This summer a pair of Prosper Independent School District teachers were selected to attend prestigious professional development institutes in Fort Worth and San Antonio sponsored by Humanities Texas in partnership with Texas Christian University, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History and The University of Texas at San Antonio.


Brittany Johnston, who teaches U.S. history at Lorene Rogers Middle School, participated in “The New American Republic: From Washington to Madison” on the TCU campus in June. Christie Arnold, who teaches Texas history at Reynolds Middle School, participated in “Texas: From Republic to Mega-State,” which took place at City Education Partners, the Witte Museum and the UTSA campus in June.


“Humanities Texas was pleased to cosponsor the Fort Worth and San Antonio institutes,” Executive Director Michael L. Gillette said. “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 and state’s history.”


The institute at TCU covered the presidencies of George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison; the first U.S. Congress; Alexander Hamilton and the American economy; foreign policy and national defense; American women in the early nineteenth century; the Marshall Court; Native Americans in the expanding nation; slavery in the Early Republic and the War of 1812.


The San Antonio institute focused on the Republic and early statehood periods, Mexican Americans and Native Americans in nineteenth-century Texas, Texans in the Civil War, cattle and railroads, the Populist and Progressive Movements, women’s suffrage, efforts to secure civil rights for African American and Latinx Texans in the twentieth century, LBJ’s Texas, the state’s oil industry and the rise of two-party Texas. Participants also had the opportunity to tour the exhibition “The Art of Texas: 250 Years“ and attend a lecture by exhibition curator Ron Tyler.


“The Humanities Texas program was a phenomenal and unique experience,” Arnold said of the San Antonio institute that capped off her first year of teaching Texas history. “The ability to see more than twelve content-specific speakers in four days is the best professional development opportunity that I have ever had.”


Both programs’ faculty included distinguished scholars from universities across the nation who worked with teachers to improve the quality of classroom teaching in Texas. The institutes offered dynamic presentations, compelling discussions and focused seminars in which scholars and teachers developed strategies for engaging students. Institute faculty also provided facsimiles of historical documents from the National Archives and other repositories for teachers to use with their students.


“The New American Republic: From Washington to Madison” and “Texas: From Republic to Mega-State” were made possible with support from the State of Texas, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation.


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.


For more information about Humanities Texas, visit www.humanitiestexas.org.