Whelp, teaching in Kansas and across the country has changed due to COVID-19. Governor Laura Kelly made the decision to close our physical buildings through the end of the school year, but her prioritizing safety did not bring an end to the education of our students.
If any state was ready to adapt to a change like this, it’s Kansas. Already in the process of school redesign, this is a challenge that Kansas is uniquely prepared to face. The Kansas Department of Education’s Continuous Learning Task Force set out guidelines for schools with the direction that districts should interpret them in the manner that will work best for their students. Most districts are taking this additional week following Governor Kelly’s announcement to make these decisions and meet with their teachers on what school is going to look like for the remainder of 2019-2020.
We’ve got this, and KCSS and Doing Social Studies is going to do all we can to help. The resources are coming at us like a fire hose, and that’s great, but we’ve got to be smart. The NCSS Technology Community has pulled on their experience and resources to come up with these tips as you wade into the new normal.
As your Doing Social Studies community figures out their own classrooms we’ll share with you what we’re doing and the resources that we’ve found the most helpful.
The Kansas Council for the Social Studies is an affiliate council to the National Council for the Social Studies. We just wrapped our national conference in Austin (it was great, more on that next week) and now is time for elections.
If you are a member of NCSS you should have received an e-mail with your voting code and ballot. As a civically minded individual, I’m sure you want to be an informed voter, so here is the link for the biographies and position statements for all the candidates for all positions.
As the Kansas Council, we would like to endorse Tina Ellsworth as the At-Large Candidate for the NCSS Board of Directors. We at KCSS have worked with Tina for years and know she will advocate to the fullest for what’s best for students and social studies educators.
Tina M. Ellsworth At-Large Candidate for NCSS Board of Directors
Biography: Tina M. Ellsworth currently serves as the K-12 Social Studies Coordinator for Olathe Public Schools in Olathe, KS where she oversees content specific professional development, curriculum development/revision, resource adoption, etc. for all social studies teachers in grades K-12. Ellsworth holds a B.S. in Social Studies Education, a M.A. in History, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on social studies education. She has been an educator for 16 years in which time she has served as a middle school and high school social studies teacher, a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Kansas, a pre-service teacher supervisor, a senior economic education specialist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, and in her current role. She has served as president for the Missouri Council for the Social Studies, and served on its board. She was an integral part in starting the Kansas University Council for the Social Studies, and recently helped coordinate the official launch of her district’s first Rho Kappa chapter! She has presented at the state and national conferences, and has served on state committees for social studies education. She is also published in Social Education and Social Studies and the Young Learner. Currently, she is organizing teachers in the Kansas City area who are interested learning more and advocating for racial and social justice issues. She has also been named NSSSA’s 2019 Mel Miller Outstanding Social Studies Leader of the Year.
Position Statement: An active and engaged citizenry is at the root of social studies education. As its teachers, we long to help young people make informed and reasoned decisions that serve the public good and preserve our democracy. A true commitment to this purpose first requires that teachers actively engage in their democracy as well. Advocacy for social studies education isn’t only about voting, fighting for more minutes in a day for social studies instruction, or about teaching students how to engage. Advocacy is seeking out your own professional development to better equip you to take informed action in any capacity. That new knowledge may result in action in your classroom by employing culturally relevant pedagogical practices; it may be pulling a colleague towards greater equity and inclusion in curricular choices; it may be educating administrators about restorative justice in discipline practices; or it may be speaking before the school board to advocate for what is best for all kids when structures and systems of power create barriers to fulfilling that mission. While doing this work is not unique to social studies teachers, it definitely should be led by them. May we stand in solidarity with each other as social studies teachers on behalf of all peoples across this great nation. May we lead the way in modeling what it means to be engaged citizens who are committed to honoring and building the capacity of every student.