The Rose Hill Cemetery Place-Based Learning Project provides students and teachers in the Tampa Bay area with transformative student-centered learning opportunities. Through the collaborative efforts of the Hillsborough County School District, The Rose Hill Cemetery Association, and the local Tarpon Springs Community, the project aims to reconnect the classroom and the community.
The Rose Hill Cemetery serves as the largest intact segregated African American cemetery in Pinellas County, Florida. Established in the early twentieth-century, the cemetery reflects the trials and triumphs of the Tarpon Springs African American community from the Civil War through current day. Home to nineteenth-century black hook spongers, community leaders, military veterans, and civil rights activists, the cemetery provides teachers and students with a unique opportunity to explore Afro-Caribbean and African American hidden stories and experiences in Florida.
The Rose Hill Cemetery Place-Based Learning Project provides free curricular material to secondary social studies teachers interested in infusing African American and Afro-Caribbean history into their classroom. All lesson plans available on this website connect to state and national standards, making them classroom-ready. Lesson plans engage students in a wide variety of primary sources including archival documents, oral histories, photographs, artifacts, monuments, and memorials.
In addition to lesson plans and materials, the project provides a template for teachers and students to explore the human experience through cultural landscapes in their own community.
This project and website also serves as a community resource, allowing local community members to explore and discover an expanding archival collection dedicated to preserving the history and memory of those buried at the cemetery.
The Rose Hill Cemetery Place-Based Learning Project is directed by Shannon Peck-Bartle. Ms. Peck-Bartle holds a M.A. in Applied Anthropology from the University of South Florida and is a doctoral student in the College of Education at the University of South Florida. Ms. Peck-Bartle is a founding member of the African American Cemetery Alliance of Tampa Bay (www.aacatb.org). She has been teaching secondary social studies with the Hillsborough County School District since 2004.
Place- Based Learning
What is place-based learning?
Place-based learning is an instructional design that integrates the role of place, identity, and student agency. It shares student-centered characteristics with several other learning strategies including project-based, problem-based, inquiry-based, community-centered, and service-based learning. This learning strategy encourages critical analysis of the role place plays in the shaping of individual, community, and national identities.
How is place-based learning unique?
A key feature of place-based learning is its ability to establish horizontal relationships between students, teachers, and community members. This shifts the context and purpose of teaching and learning away from the teacher and classroom. Additionally, place-based learning recenters students as agents of history instead of observers of history. The recentering of place engages students in transformative learning, encouraging students to reflect on the transformative agency of places associated with their world and world view. The centering of student inquiry in place shifts the paradigm of learning from traditional teacher – classroom environments to student-community environments.