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Cherry’s Blossoms: Many Forms of Communication

Terry L. Cherry

The NCSS Strategic Plan is alive and active. To continue to explain this plan and follow up on my last article about Priority #1-Collaboration, let's look at Priority #2-Communication. (See the whole five-point plan at https://www.socialstudies.org/about/strategicplan.)

The word “communication” has a variety of definitions depending who attempts to define it. NCSS should look at the challenge of communication broadly. It is imperative that our professional organization uses a mixture of communication tools to reach out to our members, the educational community, policy makers, the American public, the media, and the world.

The NCSS website you’re now visiting, holds our main vehicles of communica­tion. For example, the NCSS National Curriculum Standards and the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards represent major efforts to enhance pedagogy. You’ll also find a collection of Position Statements, which are approved by the NCSS Board of Directors, and which reflect on various topics, from “Study about Religion in the Social Studies Classroom” to “Media Literacy.” Teachers can use these statements to communicate to various groups, such as parents, fellow teachers, principals, school board members, and state legislators.

The website also lists NCSS publications and provides current and back issues to members. Your fellow educators share their best practices and new ideas in these peer-reviewed journals and books (bulletins). News, new resources, and learning opportunities are announced in The Social Studies Professional newsletter. Having a variety of publications and continuing to add to the list of resources makes for a useful and active social science association. Newest in the neighborhood is the social media. Members can now share ideas more quickly and informally through blogs (which are now open for public reading), discussions, and shared files—all to be found at connected.socialstudies.org.

Advocating for social studies is vital to keeping our message front and center in the public arena. The Advocacy tab on the website leads to several articles explaining the value of social studies to your community. There is also an Advocacy Tool Kit with sample materials on how to promote social studies education and keep it at the center of the K-12 curriculum.

Finally, professional learning is at the heart of what we do. Great things can happen when social studies educators gather together and discuss problems and solutions in their field, whether they do that online or face to face. The NCSS Annual Conference (November 30–December 2, 2018 in Chicago) is the culmination of meetings and conferences that happen all over the country in different localities, states, and regions throughout the year. Occasional webinars and other learning opportunities round out NCSS’s professional learning efforts.

Communicating to the NCSS members is important to me. I can share what I believe is important, but I am only one member of NCSS. I truly would like to hear from you. What would you like, and how would you like to see NCSS communicate the importance of social studies to your community? Communication is a two-way street. I have given some of my thoughts. It is your turn now to communicate with me.

Terry Cherry, tcherry@ncss.org

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