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Executive Director's Message: "Junior is Here!"

Recently, I remembered the anticipation, excitement, and jitters of setting up my middle school classroom. I was very fortunate to be in the same classroom every year. In that pre-dawn era without wi-fi and laptop carts, a big challenge was figuring out how to decorate the space and manage the desks and tables with new artifacts, pictures, posters, and other things collected from summer travels and study experiences. I recall the excitement of reading new class rosters for the first time; making welcome name tents, messages, and packets; making phone calls home welcoming students and parents (no text or e-mail yet!); and wondering how my first days with a new class of 7th and 8th graders would go. What would be new and exciting for my middle schoolers this year?

I am pleased to share that NCSS rolled out a brand new program for middle-level learners this year: an extension of our popular and growing Rho Kappa National Social Studies Honor Society for middle-level learners. That’s right: Junior is Here!

Our Junior Rho Kappa National Social Studies Honor Society is the only national organization for middle or junior high school students that recognizes excellence in the field of social studies. Any accredited public or private middle or junior high school can apply for a local chapter, through which individuals will be inducted into the Junior Rho Kappa National Social Studies Honor Society. This program is a wonderful way for your school to provide national recognition for your outstanding students. Junior Rho Kappa encourages student interest in social studies. It also fosters a passion for civic engagement in your students, since this program recognizes students who are prepared for an active civic life!

If you are opening your middle school classroom this year and looking for an innovative new approach to ignite your students’ passion for social studies, consider starting a chapter in your school. You can learn about selecting and inducting new members, including the basic requirements of our program that you can expand upon in your school at your discretion. NCSS also offers a set of Frequently Asked Questions about this program and will continue adding new responses based on your continued feedback.

Throughout this inaugural year, NCSS will share many resources and strategies to support a new network of Junior Rho Kappa chapters nationwide and encourage chapters to connect together. Please consider giving the gift of social studies to your middle-level students and school this year by starting a Junior Rho Kappa chapter! And stay tuned throughout the year to learn more about our growing Rho Kappa chapter network – including sessions at our upcoming NCSS 99th Annual Conference in Austin, Texas.

Our popular Rho Kappa program for high school juniors and seniors continues to grow, and we continue to welcome new chapters every month. Maybe your school district would like to start Rho Kappa and Junior Rho Kappa chapters together? NCSS can help you!

Welcome back to school. We hope you and your students had a wonderful start to the school year – and ignite a deep passion for social studies learning.