Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Joan Feldner, left, and Karen Haas answer teacher's history questions at Monday's in-service workshop in the Saugus Train Station. Photos by Alex Collins / The Signal
SCV Teachers Learn Local History

By Patti Rasmussen
Signal Staff Writer

Tuesday, May 6, 2003

andits and gold, rivers and tunnels were just a few of the topics discussed Monday when more than 50 elementary school teachers gathered for a history workshop inside the Saugus Train Station at Heritage Junction in Newhall.
    Led by Joan Feldner of the Saugus Union School District and Karen Haas, a teacher at Rosedell Elementary School, the in-service workshop focused on the history of the Santa Clarita Valley, which is part of the third-grade curriculum.
    Teachers were given large classroom maps and flip-charts outlining 14 areas of historic interest. The maps and charts were funded by a community services grant from the city of Santa Clarita and designed by a volunteer from the Santa Clarita Valley School and Business Alliance during an internship with the SCV Historical Society.
    Feldner, who has been teaching local history for the past 25 years, said it's nice to hold inter-district workshops so educators can share information.
    "We used to have a three-page mimeograph booklet on local history that was put together by the (Saugus school) district and that was our curriculum," she said. "Now with the Internet and other sources, the aspect of sharing between districts is so advantageous for teachers."
Feldner addresses the group of third-grade elementary school teachers.
    Donna Hartley and Margo Grisanti, third-grade teachers at Charles Helmers Elementary, said they were happy to get more information to pass on to their students. For a class assignment, their students were to visit sites of historic interest, research it and prepare a report to share with classmates.
    With many of the districts scaling down expenses due to state budget cuts, those without access to field trips and school buses hope to encourage students to visit historic sites with family members.
    During the workshop, one of Hartley's students came to the train station with his father to get more information on the Walk of Western Stars.
    "It's always nice to know that where you grow up, there are interesting facts," Grisanti said.
    Several teachers from the Newhall School District stayed after the workshop to discuss areas of interest for their students. Feldner said she was glad to share information with the teachers, especially since there is so much history in the Newhall area.
    "They were pleased because they said they learned a lot at the workshop today," Feldner said. "I think all the teachers were very impressed."
    City Councilwoman Laurene Weste said the community grant funds were put to good use on the workshops.
    "The Santa Clarita Valley is just rich with history," she said. "Many of the things that make our state a great state are rooted right here. This will give the students an opportunity to learn about the history and see it up close and personal."
    Haas said it would be a goal next year to try to arrange bus tour field trips for teachers so they will have an opportunity to visit historic sites and ask questions.

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