WO-S teacher spends week studying with distinguished scholars, Pulitzer Prize winner

Published 10:27 am Monday, July 23, 2018

To The Leader

In June, a teacher from Orange was selected to attend a prestigious professional development institute in Houston sponsored by Humanities Texas in partnership with the University of Houston.

Ulysses Hobbs, who teaches U.S. history at West Orange-Stark Middle School, participated in “The American Colonies,” which took place from June 18–21 on the UH campus.

The institute focused on American history during the colonial period, covering topics central to the state’s U.S. history curriculum including Native Americans, European exploration and colonization, colonial governments and economies, the growth of slavery in the colonies, the role of women, religion and growing British identity in the colonies.

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Alan Taylor (University of Virginia) and distinguished scholars from universities across the nation worked with teachers to improve the quality of classroom teaching in Texas. The institute offered dynamic presentations, probing discussions and focused seminars in which scholars and teachers developed strategies for engaging students.

Hobbs, who just finished his second year of teaching, appreciated the institute’s attention to the TEKS, the state standards for education.

“I attended to gain further knowledge of the era and to get better in the craft of teaching,” he commented. “I look forward to using parts of the presentations that were part of the training and blend them into my lessons.”

“Humanities Texas was pleased to cosponsor the Houston institute,” said Executive Director Michael L. Gillette. “Giving talented teachers the opportunity to interact with their peers and leading scholars will enable them to engage students with exciting new resources and perspectives on our nation’s history.”

“The American Colonies” was made possible with support from the State of Texas and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This institute was part of the “Democracy and the Informed Citizen” Initiative, administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils. The initiative seeks to deepen the public’s knowledge and appreciation of the vital connections between democracy, the humanities, journalism and an informed citizenry.

Humanities Texas is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Its mission is to advance education through programs that improve the quality of classroom teaching, support libraries and museums and create opportunities for lifelong learning for all Texans.