Teachers Dedicated to Holocaust Education Undergo Week-Long Intensive Training

 HOUSTON, TX (July 12, 2006) Houston-area educators, as well as teachers from Mississippi, Slovakia and other Texas cities will have the opportunity to learn how to teach their students about the Holocaust and other more current examples of genocide from some of the world’s leading experts this July.

This year’s group of teachers for the fourth annual Summer Institute for Educators will visit Holocaust Museum Houston July 17-23, 2006 for a week of intensive training in Holocaust education.

This five-day program explores various dimensions of the Holocaust beyond its general history. The program will include survivor testimony, international scholars and educators as well as interactive evening programs. 

This year’s confirmed group includes 25 educators from Texas as well as two teachers from both Mississippi and Slovakia. Several of this year’s teachers have participated in the institute before, but many teachers will be joining the institute for the first time this year. 

“This program is very beneficial because it acts as a support system for teachers in continuing education. Our goal for the program is to provide continuing scholarship by exposing these teachers to new sources of information. This program is meant to provide knowledge to teachers who are dedicated to teaching the Holocaust,” said Christina Vasquez, director of education at the Museum.

One of the most important aspects of this program is for teachers to link the Holocaust with current examples of hate and genocide. To accomplish this, experts in Holocaust education were chosen to give lectures during the program. 

Alfred Gottwaldt, senior curator for railways at the German Museum of Technology and Transportation in Berlin, will lecture about the use of trains during the Holocaust. More than 3 million victims were taken to their death by train, and Gottwaldt will discuss the logistical operation and bureaucracy of the transports.

Dr. Michael Berenbaum, an award-winning author, producer and professor will speak on Holocaust education and contemporary ethics.

Dr. Dan Eshet and Dr. Mary Johnson from Facing History and Ourselves will speak about the strategies and core concepts of their organizations and provide tips on how to integrate Holocaust education into the classroom. Eshet specifically will speak about Raphael Lemkin, who coined the term “genocide.” 

The Honorable Asher Yarden, consul general of the State of Israel to the Southwest, will address more current issues of antisemitism, Holocaust denial and the Middle East.

Each speaker will hold a question-and-answer session after their lecture. Following that, teachers will learn how to apply the knowledge in the classroom.

In addition to the speakers, Houston-area Holocaust survivors will read from “The Album: Shadows of Memory.” Teachers also will be given a thorough tour of the Museum throughout the week to give them the tools to go beyond general Holocaust education.

The Summer Institute for Educators was developed from funding given generously by Max Kaplan and his family to train teachers on strategies and approaches for bringing Holocaust education to the classroom. This year’s institute is also underwritten by Wachovia Bank, M.B., the Edna Zale Foundation and Continental Airlines.

Participants from Houston in this year’s institute include: Matthew McDougall, Silvia Sierra and Laura Tully of Alief Hastings High School; Lisa Wilkinson and Thomas Lowe of Alternative Learning Center; Mitchel Hornsby and Kelly Onhaizer of Stratford High School;  Paul Cross of Challenge Early College High School; Gene Festa of Kinkaid Middle School; Joshua Hill of Sharpstown High School; Rebecca Johnson of The Awty International School; Jean King of DeZavala Elementary; Tedie Miner of Westfield High School; A. Mary Williams of the Houston Independent School District; and Marcia Sterling and Dan Strba of Best Little Klezmer Band, Inc.

Other participants from Texas include: Kristen Betts of Progressive High School, Missouri City; David Michael Chesser of ALPHA Academy, Magnolia; Judy Kajander of Dulles High School, Sugar Land; Rick Schultz of Kimmie Brown Elementary, Dayton; Ann Slatter of St. Joseph High School, Victoria; Tina Solomon of Alvin Reach, Manvel; Phillis Lane of El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center, El Paso; Christina Herrera of A. Maceo Smith High, Dallas; and Lee Lindloff of Thomas Jefferson High School, Dallas. 

Lee Ann Gunn-Rasmussen and Karla Smith of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Gulfport, Mississippi, will participate in this year’s institute, and Terezia Janciova and Pavel Zebrak from Slovakia also will be participating.

Holocaust Museum Houston promotes awareness and educates the public of the dangers of prejudice, hatred and violence against the backdrop of the Holocaust by fostering remembrance, understanding, and education.

Holocaust Museum Houston is free and open to the public and is located in Houston’s Museum District at 5401 Caroline St., Houston, TX, 77004.

For more information about Holocaust Museum Houston, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org.

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