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Second-year Hot Springs World Class High School library and media specialist Amy Shipman and second-year Langston Aerospace and Environmental Magnet School library and media specialist Julienne Shepperd have been selected for the Arkansas Declaration of Learning program.

Now in its fifth year, the Arkansas Declaration of Learning program is "a first-in-the-nation public-private partnership in which teachers and librarians create units and lesson plans featuring historical objects and art from state and national museum partners," according to the program's official website.

Museums participating in the program include the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Clinton Foundation, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Reception Rooms, and the William J. Clinton Presidential Library.

"I'm really excited about getting to work with the museums and the library and all the other organizations because we actually get to work with what they have and really make learning come to life," Shipman said.

Last year, only 29 educators statewide were chosen to participate, making it a highly competitive program.

"It's an honor, and I'm excited about what I'm going to learn to bring back here," Shipman said.

Shepperd echoed her colleague's sentiment.

"It's an honor even if they accepted everybody that applied. The fact that the Department of Education and all the collaborators have gotten together and to know that there is a need for this curriculum and exposure to these items, I think it's definitely going to change the curriculum. I know this is a pilot, but if other states start seeing this pilot is working, maybe they'll start incorporating it into their state standards," she said.

The application process included requiring the library and media specialists to explain how they have implemented or would implement cultural activities and primary sources into lessons.

As a holder of a history degree, this opportunity was especially appealing to Shipman.

"It's so cool, because we're going to be able to see things and use actual artifacts and documents and pieces of art. I think that's just going to take learning beyond anything," she said.

Shepperd sees the program as an opportunity to improve herself as a media specialist, as well as to brighten her future prospects.

"I'm really excited I'm getting this opportunity because where I want to go in life in the next five years, I would love to be in a leadership position. And assisting in creating curriculum is going to help with that. It'll look good, as well as give me the experience that I may lack compared to other applicants putting in for a position. To me, it was just something that not many get to say they could do. The museums will give me a chance to better my lessons. I will be able to have a better understanding of what community resources are out there. But as a professional reason, I'm part of kinds of things and I've always loved helping out in the community. And that's one thing I knew our district needed," she said.

The program is a minimum one-year commitment, with the option to remain in the program for up to five years. The first year is designated for creating curriculum, and the remaining years to implement that curriculum or become a mentor within the program.

"I know at the end of the day that I'm going to learn so much that I'm going to be able to bring back to my students and my teachers. I think it's going to be good for my level being ninth through 12th grade. I can really bring in the community and collaborate with the teachers," said Shipman.

Shepperd, Shipman, and other participants will work with representatives from the previously listed organizations and the Arkansas Department of Education to develop innovative units and lesson plans at a meeting held in Little Rock June 10-14 of this year.

Local on 04/14/2019

Print Headline: HSSD librarians to bring history into schools

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