In 2007, the Tubman Museum partnered with Macon State College’s School of Education, the Bibb County Public School System, and L.H. Williams Elementary School to create an innovative series of free student workshops designed to improve comprehension and test scores in Math and Reading for at-risk third and fifth-grade students These workshops utilize museum exhibits, collections, special events, off-site activities and creative arts and writing exercises to engage and instruct students in these core subjects. In the first two years of this program, almost 80 elementary students voluntarily participated in these workshops, and over 97% of the students successfully passed the required Criterion Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) in Math and Reading.
Faculty from the School of Education at Macon State College worked with the Tubman to design the curriculum and evaluative tests for these workshops, and college education students provided the instruction, gaining valuable teaching experience in the process and a greater appreciation for how museums can assist and enhance classroom teaching. Early sponsors and supporters of the program included the Macon State College Foundation and the James Hyde Porter Charitable Trust.
During the 2010-2011 academic year, the Tubman Museum used a grant from the Community Foundation of Central Georgia to expand the reach and impact of the workshops through the addition of faculty and college students from Mercer University’s Tift College of Education and the inclusion of a second local elementary school partner – Burdell-Hunt Elementary.
The John Oliver Killens student workshops and their success in improving reading and math comprehension among at-risk students is beginning to draw the interest and attention of schools, museums, and universities all over the Southeast. The program will also soon be profiled on the national website of the Institute for Museum and Library Services in Washington as a 21st century example and model of how museums and universities can work together to address critical educational needs and challenges.
For more information about this innovative program, please contact the Education Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or 478-743-8544 ext 14.