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Executive Director's Message: "The Time Between Conferences"

As we continue to reflect on our recent conference in Austin – and to advance informed action, agency, advocacy, and activism in the social studies – we also begin to establish our vision for the next 100 years through our next conference in Washington, D.C. Planning an annual conference is, quite literally, a year-round process involving hundreds of volunteers, thousands of volunteer hours, and detailed coordination among numerous moving parts. In the time between our annual conferences, your active engagement in our professional learning community fuels our energy. This time is filled with numerous possibilities and opportunities to advance our profession.

What are a few things we can all do right now to take full advantage of NCSS? Here are 7 simple tips to engage fully in NCSS “between Austin and DC”: 

1. Celebrate excellence in the social studies. If you would like to support our vital awards and recognition programs, we invite you to serve on an Awards Subcommittee to select the next top teacher, scholar, and program in social studies education. The application cycle for our recognition programs will be back soon, and before we accept new nominations for our profession’s top honors, you can share your expertise and play a lead role in identifying excellence in our profession!

2. Apply to become an NCSS leader. We continually accept applications for our Operations Committees and our Fund for the Advancement of Social Studies Education (FASSE) Governing Board. You are appointed by our NCSS President to play an important role in our overall governance. Now is the time to consider one of these opportunities to network with other dedicated volunteers and support our association’s mission to provide leadership, services, and support to all educators. 

3. Write for our publications. Submission guidelines for Social Education and Middle Level Learning are posted online, and we welcome manuscripts from our members. We also have guidelines for submitting to Social Studies and the Young Learner, our elementary-level journal.

4. Get to know your regional, state, and local social studies councils. Our Affiliated Councils provide another important space to lead, write, and learn. Many councils provide similar award and volunteer opportunities like NCSS and are often a great way to get ready for national-level leadership.

5. Join our Special Interest Communities. You can find over 20 topics and areas that most interest you. Many of our communities are also active pathways to council leadership.

6. Start a student honor society. Our Junior Rho Kappa (for students in the middle level grades 7-9) and Rho Kappa (high school grades 11—12) National Social Studies Honor Societies provides opportunities for students to show their engagement in social studies and be honored for their achievements! 

7. Attend a webinar. NCSS offers webinars and institutes for members and non-members throughout the year. Our current listing features programs in December and January.

I’ll keep it short (for now) – consider this a “lucky seven list” to begin your post-Austin, pre-DC NCSS activity. In the meantime, I invite you to connect with our team anytime to make your NCSS engagement the best it can be. I wish you a warm and wonderful holiday season!