Vermilionville gets grant to help teachers

Vermilionville gets grant to train teachers

The Vermilionville Living History Museum Foundation received a $25,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to offer teachers training on ways to incorporate local history lessons into their classrooms.

Vermilionville is a cultural park that offers visitors an idea of how Acadians, Creoles and Native Americans who settled in the region lived from 1765 to 1890. The park features restored historical homes and demonstrations by artisans, including a blacksmith, cotton spinner, pine needle weaver and musicians.

The grant will help Vermilionville expand its education initiatives with a two-day professional development workshop planned in July and continual professional development for eight Lafayette Parish School System teachers in the 2013-14 school year, said Jolie Johnson, Vermilionville museum operations coordinator.

The park began an education initiative last year through a partnership with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s College of Education, Johnson said.

As part of that partnership, ULL social studies education students created lesson plans for Lafayette Parish third-grade social studies classes and eighth-grade Louisiana history classes. The partnership served as a kick-starter for an expansion of the park’s educational outreach, Johnson said.

The college students developed lessons tied to the mandated curriculum standards now referred to as “common core state standards,” she said.

“We want to show (teachers) that they can use our lessons and resources to enhance what they’re teaching in the classroom,” Johnson said.

Vermilionville partnered with the organization, Local Learning: The National Network for Folk Arts in Education to provide the summer training. The organization’s director, Pamela Bowden, will lead the summer workshop and continue to work with the eight teachers selected for the continual professional development program.

Editor’s note: This story was modified on May 8, 2013, to include Native Americans among the ethnic groups to be featured at Vermilionville.