Jenn Mooney, a social studies teacher at Lee’s Summit North High School, traveled to George Washington’s Mount Vernon this spring to learn more about Revolutionary-War era slavery during a four-day program.
Mooney attended The George Washington Teacher Institute’s Slavery in George Washington’s World program, which included an intensive study led by historians Richard Josey of the Minnesota Historical Society and Kathryn Silva from Claflin University. Participants also collaborated with Mount Vernon’s historians, curators and educators.
In addition to studying the context of slavery in the 18th century and Mount Vernon’s enslaved population, participants learned about Washington’s ideas on slavery. Participants used primary historical sources and archaeological evidence to explore ways to broaden students’ understanding of slavery and the challenges of teaching slavery and race in today’s classroom.
While at the institute, Mooney lived on George Washington’s estate, within view of his mansion and attended daily sessions in the 45,000-square-foot Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington. She will develop and conduct a workshop to share information from the institute with fellow educators.
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A Lee’s Summit North teacher for 15 years, Mooney serves as the school’s A+ coordinator and teaches Advanced Studies American History and International Baccalaureate History of the Americas. She described the Teacher Institute at a “great experience.”
“I would encourage anyone who is interested to apply,” she said. “It is not limited to secondary school teachers. Our group was also made up of elementary teachers, librarians and curriculum/professional development specialists.”