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Keeping History Alive

by University Relations

Despite an uncertain economic future and budget cuts to education, APU’s Keeping History Alive (KHA) program bolsters K–12 history and social science education by awarding grants to Los Angeles County teachers to enrich their students’ learning. This year alone, 390 teachers from public, private, and parochial schools received $279,000 in grant checks from KHA.

Sponsored by the Ahmanson Foundation, Canyon City Foundation, the Helen and Will Webster Foundation, Azusa Pacific University, and the Los Angeles County Office of Education, KHA has awarded $1,065,241 to local teachers since its founding in 2004. The grants, ranging from $250­–$850 each, fund classroom resources, field trips, on-campus presentations, and professional development opportunities, opening doors for students and teachers to experience new, captivating avenues of history and social science education.

“My students require supplemental equipment and visual, kinesthetic activities to help them learn,” said Evangeline Sanders, a special education teacher at West Vernon Elementary School who received a KHA grant this year. “With the recent budget constraints in California, we often don’t have the funding for necessary equipment. KHA makes a profound difference in the lives of my students by fulfilling those needs.”

Sanders plans to use the grant to purchase Kindle Fire electronic readers to engage students in reading about history and strengthen their reading skills, fine motor skills, and hand-eye coordination.

History education invites students to make a difference in the world, allows them to learn from the mistakes of the past, and ultimately paves the way to a brighter future. “An understanding of history makes us wise in our public choices and helps us participate in our heritage,” said Thomas Andrews, Ph.D., research historian for APU’s Special Collections and founder of KHA. “It endows us with a spirit of generosity, an understanding of others, an openness to change, a dedication to social justice, and a belief in the worth of all humankind.”

This year, KHA received 500 grant applications, 150 more than last year, and expects at least 600 applicants next fall as the program continues to grow. “This program has met a very real need at a time when constant budget cuts in education plague California, especially in Los Angeles County,” said Andrews. “The grants have boosted the morale of both teachers and students, making teaching and learning history more exciting and meaningful.”

Originally published in the Spring '13 issue of APU Life. Download the full issue (PDF).