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Social Studies

Happy New Year,

The New Year brings so many new opportunities for Missouri students and for their teachers.

For your students, please consider nominating a deserving leader for the Missouri Citizenship Award. In 1989, legislation was enacted by the General Assembly to create a special, state-level award to recognize outstanding achievement in citizenship by fifteen public high school students in Missouri each year. Under the State Board of Educations’ direction, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has established criteria and procedures, which will be used to select deserving students for the Missouri Award for Outstanding Achievement in Citizenship. In addition, students will be recognized on the American Bar Associations’ Civics and Law Honor Roll for their commitment to civic learning and engagement.  See Quick Links for nomination details.

For Missouri teachers, it is time to think about the many no-cost or low-cost opportunities for professional growth and travel for teachers.  See Quick Links for some of those great options.

If you have questions about these opportunities, or other topics related to social studies in Missouri schools, please contact me. My goal is to support you and your students.


Dixie Grupe
Director, Social Studies
Office of College and Career Readiness
Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
[email protected] 


Social Studies Colloquia 2016-2017


This four-part series is designed to bring together Missouri educators, K-12, who have an interest in Social Studies pedagogy and content. In addition to providing updates on curriculum and assessment issues, sessions will focus on the theme, Thinking Like a Social Scientist, an idea central to the new Social Studies Expectations. See the Quick Links box for more information.


Also, as you continue your work towards implementation of the new Social Studies K-12 Expectations, please note the many resources available to you:

Resources for curriculum work on the new Social Studies K-12 Expectations


Professional Development Opportunities:

Bowdoin College: Founding Principles

Bowdoin College: Founding Principles is a video series of 15 episodes designed to provide an introductory, non-partisan overview and basic understanding of American government. Each episode is 10-15 minute long and designed to promote civic engagement. For more information and to access the free videos http://www.bowdoin.edu/founding-principles/(link is external) 

Dar al Islam Teacher Institute

Free 2 week seminar in New Mexico: http://daralislam.org/programs/education/teachers-institutes.aspx

Fulbright-Hayes Seminars Abroad

Free with stipend (Applications are closed for 2017, but you can be thinking about 2018 as applications become available in August, 2017.  This summer participants are traveling Thailand, Bulgaria or Chile.) http://www2.ed.gov/programs/iegpssap/sapfacts.html


Low cost international travel with non-profit organization focused on teachers: https://www.geeo.org/

Goethe Institute USA

Seminar with trip to Germany: https://www.goethe.de/ins/us/en/spr/eng/top/top_teachers/top_study_tour.html

NEH Summer Learning

Free 3-4 week seminars in the US with stipend: https://www.neh.gov/divisions/education/summer-programs

US Holocaust Memorial Museum: History Unfolded

US Holocaust Memorial Museum: History Unfolded is a new project at the museum asking “citizen historians” to help research the way the Holocaust was reported in local US newspapers from 1933 to 1945. For more information on this project:ushmm.org/history-unfolded

Veterans National Education Program

This on-line resource includes free resources tied to modern history, culture, geography and current events. For more information http://v-nep.org/global-awareness-map/ 

Teacher Awards

James Madison Fellowship

The James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation offers $24,000 James Madison Graduate Fellowships to individuals desiring to become outstanding teachers of the American Constitution at the secondary school level. Fellowship applicants compete only against other applicants from the states of their legal residence. As funding permits, the Foundation plans to offer one fellowship per state per year.   Deadline is March 1, 2017.  For more information  go to  http://www.jamesmadison.gov/

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

The National History Teacher of the Year Award recognizes outstanding K–12 American history teachers across the country. The national winner receives a $10,000 prize presented at an award ceremony in their honor in New York City. State winners receive a $1,000 prize, an archive of classroom resources, and recognition at a ceremony within their state. Deadline for application is March 31, 2017.   For more information go to https://www.gilderlehrman.org/programs-exhibitions/national-history-teacher-year


The Missouri Civics Education Initiative, passed by the Missouri legislature and signed by Governor Nixon in June 2016, requires any student entering 9th grade after July 1, 2017 to pass an examination on the provisions and principles of American civics.

The law states that the examination shall consist of 100 questions similar to the one hundred questions used by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and may be included in any other examination that is administered on the provisions and principles of the United States and the State of Missouri, and in American history and American institutions.   The full text of the law can be found at http://www.senate.mo.gov/16info/pdf-bill/tat/SB638.pdf


So what does that mean for Missouri Social Studies?

  • We will continue with the current Government EOC exam and the voluntary American History EOC exam.
  • Local districts will assure compliance.
  • School districts may use an online test to comply.  See http://joefossinstitute.org/citizenship-survey/ for ideas.
  • Districts may choose to create a crosswalk of the USCIS questions and their existing American Government, Missouri Government and American History assessment, and then to amend those assessments to comply with the USCIS content. Districts are encouraged to maintain the crosswalk and adjustments as verification of content assessed.  The USCIS site testing materials are available at https://www.uscis.gov/citizenship/learners/study-test

If you have additional questions about this law and social studies testing, please contact [email protected]