The Survey Says

Each year, Constitutional Connections participants have been asked to complete a survey aligned to project objectives.  This year, small boxes provided space for participants to comment on the grant.  I was overwhelmed by their enthusiasm.  Below are their comments, organized by the grade band they teach:

Elementary School

My district doesn’t value Social Studies at the elementary level. Constitutional Connections has deepened my knowledge and showed me innovative ways to “sneak” in historical content with reading and writing so the students are better prepared for upper grades and beyond…. This experience has been priceless! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have helped me learn so many valuable things that excite me to be able to pass down to my students… With your gentle encouragement, I am becoming a better advocate for history education in our own district.

Constitutional Connections provide(d) a flood gate of background knowledge and helped foster professional networking that is enduring. We have plans to continue meeting to support each other as we align our classroom to the “new” standards.

Quite honestly, it has opened my eyes up to “how little I know.” I am surprised what I don’t remember from my school years (where I was an above average student.) It is motivating me to learn more, teach more, and also try to motivate my team members to include more social studies in their classroom.

This has provided me an opportunity to strength(en) my background knowledge. It has also provided an opportunity to network with a variety of people – to build a support system.

Constitutional Connections has given me the opportunity to increase my background knowledge. I’ve had the chance to meet and receive support from teachers in other districts and to “pick their brains” for resources, etc. The scholars have also given me the resource to find reliable books that I can read to increase my knowledge base.

(Constitutional Connections) meets (my professional development needs) exceedingly well. I come here for personal enrichment and understanding that I can extrapolate into my teaching.

It has helped a lot. I would not have tried the CBA’s this year without my colleagues.

I have grown immensely in my knowledge base. The scholars have played a huge role in this expansion of my thinking.

Middle School

Two thumbs up! I’ve enjoyed the academies and historians, using their ideas and materials to breathe new life into my classroom lessons. The HPLT has also served as a way of sharpening classroom practices and curriculum development. Reviewing student work has helped me identify areas for refinement and a way of celebrating student victories…. This grant has dramatically improved my teaching of US History! Thank you for the thought provoking and engaging work opportunities to gain and share ideas that make student learning fun and interesting.

CC has addressed my need to learn, which, the longer I teach the more I realize has been the driving force of my entering this profession. I am at my best, or feel as such, when I am immersed in the content and learning from true experts…. My deepened understanding has led me to throw more varied viewpoints at my kids – PERSPECTIVE. I know so much more in one year here, and it shows in how I approach the Constitution.

I’ve been introduced to CBA’s through this program. I’ve also deepened my understanding and ability to teach government & civics. Previously, I knew little about landmark court cases, but now I plan to teach them in class.

Reflecting back on the three years of this grant leads me to the conclusion that I went from high interest history projects to high interest projects aligned with the state GLEs and EALRs. The CBAs have revolutionized my teaching and especially helpful was the teacher work sample checklist…. Great input from experts; Great input from primary sources; Great collaboration with peers; Great opportunities for growth; Great SUPPORT!!!

1. Provided a framework for implementing the CBAs.

2. Provided an opportunity to meet and plan with colleagues.

3. Lots and lots of sources, technique.

4. Provided opportunities to hear fabulous, entertaining and knowledgeable speakers!….

Thanks so much for this opportunity. I have always been interested in American History and, of course, how to make teaching of History relevant, intriguing, and fascinating. My eyes have been opened to various techniques and my depth of understanding greatly increased. Again, Thanks!

Very hard to measure but without the project I would have a very large gap in my knowledge base.

It has been very helpful because my own school district does not often include librarians in CBA plans or meetings. This gives me an inside edge on what is going on and even provides info that the school district doesn’t seem to know about CBAs.

By enriching my experience and exposing me to many different teachers, professors and techniques have helped me reach many students and stimulate their interest in our history.

High School

It is gratifying to me as a Social Studies teacher to be part of a program that is helping to improve my knowledge and skills. I get the feeling that someone is investing in me as a professional, and I like that a lot…. (Constitutional Connections) has been the most productive professional development experience of my 18 years of teaching.

Teaching at a small school where I am the history teacher, meeting & working with others gives me a vast resource I would not normally have. The CC functions give me the opportunity to meet with and work with other teachers in my area and that is great!

Without question, my participation in Constitutional Connections has been the richest and most practice-changing educational experience I have had, ever. I have loved every minute, even driving through ice storms to be there after a brain numbing day at school…. It’s interesting that many of the experiences and methods I first experienced through Constitutional Connections have since become part of my school experience. Y’all were consistently ahead of the curve on current pedagogy. Nice work.

I have had amazing opportunities to strengthen my own knowledge – have received lots of useful resources to use – I’ve had Matt’s help in rethinking and revising a CBA.

We can study with SCHOLARS. How incredible is that? They share how to encourage learning and why! Finally, we show (that) the Constitution lives…. (Constitutional Connections) has been invaluable and supports teaching itself. I am so happy I was exposed to this learning and quality of teaching. My students deserve the same. It supports my teaching.

This has been a wonderful opportunity and has been a pleasure to be part of…. (It) exceeded my expectations…

Filled my academic knowledge without having to pay college tuition.

Virtually the only opportunity I’ve had to learn about the current trends in education.

I have learned that there are things I need to be doing better and more frequently. It is good for us to recognize our weak points as educators so that we can improve them. Constitutional Connections has helped me do that.

It pretty much has been my professional development for history. My district doesn’t do any decent professional development…. Highly valuable:

  1. has caused me to actually reflect on my own teaching, which could use improvement
  2. heard some terrific speakers – very knowledgeable scholars
  3. has kept me energized but also more reflective of my classroom choices

These seminars have enriched my library and the resources that I provide. They have enriched the district as some of the resources can be made available to all.

This has been my first professional development program I have been a part of. I have learned a great deal that has made me a better teacher in the classroom…. I have benefited from this program greatly. First, all of the leading scholars have continued my constitutional education. I have brought material learned from the scholars into my classroom numerous times. Secondly, the HPLT (has) helped me look at new ideas and ways to tighten up my own teaching methods and strategies.

This has been a very rewarding and enriching experience. The opportunity to participate in and to reflect over the various academies → invaluable. Meeting the scholars → terrific…. I know my students have benefited from having me learn history from the best!

… lots of learning, collaboration, deeper thought into lesson plans (by evaluating teacher work samples.)

I feel stronger in my practice as a result of having the accountability to my HPLT – I also found the Academies vital in enhancing my knowledge…. Putting together and teaching the process of the CBA heightened my awareness…

Constitutional Connections has helped me gain “highly qualified” status in Social Studies and I would never have achieved that without this grant…. This was a wonderful experience.

Strengthened content knowledge – I was able to “dig deeper.” ….I enjoyed this grant and its activities immensely. I was able to use and/or adapt quickly into my classroom. That’s the way it should be.


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