We relish spring as a time of awakening, a much-anticipated rebirth after a long, hard winter. For many, this spring may feel a bit more like a slow, groggy return to consciousness after a difficult 12-month-long troubled dream. Whatever the tone of your response, the safe return of students and teachers to classroom is anticipated by all.
More than any other in my 36 years as a Missouri educator, I am looking forward to this spring as a new beginning for our students and their teachers. The past year has been driven by changes and challenges unlike any others in both scale and scope. Yet, despite all those obstructions and their consequences, Missouri teachers built communities of learners amidst fragmented classrooms, found innovative ways to provide a meaningful education for all their students and served as inspirational leaders to their peers, their schools and their communities. Thank you for your extraordinary efforts to provide a quality education for every young Missourian over these past 12 months.
We also want to say thank you for reaching out to us here at DESE with ideas for resources, questions about instruction and assessment, and insights as to how we might serve you better. Our mission is to support you in the work you do with students. We fulfill that mission most effectively if we know your thoughts and needs.
Below you will find information in response to your most frequent Social Studies inquiries over the past month:
Where can I find current resources for teaching civics, government and civil liberties?
- The Supreme Court of Missouri’s civic education committee has a wealth of high-quality resources related to the purpose and functions of the judicial branch in our democracy. Their resources are aligned with the MLS for Social Studies K-12 and are easy to access. More information can be found here.
- Check out the MO LEAP Blocks for Social Studies. Titles include: The First Amendment, Rule of Law, The First Political Parties, The Constitutional Convention and many more. Be sure to check out grade levels other than your own. These tools are designed to be adapted by the hands of creative educators.
Missouri educators have created more than 60 sets of these resources, tied to Missouri learning standards which include diverse primary sources, a range of potential assessment items and scoring guides, expansive background teacher notes and suggestions and many parallel ELA ideas as well. The materials found in each set can be the springboard for great teaching and learning at many grade levels.
You can find these multi-usage resources at https://sites.google.com/view/moleap/home
- Another outstanding collection of resources for teaching civics, government and civil liberties is available through the Missouri Bar. These resources aligned with are Missouri Learning Standards, focused on enduring principles of American democracy like freedom of speech, constitutional separation of powers, the Fourth Amendment, growth and limitations of presidential powers and many, many others.
You can find these excellent, teacher-friendly resources at http://missourilawyershelp.org/resource-center-for-learning-about-government
- Students in the United States District Court, Eastern District Court of Missouri are invited to participate in a student art competition:
Juries: Through the Eyes of Students
The Judicial Learning Center is excited to provide a venue for students within the District to express their view of juries through artistic expression. Entry in the competition is free and open to all students in grades 1-12 within the Eastern District of Missouri. Click HERE to see the geographic boundaries of the District.
All details, required forms, and teacher guide can be found at https://judiciallearningcenter.org/student-art-competition/
What is happening with Missouri social studies testing this spring?
It is on.
- The waivers for last year’s graduating seniors expired in July 2020. The graduation testing requirements for the US Constitution, Missouri Constitution and Civics tests are all in place for SY2020-2021.
- Missouri students currently enrolled in Government will take the EOC this year. Like all EOCs in SY 2020-2021, student scores will not be used for school accreditation measures.
- There will be no student scores available for the Government EOC this year until early fall. Scoring designations such as below basic, basic, proficient, and advanced are set when all scores are in and Missouri educators meet to identify those thresholds. The State Board of Education will then review and must approve that information before any scores are available.
- Successful achievement on the locally-created and administered US Constitution, Missouri Constitution and Civics tests is required for graduation. Because these assessments are not tied to a particular course, these graduation requirements may be met at any time during a student’s high school years.
- You can reference this document for more detailed information on social studies testing and graduation requirements.
As always, please email or call with questions or ideas. My role is to support the important work you do. Enjoy this beautiful spring,
Dixie Johnson Grupe
Director, Social Studies
Office of College and Career Readiness
Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education