MONROE CENTER – Five teachers from Monroe Center School had the opportunity to continue their education by enrolling in the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) Train the Trainer program offered through the Barat Education Foundation this past summer. Through this class, each of these teachers became a trainer as well. This fall, these five teachers offered professional development to their colleagues in Meridian CUSD 223. Primary sources, documents or actual objects created during the time under study, help to provide students a window into the past. Through this program, educators and students have access to the Library of Congress primary sources.  The Library of Congress has more than 15 million digitized primary sources. Some of the advantages to using primary sources in the classroom include increased student engagement, construction of new knowledge, along with supporting the development of the collaboration, communication and critical thinking skills required by the Common Core State Standards/New Illinois Learning Standards.

Mrs. Metzger confirms the connection with CCSS by explaining, “Through analyzing sources the students are truly developing critical thinking skills which is exactly what the Common Core Standards are asking of them, not to mention developing fantastic speaking and listening skills.”

Five teachers from Monroe Center School took the TPS class this summer and offered professional development to their colleagues in Meridian CUSD 223. Mrs. Deana Simpson and Mrs. Amy Metzger were approached this winter by their TPS trainer, Mrs. Nancy Ryan (Barat Education Foundation) to present with her at a workshop at Highland Community College on Feb. 17, 2015. Simpson and Metzger presented, along with Ryan and Pam McGreer, to a group of approximately 51 teachers affiliated with ROE8. Simpson and Metzger shared how they are using TPS within their classrooms on a daily basis.

Mrs. Simpson shared, “Teaching with primary sources is such a natural fit for students and teachers. You can’t go wrong when you see all students in your classroom thriving during a lesson.”

For more information regarding Teaching with Primary Sources through the Barat Education Foundation, please contact Nancy Ryan ( or 815-988-4191) or visit

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