Driven 2 Teach

Educators Experience History Firsthand

Emily Seare | Photos courtesy of Driven 2 Teach Sep 12, 2018

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is an experience worth? Each year Utah educators learn the value of experiencing history firsthand through the Driven 2 Teach program.

At no cost to teachers or schools, the Driven 2 Teach program gives educators in grades 5-12 specializing in American history or historical literature an extended, hands-on learning experience unlike any other. By taking these teachers out of the classroom and to the very places where history happened, history comes alive. “I have learned so much and will be able to share many pictures and experiences with my students for years to come,” says Debbie Dow, a participant in the Driven 2 Teach program.

Passion for History

What began as a conversation in 2007 between Utah entrepreneur Larry H. Miller and American author and historian David McCullough developed into a program to help teachers improve the way history is taught in schools. “Larry Miller had a deep passion for our founding fathers and the freedoms they established for our country,” says Jay Francis, executive vice president of Corporate Affairs and Miller Family Philanthropy for Larry H. Miller Group. “Due to their work, Larry felt empowered to be an entrepreneur, and he wanted others to understand our rich early American history.” 

Preparing to Learn

Once accepted into the Driven 2 Teach program, educators are required to attend pre- and post-trip meetings, as well as read and discuss several scholarly academic texts, historical novels, and pedagogical publications and resources. Each participant prepares a lesson plan related to a specific topic that coincides with the area they will visit during their summer trip. Lesson plans are shared with other teachers participating in the program, providing the educators a robust curriculum on the historical sites.

Priceless Experience

“There are few experiences that can change our lives in a way that alters how we see and feel about the world we live in,” says Lani Baker, a teacher at Richfield High School. While touring the battlefield and cemetery where the Gettysburg Address was given in Pennsylvania or hiking the Freedom Trail in Boston, the memories created in the program are priceless — for the teachers and their future students.

“Zions Bank is honored to help provide Utah teachers the chance to participate in these field studies,” says Scott Anderson, president and chief executive officer of Zions Bank.

Lasting Impact

The Driven 2 Teach program, in partnership with Zions Bank, strives to inform, inspire and support excellent classroom teaching. Participants receive curriculum resources from sites visited and are expected to return to the classroom as teacher mentors in their school community. To date, Driven 2 Teach has sponsored hundreds of teachers, impacting more than 500,000 Utah students.

“Driven 2 Teach has changed what I teach, how I teach and even how I will continue to learn myself,” Baker says. “It was inspiring to see, feel, taste, smell and hear history in a way that I never experienced before in books. I can’t wait to share what I have learned with my students.”

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