Kent social studies teachers to attend Brown University Leadership Institute

History doesn't necessarily repeat itself, but similarities can be identified, examined and debated. So says Travis Foltz, a Kent-Meridian High School social studies educator who welcomes the study of the past and how it connects to the present. More specifically, Foltz has identified the 1960s and how that volatile decade parallels the uncertainties of today.

Travis Foltz

Travis Foltz

History doesn’t necessarily repeat itself, but similarities can be identified, examined and debated.

So says Travis Foltz, a Kent-Meridian High School social studies educator who welcomes the study of the past and how it connects to the present. More specifically, Foltz has identified the 1960s and how that volatile decade parallels the uncertainties of today.

“History never repeats itself identically,” Foltz said, “but one of the great things about history is drawing comparisons.”

Intrigued by “The Sixties” – a complex period of cultural, political and societal change – Foltz is going back to the classroom in an effort to further engage his students.

Foltz recently was selected to attend the Summer Leadership Institute at Brown University in Providence, R.I., on July 8-12. This year’s institute is focused on helping teachers develop the knowledge and skills to lead their classes in deliberations about the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War and other events of the ’60s.

Papritz to join the program

Joining Foltz at the symposium will be Mike Papritz (inset photo), a social studies and AP human geography teacher at Kentridge. Papritz will attend a three-day Summer Geography Institute at Brown themed “Thinking Geographically About International Issues: The Choices Approach.” Using material from the university’s United States in Afghanistan unit as a springboard, the institute will explore ways to introduce students to international issues through a geographic lens.

Like Foltz, Papritz intends to bring back key knowledge, skills and strategies to help other social studies teachers with their classes

For Papritz, geography presents a different approach to learning.

“Geography is a study which is very dynamic all the time,” said Papritz, who is in his ninth year at Kentridge and has 20 years in the Kent School District. “If you know how to reach kids from a geographic standpoint, it makes learning social science information much more interesting in my viewpoint.”

From Foltz’s viewpoint, lessons from the past remain relevant to the those posed today.

“The 1960s are still very relevant,” said Foltz, one of 23 selected teachers from the country with an opportunity to learn about the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War from scholars, foreign policy experts and civil rights movement leaders at Brown. “It’s relevant because students can make connections between what’s going on in terms of current events and past wars. Also, that era – in terms of the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement and the identity politics sprung up – is a great study in terms of social movement.

“Right now, whether we’re talking about Occupy Wall Street or talking about the huge social movements that are going on within the Middle East … students can make connections.”

History captivates Foltz, 32, who grew up in Ballard. He would listen to his grandfather’s stories about how he endured the Great Depression and served in World War II.

In contrast, Foltz listened to his father’s stories about witnessing the turbulent ’60s as a teen, serving in the U.S. Army Reserves National Guard as the Vietnam War came to a close. Russell Foltz told his son about a time of social dislocation, protests and challenges to the Establishment.

As Foltz has observed, war fuels considerable debate, in particular its justification, political maneuvering and use of the country’s combat troops.

Foltz enjoys the examination of American foreign policy, adding that “Vietnam is a great case study.”

Historians argue about the connections between the Vietnam and Afghanistan wars, Foltz said. In both instances, the U.S. entered a long conflict, with uneasy allies and neighbors, fighting a guerrilla war, a conflict that has become unpopular in many circles.

Such comparisons provoke thought and debate.

Program enlightens

Brown University’s Choices Program sponsors the institute. The national education program is designed to introduce substantive international content into secondary school classrooms. The program offers 40 curriculum units on topics relevant to classes on U.S. history, world history, civics and current issues. All units use a problem-based approach to make complex international issues accessible and meaningful to high school students.

“Choices provides valuable tools for teaching the 21st century skills my students need to develop as citizens in our global society,” Foltz said. “I am excited to learn more about this important time in U.S. history and to become more adept at using Choices’ materials on a range of important topics.”

“I am looking forward working with Travis,” Papritz said. “We are just trying to add a greater relevance to social studies and education in Kent.

“One of the reasons I applied for the institute is to be able to share my learning with other high school social studies teachers so that all students in our district can benefit from these training modules that incorporate higher-level thinking skills and common core application.”


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

t
Medical examiner identifies second victim in fiery Kent car crash

Troy Thorp, 61, died in May 11 single-vehicle crash along South 272nd Street on West Hill

t
Kent man, 52, receives reduced sentence in Seattle fatal shooting

Pleads guilty to lesser charge of manslaughter after video of 2020 shooting indicates self-defense

t
Kent Police use drone, K-9 unit to capture assault suspect

Man had fled after fight with security guard at apartment complex along SE Kent-Kangley Road

Jail bars. File photo
Renton man convicted in 2018 Des Moines homicide

Jurors found 28-year-old Yourhighness Jeramiah Bolar of Renton guilty of two felony charges.

t
One of two victims identified in fiery Kent crash

Kristen Anne Meyers, 53, died in May 11 crash on West Hill, according to medical examiner

t
City-owned ShoWare Center in Kent loses $742,675 in 2023

Losses lower than projected but expenses continue to exceed revenue at 6,200-seat arena

t
Kent firefighters extinguish two fires on the same morning | Photos

Friday, May 17 at apartment leasing office in the Valley and at a vacant East Hill house

Courtesy Photo, City of Kent
City of Kent population drops by 1,051 in 2023 compared to 2022

Decline similar to many cities of 50,000 or more across the nation, according to U.S. Census Bureau

t
Kent Police Blotter: April 25 to May 8

Incidents include burglaries, robberies, shootings

t
Rape charges dismissed against former Kent school bus driver

Prosecutors decide they could not prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt due to medical tests

t
Feds indict 9 South King County residents on drug trafficking charges

Those accused from Federal Way, Kent, Renton, Enumclaw

A screenshot of King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn speaking about a proposed amendment for the proposed $20 minimum wage ordinance. (Screenshot)
King County approves $20.29 minimum wage for unincorporated areas

Councilmember Reagan Dunn and more than a dozen business owners argued tips and health care expenses should be a part of the new wage. The council passed the ordinance without the amendment.