Saturday, November 14, 2009

NCSS Presentation 2009: "21st Century Social Studies"

I highly recommend participants in this session review the resources at the Partnership for 21st Century Skills website.

Click here for presentation slides. You may also access the Schaaf Coyote of the Day Pledge of Allegiance audio as presented by Mrs. Schaaf's second grade classroom.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

NCSS Presentation Notes: Social Studies—Research and Practice

What Does It Mean to Think Historically... And How Do We Teach It?
Presented by Bruce van Sledright

Who epitomizes the depth of historical knowledge?
  • Historians.
How do they become these experts?
  • It's about reading and literacy practices combined with self-understanding and an awareness of social-cultural context and the individual's role as a citizen.
  • Fundamentally, becoming a novice expert is about achieving se;f-understanding and awareness if socio-cultural content itself (positionality)
Our challenges need to address these isues:
  • School literacy practices: Searching for the "one right idea"
  • Epistomological positions
  • The School and Cultural History Curriculum: Our education is about commemoration, not investigation

NCSS Leadership Conference Notes

Accessing Funds from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA)
Presented by Beth Ratway

The meeting began with an introduction of the attendees and discussion of how states are connecting internally.

Money is currently available through SFSF, Race to the Top, SIG, i3, ED Tech, TIF, SLDA, and TQP. All of these run through IDEA and Title I.

The types of questions social studies councils should be seeking to answer include:

  • How do standards and assessment impact your work?
  • How can you use data to improve the work of your council?

The currently education landscape focuses on ARRA, I3, NCLB, and 21st Century Skills.

ARRA: 4 Assurances expected of those seeking to procure funding

  • Support effective teachers and school leaders
  • Improve the use of data (Data systems: fully implementing a statewide longitudinal data system, accessing and using state data, and using data to improve instruction)
  • Complete the implementation of high standards and high-quality assessments
  • Turn around persistently low-performing schools, whole-school reform, and targeted approaches to reform.

In addition, states should be focused on developing and adopting common standards, developing and implementing common, high-quality assessments, supporting transition to enhanced standards and high quality assessments.

The key is to find the intersecting nodes for standards and assessments, teacher and leadership effectiveness, support for struggling schools, and _____.

Race to the Top Funds go to state educational agencies, school improvement grants, investing in innovation funds, educational technology, teacher incentive fund, and statewide data system. As social studies councils, the focus should probably be the i3 (Investing in Innovation Fund)Funds (a part of the third phase of funding. For this grant, the interest is in improving student achievement or student growth from high-need students and promoting school readiness. Only LEAs or non-profit organizations can get this in collaboration with an LEA.

Funding focuses on three levels: development of research-based theories ($5 m award), validation (up to $30 m award), and scale-up ($50 m award).

To receive the grant, there must be 20% private sector funding, conduct independent program evaluation, cooperate with technical assistants, etc.

Other interested topics include improving early learning outcomes, supporting college access and success, assisting ELL and disabled students, serve schools in rural LEAs. If applications address these issues, they will receive preference.

All proposals should include partnerships (e.g., with other LEAs, other social studies councils).

Beth recommended the following resource for assessing higher level thinking objectives: Authentic Intellectual Work by Ken Newman (a way to look at depth of knowledge and other educational outcomes)

ARRA grants should be in the million dollar range, the grants should be pretty competitive, and they will probably be due around the spring/ summer.

Legislative Briefing

Presented by Della Cronin

Some of the concepts that appeal to Secretary Duncan are charter school and pay for performance. The interest on Capitol Hill, however, has been on health care, not education. Duncan has stated publicly that NCLB has its good and bad points and noted that we have had a narrowing of the curriculum as a result of the legislation.

There appears to be a focus on preparing children in early childhood as a way to support the overall goal of having all students graduate from high school and increase college enrollments.

There is a bill from Rockefeller that would provide funds to states to support 21st century learning. Senator Kennedy and Senator Alexander introduced a bill that would expand the sample size for the NAEP civics exam and place an emphasis on history assessments. Nothing is currently moving out of the re-authorization process.

There appear to be concerns about equity and access in education. The rural areas and inner-city schools appear to facing the brunt of America's contemporary financial status.

Make sure when coupling terms, we include citizenship (e.g., "College, Career, and Citizenship").