Heritage Education to offer thousands of free materials for teaching American history with links to new Common Core standards.

January 30, 2013 

Washington, DC — The American Heritage Society announced today that it has received a grant of $843,784 from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to build Heritage Education, an innovative Internet-based system of free online historical resources for schoolteachers and students. 

The nonprofit American Heritage Society publishes the award winning, 62-year-old American Heritage magazine.  It is dedicated to advancing historical knowledge and improving the teaching of American history at K-12 and college levels. 

“We are committed to improving educational achievement in the United States and look forward to supporting teachers and students in achieving higher academic standards with these resources,” said the Society’s CEO Edwin S. Grosvenor.  “Our nation ranks poorly in reading, and only 12% of our high school seniors are ‘proficient’ in American history.  We thought our expertise could be brought to bear in support of academic excellence and are grateful that the Helmsley Charitable Trust shares our commitment.”

Heritage Education will be a substantial, “one-stop shopping” system offering resources categorized by subject and era for teachers to assign to their students.  It will offer the Society’s vast archives of more than 10,000 essays written by preeminent historians for the magazine, bundled with thousands of primary historical documents and even artifacts.  It will be an important resource for planning lessons, conducting teacher workshops, and developing student assessment tools. 

“The vision is really exciting,” said Susan Griffin, Executive Director of the National Council for Social Studies, a national organization representing teachers.

“We are excited to provide teachers with the historical documents and essays provided by the American Heritage Society," said Rich McKeon, Program Director for Education at the Helmsley Charitable Trust.  “The Common Core’s college and career-ready standards include an ability to read complex nonfiction, and the Society’s rich resources will be another invaluable tool as teachers prepare their students to meet these new benchmarks.”

The system will help schools implement Common Core State Standards (CCSS) by providing annotated nonfictional resources for social studies and English Language Arts teachers.  The CCSS standards, which have been adopted by 45 states, provide guidelines of what high school students need for success in college and careers. They will help students learn to read for knowledge, glean information from texts and visuals, research, analyze, and debate standpoints.

Heritage Education will be piloted in three school districts, including New York City, before being rolled out in the nation’s largest school systems during 2014.

“We are thrilled for the chance to be able to help thousands of teachers and possibly millions of students,” says Mr. Grosvenor.  “This is a real opportunity.”  

About The American Heritage Society

The American Heritage Society (AHS) is a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit based in Rockville, Maryland, dedicated to connecting American to their shared heritage.  The Society publishes American Heritage and Invention & Technology magazines as well as books, and is developing new media resources to assist in the teaching K-12 and college students American history, English Language Arts, and STEM subjects.  After its completes the acquisitions of assets from the 62-year-old American Heritage Publishing, the Society will be the largest member-based historical organization with over 200,000 members.

About The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective nonprofits in a variety of selected areas. Since 2008, when the Trust began its active grantmaking, it has committed approximately $800 million to a wide range of charitable organizations. For more information on the Trust and its programs, please visit the website, www.helmsleytrust.org.



Edwin S. Grosvenor

 (240) 453-0900

egrosvenor [at] americanheritage.com