Gift of History program that engages third-grade students in local histories earns CSBA’s Golden Bell Award

A multi-agency, countywide history program that creates civic pride, builds 21st-century skills and promotes community engagement has been awarded the prestigious Golden Bell Award by the California School Boards Association.

gb-2015-informzThe Gift of History program is led by OCDE, the Children’s Education Foundation of Orange County and more than 20 corporate, government and community agencies. It encompasses an eight-week companion curriculum that’s aligned with third-grade state standards in history and social science, along with the reading of a novel exploring Orange County’s history and an annual event that brings history to life at Angel Stadium in Anaheim.

The Golden Bell Award, now in its 37th year, is considered one of the state’s leading educational honors, recognizing public school programs that are innovative and sustainable, make a demonstrated difference for students and focus on meeting the needs of all students. The Gift of History was among 56 recipients this year.

“Third-grade students, by state standards, learn a lot about their local history,” said OCDE Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services Christine Olmstead. “But what makes this program so special is now every city in Orange County is celebrated by every third-grader. Students start to understand that their community is more than just a city, and they get to learn first-hand what it means to live in a county.”

Indeed, the Gift of History program strives to show local third-graders that Orange County’s history is all around them. One example is the lesson at Angel Stadium, which brings together scores of students from across the county to learn and see that they are all part of — and contributors to — something larger than themselves. According to the Golden Bell application, the interactive and visually stimulating history lesson meets students’ developmental needs for concrete experiences and instills civic pride.

The Gift of History team will receive its award at a recognition ceremony on Dec. 3 at CSBA’s Annual Education Conference and Trade Show in San Francisco at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis.

You can read more about the Gift of History program here and more about CSBA and the Golden Bell Award here.