Teacher training

Two local teachers, among hundreds from around the country, are bringing back lessons designed to engage and promote students’ understanding of Holocaust history from the nation’s leading Holocaust education conference this summer at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Barbara Kennedy, a teacher at Kannapolis Middle School and Kellie Pierrot, a teacher at Cox Mill High School, recently attended a three-day workshop for educators across the country.

These two local teachers were some of the more than 250 participants from all over the country who attended the museum’s annual Arthur and Rochelle Belfer National Conference for Educators, a workshop for teachers hosted by the museum from July 22 to 24 and from July 25 to 27. The 2019 conference is a vital part of the museum’s ongoing effort to equip educators throughout the country with the knowledge and skills to effectively bring Holocaust education into their classrooms.

“Educating students about the history of the Holocaust provides an opportunity for young people to think critically not only about the past but also about their roles in society today,” says Gretchen Skidmore, director of education initiatives for the museum’s William Levine Family Institute for Holocaust Education. “As the global leader in Holocaust education, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum works to ensure teachers have the training and resources they need to introduce their students to this important and complex history — and show them how its lessons remain relevant to all citizens today.”

Every year, the museum trains hundreds of teachers through training programs held in Washington and around the country. The institution provides these teachers with advanced tools and teaching materials for students of history, English, social studies, language arts, library science, journalism and more.

At the Belfer conference, the participants teamed up with museum educators and scholars in sharing rationales, strategies and approaches for teaching about the Holocaust. They also explored the museum’s latest exhibition, Americans and the Holocaust, which examines American society in the 1930s and ’40s and the factors that shaped Americans’ responses to Nazism.

Program participants also heard from Esther Starobin and Louise Lawrence-Israëls, two Holocaust survivors who volunteer at the Museum.

The museum’s website, www.ushmm.org, provides resources at no cost to educators, including a range of online training modules, exemplary lesson plans and extensive historical information about the Holocaust.

About the Belfer Conference

Established in 1993, the Arthur and Rochelle Belfer National Conference for Educators brings hundreds of middle, high school and community college teachers to Washington, D.C., each summer to train them in effectively teaching the Holocaust to their students. The museum gives participants a chance to interact with its scholars and educators to reinforce their understanding of Holocaust history and to engage in successful strategies in bringing the lessons of the Holocaust to their classrooms. The conference is funded in part by the Arthur and Rochelle Belfer Foundation.

About the museum

A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. Its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by generous donors. For more information, visit www.ushmm.org.

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