July 30, 2021
NCSS SmartBrief
Social Studies – Preparing Students for College, Career and Civic LifeSIGN UP ⋅   SHARE
Teaching & Learning
Va. expands Black history instruction across classes
Students in Virginia public schools this fall will learn more about Black history with the implementation of changes brought by the recommendations of the commonwealth's African American History Education Commission. While the effort will incorporate Black history across the curriculum, electives -- like one offered in the spring at Granby High School in Norfolk -- provide students with deeper dives into the contributions of Black Americans.
Full Story: Daily Press (Newport News/Hampton, Va.) (subscription required) (7/29) 
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Report: 3 keys to high-quality instructional materials
There are three main factors that make instructional materials high quality, according to a report from the Center for Public Research and Leadership at Columbia University that includes data from nine school districts and charter organizations. The factors include materials that are tech-enabled, culturally responsive and sustaining, and created to help families support student learning.
Full Story: T.H.E. Journal (7/27) 
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Improving Teacher Wellness and Self-Care
As teachers prepare to head back to the classroom, many are looking for ways to manage and protect their mental and emotional health, especially after what has been an incredibly taxing past year. Join SmartBrief on August 26th as mental health experts offer practical tips and ideas to help teachers and school leaders. Register Now
Policy Watch
IEP, 504 plan accommodations set for approval by ACT
(Stefano Guidi/Getty Images)
ACT has announced plans to automatically permit certain testing accommodations that are already included in the individualized education programs or 504 plans of students with disabilities. ACT also says students who have disabilities but are without school plans can seek exam accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Full Story: Disability Scoop (7/27) 
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Will the Delta variant affect schools this fall?
(Gaston Brito/Getty Images)
Some schools across the US are considering available options for the upcoming school year as the more contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus is spreading rapidly in some communities. In this article, district, school and health officials comment on the issues, including Dixie Rae Garrison, a middle-school principal in Utah who says the situation is similar "to where I was last fall, really nervous, the worst."
Full Story: Education Week (7/28) 
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Technology in the Classroom
Opinion: Back-to-school planning includes tech
(Allison Shelley/Deeper Learning)
Technology integrations can support teachers as they prepare for the new year, according to Andrea Lance, a district consultant with Richland County School District One in Columbia, S.C. In this blog post, Lance shares several integrations she has planned, including video, formative assessments and more student-created activities and presentations.
Full Story: SmartBrief/Education (7/27) 
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Social Studies & Civic Life
The first Hmong American to compete in an Olympic Games -- 18-year-old gymnast Sunisa "Suni" Lee -- will come home with a gold medal, thrilling the Hmong American community in her hometown of St. Paul, Minn., and prompting the mayor to honor her with Sunisa Lee Day. Members of the Hmong community crowded around televisions in the morning hours of Thursday to watch the women's individual all-around competition and celebrate Lee capturing the gold in Tokyo.
Full Story: Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.) (tiered subscription model) (7/29),  National Public Radio (7/29),  CNN (7/29) 
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An effort in a Chicago neighborhood to turn neglected buildings and spaces into community spaces has Theaster Gates, activist, artist, urban planner and developer. The current project, Kenwood Gardens, will be a sustainable sanctuary for gardeners, artists, community classes and events, Gates says.
Full Story: Chicago Tribune (tiered subscription model) (7/28) 
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NCSS Updates
Volunteer opportunities
NCSS has opportunities for member volunteers to get more involved with their professional organization. Read on for more information and to apply.
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Rho Kappa National Social Studies Honor Society
Enhance the school year by applying for a Rho Kappa charter. Rho Kappa is the only national organization for high school juniors and seniors that recognizes excellence in the field of Social Studies. Any accredited public or private high school can apply for a local chapter, through which individuals will be inducted into Rho Kappa Honor Society. Rho Kappa provides national recognition and opportunities for exploration in the social studies. Learn more or apply for a charter.
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It is a time in which we will redefine what it means to be human, for this is not just the start of a revolution, it is the start of an evolution.
David A. Sinclair,
biologist, professor of genetics
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