Professional Development 1
2015 COLORADO PROJECT CITIZEN SHOWCASES
The Colorado Project Citizen Program and the Colorado Civic Canopy are pleased to invite your students to participate in the 2015 Project Citizen Showcases. The elementary and middle school PC showcase will take place on Thursday, May 7; the high school showcase on Friday, May 8. The registration Fee is $150 per team of 4-8 students and is due by April 1, 2015. This fee includes materials and lunch money for students and teachers.
Space is limited-- please let Jackie Johnson or Stefani Sullivan know if you plan to participate by March 1. Please ask if would like help as your students frame their problems; we can also help identify resource people who can mentor students-- just give us a call. Information about the Project Citizen program is available here: http://www.lawanddemocracy.org/pcnew.htm. Click here for additional info: PC Professional Development Resources.
We look forward to hearing from you soon. Please share this invitation with colleagues. Thanks!
Project Citizen Coordinators:
Jackie Johnson (c) 303.908.8482
Stef Sullivan (c) 303-929-7173
Holocaust education opportunity for CO educators
The Levine Institute for Holocaust Education of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum seeks to train the nation’s teachers to encourage their students to learn about the Holocaust, to reflect on its meaning for today, and then to act responsibly as members of the national and global community.
We are pleased to offer The Arthur and Rochelle Belfer National Conference for Educators. Secondary teachers and community college instructors with fewer than five years’ experience in teaching about the Holocaust are encouraged to apply. The workshop is free of charge and includes many classroom resources. Participants are responsible for their travel expenses.
A generous number of $1,000 scholarships are available to teachers, especially those in geographic regions or whose student populations are defined as underserved by the Museum --- and our funder is particularly interested in Colorado educators.
More registration information and application, please visit our website.
Street Law's 2015 Supreme Court Summer Institute
Dear Law-Related Education Specialists,Street Law, Inc. and the Supreme Court Historical Society will sponsor two sessions of the annual Supreme Court Summer Institute for Teachers, June 18-23 and June 25-30, 2015. The Institute is open to secondary level social studies teachers and supervisors who will spend six stimulating days on Capitol Hill and inside the Supreme Court learning about the Court, its past and current cases, and how to teach about them from top Supreme Court litigators and educators. We will also be in the Court to hear the Justices announce the final decisions of the term and attend a private reception at the Court. For full information and to apply online, go to www.streetlaw.org/scsi_apply under the "Registration Info" tab. The application deadline is March 16, 2015.
President's Message from Stephen Armstrong,
National Council for the Social Studies
You Are the Advocate
For many social studies teachers working in the classroom, the statement that they should be engaged in “advocacy” for their profession sounds strange or scary. Many social studies teachers are told by their administrators not to let students know what their political positions are on local referendum issues, elections, etc., with an implication that all personal politics is to be dampened. In addition, many teachers perceive “advocacy” to be something that a few NCSS leaders might do off in Washington, DC; something with little connection to what they actually are doing in the classroom every day.
I have news for you: teachers have a constitutionally protected right to do important advocacy outside of the classroom, and it all begins at the local level. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the 30-year veteran—or the first-year teacher—talking to his or her state legislator or city/town council member on the value and importance of social studies education. With politics and budgets being as they are today, a large amount of legislative action that will directly impact social studies education is likely to take place at the local and state levels, and even national policy has its source at the grass roots.
Better than just lobbying a council member, begin by inviting him or her to speak to your classes or to help judge a Geography Bee competition. Successful advocates will tell you that building up this relationship is infinitely helpful.
Many teachers who go into a state legislator’s office for the first time fear that they won’t remember “everything that needs to be said.” Or, conversely, they are unclear just what to ask for. You may have only 10 or 15 short minutes to “make your case” (I have learned by this point to NOT take this time restriction personally). You might begin by briefly “Telling your story,” showing how social studies is important for your students. If you have a specific example of a student in your classes being positively impacted by what he or she did in your classes, tell that memorable story. Then, be prepared and ask for something specific. Don’t just ask for “more money for social studies,” rather, ask your legislator (or their aid, if the official is unavailable) to support a specific bill, initiative, or line item on a budget. Make sure you leave your card with the person you are speaking to, with assurances that you are available. Then, send a follow up note (not an email) to the person that you spoke with, thanking that person for his or her time.
Further hints: Advocate for all of the core disciplines of social studies, K-12. Since many legislators are especially interested when civics or civic education is mentioned, make sure that topic is covered. Coordinate with your local or state council leaders, and encourage others to do the same thing you are doing. Visit in groups of three or four, and rehearse your message before you arrive, and be sure you have a clearly articulated, central request.
Advocacy is not just something done by a few NCSS folks in Washington. The best advocacy is done by classroom teachers in their relationships with local and state officials. It’s never too late to begin!