A teacher at a private, international baccalaureate school in Bend has been nominated for a national award for her work on Oregon History Day — a program that encourages students to interpret historical events in creative ways.
Megan Kruer, who teaches 7th and 8th grade language and literature teacher at Seven Peaks School, has been nominated by the Oregon Historical Society for the Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award.
The Oregon Historical Society says Oregon History Day “is a student-directed, project-based, interdisciplinary learning program. Open to all middle and high school students, this culturally responsive program invites students to interpret a historical event that connects to the annual theme by creating a website, paper, performance, exhibit, or documentary.”
Oregon History Day is an affiliate of the National History Day. There are 58 NHD affiliates, each of which can nominate one middle school teacher for the Patricia Behring Award.
“Nominees for the $10,000 award demonstrate a commitment to engaging students in historical learning through the innovative use of primary sources, implementation of active learning strategies to foster historical thinking skills, and participation in the NHD contests. Each nominee receives $500 as a result of their nomination,” the Oregon Historical Society said in a statement.
OHS says more than 500,000 students nationwide participate in the National History Day program at the local, state, or national contest levels.
“Because [Seven Peaks is] an IB school, students are quite skilled at pursuing inquiry independently, Kruer said in a statement. “However, for Oregon History Day, the challenge is to help them take their inquiry to the next level. This is what I think the NHD theme helps students achieve. I spend significant time with students as a group and individually unpacking the nuances of the theme and investigating angles they might take on topics in light of the theme. Students have almost complete freedom when selecting their topics; this certainly helps them take ownership of their research.”
Kruer also competed in National History Day as a middle school student in Ohio, OHS said. She interviewed her grandmother and great-grandmother for her projects on women’s roles in World War II and the polio vaccine.
The national winner of the Patricia Behring award will be selected by a committee of teachers and historians and announced in June.
OHS says the annual theme for the 2023 National History Day contest is Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas. The 2023 Oregon History Day contest will take place on Saturday, April 29 from 8am to 5:30pm in Salem, Oregon, at Willamette University. The National History Day contest is scheduled to take place in mid-June at the University of Maryland, College Park.