The Board of Directors of National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) approved a new Strategic Plan at their November 30, 2016 meeting, held during the NCSS 96th Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.
The NCSS Strategic Plan identifies five Priorities—Collaboration; Communication; Innovation; Inclusiveness; and Influence and Leadership – to guide the nation's largest professional association for social studies education with annual actions over the next five years. NCSS will invite all members and partners into activities and resources that support service to the social studies around these Priorities.
According to NCSS President Peggy S. Jackson, "Our new Priorities center around the concept of integrating our association with other organizations. To do this we will focus on our own membership and open our conversation with our associated groups and other professional groups. Sharing information in the digital age will provide social studies educators with models of best practice as well as advocacy for the social studies. Our focus on change means we must examine existing policies in an informed manner which will truly be challenging. We begin this venture based on our goal of preparing our nation's students for an active role in civic life. We must do this by including multiple viewpoints for not only the voice of the majority of our membership but also for underrepresented groups within it. We challenge ourselves to be inclusive and respect diversity."
NCSS Strategic Plan development began in 2015 with a process that included the association's members, external stakeholders, and other partners. A development committee was co-chaired by NCSS President-Elect Terry Cherry and Board Member Dr. Linda Bennett. Feedback received during the plan's development included an interest in future growth that is research-based and built on an expansion of digital and print resources, empirical best practices, transparency, and leadership. The final plan is a shared vision built on collaboration, mutually beneficial for all stakeholders, and a call to action for all NCSS members and partners.
Strategic Plan Co-Chair Terry Cherry said, "If you have the right tool, you can create an idea, adjust a situation or fix a problem. The Strategic Plan is the right tool for NCSS."
Strategic Plan Co-Chair Dr. Linda Bennett said, "The NCSS Priorities are the foundation for how the organization will take actions that are responsive and relevant to social studies educators, our changing society and interconnections of the world. NCSS is a leading professional educator organization, takes research-based actions, is inspired by talented educators and expects critical thinking of every child, youth and adult and to be civically engaged as a member of society. NCSS strives to listen to, respond to and engage with local, national and international members, stakeholders, partners, and social studies educators."
NCSS Executive Director Dr. Lawrence Paska said, "The release of our NCSS Strategic Plan is the first major step in the future growth of our organization and vitality of our social studies profession. Our next step is to develop measurable goals that ensure our Strategic Plan is a living and vibrant guide, responsive to our membership and to our social studies community around the country and world. This is an important moment for social studies education."
The NCSS Strategic Plan is now available online at www.socialstudies.org/about/strategicplan.
Founded in 1921, National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) has grown to be the largest association in the country devoted solely to social studies education. NCSS engages and supports educators in strengthening and advocating social studies. With members in all the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 69 foreign countries, NCSS serves as an umbrella organization for elementary, secondary, and college teachers of history, civics, geography, economics, political science, sociology, psychology, anthropology, and law-related education. Organized into a network of more than 110 affiliated state, local, and regional councils and associated groups, the NCSS membership represents K-12 classroom teachers, college and university faculty members, curriculum designers and specialists, social studies supervisors, and leaders in the various disciplines that constitute the social studies.
Ana Post, Director of External Relations and Council Communications
NCSS Strategic Plan Development Time Line (2015 – Present)
- November 2015 – February 2016: Data Collection & Research – consulted peer organizations & data on trends (e.g., educators, non-profits)
- March 2016: Ad-Hoc Committee – hosted workshop to draft the Strategic Plan
- March – April 2016: Stakeholders' Feedback – received input from NCSS Associated Group leaders, subject-matter specialists, and other external stakeholders
- June 2016: NCSS Board of Directors' Review – first draft of Strategic Plan July – August 2016: NCSS Members' Survey – altered the Strategic Plan to incorporate feedback on the Priorities
- November 2016: NCSS Board of Directors' Approval – final draft of Strategic Plan
- December 2016: NCSS Strategic Plan Ad-Hoc Steering Committee – formed to develop 2017 actions based on the five Priorities