Broken Arrow Express
18TH-CENTURY LIFE: Ashley Weston, fifth-grade teacher at Liberty Elementary School, tries on colonial American period clothing during her summer visit to the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute, along with 26 other Oklahoma teachers.
Twenty-seven Oklahoma teachers, including Ashley Weston from Broken Arrow’s Liberty Elementary School, walked in the footsteps of America’s patriots and British colonists during the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute in Early American History, held over the summer in the restored capital city of 18th-century Virginia.
The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence selected the teachers to receive all-expense paid trips to the summer institute in Williamsburg, Virginia, as well as $300 stipends for classroom materials. In addition, participants receive access to Colonial Williamsburg Hero, an online, on-demand multimedia library, which combines Internet activities and videos to help bring the Colonial Williamsburg experience to life in the classroom.
This marks the 24th year that the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence has coordinated Oklahoma’s participation in the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute. Oklahoma is second in the nation, following California, in the number of teacher institute participants, with more than 800 graduates.
While at Colonial Williamsburg, teachers met character interpreters of 18th-century people and were immersed in early American history through hands-on activities and reenactments of historic events.
The Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute provides participants with interactive teaching techniques and skills to become mentor teachers who can assist their peers and other educators to develop active learning classrooms and make history exciting for their students.
Oklahoma’s teacher institute program was founded and supported through the fundraising efforts of the late Oklahoma City businessman Edward C. Joullian III.
The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to recognizing and encouraging academic excellence in Oklahoma’s public schools. In addition to its Colonial Williamsburg programs, the foundation sponsors an academic awards program, provides training and resources for new and established public school foundations, administers grants to teachers for professional development, and coordinates a statewide youth mentoring initiative.