Dollar Bay-Tamarack Area SchoolsTeacher Wins National History Day Award

May 24, 2010

Kevin Butler, 5-6th grade teacher from Dollar Bay-Tamarack Area Schools, has been awarded the 2010 National History Day Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award for Michigan. Dollar Bay-Tamarack Area Schools is a small rural school district with approximately 300 students in grades K-12 in the Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

The Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award recognizes outstanding teachers participating in the National History Day program at both the state and national level. The award criteria includes classroom experience with a National History Day state program with preference given to a teacher working with “at risk” populations, a documented commitment to student-led historical research and evidence of evidence of creativity in the classroom that exceeds the expected participation in the program.

The Historical Society of Michigan’s flagship educational program, Michigan History Day is a state affiliate for the National History Day. Over half a million students across participate in National History Day with about 5,500 students participating in Michigan History Day program which operates from September through June. Students research history topics of their choice related to an annual theme and create exhibits, documentaries, performances, papers and web sites, and enter these projects into competitions at the regional, state, and national levels.

Butler began his experience with the program by incorporating the History Day program into his 6th grade curriculum in 2005. Since that time he has expanded the program. Butler’s students have advanced to both the Michigan History Day state finals and on to National History Day outside Washington DC.

Butler believes the value of participating in the program is immense. “The Michigan History Day research pulls these kids away from their ‘fill me with information’ attitudes, and leads them to be true thinkers that compare, question and discriminate the information they have sought commented Butler. “They are able to take ownership of their learning, which we all know is crucial for real growth.”

Jane and Erik Nordberg, Coordinators for Michigan History Day Region 1 program recommended Kevin for the Patricia Behring Award noting that Kevin’s work with students inspires an enthusiasm in history and said, “he is a great teacher who has thrown himself full-throttle into History Day.”

The state level award includes a $500 cash prize. Butler will now advance to compete against teachers that also participate in their local National History Day programs from fifty states, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense Schools, International Schools-Asia and the U.S. Territories for a $10,000 prize.

Michigan History Day is an educational program of the Historical Society of Michigan, the state’s oldest cultural organization. For more information, visit


Historical Society of Michigan 7435 Westshire Dr., Lansing MI 48917
Email | Phone (517) 324-1828 | Fax (517) 324-4370

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