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NCSS Social Studies Programs of Excellence Award

Sponsored by:

National Council for the Social Studies




  • Commemorative gift for the institution
  • Teacher certificates
  • Annual Conference session presentation
  • Publicity


To identify and provide recognition for outstanding social studies programs
currently being implemented in the United States and to encourage the growth
and development of innovative and effective programs in the social studies.


  • A social studies program currently being implemented in the United States
  • A program of outstanding quality based on a curriculum framework
    consistent with the NCSS Curriculum Standards for Social Studies or the
    revised NCSS Standards for the Preparation of Social Studies Teachers.
  • A complete social studies program (not single courses or parts of
    programs), which encourages articulation, balance of content, a variety of
    teaching strategies, and the involvement of teachers,students, and the

Categories of Entry:

  1. District Social Studies Program: district-wide at the elementary school,
    middle school/junior high, senior high, or K-12 levels
  2. Elementary School Social Studies Program: K-6; may be a segment of an
    elementary program, e.g., primary K-3, intermediate 3-6.
  3. Middle School/Junior High School Social Studies Program: may be 5-7, 6-9,
    6-8, etc.
  4. Senior High School Social Studies Program: may be 9-12,10-12, etc.
  5. Social Studies Teacher Education Program: may be district staff
    development or preservice training at college/university level.
  6. Non-commercial organizations, agencies, or institutions in on going
    association with numbers 1-5 listed above (this includes state or local NCSS


  1. The Teacher -An exemplary social studies program should involve
    social studies teachers who:
  2. Evidence both scholarship and expertise in the curriculum they
  3. Evidence participation in all aspects of the development of this
    curriculum, including setting goals and objectives as well as program
    development, implementation, evaluation, and revision.
  4. Apply sound instructional theory and practice in the implementation
    of the program.
  5. The Curriculum An exemplary social studies program should include a
    social studies curriculum that:
    *Is guided by thoughtfully selected as well as clearly stated and
    defined goals and objectives.
  6. Is based on sound scholarship from the content areas relative to
    the social studies.
  7. Sets high expectations for students and uses a variety of
    systematic and valid measures to evaluate student performance.
  8. Relates appropriately to the age, maturity, interests, and needs of
    the students for whom it is designed.
  9. Incorporates effective instructional strategies and techniques that
    engage students directly and actively in the learning process both in and out
    of the classroom.
  10. Provides valid evidence that the outcome of the program is
    consistent with the stated goals and objectives.
  11. Is consistent with the ten thematic strands identified by NCSS
    Curriculum Standards for Social Studies.
  12. The Students An exemplary social studies program should engage
    social studies students in:
  13. The critical examination of significant content, issues, and events
    from a variety of perspectives.
  14. Focused systematic observations, comprehensive decision making, and
    active participation in their school, community, and world.
  15. Understanding democratic principles and participation in the
    democratic process.

Before Applying, please check that your state council is participating in this
recognition program.

List of State Program Coordinators

State Level Entry Requirements

Eight sets, one original and seven copies of the following materials (each set
of materials must be bound with labeled subject dividers):

  • Program Entry Checklist (form SP-8).
  • Cover Page (form SP-6; 2 pages; and professional resume or vita).
  • Abstract of program, maximum 75 words (form SP-7).
  • Definition of a Program/Criteria Fit - Brief description of how your
    program fits the definition and criteria listed in from SP-2 (maximum 6
    single sided, double spaced, typewritten pages on a 8-1/2 x 11 in. paper).

Is your program:

  • A social studies program currently being implemented in the United
  • A program of outstanding quality based on a curriculum framework
    consistent with the NCSS Curriculum Standards for Social Studies or the
    revised NCSS Standards for the Preparation of Social Studies Teachers
  • A complete social studies program (not single courses or parts of
    programs) which encourages:
    • articulation
    • balance of content
    • a variety of teaching strategies, and
    • the involvement of teachers, students, and the community
    • Program Curriculum--description of goals, objectives, teaching
      strategies, assessments, and program implementation (15 page maximum).
    • Required Letters of Support (at least one letter from each category,
      refer to SP-1)
    • Principal, college dean, or other on-site program supervisor;
    • State Social Studies Curriculum/Program Coordinator (verifying that the
      program is currently being implemented);
    • Classroom Teacher or Teacher Educator (that participates in the program).
    • Other Support Documents (5 document maximum. No document should exceed
      three pages).
    • Letter from student, parent, or community individual or organization;
    • Letter from superintendent, college/university president, or other
      education program administrator;
    • samples of work, teaching portfolios, newspaper articles, information on
      participants, video tape of program implementation (eight copies of video if

State Level Submission Requirements

Eight (8) sets of all the materials listed under "State Level entry
Requirements" (one original and seven copies), each set should be placed in a
three-ring or similar binder with labeled subject dividers, and should be
submitted to your social studies state council's Program of Excellence

**Please check with your state council for exact state council application

State Level Application Forms


National Nomination Requirements

From the programs submitted at the state level, a social studies state
council will select up to two programs and nominate them for the national
level award. The state council is responsible for completing and including
the following forms/materials in each of the nomination packets:

  • Program Entry Checklist (National Level form NP-3A)
  • National Entry Cover Page (form NP-4)
  • Letter of nomination from the state council president;
  • Letter from the State Council's Awards Coordinator - describing the
    state selection process, identifying any other programs considered for
    national nomination, and supporting your program's nomination for the national
  • State Council Justification of Nomination that emphasizes: (a) how
    the program fits the definition of an exemplary program (as stated on SP-2 and
    NP-2); (b) how the program incorporates the Curriculum Guidelines (found
    on SP-3); and (c) identifies those areas where the program excels.
    (Maximum 5, single-sided, double-spaced, typewritten pages).
  • Site Visit Form (form NP-5) - program contact information and a list of
    the individuals that served on the site visit team that evaluated this
  • *Supplemental Site Visit Form *(form NP-5A) - completed by each site visit
    team member listed on NP-5. Each of these forms should include:
    1. the site visit team member's name, institution/affiliation, preferred
      mailing address, daytime telephone number, fax number and e-mail address;
    2. comments regarding the site visit; and
    3. site visit team member's signature and site visit date.
  • Evaluation Form (form NP-6; 2 pages) - completed by each site visit team

National Submission Requirements

  • Seven (7) sets of all the materials listed under "National Nomination
    Requirements" (one original and six copies), each set of national level
    materials should be labeled with subject dividers and placed in front of each
    set of state level application materials and then placed in a three-ring
    binder or similar binder. For your convenience, a list of state council
    Programs of Excellence Award Coordinators is attached.

Please note that the committee will consider composition, spelling, grammar,
etc. in the evaluation process.

Review the contents of your submission carefully! Application materials that
are incomplete or that do not meet the established award criteria requirements
will not be considered. The selection committee reserves the right to remove
from consideration any application that fails to meet all submission


National Level Application Forms (for State Council POE Coordinator Use)

If you are having difficulties accessing the state level (SP) or National
Level (NP) application forms, you may e-mail or mail your name and contact
information specifying what you are requesting to

or by mail to:

Social Studies Programs of Excellence
National Council for the Social Studies
8555 Sixteenth Street, Suite 500
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Programs selected by state councils must be submitted to NCSS POSTMARK
DEADLINE BY: April 30, 2011

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