Aiken County Public School students have been given the gift of access to historical data and information from any Aiken County Public School District device thanks to a new grant from AncestryK12, a product of ancestry.com.

Jackson STEM Magnet Middle School media specialist Kennita Hairston learned about the grant after reading an article related to researching family history.

She applied for the educational grant, which includes access to records from Ancestry Classroom, Fold3 military records and newspapers.com, on behalf of the entire school district.

This school year, AncestryK12 is being offered at no cost to the district. When the one-year grant expires individual schools will have the option to renew the service.

“I want our students to be able to make personal connections with historical events, people, places or an era through inquiry-based learning,” Hairston stated.

Students and educators have many research and teaching options available through the grant. The new access will allow students to learn about their family history, read through immigration records and Federal Census materials from Ancestry Classroom, or see military records through Fold3. Educators will also have lesson plans at their disposal. The lesson plans were developed by AncestryK12 and cover several core subjects. Some lesson plan subjects include the Civil War, the suffrage movement, immigration and life influencing art.

“These resources support many of our state standards, beyond social studies,” Hairston said. “The sky's the limit on how these resources can be used during core classes, an advisory period, or even as an after-school activity.”

AncestryK12 keeps students engaged and adds a fun twist to research as students are able to learn about their heritage and family history.

Plans for a student project using AncestryK12 are already underway at Jackson STEM Magnet Middle School, Hairston said.

“We are grateful to Mrs. Hairston for securing this grant for our District and are so excited to offer this opportunity to our students and families,” King Laurence, interim superintendent, said. “The opportunity for students to learn more about their ancestors comes at a perfect time heading into the holiday season, giving students new and exciting topics to discuss around the table during family gatherings.”

The AncestryK12 website is located online at www.ancestryk12.com.