Freedom Rising Teaching American History Grant

Welcome to Prince William County Public School’s Freedom Rising Teaching American History grant website. In the Spring of 2008, PWCS was awarded a three-year $856,541 Teaching American History grant from the U.S. Department of Education. In 2011, PWCS was awarded a two-year $665,143 extension to the Freedom Rising grant program. The grant is designed to improve student achievement by enhancing teachers’ knowledge of traditional American history through intensive ongoing professional development in both content and research-based teaching strategies. PWCS Office of History and Social Sciences was awarded this grant to provide American History teachers (6th USI, 7th USII, and 11th VUS) with tools, knowledge, and skills they need to raise student awareness, appreciation, understanding and achievement in American History. Participating Fellows of the grant receive a week-long summer colloquia, full-day professional development workshops, and field studies at local and national historic sites. The Freedom Rising Project helps prepare teachers to transfer this learning to their students through innovation and effective instructional practices.
Announcement: 2012 Teaching American History Grant Fellowships Awarded

Twenty-four PWCS teachers from 11 middle schools and 7 high schools across the county have been awarded fellowships in the 2012–13 Teaching American History “Freedom Rising” Grant Program.  Fellows partake in a year-long program of seminars, field studies, workshops, and book talks designed to increase teacher content knowledge, and raise student awareness, understanding, and achievement in American history. They earn recertification points toward their licensure, receive classroom materials, and are awarded a stipend. Through this experience the Freedom Rising Fellows will become teacher leaders in American history instruction in their schools, encouraging the teaching of traditional American history in exciting and engaging ways.

Fellowships have been awarded to: Stacy Hopkins and Natalie Hanson of Benton Middle; Justin Bye of Beville Middle; Cynthia Hess and Jeffrey Ball of Gainesville Middle; Christine Powell of Godwin Middle; Jerry Vile of Marstellar Middle; Richard Caldwell of Parkside Middle; Stephanie Teschke of PACE West; Matthew McDonald of Porter; Claire Kaiser of Reagan Middle; Michael Arnold of Rippon Middle; Marie Fox of Woodbridge Middle; Crystal Violette of Molinari Shelter;  Jeffrey Hampson of Patriot; Yvonne Bellisario and Courtney Chappell of Freedom; Wendy Downey, and Michael Feldman of Osbourn Park; Cullen Nolan of Potomac; Fatimah Allen and Patricia Petry of Stonewall Jackson; Jim Bish and Leon Reed of Woodbridge High Schools.

Freedom Rising Project Director: Jeff Girvan


Freedom Rising Project Coordinator: Jodi Puhlick

Years 3, 4, and 5 Cohorts

A group of teachers.
2010-11 Year 3 Cohort Comes to an end in Gettysburg, PA

On April 4, 2011, the Freedom Rising Year 3 Fellows embarked on their last grant activity for the year with a guided tour of Gettysburg National Park with historian Jeff Wert.

We began our journey at Buford Memorial and worked our away around the park with stops at the Peace Memorial, Little Round Top, the Peach Orchard, and lastly our final stop was walking Pickett's Charge. It was an amazing day filled with energy and excitement like we were actually taken back in time to July 1-3, 1861. 

2011-12 Year 4 Cohort

Concluded in June with a Colloquium led by the National Council for History Education. The 27 teachers from 6 middle and 6 high schools enjoyed a year of book talks led by Dr. Charles Errico (NVCC), reflection and collaboration sessions led by Dr. Michelle Cude (JMU), DBQ training, and field studies to Montpelier, the VA Historical Society, Antietam Battlefield, and Mt. Vernon.  Fellows engaged in collaboration with colleagues to develop lessons for the units of New Nation, Antebellum America, and the Civil War. 

2012-13 Year 5 Cohort

As we embark on our 5th and final year with a Teaching American History Grant, we look forward to provide our teachers with engaging professional development that will change the way we think about teaching forever.  Our program this year consists of an August Colloquium with NCHE, Book talks with Dr. Charles Errico, DBQ training sessions, Collaboration sessions led by Susan Mordan from the Library of Congress and Dr. Matthew Pinsker of Dickinson University. We will enjoy field studies to Montpelier, Library of Congress, the Newseum, Marine Corps Museum, the VA War Memorial and Holocaust Museum, and a 4-day whirlwind Civil Rights Movement bus tour through the south! All along the way, fellows will collaborate with colleagues to develop Historical Thinking Kits (HTKs)to assist PWCS teachers in the teaching of American history.  

Years 1 & 2 Cohorts


decorative2008-2009 Cohort Year 1 was the kick off year for the Freedom Rising grant. Twenty-five 6th grade middle school teachers from across the district participated. The content focus for the year was Early Beginnings-1607 through New Nation (1801). Grant activities included field studies, content workshops, and book talks.

A group of teacher in front of a fountain.

2009-2010 Cohort Year 2

involved twenty-five 7th grade middle school teachers from across the district.  Content focus for the year was WWII through Contemporary America. Grant activities included field studies, content workshops, and book talks.