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Liberal Arts High Brings Taste of Higher Education to High School Classrooms

September 15, 2022

A classroom with students

Standing in front of 28 high school students in Mrs. Call’s 11A English class at Pocatello High School, Student Teacher and Idaho State student Shelby Killian introduced her college professor and mentor Dr. Marie Stango to the class. 


Stango spoke to the class through Idaho State University’s Liberal Art High program, adding a colorful historical lesson to the class unit on The Crucible.

Liberal Arts High gives students in high school a taste of higher education, with visiting professors from departments of the College of Arts and Letters programs. Courses range from Forensic Anthropology: As Not Seen on TV, and How Can I Help? Strategies for Helping Someone Experiencing a Mental Health Problem, to Getting Your Ensembles to Groove.

Liberal Arts High is a fantastic way to bring what we do on campus into our community,” Stango said. “It is really a fun experience to open up an interesting topic to students. I think it also provides a chance for them to see the variety of subjects we cover in our classrooms at ISU, and get excited about the prospect of taking one of these courses for a full semester after they finish high school.”

Stango said that Killian started planning the Liberal Arts High visit over the summer. They emailed and discussed what might work for the classes Killian would be student teaching, and how she saw Stango’s lecture fitting into The Crucible unit. Through Stango’s lecture, The Salem/Essex County Witch Trials of 1692, the students are getting a mini history lesson to contextualize the play they’re about to read and study.

Stango taught some myths regarding the trials, English law at the time, and some of the historical figures the students will soon be reading about such as Abigail Williams, Tituba, Sarah Osborne, and Reverend Samuel Parris. She pointed out the differences between history and the events of the novel, such as the fact that most of the accusers at the time were adult members of the community, not young girls. 

She also ensured that students experience a historical document from the period, Tituba’s testimony from March 1, 1692. The original document is difficult to read and written in cursive. Thankfully, Killian handed out copies of an accompanying typed transcription.

“Fun fact,” Killian told the class, “I transcribed a bunch of documents like this for Dr. Stango for two years. We will use these later when we start reading The Crucible.” 

Not only is Stango helping students gain a historical background on the novel, but helping to grow their interest in the subject. Students asked numerous questions and actively participated in the discussion.

Liberal Arts High allows us to build relationships with the teachers in our community,” Stango said. “The issues that our high school teachers are facing are ones that we absolutely need to be paying attention to, so it's important to keep the dialogue with them open.”

“So many of our local teachers are graduates of ISU, and many of our current ISU students will become educators. There is a massive teacher shortage in Idaho, and we need to be doing everything we can to help educate future teachers and support current teachers.”

For more information about Liberal Arts High please contact, 208-282-3204, or visit


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