The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is establishing a statewide educational hub providing reliable, accessible Louisiana social studies resources to students and their teachers.
In its first three years the Institute for Louisiana Culture and History, made possible by a $900,000 grant from the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation, will train 400 teachers in Louisiana history and the use of LEH’s online encyclopedia, 64parishes.org, in the classroom. In addition, the institute will produce 300 new encyclopedia entries and add as many as 900 new photos and media to the site.
The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE), one of LEH’s partners on the encyclopedia expansion, has introduced new social studies standards going into full effect in the 2023–24 school year. The new course frameworks will expand the study of Louisiana history and culture in the state’s public schools from third and eighth grade to nearly every grade. Together, LEH and LDOE will map these new social studies standards to the content on 64parishes.org and create grade-level appropriate adaptations of key resources.
More than 50,000 eighth-graders each year already have access to this online resource as part of their Louisiana history classes. The institute will both expand the existing content on the site and develop a new search function that allows students and teachers to search the encyclopedia for grade-level aligned content for Louisiana social studies classrooms.
In addition to these online resources, the institute will host four regional educator workshops, which will provide in-depth social studies content training to as many as 400 Louisiana educators, in both the 2023–24 and 2024–25 school years. The workshops will bring together recognized historians, scholars, and curricula authors to engage educators about key Louisiana history and culture topics found in the 64parishes.org encyclopedia.
The institute will provide additional training through summer intensive courses, which will offer approximately 30 educators annually the opportunity to learn from and interact with nationally known historians and scholars, take field trips promoting experiential learning, and participate in social studies working sessions at The Helis Foundation John Scott Center, opening later this year at the LEH’s headquarters in New Orleans. The institute will provide a stipend for teachers for all trainings.