Baton Rouge, LA, June 27, 2010 --(PR.com
)-- Louisiana educator F. Margret Atkinson helped ignite a passion for understanding in the spring of 2010 when she took 117 middle and high school students to Holocaust Museum Houston and now she will continue to bridge gaps with her upcoming participation in the Jewish Resistance Teachers’ Program.
Atkinson, an educator in the gifted department of the Zachary Community School District, is one of only 26 U.S. educators and the only Louisiana participant chosen to travel to Israel and Europe and participate in the program, which will last from July 5- 26. The effort, a leader in Holocaust education with a network of more than 900 graduates, affords meaningful collaboration with educators, Holocaust survivors, museum professionals, and others around the world to ensure the Holocaust and its lessons are not forgotten.
Vladka Meed started The Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Teachers’ Program in 1985 to expand educators’ knowledge about the Holocaust so their classroom and school system pedagogy would be supported by first-hand experience. Meed was a member of the Jewish Underground Resistance and, because of her “Aryan” appearance and fluency in Polish, was able to help children escape from the Warsaw Ghetto and help arm those inside of the ghetto.
Meed chronicled her courageous acts in her memoir “On Both Sides of the Wall” and it is through her Holocaust education and memorialization efforts that the program has grown to be as instrumental as it is today.
The program is led by Elaine Culbertson, a former high school English teacher and administrator and current chairperson of the Pennsylvania Holocaust Education Council, and Steven Feinberg, director of National Outreach for Teacher Initiatives at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
The goals of the program include furthering Holocaust and Jewish Resistance education in the United States, developing pedagogical skills for educators, teaching new generations about the Holocaust and using educational activities that utilize lessons of the past so that they may inform and warn both present and future generations. Organizers hope that both the travel experiences and each participant’s reading of Meed’s memoir and four other pieces of Holocaust literature will help facilitate those goals.
This program will begin with workshops at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., on July 5th. The participants will then travel to Israel to tour Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, and Masada. From Israel, the participants will travel to Germany, where they will visit the Wannsee Conference villa, Topography of Terror, Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, and the Bergen Belsen Memorial site.
Throughout the program, participants will have a chance to dialogue and collaborate with museum professionals from the many museums and memorials that they will tour, as well as with Israeli, German, and Polish educators.
The participants will travel to Poland and tour Jewish Warsaw, including the Warsaw Ghetto Fighters Memorial, Belzec, Majdanek, Auschwitz and Auschwitz-Birkenau, Plaszow Concentration Camp, and Treblinka. Finally, the group will return to Washington, D.C., to conclude with workshops to aid in teaching the Holocaust and the use of literature to instruct at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Atkinson will detail her experiences on her personal blog, as well as posting discussion questions through an instructional site using Moodle content management tools.
Her students and parents will be encouraged to dialogue and participate via the Internet on this knowledge journey. Atkinson said through her participation in this program, stronger pedagogy and curriculum for teaching the Holocaust will be able to be developed for students both in the district as well as throughout the state of Louisiana.
For more information, please visit the Holocaust and Jewish Resistance Teachers’ Program website at http://www.hajrtp.org. You can also follow Atkinson’s travels on her personal blog, http://cultivatingthegardenfma.blogspot.com/.
F. Margret Atkinson
Alternate contact while abroad
Frances Y. Spencer