April 23, 2018
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Camden Conference, educators team up to develop free curriculum for schools

CAMDEN, Maine — The Camden Conference and the Watershed School teamed up with social studies teachers from around the state on June 24 to construct this year’s version of the conference’s Curriculum Enrichment Program focusing on current events or issues based on the conference’s theme.

The program is meant to extend teachers’ resources for teaching social studies to Maine students in this climate of budget cuts and shortages, according to CEP program manager Charles Graham, who volunteers his time for this project. He pointed out that the ongoing funding crisis in Maine’s public schools has undermined high school social studies classes, especially those educating students on global issues and their importance to the United States. This trend has especially hurt schools in Maine’s smaller towns, he said.

Led by School Director Will Galloway, and teacher Judith Masseur, a recent graduate of Brown University’s master’s program in education, the workshop group preparing the latest material for classrooms was made up of six other experienced educators: Bob Breckenridge from Lincoln Academy, Wiscasset; Kathryn and David King of Hampden Academy; Brett Almasi and Ernie Thomas from Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft; and Dan Melega of the Maine School for Science & Mathematics in Limestone.

The group took the wealth of information and material from February’s Camden Conference on “The Middle East; What’s Next?” and put it into the CEP format, consisting of conference-related study themes and questions illustrated by video clips from actual conference presentations. Presenters are considered experts with firsthand knowledge of the subjects they discuss. The educator group’s goal was to make this content more user-friendly for high school teachers and their students.

The workshop group’s resulting summary and condensed version of the conference will be set up on the education page of the Camden Conference website, camdenconference.org, where it will be available for use by teachers and students at no cost. Social studies teachers from several Maine High Schools already have committed to using the CEP materials in their classes in the coming year.

In its four years of existence, the CEP has been supported financially by the Camden National Bank, the Maine Humanities Council, and the Emanuel and Pauline A. Lerner Foundation and used by high school teachers throughout New England.

Still available at the conference website is CEP material from other recent conferences concerning: Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Challenges of Asia, and U.S. Leadership in the 21st Century.

Graham said Thursday that the next step is raising some money to create a website index based on issue topics.

The next annual Camden Conference, “The Global Politics of Food and Water,” will take place Feb. 21-23, 2014, at the Camden Opera House, and will be streamed to two satellite venues: the Hutchinson Center in Belfast and The Strand Theatre in Rockland.

The mission of the Camden Conference is to foster informed discourse on world affairs through year-round community events, public and student engagement, and an annual weekend conference. For more information visit www.camdenconference.org, or email info@camdenconference.org or call 236-1034.

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