Washoe Schools Get Nearly $1 Million History Grant

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The Washoe County School District received nearly $1 million Thursday to help better educate students about U.S. history.

Kathleen Leos, associate deputy undersecretary for the Education Department, and Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., presented an oversized $978,000 check to district officials during a ceremony at Sparks High School.

The money will be used over three years to help train teachers and fund local new technologies, Internet access, summer institutes and other learning symposiums. It will affect as many as 72,000 students, officials said.

"Learning about your past is always the key to the future," Gibbons told about 20 students in Kathryn Sewell's government class. Gibbons is a graduate of Sparks High.

Leos said Washoe County was selected based on a grant proposal that includes participation from higher education institutions, the local school district, libraries, museums and others.

U.S. history topics ranging from the Constitution to the Louisiana Purchase will be addressed in summer institutes, book clubs, Saturday dialogues, workshops and Web site projects, she said.

"It is very important to the preservation of democracy," Leos said.

"What's really exciting in this case in Nevada is all the different people involved - libraries, museums, the local school district. I think the collaboration sets it apart."

Dan Carne, vice president of the Washoe County School Board, told the students he accepted the check "on behalf of you guys."

"This is very important to who our country is now and who our country will become. ... It will allow us to teach all of our students what the United States is all about," he said.