Bush Library, Parish Episcopal Announce Education Partnership
September 25, 2013
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DALLAS -- The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and Parish Episcopal School announced today the formation of a multi-faceted and comprehensive educational partnership which will allow Parish students and educators access to the vast archives of the eight years of the Bush Presidency.
Creating an educational model that will extend throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area in years to come, the partnership will offer Parish students educational programming, mentoring experiences, and access to human and archival resource materials.
“We’re excited for this inaugural partnership opportunity with Parish, and as we build relationships with other public and private schools we anticipate applying this model throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area,” said Alan Lowe, the director of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
Working with Parish’s PreKindergarten (PreK) through 12th grade structure, the Bush Library will be able to beta test emerging curricula and exhibits with a consistent set of bright and engaged young people.
“As part of the profile of a Parish student (ParishProfile), we put an emphasis on students producing ‘real work for real audiences,’” said Dave Monaco, Allen Meyer Family Head of School, Parish.
“Partnering with the Bush Library not only gives our students access to a plethora of resources to produce that real work, but it provides them a showcase for that work, and for the Library, a source of student-led materials to reuse and implement in its educational and public programs,” he said.
The Parish-Bush Library partnership will allow the Bush Library to accomplish its mission of providing educational resources and will be focused around four main components: Educational Programming, Mentoring and Service, Academy of Global Studies and Parish as a Bush Library and Museum Outreach Center.
For the “Educational Programming” component, Parish would implement the Library’s educational activities and curriculum in civics, primary-source utilization, and historical artifact analysis across its three divisions (Lower, Middle and Upper Schools). For instance, students in Parish’s Lower School could create character dossiers for their annual Wax Museum based around the themes or historical events featured at the Bush Library and Museum. Finally, speakers and scholars who visit the Bush Library and have an interest in speaking to local groups of students and teachers could find an audience at Parish.
“By encouraging students to analyze and evaluate primary source records, they become active historians engaged in understanding the events and perspectives of the past rather than passive recipients of history as recounted by others,” said Heather Nice, the educational specialist for the Bush Library.
As part of “Mentoring and Service” Parish Upper School students will be able to utilize the Bush Library resources and staff as they complete their required minimum 15 hours of community service per year. Juniors, specifically, complete a service leadership project - in which they undertake a service project at their partner organization and complete it during the 11th grade year – that could potentially be conducted at or in collaboration with the Library.
The Bush Library will be able to benefit from a consistent source of service and Parish students will be able to develop and implement educational and public programs or serve as junior education docents. Parish seniors will do a one-week project in May where they will gain professional experience all while interacting with Bush Library staff members serving as mentors. In addition to this mentorship there is the hope of eventually developing a Bush Scholar – an individual who combines independent study coursework and service in partnership with the Library and Museum.
“As the fundamental mission of the archives is to preserve and provide access to the records of the Bush Administration,” said Nice, “this partnership offers students, educators, and Bush Library staff the opportunity to reexamine what providing access means and to develop innovative, hands-on opportunities to engage with National Archives records.”
Parish’s Academy of Global Studies (AGS) now serves nearly 40 students who will undertake a comprehensive research project on a global topic of their choice and present their findings in a comprehensive and creative capstone project their senior year. In addition, they complete globally focused community service and attend educational presentations on global topics.
“It is our hope that through this partnership, our AGS students’ research will one day complement that of Bush Center scholars,” said Dr. Frederick Hotz, Director of AGS, Parish.
Parish’s AGS scholars will be able to engage with Bush Library archivists to learn about the archival holdings and how to conduct primary research.
“With our programs at Parish we seek to develop students as historians that study and interpret existing works and develop cogent and original ideas from them,” Hotz said.
The final component of the partnership is the development of Parish as a Bush Library and Museum Outreach Center. As it develops new educational materials the Bush Library can beta-test and pilot these educational tools at Parish.
As it serves 1,100 students PreK-12th grade and has a yearly retention rate over 90 percent - this positions Parish as an excellent source of multi-age youth who could form a research cohort for longitudinal analyses, said Monaco.
The Parish community also welcomes visiting speakers and scholars and Parish partners with community groups such as Bea’s Kids, KIPP Truth Academy, and FIRST®LEGO® Robotics. These partners could be invited to outreach programs offered at Parish by the Bush Library.
“We are extremely excited to kick off this partnership with one of our initial endeavors focusing on our 7th and 8th grade robotics team as they head to the Bush Library and Museum to research their robotics competition topic,” said Dr. Leigh Ann Jones, director of libraries, Parish.
“As the director of libraries at Parish, it is my job to ensure that students have the resources they need to move from the inquiry phase to the ‘do’ phase of any project, and I look forward to working closely with the Library to implement, beta-test and pilot a number of educational programs and services among our students that will be key in helping them accomplish their project goals.”
With the future of this partnership looking bright, and allowing the Bush Library to accomplish the preservation and access of Presidential records, Lowe feels this program is going to be a bench mark for current and future Presidential Libraries.
“In 1939 President Roosevelt felt there needed to be single repository for Presidential records from his administration and it is through that mission the National Archives and records Administration has been able to provide access to history of the Presidency for over 60-years,” he said. “It is through that ‘history at your fingertips’ mentality we have been able to create opportunities like this to further our mission of education.”
About the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum:
Located on the campus of Southern Methodist University – which is a nationally ranked private university in Dallas enrolling nearly 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students from throughout the world in seven degree-granting schools – the facility is the 13th Presidential Library administered by National Archives and Records Administration. For more information about hours, parking, and tickets please visit www.georgewbushlibrary.smu.edu.