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|Project Title: ||Worcester Women’s Oral History Project|
|School Year: ||2007|
|School - District:||South High Community - Worcester|
|Contact Name:||Henry Dilts|
|Contact Phone:||(508) 799-3335|
|Content-Area(s):||History & Social Sciences|
|Brief Description of SL Project: |
Grade 11 students in the Introduction to Civics and Government Class participated in the Worcester Women’s Oral History Project (WWOHP). The WWOHP collects the oral stories of ordinary women of the City of Worcester, Massachusetts, records them onto paper in transcript form and then archives the materials for future research. The students sought out women to interview; conducted the tape-recorded interviews; worked with our partner, Salter’s School, to get the interviews transcribed; and presented the gathered materials to the WWOHP to add to their collection. Students learned about the gathering of primary source information and about local history through the eyes of local women. Students showcased their work in display cases at the Worcester Public Library for the month of March. Students held a presentation for the public at the library on Saturday, March 24th. The students displayed their work at the City Manager’s Reception for the 15th Anniversary Celebration for the Status of Women Committee.
|The Community Need the Project is Meeting:|
The WWOHP has been ongoing for several years and has been recently collaborating with an oral history project at Worcester State College in an effort to collect stories. The ESG students of South High Community School have joined in this effort at gathering and recording these stories in research format to preserve the oral history of Worcester’s women.
|Service Component: |
Students attended a four hour training on interviewing procedures, selecting interviewees, and transcribing the interviews. Students were required to contact at least two women for a 45 to 60 minute interview. Students chose their interviewees. Many chose family members, favorite teachers, or community women leaders. Some students transcribed their own interviews, which took approximately 5 to 6 hours per interview recording. Additionally, students identified meaningful statements from each transcript, typed out these statements, attached a photo of the interviewee, and displayed the finished product in a picture frame. Students presented their work at five sites: the Worcester Public Library, the Status of Women Committee Celebration, KIDS Conference at the University of Southern Maine, the ESE Annual Conference at Holy Cross College, and at the AESG Project Day. A total of 38 Worcester women were interviewed and countless numbers of future researchers were served by this project of preserving Worcester’s twentieth and early twenty-first century women’s history. Each student provided 20 hours of service with this project.
|Connections with Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: |
This project addressed the following Government and Civics Frameworks:
USG 1.5 “Explain how the rule of law, embodied in a constitution, limits government to protect the rights of individuals.”
USG 1.1 “Distinguish among civic, political, and private life.”
USG 1.6 “Explain how a constitutional democracy provides majority rule with equal protection for the rights of individuals, including those in the minority, through limited government to protect the rights of individuals.”
USG 1.8 “Explain how civil society contributes to the maintenance of limited government in a representative democracy or democratic republic such as the United States.”
USG 5.1 “Explain the meaning and responsibilities of citizenship in the United States and Massachusetts.”
USG 5.2 “Describe roles of citizens in Massachusetts and the United States, including voting in public elections, participating in voluntary associations to promote the common good, and participating in political activities to influence public policy decisions of government.”
USG 5.3 “Describe how citizens can monitor and influence local, state, and national government as individuals and members of interest groups.”
USG 5.5 “Identify and explain the meaning and importance of civic dispositions or virtues that contribute to the preservation and improvement of civil society and government.”
USG 5.6 “Identify specific ways for individuals to serve their communities and participate responsibly in civil society and the political process at local, state, and national levels of government.”
Students were evaluated according to the successful completion of all requirements of the project. Students received a grade for their finished project.
|How Youth Voice Helps Shape Project:|
Students had the opportunity to select their interviewees based on their knowledge of women they already knew and their willingness to meet and understand new acquaintances within the Worcester community. Students were encouraged to be creative in how they chose to display their work.
|Student Reflection Component: |
In concluding this project, all students completed a reflective writing piece. Student responses included:
• “At first I thought this project was going to be boring. After I went to the training and heard the examples of what some women had said, I became excited about the project. I decided to interview my grandmother so my family would have a tape and a record of her life. When I interviewed my grandmother, I found out so many things about her I would never have known.”
• “I loved this project. I interviewed one young woman and one woman in her 50’s. I was amazed to see how different they thought about life. Since I am a guy, I found it so interesting because I do not think I would have had those conversations if it was not for the project.”
• “I interviewed a young teacher whom I admire. I will keep her words of advice to me in my personal diary so I can read them when I need them.”
• “I have always been shy to talk to people I do not know. By the second presentation, I had no problem talking about my interviews of my mother and the CEO of a Worcester agency. It felt great hearing the positive comments from the audiences.”
|Community Partners Involved: |
The Worcester Women’s Oral History Project is a community project that records through tape recordings and written transcriptions the lives of women who either live(d) and or work(ed) in the City of Worcester. The South High Community School ESG Academy was offered the opportunity to join on this project. The ESG Academy also received support from WWOHP’s other partners Worcester State College and Salter’s Business School. Worcester State College and Salter’s also provided college tours of their campuses for the students.
|Demonstration/Celebration of Students' Work: |
This WWOHP’s presentation display was written-up in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette newspaper. Students with the most CSL hours were invited to spend a day of celebration at Martha’s Vineyard on June 19, 2007.
|Evaluation of Project’s Impact:|
The impact of this project was substantial. Students recorded in their writing how important they felt being part of the WWOHP. Students received many positive comments from the community after their presentations. The WWOHP sent the AESG an acknowledgement of the importance of the student’s work. The AESG will partner with the WWOHP for the 2007-08 school year.
|Challenges/Solutions Identified by District:|
There were no challenges related to the process of implementing the CSL curricula.
* NOTE: This project summary was written by the district/community. Any text in italics was added or modified by the Department (ESE). Most of these projects were supported with Learn & Serve America funds distributed through the ESE.