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March 21, 2007

Thomas Jefferson to visit Bonillas Basic Curriculum School in Tucson

History will come to life for students at Bonillas Basic Curriculum School in Tucson Thursday, March 22 when Thomas Jefferson visits the elementary school.

Colonial Williamsburg interpreter Bill Barker, who portrays Jefferson, will appear in character to students in second, third, fourth and fifth grades at an assembly at 1:30 p.m. at the school. Barker is the guest of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Woodrow of Tucson, who are supporters of Colonial Williamsburg’s education outreach programs.

Following the assembly, Barker will work with teachers to demonstrate how character interpretation can be used in the classroom along with primary sources to bring history to life, one of the instructional strategies Colonial Williamsburg investigates in its week-long Teacher Institute program offered every summer in Williamsburg, Va.

The Woodrows and other supporters are sponsoring nine teachers from the Tucson area to attend the 2007 Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute, an intense seven-day immersion into early American history. Participating teachers return to their schools with a new understanding of how we came to be Americans, new historical content and methods of engaging their students in learning, and a renewed enthusiasm for teaching.

The teachers can attend sessions for elementary, middle or high school level. Each session meets the specific grade level history content standards and addresses methods appropriate for that grade level. Teachers begin their week at Jamestown, where the docents, park rangers and interpreters at Historic Jamestowne and Jamestown Settlement provide an idea of what it might have been like for the English who arrived on the shores of Virginia in May of 1607. Last summer’s discovery of 17th-century artifacts from a well in Jamestown was a perfect example of how to encourage teachers to use primary sources in the classroom and the powerful impact they have on learning.

"Teacher Institute doesn’t just give the teachers historical content,” said Tab Broyles, director of teacher professional development. “We provide them with new methods for teaching history and ways in which to make the stories of our past relevant to children. While at the Institute, teachers receive a CD with lesson plans, primary sources and other materials they can use in their classrooms.”

Tuition for the program is $1,900. Tuition includes the week of programs, meals and lodging in the Colonial Houses on Duke of Gloucester Street in the Historic Area, where the teachers share a room. For more information about Teacher Institute, visit

Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture — stories of our journey to become Americans. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution for its guests, it also invites them to interact with history. Williamsburg is located 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information or reservations, call toll-free 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg on the Internet at

Media Contact:
Barbara Brown
(757) 220-7280