Educational Outreach Programs
The Bronx County Historical Society has some of New York City’s greatest historical resources. Our infrastructure provides access to the rich histories of American democracy in The Bronx and New York City in general: from the American Revolution to the Underground Railroad to immigration to commerce and trade, and more. The artifacts of our collections, documents, map and exhibits provide insight into the layered and complex histories of New York City and the United States. In our institution history takes form.
Our educational programs bring together the educators and students and attempt to make our historical resources and the expertise of our staff available to them. Our programs are designed to provide two critical forms of support to The Bronx’ educational efforts:
- Professional Development for teachers to improve their abilities to foster learning of historical content as well as the skills of analyzing, contextualizing, drawing conclusions, and making inferences from historical document and artifacts.
- Hands-on learning opportunities for students that help students learn how to engage with historical documents and objects, approach a history topic from multiple perspectives, and produce their own account based upon individual research.
All activities are tailored to the needs of social studies curricula established for public school students and teachers. The format of our educational programs is modular (one 2-hour session delivered as a stand-alone workshop module) or project-themed (two to six 2-hour sessions per school or group comprising of various in-depth theme-guided modules). All our educational modules are based on the New York State Social Studies Learning Standards and their alignment to the Common Core State Standards.
The activities pertaining to the curriculum enhancement sessions for the student groups are designed around The Museum of Bronx History at The Valentine-Varian Historic House and intend to introduce the participants to the colorful and fascinating history of The Bronx, New York City and the world through:
- Project-Theme Programs and School Projects
- Stand-alone modules
Professional Development for Educators
The Society provides professional development to public school teachers responsible for the social studies curriculum delivery at their respective schools. The selection of the teachers takes place with suggestions from both the school principals and New York City Department of Education administrators.
The PD workshops help the participating educators to improve their abilities to foster learning of historical content as well as the skills of analyzing, contextualizing, and drawing conclusions and making inferences from historical documents and artifacts.
The focus on 7th and 8th grade teachers is intended to bring the most attention to improving 8th grade outcomes on social studies assessments, which are in the greatest need of intervention.
Professional development is provided through workshops conducted at our premises and in schools. These programs focus on training teachers to use historical documents in the classroom. To do this, the workshops focus on training teachers to use historical documents to teach a specific history lesson.
The activities of the workshops take place at the Museum of Bronx History and consist of two 2-hour sessions.
The workshops’ framework and activities outline are listed here.
Expected Outcomes and Assessment
Our goal is to provide a holistic approach to improving social studies, history, and civics instruction in the Borough’s public schools. Along with training teachers in instructional practices that foster high levels of student engagement with history and historical documents, our programs plan to enhance curricula for history and civics instruction. Our aim is that through skills-based, content-rich lessons and activities, students will gain a deeper understanding of American history content and therefore perform better on standardized exams. These skills are directly correlated to the exhibits, archives, and activities of the proposed program and are in accordance to the New York State Social Studies Standards.
Packets are provided to the teachers that offer suggestions for classroom activities prior to the trip as a supplement to the school’s social studies curriculum.