SCHS teacher brings Mount Vernon to the classroom
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Staff Writer
Mount Vernon, Va. – Shelby County High School history, government and economics teacher Stephanie Nettles recently spent four days in Mount Vernon, Va. at a residential professional development program.
Nettles was part of the George Washington Teacher Institute Program, which includes an intensive study of the Papers of George Washington at the University of Virginia where participants collaborated with historians, curators and educators on site.
Participants also paired hands-on science activities at recreated 18th century sites with primary sources to explore the innovations and changes that Mount Vernon underwent during Washington’s lifetime in order to connect cross curricular subjects in the classroom.
“This was the most wonderfully overwhelming experience of my teaching career,” Nettles said. “The expertise and leaders of the program were just phenomenal.”
The program was very limited and only included 19 K-12 participants from around the country, which included teachers, librarians and media specialists selected by the institute in a competitive application process.
“Since returning to the high school for the 2016-2017 school year, I have used things that I learned during the program over and over again,” she said. “In the eight weeks school has been back in session, I have found myself incorporating aspects of Washington and the Mount Vernon Estate into my examples and classroom activities.”
While at the institute, Nettles lived on George Washington’s property within view of his famous mansion and attended daily sessions to learn all about Washington.
Nettles is also planning on conducting a professional development workshop for the Shelby County School System in order to share information from the institute.
“The intensity and excitement of how Washington was an active role model for not just forming the nation through war and his presidency, but also through his economic pursuits and running the Mount Vernon Estate will provide me with timeless examples to enhance my teaching at the school,” Nettles said.