Fort Scott High School has some teachers who wanted to bring to life for their students the stories of places/events where they live, where they have first-hand experience.
Brian Allen, an auto shop teachers-aide at Fort Scott High School, began a FSHS History Club several years ago to educate students about local history.
“It has grown in membership and students have shown a genuine interest in knowing about where they live,” said FSHS History Teacher Sara Jackman. “Last year, I approached the (USD234) administration about teaching a local history class and they were on board. After teaching a Bourbon County unit to junior high students at Uniontown for several years, I knew that it would be an elective I would enjoy teaching.”
“There is an interest from our students about the town and the county,” Jackman said. “They love to learn information about the places they see every day. The (FSHS)History Club’s membership numbers have been proof of that. Additionally….we are trying to build pride for our hometown and county and respect for all of those who have made our community a good place to live.”
“I teach two sections of the class with approximately 53 students enrolled,” Jackman said. “Mr. Allen helps me a great deal with content and guest speakers etc.”
A project at the end of the class will be for students to interview 80-90-year-olds in the community for future generations.
The purpose of the new Bourbon County History class is to educate students about the history of the place in which they live, “Where we came from as a community,” Allen said.
“Our hope is that it gives them civic pride knowing about the rich history of Bourbon County,” Jackman said.
The first class in Bourbon County history began at FSHS on the first day of school, August 22. It is an 18-week, one-semester course, that will be taught both semesters.
Curriculum for the course is from local authors and historical societies.
“Curriculum sources vary widely,” Jackman said. “The textbook purchased for students is the Historic Reflections of Bourbon County Kansas by Fred Campbell, Jr. and Don Miller. We also use many other locally written books, resources from the Kansas State Historical Society, the Bourbon County Historic Preservation Society, and lots of others.”
These books are also available to the public through the Fort Scott Public Library.
The class is going well, Jackman said.
“We have started off learning about the Native Americans who would have lived in the area and some of the explorers who came to Kansas,” Jackman said. “On August 30, Mr. Reed Harford (came) in to speak to the class about the expedition of Zebulon Pike and his time in Bourbon County.”
“I am so impressed with Mrs. Jackman,” Allen said of the teacher and the class curriculum that she constructed.
Brian Allen is also the president of the Bourbon County Historical Preservation Association.
To see a recent KOAM News story on the subject, click below: