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A Time to Lead

One of the biggest learning needs we hear from our members is the need to cultivate a personal leadership style as a social studies educator. Whether you are teaching students about leadership traits and habits, taking a personal leadership role within a team or department, or preparing for a professional move into an administrative role, leadership development is a critical area for social studies educators. It is also an area that is arguably overlooked.

NCSS is responding to the need for leadership development through an exciting re-invention of our annual Summer Leadership Institute (SLI). In prior years, SLI was based in the Washington, D.C. area: a chance to sharpen advocacy skills, prepare resolutions for the annual NCSS House of Delegates assembly, and schedule time with Congressional members to advocate for social studies education. Last year, SLI changed to become the “Summer Legislative Institute”, providing an additional forum for participants to share best practices with each other on state-level advocacy, and return home with resources to hold state- and local-level conversations about the importance of the social studies in a well-rounded education.

This summer, we return to the “Summer Leadership Institute”—same name, new focus. Participants will experience something quite different at our re-branded SLI. This institute will help you to cultivate a personal leadership style, through the perspectives of some of America’s founding leaders. Our new SLI, What Is Your Role? Interpreting Leadership Past and Present in the Social Studies, will take place in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. We partnered with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to create this special SLI. As the theme states, our SLI goal this year is to focus on your personal development to provide effective social studies leadership—regardless of where and how you serve (or seek to serve) in a leadership role.

Through our leadership institute, you will begin to learn about the foundations of leadership set against the backdrop of Williamsburg. You will begin to assess and define how you approach leadership in your life. You will also develop strategies to create solutions to problems that many leaders in education—especially in social studies education—face today. We invite you to learn more about this program and encourage you to consider joining us for a special NCSS journey into cultivating your leadership style. We encourage our members, those who would like to join our NCSS community, and seasoned leaders (in social studies and beyond) to consider registering for this institute. It may be of special interest to those who supervise or coordinate social studies programs or activities and wish to effectively hone their leadership skills to provide a vision for social studies education to those around them.

In addition, NCSS just issued its annual call for nominees to lead our organization in 2019-20 as Vice-President or as a member of the Board of Directors. NCSS is approaching a pivotal era in our journey as an organization: our centennial is quickly approaching, and we are defining our future through a bold Strategic Plan. One of the biggest challenges faced by all leaders is how to establish goals and aspirations for the world, and how to harness the collective talents of people and institutions to achieve that future world. We invite nominees for Vice President, Secondary Classroom Teacher, Elementary Classroom Teacher, At-Large, and K-12 Teacher At-Large. Each position begins a term on July 1, 2019. Most importantly, we are excited to think about how, as a Board nominee, you are stepping up to address the opportunities and challenges of social studies leadership in the 21st century. You are taking this time to lead; for that, our organization and profession are eager to share your voice for leadership.

We continue to share resources on our web site to enable your leadership voice in advocacy to emerge. Please visit our Advocacy and Policy page to download updates on the President’s FY 2019 budget request and analysis, and revised links to help you build an advocacy message for social studies at the state and community levels. We also continue to include new resources on preparing and following up from meetings with elected leaders. Please continue to let us know how we can support your state and local leadership and advocacy of social studies education.

This is an important moment to lead in the social studies. Our students, NCSS community, and profession need your leadership. Please continue to let us know how we can support your voice for social studies as the foundation of a well-rounded education.