The BHS program is an interactive, tutorial-based curriculum offered completely online at the Etowah Valley Historical Society’s website. Although designed for school-aged youth, the program is free and accessible to anyone online. Seven tutorials listed chronologically guide students through the significant epochs of Bartow County. The program examines the periods of Native Americans, early pioneers and settlers, military activity, industry and business, African-Americans, resources and geography, politics, communities and people.
Davis Nelson, chair of the Bartow County Board of Education, said the program can be called “Bartow County’s textbook.”
Along with the short, essay-style tutorials are links navigating users to other websites containing more information on particular topics like the Cherokee Land Lottery and the Tuskegee airman and Summer Hill High School graduate John Henry Morgan. An interactive map associated with each of the categories allows users to zoom in multiple times and view details and activities of the time period. The map also contains an overlay feature which allows students to see where the historical sites coincide with present-day locations. To test the knowledge learned, after each tutorial participants can take the online quiz.
Blake Fallin, a teacher at Cassville Middle School, said, “The interactive website is brilliant and helps students connect the rich history of Bartow County with that of the rest of the state and nation. This program helps our students relate to history on a more personal level as they are able to connect it to their home. We look forward to expanding on this even more next year.”
BHS participant, Sierrah Strange, said, "Knowing the history of Bartow county made me think of Bartow in a different way. I never thought Bartow would have such a rich history. I thought Bartow was a nobody county where nothing ever happened. But, now I know that I was wrong, and very proud to live here.”
The focus of social studies in eighth grade is Georgia history and the program is designed to weave into the curriculum. The decision of how much material was used was left up to each individual teacher. Some chose to create bonus test questions from the online information or some dedicated class time to exploring the site.
“We [the EVHS] wish to provide a method to teach Bartow County history to our youth. We are focused on educating our next generation of Bartow historians,” Joe Head, the EVHS vice president and director of the BHS program, said.
Cartersville Middle School teacher Laura Huth said, “In our ever increasingly global society, it’s been a great opportunity for our students to focus on their own local roots through their favorite media — online content. The interactive maps and rich content have made learning about their community’s history enjoyable while the quiz component has provided the challenge.”
Eight-hundred-fifty-five students participated in the program’s inaugural year; 54 received certificates and were designated as top performers.
The top performers, who answered at least 30 questions correctly, are as follows:
South Central Middle School
Adairsville Middle School
Excel Christian Academy
Cassville Middle School
Shawn dela Cruz
Cartersville Middle School