“September 11 is both a time to remember the victims and heroes of 9/11 and to honor their memory,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple. “The anniversary offers a time to teach about this unforgettable moment in history, and to reconsider the effect that September 11 has had on our country and the world.”
Many of today’s schoolchildren were born after 2001. This year’s high school seniors were only in the second grade a decade ago when the tragedy occurred. Many of them were shielded from the violent images that are seared into the memories of older individuals. Their memories are fuzzy or non-existent despite round-the-clock media coverage.
“Teachers, together with parents and community leaders, can help students come to understand these events and their aftermath by putting the events of September 11 into a meaningful context,” Marple said. “I encourage you to get involved with events in our schools and to organize events in your communities commemorating the national tragedy.”
The history lessons will continue on Sept. 16 when schools across the state also will participate in activities celebrating Constitution Day. West Virginia’s Robert C. Byrd, the longest serving U.S. senator until his death in 2010, will be remembered on Constitution Day for his staunch support of a document that defines and outlines the basic laws and rights of American citizens.
Byrd inserted a provision into a massive spending bill that Congress passed in 2004 requiring every school and college that receives federal money to teach about the Constitution on Sept. 17, the day the United States Constitution was adopted in 1787. Throughout his life, Byrd kept a copy of the Constitution in his pocket.
Many Sept. 11 and Constitution Day activities and lesson plans may be found on the teachers’ resource page of the social studies website at http://wvde.state.wv.us/socialstudies/social_studies_teacher.html. Learning opportunities also are available from the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center at www.national911memorial.org. Schools are encouraged to register their activities on the following form http://tinyurl.com/wv9-11tributeactivity.
Marple also has recorded a video message for students about the significance of 9/11. The video is posted on the department website at http://wvde.state.wv.us/player.php?m=f&vid=super/2011-patriot-day.
The WVDE also will recognize the 9/11 tragedy during a ceremony at the West Virginia Culture Center on Sept. 8 at 1 p.m. Students will be asked to sign a Declaration of Commitment showing their support for patriotism, volunteerism and civic literacy. An electronic version of the Declaration of Commitment will be placed on the WVDE websitehttp://wvde.state.wv.us so that teachers and students can highlight civic literacy projects throughout the school year.
WVDE- Joey Wiseman