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Getting Social

Building the Future

Happy New Year!

Many of us took an extended holiday week off to spend time with friends and family, perhaps travel, and most certainly unwind and refresh. As 2018 begins, we look ahead to all that is possible in our new year, and reflect on the past year’s achievements. (Do any of us take out our 2017 New Year’s resolutions for comparison?)

Giving the Gift of Social Studies

I think we all agree that one of the highest priorities of a well-rounded education is to ensure that our students have the tools they need for active civic engagement. Regardless of our political beliefs, we collectively work hard so that our students are prepared for college, career, and civic life. That work is so important to our organization that it headlines the main page of our web site.

San Francisco and the State of Social Studies in 2017

As I post this blog, the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) is just two weeks away from hosting our annual flagship event, the nation’s largest social studies education conference. If you are planning to attend, I hope you’re as excited as I am for a phenomenal week of professional learning in the City by the Bay, and your bags are packed! If you’re reading this and are not too familiar with NCSS, I invite you to learn more about us and our conference at

Happy New Year!

In many ways, July 1 always feels like a new year to me. It’s often the start of a new fiscal year, and I’ve had a few paid and volunteer positions in my career with a July 1 start date. There’s always a temptation in me to “get everything ready” for a big release or roll-out on July 1 – to start the new year off with a major pronouncement or initiative.


In celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week this past May, we asked for stories of what inspired you to become a social studies teacher. As summer vacation is in full swing and many of us are deep in our own summer professional learning, now is a great time to ask that question again. Summer is both a time for rejuvenation and preparation for the next school year – a time when many educators become full-time learners and immerse in study tours, teaching institutes, curriculum writing projects, or own coursework toward a graduate degree or new certification.

Student Voice in the Social Studies

A few years ago, NCSS established the Rho Kappa National Social Studies Honor Society, the only national program for high school junior and seniors that recognizes their excellence and achievement in social studies learning. In a short time, over 500 Rho Kappa chapters have been established in 38 U.S. states and 4 countries. If you’d like to learn more about Rho Kappa, check out We invite you to start a chapter in your own school and recognizing student success in our discipline!

Learning from the Best

Every year, professional associations recognize outstanding achievement in the classroom through Teacher of the Year awards. Being recognized by your peers is one of the highest honors and humbling moments for any educator. The process of forming an awards committee, selecting a recipient from many outstanding educators, and organizing the awards event is an important part of any conference. There was an outstanding take-away I wanted to highlight from the Minnesota Council for the Social Studies’ annual conference in February: a session called “Learning from the Best: Award-Winning Social Studies Teachers Share Their Insights.”