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Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Commission
Education Committee Meeting
February 9, 1999
Present were: commission members Darrell Kipp, Leif Johnson, and Jeanne Eder; executive director Clint Blackwood and recorder Rita Cortright. Guests included Gail Gray and Denise Juneau, OPI; Kris Gallas, MHS; Jonathan Matthews, Carroll College; Carla Wambach, retired educator; and Shawn Peterson, Travel Montana. Terry Korpela, Jane Weber, Bonnie Sachatello-Sawyer, Erik Burke and Norm Anderson were unable to attend.
Mr. Blackwood thanked Gail Gray and OPI for providing pizza asked attendees to introduce themselves. Ms. Wambach announced the newly-formed Gates of the Mountains Lewis & Clark Chapter and their upcoming meeting at the Lewis & Clark Library on February 22, and spoke about the teaching trunk she has developed. Mr. Blackwood expressed his desire to have Travel Montana and the Commission work together with regard to a Lewis & Clark website, and therefore had invited Shawn Peterson to attend tonight and listen to the subcommittee's discussion on gathering and presenting information. Mr. Peterson has experience in developing Travel Montana's website. Mr. Blackwood expressed his desire to the Commission's website developed with state-of-the-art graphics and virtual tours. He invited Mr. Peterson to address the subject later in the agenda. Mr. Blackwood explained that Leif Johnson was invited to participate tonight as he is the chair of the Commission's Marketing, Promotions and Endorsements Committee and said this committee will also be dealing with endorsements.
Mr. Blackwood reviewed topics for tonight's agenda. He suggested reviewing the four focus areas that were identified at the last education subcommittee meeting. He provided a handout containing those four focus areas and explained that it was mailed to a select number of Montana teachers for their comments. To date four of twenty-five responses have been returned. Copies of the first three were mailed to the Education Committee and copies of the fourth response were distributed at the meeting. Mr. Blackwood said his impression from the responses was that the teachers were very supportive of the four areas selected. Ms. Eder commented on the response from Maureen Edwards, Lolo Middle School, saying it appears that teachers intend to only teach Lewis & Clark for three years. Kris Gallas said she agreed with Ms. Edwards' comment that it is important to relate what happened with the Expedition to what is going on today, the complete perspective of the Expedition and Montana history in general. Mr. Blackwood spoke about Kathy Doolittle's response and her interest in obtaining not only curriculums, but also a list of recommended teaching plans. Ms. Gallas suggested adding the topic "Current Montana Issues" under Focus Area #1. Mr. Blackwood explained that he sees Focus Areas 1 and 3 as being very closely linked in that information is needed in order for the committee to create and serve as a clearinghouse. This information will ultimately contain the Commission's seal of approval, which means that criteria must be developed. He said Focus Areas 2 and 4 are somewhat separate. Mr. Blackwood used the website as an example by saying that if all available information is listed on the website, only those approved sites would carry an icon indicating the Commission's seal of approval. Because of the demand for information, he suggested spending time at tonight's meeting fleshing out, as much as possible, Focus Areas 1 and 3. Mr. Matthews asked for clarification on Focus Area 2, D. Mr. Kipp explained that its purpose was to encourage Native American students to become scholars, to contribute as scholars, as opposed to providing them with scholarships. Mr. Johnson asked who the education committee is targeting. Ms. Gallas answered that the committee was aiming at teachers at all levels, and students, and not just in Montana. Mr. Blackwood added the category of the general public to the list. Ms. Eder said that local chapters are comprised of history buffs and some of them are non-academics, but they are considered scholars. Ms. Juneau cautioned that she felt the committee's focus was becoming too broad. Mr. Johnson said there is a large audience made up of the traveling public, not necessarily just Montanans, and this could be addressed to some degree by interpretation. Mr. Blackwood said the Commission decided early on that everything they will do should be educationally oriented. He said his focus is not to develop things for the general public, but that the information created for teachers and students will be made available to the general public. Mr. Johnson expressed his belief that a self-guided tour brochure would be extremely well received by the public. Mr. Blackwood said that this group's purpose is to serve as advisors, that it is not reasonable to expect this group to perform all the work required. He said that funding from the legislature would enable the Commission to hire the necessary help. Mr. Kipp suggested that the subcommittee continue to brainstorm and come up with three or four events that the full Commission could endorse. The following three goals were identified as a result of lengthy discussion:
- Create a Resource Guide (Focus Areas 1 & 3)
- electronic and paper
- develop guidelines, endorsement criteria
- Conduct an Academic Symposium (Focus Area 2)
- Tribal and Non-Indian Scholars
- Conduct an Educator Symposium Institute (Focus Area 4)
- NEH-type conference
Mr. Blackwood cautioned that once endorsement guidelines are in place, a method must be developed to apply those guidelines to the "products." The following guidelines were agreed on:
Resource Guide Guidelines:
- Focuses on Montana portion of the Expedition
- To have Native American voice represented; past, present, future
- Based on factual historical record, including oral histories
The following were suggested as "products" that may lend themselves to guidelines:
- Educational Kits: (artifacts & supporting materials)
- possibility of a Commission-produced trunk
- Commission Speakers Bureau
- Tribal Information Directory
- K-12 Curriculum (contributions from educators)
Mr. Blackwood summarized by saying he envisions a review board of some type that could evaluate requests based on pre-determined criteria. This would apply to events, products and curriculum. He said he did not see this as his sole role, or that of someone hired. Regarding building a speakers bureau, Mr. Blackwood said he envisions running a newspaper article that announces the formulation of a speakers bureau, and solicits contact from those people interested in participating and being endorsed by the Commission.
Shawn Peterson was called on to address website design. He suggested using some of the new technology available to disseminate information as well as to gather information, such as lesson plans. He spoke about the interactive Montana Kid's Site developed in conjunction with OPI and the Historical Society. He explained that information can be added to a site with a gate-keeper function. This allows for review prior to the information becoming a part of the website. He described on-line video and audio capabilities that can be used for oral history interviews that can then be incorporated into the website. He cautioned the committee to consider the long-range ramifications of webpage design. Mr. Kipp asked him to estimate the cost of an adequate site and Mr. Peterson said the price could range from $3,000 for a basic site up to $70,000. He suggested a sponsor could be sought to fund a "rich media" site which could cost as much as $500,000. He explained that the content of the website denotes its cost. Mr. Blackwood explained that he envisions the Commission's site would contain segments on education, events, activities, traveling trunks, speakers bureaus, tribal information, etc. This site could be linked to other Lewis & Clark websites, including Travel Montana's site. Mr. Blackwood suggested this committee needs to meet more often in the future to accomplish their work. The meeting adjourned at 9:00 p.m.
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