National Council for the Social Studies: The Civic Mission of Schools

ncss_boston2014I had the great fortune several weeks ago of attending the Council for State Social Studies Specialists (CS4) and National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) annual conferences, this year held in Boston. I always look forward to this event as it is the only time I get the opportunity to meet up with state social studies supervisors (people in my job) from around the nation.

Colleagues from Maine to Hawaii – It’s true. Kristi from Maine and Rosanna in Hawaii – meeting face to face in a single place. We get the chance to talk about issues common to our states as well as issues that aren’t common among us. I had the opportunity to hear presentations from National Geographic, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Hindu American Foundation, and others. I was able to discuss standards and assessment with several states. And I got the chance to visit great historic sites including the new Boston Tea Party Ships Museum. On Thursday, the NCSS conference began with hundreds of presentation and exhibits. Just planning what session to go to next was a challenge. Speakers included Karen Korematsu (daughter of Fred), Anthony Chavez (grandson of César), and documentary filmmaker Ken Burns.

I even ran into some of the Kansas delegation (Darla, Glenn, Joe, Scott, Tina, Abbie, Alyssa, Jason, Alex, Taylor, Deb, Brian, and others that I have just forgotten running into. And though I didn’t see him I think Brad was there as well). It is always great when social studies people get together. One of our sponsors said that he worked with social studies teachers all of the time but the NCSS conference is the

white hot center of the social studies universe.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. If you didn’t get the chance to be part of the larger social studies world in Boston, make plans now to be part of the Kansas social studies conference in McPherson. We won’t have 100s of presentations or Tea party ships. But you will get the chance to mingle with some awesome Kansas teachers, attend sessions aligned to our own state standards, and learn more about the state assessment field test and full state assessment.

(And I know they are still looking for great session presenters. So don’t be afraid to volunteer to share your ideas and best practices.)

And start planning now to be part of next year’s national conference next November 13th-15th in New Orleans.

About Glenn Wiebe

I work as a social studies specialist at ESSDACK, an educational service center in Hutchinson, Kansas. Before coming to ESSDACK, I taught middle school US History and higher ed social science classes.

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