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Spotlight on Innovative Teaching

What's New is proud to feature the projects and achievements of past and present CHE participants.  This summer, several Teaching American History Program participants collaborated with the Martha Ross Center for Oral History to showcase student oral history projects. 


Dennis Jutras of the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute guided two of his students with their oral history project on integration in Baltimore.  The project, presented on June 27 to the TAH Baltimore City session at CHE, concerned the racial integration of the Polytechnic Institute in the 1950s.  The interviewed subject, Milton Cornish, also spoke about his life experiences during the presentation.  The project was awarded a special prize in Maryland History by the Maryland Historical Society at Maryland History Day in April 2006. It will also be featured at a public presentation at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum for Maryland African American History and Culture on October 7, 2006, at 10:00 a.m. Contact the museum at 443-263-1800 for more information.



                Dennis Jutras and his students Kevin and Sam delivered their oral

                history presentation, about 1950s Polytechnic student Milton

                Cornish (2nd from right).


       On June 13 guests from the Baltimore County education system were treated to oral history presentation by two students from Ridgely Middle School.  Lead by their teacher, Joe DeFilippo, Jeff Kraft presented his project on the “Little Rock Nine” and Michelle Gaeng presented her project on “Vietnam Protestors in Baltimore.”  Jeff was able to interview both Elizabeth Eckford, one of the original “Little Rock Nine,” and the student body president of Central High at the time of integration. 


Students from Polytechnic and Ridgely Middle said doing oral history projects helped them develop technical and people skills, and taught them how to do historical research.  In listening to each group, it was fascinating to see how oral history was used successfully in the classroom on both the middle and high school level and to see how school integration played out both locally here in Baltimore and on the national level.  Kudos to our inspiring Baltimore area teachers and students!



                      Joe DeFilippo of Ridgely Middle School with his two

                       students, 8th-graders Jeff Kraft and Michelle Gaeng.


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