The Anne Arundel County Public Schools serve 71,000 students who are instructed by 4,100 teachers in 120 facilities that include 76 elementary schools, 17 middle schools, and 12 high schools. The system serves the urban center of the state capital, Annapolis, the suburbs of Baltimore and more rural districts throughout the large county. Students in Anne Arundel County routinely score above the state, regional, and national averages on advanced placement tests. The county is in the top 20% of the state's school systems ranked by the Maryland State Performance Assessment Program (which measures academic achievement) and Maryland State Performance Program (which measures social and academic success). However successful the system has been to date, county administrators are concentrating on plans for further improvement, including a strong emphasis on technology in the classroom.
During the 1995-96 school year, the Anne Arundel County Public Schools have begun a system wide computer technology initiative, Advanced School Automated Project [ASAP] by equipping all 12 high schools with an 8-computer electronic classroom that will be expanded to 32 computers during the 1996-97 school year. Each middle school will be equipped with the 8 computer labs in 1997-98 and will receive 24 additional computers in 1998-99. A computerized curriculum for these facilities is already in development. Elementary schools have been targeted for 1999. Individual computers will be immediately available in all the targeted schools. The installation of computers has been complemented by the search for materials of instruction to be used in the electronic classrooms. Considerable progress has been made in the fields of science and math. "Teaching in the Age of the Internet" will fill the gaps in the humanities, especially social studies applications. Project Co-director Judy Mauriello, Project Administrator Kim Bobola, and Project Facilitator Sarah Stiles are all deeply involved with the ASAP project.
The school system is divided into four regional administrative areas that contain 12 feeder systems. One high school, one middle school, and one elementary school in each of the four feeder systems have been identified to be the pilot locations. The educators from the selected schools will not only be responsible for training their own staffs and students, but will also develop curriculum and materials of instruction that will be used in all schools in Anne Arundel County. These four feeder system were targeted because they best represent all segments of the Anne Arundel County School student demographics.
A trainer-of-trainers model will be used to implement this collaborative model project in all 120 Anne Arundel County Public Schools over the two year grant period and thereafter. This project will be repeatable in other Maryland school systems as well as exportable as a model to other states.
The Maryland State Archives is the state's historical agency, the repository for state, county, municipal, and many private documents of permanent value. The Maryland State Archives believes it has a duty as a cultural agency to share the state's documentary heritage with its citizens. Through its long-standing commitment to its Education and Outreach Division, the Maryland State Archives is now recognized as being devoted to making the collective memory of the past both meaningful and a source of enlightenment.
Since 1935, the Maryland State Archives has been responsible for preserving and providing access to the public records of Maryland. With 55 million items dating from 1634 to the present, the Archives has the largest collection of original documents among all the state archives in the nation. According to a recent survey by the National Association of Government Archives and Record Administrators, the number of patrons visiting the Hall of Records (the building which houses the State Archives) in Annapolis and using its collections exceeds that of all other similar institutions.
Having successfully provided for the traditional setting for access to historical documents, the Maryland State Archives now seeks to extend the public's encounter with these materials into the classroom. In February 1995, the Archives became the first state archives in the nation and one of the first state agencies in Maryland to have a homepage on the World Wide Web. This Web site is now recognized as the most comprehensive and reliable source of information on Maryland state government, as well as a valuable resource for teachers of history. The Archives believes that no more important audience can be found than today's students, the citizens of tomorrow.
The Archives' involvement in programs for schools grew out of the increased public interest in history fostered by recent commemorations such as the Bicentennial of the American Revolution, the 350th anniversary of Maryland's founding (1984), and the Bicentennials of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. The constitutional activities were particularly important because the Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution placed special emphasis on educational initiatives that would promote the study of documents concerning the founding of our nation. In Maryland, the governor and the General Assembly assigned the Office for the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution to the State Archives with the mandate to encourage teachers to make use of archival resources. In 1987, the Archives began hosting teachers' workshops, usually devoted to the theme of constitutional rights, sponsored by the Law-Related Education Program of the Maryland Bar Association and by the College of Notre Dame. Through these growing contacts with teachers, the staff at the Archives became convinced that educators were receptive to using documents in the classroom, but needed assistance in the selection and interpretation of documents.
In response, Dr. Edward C. Papenfuse, Maryland State Archivist and Dr. M. Mercer Neale, Headmaster of Boys' Latin School in Baltimore, began a collaboration that resulted in the creation of document packets that Dr. Neale used in his American history survey courses beginning in 1989. The Documents for the Classroom program of the Maryland State Archives continued to develop in 1990 and 1991. Drs. Papenfuse and Neale made presentations to teachers who came to the Archives for one-day workshops, to conferences such as the Association of Independent Maryland Schools (AIMS) and the Maryland Council for the Social Studies, and to in-service meetings of teachers from the Anne Arundel, Howard, and Montgomery County public school systems.
During the summer of 1991, the Archives introduced its Documents for the Classroom to a dozen teachers who participated in a three-week summer institute supported by a grant from the History Teaching Alliance. Using the first teachers' institute as a model, the Archives and the NEH sponsored a Masterworks Study Program entitled "Teaching History With Original Sources" in 1992. Project Co-Director, Dr. James "Chip" Adomanis, joined the Documents for the Classroom team in 1991. In that same year, Project Facilitator and Archivist R.J. Rockefeller was assigned to educational programs at the Archives.
The summer 1992 Masterworks Study Program led to an even more successful two-year program, also funded by the NEH and supported with an equipment loan from Boys' Latin School. Anne Arundel County Public Schools teachers participated in the program and suggested the county begin cooperative educational programs with the Archives. During the second summer of this project, Dr. Papenfuse introduced the electronic classroom for the first time. Dr. Stanley Katz of the American Council of Learned Societies evaluated this program and remarked that it was the finest teachers' institute he had ever had the pleasure to attend.
Dr. Papenfuse built upon his experience with the teachers' institute when he developed his path-breaking computer-based seminar classes at The Johns Hopkins University. Students, many of whom had no previous experience with computers, quickly learned to use the electronic classroom to follow lecture content and to access reading assignments, audio and audio visual clips, and related historical images. It was a pioneering effort to marry all of the possibilities of the electronic world into a cohesive and exciting learning environment. This model is now used in courses on Maryland history; urban studies; race and gender in history and literature; and historiography.
The Maryland State Archives is a front-runner in applying computer technology to its archival mission. The agency's cataloguing system, mail, accounting and even research procedures all rely heavily on databases, text files, and now Hypertext Mark Up Language (HTML) to record and manage information. The Archives was one of the first state agencies in Maryland to establish a homepage on the World Wide Web. Other agencies, including the Governor's Office, have come to the Archives for advice and technical support on computer systems, especially in relation to Internet communications. The Archives has also established an extensive internal network, the lessons from which have been applied to setting up a controlled and self-contained network for an electronic classroom.
Until now, the Maryland State Archives has worked with teachers in small groups. It now believes that the time has come to institutionalize its contributions to education on a significant scale. Partnership with the Anne Arundel County Public Schools means that thousands of students will have the benefit of these materials and the revolutionary teaching approach this collaboration will produce. This program will also provide a model, that will be reproducible in other county systems throughout the state. The fundamentals can be replicated by other institutions and school systems around the country. A grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities will make an excellent start possible.
Return to Table of Contents
Go to Project Content and Schedule