Programs > K-12 Programs > Teaching American History

Keepers of the Republic
2006-2008 Teaching American History Grant

of the Declaration of Independence, painted by John Trumbull

When asked about what kind of government the Constitutional Convention had derived, Benjamin Franklin famously replied, "A republic, if you can keep it." The Worcester Public Schools, in collaboration with the American Antiquarian Society (AAS), Assumption College, Old Sturbridge Village (OSV), the John F. Kennedy Library, and Worcester State College has received $999,908 from the United States Department of Education for Keepers of the Republic: A Program for Teacher Development. This three-year program will provide intensive content-based instruction for teachers in the Worcester, Millbury, and Sutton public school districts in the time period 1763 to the present. The program aims to increase teachers' content knowledge, yielding increased critical thinking, problem solving, analysis and interpretation practices with their students. With the implementation of the MCAS examinations, Keepers of the Republic also meets the real and pressing need of educating teachers to prepare their students to pass these exams. Since Franklin's time, each generation becomes keepers of the republic, and this grant will assist teachers inculcate this responsibility in their students.

Through six graduate courses, six summer institutes centered around seminal documents in U.S. history, and three lectures by prominent award-winning historians, Keepers of the Republic offers teachers various opportunities for professional development. Teachers can earn a Master's degree from Worcester State College or take any combination of courses, workshops, and seminars to earn PDPs. Course work combines reading of secondary sources, the study of primary sources, and the creation of lessons plans for implementation in the classroom. Saturday seminars, which teachers can sign up for independent of the graduate course, offer in-depth exploration of historic personalities, themes, and events and intensive work with primary source materials. Summer institutes on seminal documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg Address focus on the creation of these texts and their influence throughout American history and provide teachers with concrete strategies for preparing their students for the MCAS examinations. Course teachers, lecturers, and institute leaders include professors from Yale, Stanford, Brown, Assumption, Holy Cross, WPI, Clark University, Worcester State College and the JFK Library.

Keepers of the Republic will culminate with a sourcebook of lesson plans created for teachers by teachers to be utilized by participants and their peers in all participating districts. This resource will also be available online for additional dissemination.

More information about the different components of the Keepers of the Republic program will be made available

Visit some of the Keepers of the Republic partners:
Worcester Public Schools -
Old Sturbridge Village -
Assumption College -
Worcester State College -
John F. Kennedy Library and Museum -
UMass Donahue Institute -



For more information, contact:
Kayla Haveles
Education Coordinator
American Antiquarian Society
Worcester, MA 01609


Keepers of the Republic TAH Courses, Saturday Seminars, and Summer Institutes 2006-2008

Preserving Our Democracy
2007-2010 Teaching American History Grant


To learn more about this program, read the opening remarks by James David Moran, delivered on October 14, 2005, at the launch of the Keepers of the Republic: A Teaching American History Project