Middle and High School Holocaust Education Project

Grants and Contracts Details


In April 2021, the Anti-Defamation League reported that in 2020 Kentucky experienced “the highest number of anti-Semitic incidents in the state” since the ADL began reporting such events in 1979. In this era of rising anti-Semitism and misinformation, the Commonwealth urgently needs greater education about both the Holocaust and how to combat anti-Semitism. In 2018, the Kentucky State legislature recognized this need and unanimously passed the Ann Klein and Fred Gross Holocaust Education Act mandating Holocaust education in Kentucky middle and high schools. However, Kentuckians who identify as Jewish make up less than 1% of the state’s population—about 10,000 people clustered mainly in Louisville, Lexington, and Paducah. Not surprisingly, most Kentuckians are not personally acquainted with Jewish people, nor do most children encounter Jewish children in school. Given Kentucky’s unique circumstances, the 2018 Ann Klein and Fred Gross Holocaust Education Act must be implemented with care, so that Kentuckians’ first introduction to Jewish culture, heritage, and religious practices is not solely through the lens of the Holocaust and its survivors. To ensure pedagogically sound state-mandated Holocaust Education, University of Kentucky Jewish Studies faculty propose a pilot professional development education initiative to collaborate with and train Kentucky high school and middle school teachers to develop and teach this vital curriculum, first in Fayette County Public Schools and then across the Commonwealth. To design and implement this Holocaust Education Initiative, UK Jewish Studies Faculty will work with key partners: Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS) middle school English language arts and high school social studies teachers and the UK Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CELT) to create high-quality middle and high school Holocaust curriculum to be used across the Commonwealth. This initiative builds on UK’s history as a leader in Holocaust education, dating back to 1979 when Prof. Jeremy Popkin introduced one of the first college level Holocaust history courses in the country, and our more recent experiences training future teachers enrolled in education programs at UK. On October 13, 2021, UK Jewish Studies and UK College of Education faculty collaborated with FCPS teachers to develop and implement a Holocaust education workshop for 44 future high school and middle school teachers currently enrolled in the Masters in Certification and Middle School education programs at UK. The workshop’s success led to a commitment from both UK Jewish Studies and College of Education Faculty to continue the workshop annually in the fall semester to allow student teachers to be trained prior to entering FCPS classrooms in the spring semester. With the parallel Holocaust educator initiatives aimed at future teachers trained at UK and across the Commonwealth, UK Jewish Studies is poised to create a national model for exemplary Holocaust teacher training.
Effective start/end date12/1/218/31/23


  • Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence: $47,119.00


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