The Area Education Agency 267 (AEA 267) Francis Lauer Youth Shelter is one of over 56,000 schools and public libraries across the nation awarded the Picturing America program. Picturing America is a free initiative from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) that helps teach American history and culture by bringing some of the countryâ€™s great art directly to classrooms and libraries.
â€œWe applied for this as a way to enhance our curriculum,â€ said Eve Marie Zimmerman, AEA 267 Francis Lauer Youth Shelter teacher. â€œWe try very hard to include things that connect learning to the real world and get students interested in learning. I think that bringing in the humanities often can reach some students who otherwise think history and culture is boring.â€
The shelter was awarded 40 large, high-quality reproductions of great American art and a comprehensive teachers resource book to facilitate the use of the works of art in core subjects. Picturing Americaâ€™s resources are designed to allow each work of art to enhance the study of American history, social studies, language arts, literature, and civics.
â€œThe Endowment is delighted that so many students and citizens across the nation will be benefiting from Picturing America,â€ said NEH Chairman Bruce Cole. â€œPicturing America helps us understand our democracy by bringing us face to face with the people, places, and events that have shaped our country. It provides an innovative way to experience Americaâ€™s history through our nationâ€™s art.â€
First piloted to 1,500 schools in January 2008, the program was launched nationally in February 2008 and awarded to over 26,000 schools and public libraries across the country in the first application period. During the second application period from August 4 through November 14, 2008, over 29,000 schools and public libraries received Picturing America awards. In addition to schools and public libraries, through a partnership with NEH, the Administration for Children and Families within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Head Start has made Picturing America available to the 20,000 Head Start centers across the nation. To date, over 76,000 schools, public libraries, and Head Start centers nationwide have been awarded this free education resource.
Picturing America recipient schools and public libraries are located in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. Territories. District-wide applications during both application periods have brought Picturing America to major public school districts in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Antonio, and San Francisco, as well as to school and library districts in Washington, DC.