UK Holocaust Education Initiative

Grants and Contracts Details


Abstract/Project Description In 2018, the Kentucky State legislature 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 and most Kentuckians are not personally acquainted with Jewish people. Given Kentucky’s unique circumstances, this act must be implemented with care. Building on UK’s history as a leader in Holocaust education dating back to 1979, when Dr. Jeremy Popkin introduced one of the first college-level Holocaust history courses in the U.S., UK Jewish Studies Faculty are working with key partners across the Commonwealth and the UK Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CELT) to create high-quality middle and high school Holocaust curriculum and professional development sessions to be used in teacher training across the Commonwealth. In Stage One, we piloted two workshops. The first took place on October 13, 2021 when UK Jewish Studies and UK College of Education faculty collaborated with Fayette County Public School teachers to offer 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. This successful format will be repeated with new cohorts annually in the fall semester. The second workshop took place January 17, 2022, when UK Jewish Studies and FCPS partners implemented a 5-hour professional development session with 27 FCPS teachers to prepare them to introduce Holocaust curriculum in their Spring 2022 classrooms. Participant feedback indicated that teachers found that this valuable session improved their confidence and ability to teach the Holocaust within the state curriculum. To ensure pedagogically sound, state-mandated Holocaust Education, University of Kentucky Jewish Studies faculty request support for Stage Two of this professional development initiative to offer seven Summer 2022 workshops to develop Holocaust curriculum and train teachers across the Commonwealth. This curriculum will be created in collaboration with and specifically for Kentucky middle school and high school teachers in accordance with Kentucky standards in English Language Arts and Social Studies. This targeted collaboration with teachers to meet specific teacher needs is a critical part of our innovative model. With 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 state- centered Holocaust teacher training. In Stage Three, we will build on the work from Stages One and Two to create clusters of Holocaust educators around the state to continue this important work. Along with these educators, we will also continue to build a curated library of Kentucky- centered Holocaust lesson plans and activities that will be accessible to all teachers in the state.
Effective start/end date6/1/223/31/24


  • Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence: $300,000.00


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