UK/January 08, 2023/by: Colleen Finney/Source: https://fox56news.com/
In 2018, the Kentucky state legislature passed the Holocaust Education Act.
This mandated that Holocaust education had to be taught in all public middle and high schools in the state. Now, the University of Kentucky is hosting workshops to support Kentucky teachers in meeting the requirement of the state.
Janice Fernheimer, professor of Jewish studies at the University of Kentucky explained how the program works.
“We went and applied for some larger external funding from the Jewish Heritage Fund to allow us to recruit 20 teacher-leaders to be trained this model and to develop and work with teachers in their respective areas so these teacher leaders came from all across the state to develop workshops that would then invite up to 250 other teachers in,” said Fernheimer.
UK recently received funding to extend the UK-Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence Holocaust Education Initiative another year. This spring and summer, 20 educators will be trained as teacher-leaders.
Once trained, they will teach workshops regionally to try and educate as many teachers as possible.
“We’re helping the teachers to find Kentucky materials, in fact, there are Holocaust survivors who settled in Kentucky. There’s lots of history about Jewish people in the state on Kentucky and it’s important for our project that the teachers allow the students to understand the broader history of Jewish Kentucky and not limited to this one particular incident of the Holocaust,” Petrone added.
Once the teachers go through the workshop, they’ll have access to a website full of materials.
“Once these teachers go through these workshops that are being put on by the teacher leaders, we are also creating a website where model teacher materials, curriculum materials for other teachers to use in their classrooms will be collected and shared,” said Fernheimer.
The workshop was created to make sure the teacher is well rounded and equipped to teach a topic they might be unfamiliar with, but also to make sure they have the tools to teach hard topics in the classroom.
Petrone said, “Some questions about how to deal with hard histories in the classroom. Questions about how to teach about traumatic events in the classroom without traumatizing your students. These are skills that the teacher can use, not just teaching Jewish history and the Holocaust but in approaching a lot of difficult topics.”
The goal is to teach 500 teachers across the state and create a network to keep education about the Holocaust going once the workshops are over. Registration is currently open for online and in-person sessions across the state from late January to early June.
To sign up or learn more, head to the UK-JHFE Holocaust Education Initiative website.