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Frazier, Brownsville teachers invited to prestigious Library of Congress program

| Saturday, June 15, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Yolanda Pato, a teacher in the Frazier School District, is one of two local teachers selected from a pool of more than 500 applicants to participate in the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Summer Teacher Institute in Washington.
Tony Salvucci

Two local teachers who will attend a prestigious national program at the Library of Congress this summer hope to return with skills to help students use primary sources.

Yolanda Pato of Frazier School District and Anthony Salvucci of Brownsville Area School District will attend the “Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Summer Teacher Institute” in Washington, D.C.

Pato, who has spent three years at Frazier, teaches learning support and the district's gifted program. Salvucci, who has spent four years at Brownsville, teaches ninth-grade civics and 11th-grade Advanced Placement U.S. History.

The teachers were among four Pennsylvania teachers selected to attend from a pool of more than 500 applicants. The other two state participants work in eastern Pennsylvania schools.

“We'll be going over using primary sources — photographs, newspapers — how to read them, interpret them and use them in doing research,” Pato said.

Pato, of Belle Vernon, planned to attend the seminar in June.

“I thought if I got some more training on how to use primary sources, it would be a good way to prepare my students,” Pato said, adding that she wants students to participate in a history day competition.

She wants students to think critically, analyze and evaluate.

“I just want us to be competitive in the area of history and understanding and high-order thinking,” Pato said. “Even though we are a small district, we have great potential there.”

David Blozowich, Frazier superintendent, lauded Pato's “energy and enthusiasm.”

“It's an honor to be able to have the best of the best out there teaching our kids,” Blozowich said, noting Pato's drive and initiative to apply for the program. “Certainly everything she brings back is going to benefit the students.”

Salvucci, of Castle Shannon, plans to attend the Library of Congress seminar later this summer.

“I'm excited to go to the Library of Congress. I'm going to have special access,” he said. “To be able to take that and bring it into the classroom is something that I think is very special.”

Teachers will learn how to use direct sources, such as newspapers, speeches, political cartoons, Supreme Court decisions and quotes in the classroom, he said.

“I'm honored to be able to work with a young man like (Salvucci). He's very progressive in his studies and his teachings,” Brownsville Superintendent Philip Savini Jr. said. “He allows a lot of student input into the classes, allowing them to experience and open their minds to what's going on in those studies.”

The Library of Congress hosts the summer of seminars in Washington annually.

Teachers work with Library of Congress specialists and experts to learn “effective practices for using primary sources in the classroom,” according to a Library news release. Teachers can explore millions of digitized artifacts and documents.

They'll develop “primary-source-based teaching strategies,” ways to develop critical-thinking skills in students, the Library said.

Rossilynne Skena is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or