Teaching, reaching, transforming
Dan Eckberg retired in 1997 after a distinguished teaching career in the Hopkins School District. He began as a social studies teacher in the 1960's and by the early 1970s became Coordinator of Instructional Services. In this role, he oversaw the Hopkins School District Television project, one of the first of its kind community cable channels. The project allowed 4th graders through senior high students to produce television programs that would reach district homes. "The motto was," Dan said," 'we don't do home movies.' These productions were broadcast quality." He further explains that the project allowed and encouraged students with a wide range of production skills--creativity, writing, teamwork, editing, and evaluation. The program won three national awards during Dan's tenure.
His innovative and engaging educational programs drew the interest of several creative students who were participating in History Day. History Day is a tiered national competition that encourages students in grades 6-12 to explore history - like a science fair for history. Students select a historical topic related to a national theme and develop their research into one of five presentation categories: research paper, exhibit, documentary, performance, or website. Students may then enter their projects into History Day competitions school, regional, state and national levels.
History Day students use multi-media productions to excel at History Day and some, with Eckberg's mentoring, went on to become National History Day winners. Two of those national award winners now work at the Minnesota Historical Society. Pictured with Dan, Jesse Heinzen (back left) and Alex Palmer use their talents daily to create multi-media productions for the Society's programs and exhibits, some of which include The 1968 Exhibit, Minnesota's Greatest Generation, and the Flour Tower at Mill City Museum.
In his retirement, Dan has time to keep in touch with these former students and to take advantage of his membership in the Minnesota Historical Society. "Initially, my students were involved with the Minnesota Historical Society through National History Day. MHS is a wonderful resource and I appreciate its commitment to education. That's one of the major reasons I'm pleased to support its mission." Last fall he created the Dr. E. Daniel Eckberg Fund for Education to help continue and enhance the educational experience for generations of students to come.