Curriculum and Instruction

Development of the Great Irish Famine Curriculum

  • In 1995 members of New York State's Irish community approached the Office of the Governor and the State Legislature work with them in commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Great Irish Famine in 1997
  • In 1996 the Education Law was amended to require that instruction about the Great Irish Famine be included in the curriculum of all New York State's public schools.(Education Law ยง 801, Chapter 697).
  • In 1998 $200,000 as included in the budget to develop a curriculum with appropriate resources for grades 4-12. In 1999, another $100,000 was added to the budget for the curriculum.
  • The contract to develop the curriculum was awarded to Hofstra University in 1999. Dr. Maureen Murphy, a noted scholar in Irish Studies was named director.
  • An international Advisory Committee was appointed to oversee the development of the curriculum. It is comprised of noted famine scholars and historians from the United States and Ireland.
  • The curriculum was developed over the next two years. It is comprised of 150 learning experiences and materials framed by the New York State learning standards for grades 4-12.
  • In the course of its development it has been field tested in over thirty school districts across the State, representing New York's diverse student and teacher population, particularly in its high needs districts. In addition, professional associations in social studies, English Language Arts and the arts reviewed and field tested many of the lessons.
  • In June, 2001 the curriculum was completed and endorsed by the full International Advisory Committee.
  • September 2002 one copy of the curriculum, along with a field memorandum on its development and use, was distributed to public and private every school building in the State.
  • Additional copies are available from the State Education Department's publications sales desk and there has been, to date, a heavy volume of orders.
Last Updated: September 3, 2009