Maryland Educator Honored with History® Award for Service at National History Day
The Maryland Humanities Council is pleased to announce that RaeLynne Snyder of Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPSS) was honored with the HISTORY® Award for Service at the culmination of the 2015 Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Competition on June 18, 2015. The HISTORY® Award for Service, sponsored by HISTORY®, is a national award presented each year to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to history education through service to the National History Day (NHD) program. The award comes with a $5,000 cash prize from HISTORY®.
Ms. Snyder currently serves as Social Studies Specialist in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Baltimore City Public Schools and previously served as a middle school social studies teacher in the Baltimore City system. Her contribution to the growth of both National History Day and Maryland History Day has made an unprecedented impact on teachers and students in Baltimore City.
Throughout her seven-year tenure at BCPSS, Ms. Snyder has dedicated herself to bringing National History Day to schools throughout the Baltimore City system. She began by including NHD in her middle school social studies curriculum, and then quickly progressed to planning a credit course for Baltimore City teachers that would provide them with the tools to use NHD in their classrooms. Working with the Maryland Humanities Council, the home of Maryland History Day, Ms. Snyder developed a year-long course that offered comprehensive resources and historical content-based sessions as well as practical steps for using the NHD model. In the fall of 2014 Ms. Snyder’s department made NHD a component of the Middle School Honor’s Curriculum. BCPSS and the Maryland Humanities Council offered a second year-long course, building the program with new teachers and schools. Her efforts led to increased participation in Maryland History Day, with 19 schools, 54 teachers, and 2,725 students involved. And this year Ms. Snyder added to her achievements by organizing the first Baltimore City competition in over a decade, held on March 14, 2015.
Ms. Snyder had this to say about her NHD experience: “This year we had 2,700 students complete projects in Baltimore City, and hosted our own district competition, which is amazing. But it’s about more than that. It’s about Octavia finding her voice portraying Vito Russo. It’s about Lily, an eighth grader, talking to the judges about the ‘complexity of human emotions.’ The stories go on. I feel like my words don’t properly describe the impact that History Day has on the lives it touches—everybody is made better for it: the students, the people they interview, the community partners who judge the projects or help along the way, the families, the teachers, everybody is made better for having participated in this process. History Day has certainly changed my life and I am better because of it.”
Ms. Snyder was also honored with the Educator of Distinction Award on May 2, 2015, as part of Maryland History Day. A program of the Maryland Humanities Council now in its 15th year, the statewide competition involves nearly 23,000 students at the school level, representing 18 counties and Baltimore City. Students research topics that address the National History Day theme and participate in school and county competitions to qualify for the state contest. Winners of the Maryland History Day state contest advance to the national competition in College Park.