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Tuesday, October 21, 2003

SU/Wicomico County partnership helps history come alive

SALISBURY, MD---Salisbury University and Wicomico County Public Schools are partnering in a new $814,000 federal grant to make history come alive for area children.          

The three-year competitive grant is believed to be the largest the Wicomico school system has directly received from the U.S. Department of Education.  Working with the school system to win the award were Drs. Creston Long, Maarten Pereboom and Melanie Perreault of the History Department and Dr. Ken Layfield, social studies supervisor for Wicomico schools, with assistance from a number of other faculty members and administrators.

To commemorate the partnership, SU President Janet Dudley-Eshbach presented the Wicomico County Board of Education with an 1877 map of Wicomico, Somerset and Worcester counties, and used the document to illustrate the grant’s purpose.

“This map, courtesy of the Edward H. Nabb Research Center, illustrates how American history can come alive using local resources,” she said, sharing stories of how pirates like Blackbeard roamed the region’s waters, and explaining the importance of area names such as Devil’s Island and Rogue’s Point, later renamed Deal Island and Rhodes Point under pressure from the 19th century Methodist minister Joshua Thomas. Other names, like Upper and Lower Freedom and Manokin, recall the cultures of African and Native Americans.

Dudley-Eshbach said the grant and partnership program should help teachers convey the importance of local history in their classrooms: “The Wicomico County school system and Salisbury University have a long history of collaboration. This newest partnership among SU faculty, Nabb Center staff and Wicomico County educators will create a vibrant community of scholar-teachers and establish a compelling new model for teaching U.S. history in our schools.”

Wicomico will partner with the Nabb Center, the History and Education departments, and Blackwell Library to provide in-service training, summer institutes and share resources for Wicomico teachers. Dr. Jeanne Whitney, associate professor of history, serves as the History Department’s liaison for the project.

The Chair of the History Department, Dr. Maarten Pereboom, initiated the grant:  “I learned of this program a year ago and thought it would be an excellent opportunity for the whole education community.  We have a tremendous resource in the Nabb Center and outstanding faculty members in the History and Education departments. With the university’s roots as a normal school, it’s natural for us to work both with in-service teachers and pre-service teachers.  The project will have a positive and enduring impact on teaching and scholarship in this region.”

For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu.


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