Paul Stuker, an eighth grade American History teacher at Loranger Middle School in Loranger, Louisiana, was chosen along with fifteen other teachers to participate in the development of the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training’s (NCPTT) Heritage Education-Louisiana, a program dedicated to enhancing education and fostering an appreciation of Louisiana’s rich cultural resources.
Stuker brought to the program an impressive array of credentials, including Social Studies Chairperson, Eighth Grade Chairperson, and Title II Eisenhower Professional Development for Social Studies contact person for his school. His role in the Heritage Education–Louisiana program included attending teacher workshops and a five-day summer institute held at the NCPTT in Natchitoches, Louisiana.
The workshops provided presentations and field trips to help the teachers develop curriculum-based lesson plans centered on Louisiana’s rich heritage of archeological sites, cultural landscapes, and historic structures. Guest speakers from Northwestern State University’s College of Education, the Louisiana State Board of Education, and the Louisiana Office of Cultural Development, guided the teachers through the lesson plan process. Each teacher was then tasked to develop three lesson plans for the Heritage Education-Louisiana program.
Armed with information and resources, Paul created “Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery: The Battle of New Orleans”, “The Birth of a Town: Hammond,” and “Historic Camp Moore: A Civil War Training Facility.”
By using sites close to home, Paul enhanced the educational experience for his students and gave them a greater appreciation of local history. He says the program has greatly benefited his students: “Heritage Education–Louisiana encourages practical and productive use of technology. Also, the students’ excitement and interest in the lessons motivated them to share and discuss what they had learned with family members. I would call the program an absolute success.”
Melissa M. Stilley, the principal of Loranger Middle School in Tangipahoa Parish, has high praise for the program and for Paul. “The Heritage Education–Louisiana program has been extremely successful in enhancing academic achievement and developing a sense of value in Louisiana’s historic places,” she stated. “Mr. Stuker has done a super job implementing the ideas and strategies of the program into his classroom.”
The students are equally adamant in their praise of the program. According to one, “This is a great program.
Everyone needs to know about the past— it helps us take care of the future.” Another stated, “By researching our local area, I have learned how much Louisiana and our community have contributed to our nation’s history.”
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