to make up ground in their understanding of our great nation. Educators can help them understand where we’ve been as a nation and how our past can affect our future.”