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Social Studies

Social Studies Update-Fall 2015


Welcome Social Studies Educators,

My name is Dixie Johnson Grupe and I am the new Director of Social Studies for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  I joined DESE in August, following the irreplaceable Bill Gerling who retired last year. I was a classroom social studies teacher for 31 years where my teaching experiences included world history, United States history, geography, economics, sociology and psychology. In addition to my public school life, I also worked in the College of Education at the University of Missouri-Columbia for more than 20 years with the Fellows Program and Social Studies Education.    

Part of my new responsibility at DESE includes coordinating different programs for Missouri students and teachers such as:

  • The Senate Youth Program, sponsored by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, offers two $5000 scholarships and a week’s trip to Washington DC to high school juniors and seniors. Click on the Quick Links box to the right for additional information; applications are due by September 22.
  • The Outstanding Citizenship Award honors 15 seniors from public schools throughout the state for their leadership, extra-curricular activities, and community service; those applications will be available on this site in January 2016.  
  • For teachers, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History sponsors the History Teacher of the Year award.  The state level award provides a $1000 cash prize and a wealth of American History teaching resources; the national award winner receives $10,000 at an awards ceremony in New York City.  Click on the Quick Links box to the left for information.
  • In addition, our department collaborates on programs and activities with several organizations such as Missouri Council for Social Studies, Missouri Bar, Missouri Council for History Education, Missouri Geographic Alliance, Missouri Economic Council and the Holocaust Education and Awareness Commission.
  • We also offer Model Curriculum units written by Missouri social studies teachers; those can be accessed through the Quick Links box. I will add information on opportunities throughout the year, so check this DESE site frequently for updates.

Though I do miss my social studies classroom, I am really excited about working with and for social studies teachers across our state. This is a pivotal time in social studies curriculum, instruction, and assessment in our state and nation, and I look forward to working with you and your schools to promote citizenship and literacy through social studies. Please feel free to call or email me. I will do my best to help answer your questions and will certainly ask a few of my own!

Dixie Johnson Grupe
Director, Social Studies
573 751-0398
[email protected]