April 2022 Newsletter

NSCSS Annual Conference is Back (In-Person)!

Gilder Lehrman National History Teacher of the Year – Now Accepting Nominations!

Any full-time educator of grades K–12 who teaches American history (including state and local history) is eligible for consideration. American history may be taught as an individual subject or as part of other subjects, such as social studies, reading, or language arts.

  • The nominated teacher must have at least three years of classroom teaching experience.
  • Nominees must be planning to teach for at least one year following the award year.
  • Past state and national winners are not eligible.
  • Self-nominations are not accepted.

The 2022 award will honor exceptional elementary and secondary school teachers. Eligible generalist and specialist teachers in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense schools, and US Territories are encouraged to apply.


  • Deadline for 2022 nominations: April 30, 2022
  • Deadline for 2022 nominees to submit supporting materials: May 30, 2022

MyImpact Challenge – Bill of Rights Institute

MyImpact Challenge is a civic engagement contest hosted by the Bill of Rights Institute. Our goal is simple: foster a robust understanding of citizenship and get students active in their communities now!

Submission is open to US citizens and US based young people between the ages of 13 and 19 years old on January 1, 2021. Submission must be received by 11:59 pm PT on Sunday, May 1, 2022. Only submissions entered through MyImpact Challenge’s online portal will be accepted for the contest. The contest is designed for one student per entry, but groups of up to five students may submit as a single group entry. Prizes awarded to group entries will be split evenly between entrants.

Each submission must include the following:

  1. An essay of up to 1,200 words expressing the student’s a) understanding of the ideal of “E Pluribus Unum” and how their project furthers that ideal in their community b) How their project furthers at least one Civic Virtue and one of Founding Principle as defined in the Bill of Rights Institutes “Principles and Virtues.”
  2. A report of up to 2,000 words detailing a student’s completed or in-progress civic engagement project. Report must include the following components.
    • The inspiration for the project.
    • The project plan.
    • Details of the project’s execution
    • At least two examples of the project’s demonstrated impact on the community.
    • How the student(s) grew in understanding of the role of Civic virtue, knowledge of their communities, and their ability to support or impact them.
  3. Visual documentation of the student’s project and its results in one of the following formats:
    • Photographic Only: No fewer than ten and no more than twenty high-resolution still photographs, submitted in either JPEG or PNG format.
    • Video Only: One video of no more than five minutes, submitted in MP4 format
    • Mixed Photographic and Video: No fewer than five and no more than seven high-resolution still photographs as well as one video of no more than two minutes. Photographs must be in either JPEG or PNG format, and video must be in MP4 format.

2022 Summer Professional Development Opportunities in Social Studies

This document was compiled by the Council of State Social Studies Supervisors as a way to communicate the wealth of professional development opportunities available to social studies educators. A special thanks to all of the organizations who helped contribute to this work and to the many organizations who are offering high quality social studies professional development for social studies teachers across the country. Many of the opportunities below are offered free or low cost, but some opportunities do have a cost. When opportunities are highlighted in yellow, it means there are not yet 2022 updates for that particular program. The document will be updated through the spring of 2022. Please email Stefanie Wager at stefanie.rosenbergwager@gmail.com with any questions, comments, or to add programs to this list.

Historical scholarship and perspective to help make a better world.

The Lepage Center brings historical scholarship and historical perspective to bear on contemporary global issues and has created different activities and funding opportunities to promote the importance of historical scholarship, methods, and inquiry for the public interest.

Our 2021-22 essay competition invites students to reflect upon the following question:

How can the study of history help us understand contemporary challenges we face in the world today, such as COVID-19, migration, and climate change?

What are the essay requirements?

  • The essay should be a maximum of 500 words.
  • The essay should be framed by an argument and supported by evidence.
  • All sources (including internet-based sources) must be cited appropriately

How to submit an essay?

Participating teachers will collect essays from their students and submit them to lepage@villanova.edu by May 1st, 2022. The best essays will receive an award.


We support teachers of American history, government and civics, believing they do the most important work in America. We help them bring the documents and debates of America’s past into the present through free document-based seminars, document collections both online and in print, and other resources. We are dedicated to making every American history, government, and civics class in America its best.

Teaching American History is a free resource that brings together primary documents, continuing education, and community for American history teachers.

Native American Filmmakers Summit

The 2022 Vision Maker Media Producers Summit is open with free registration to filmmakers who want to learn about Vision Maker Media and other opportunities in public media. The summit will be held in Lincoln, Nebraska, April 28-30.

The three-day summit will kick off with a welcome reception, a one-day producer training, and a day of filmmaker presentations FREE and AVAILABLE to the PUBLIC on Saturday, April 30th.

The training day focuses on topics such as the PBS Red Book, financial management, public media broadcast licensing, and more. A variety of the training sessions will be available online for those registered for virtual participation.

Also, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s National Multicultural Alliance (NMCA) will present a workshop that will help producers discover what each NMCA organization’s mission is and the opportunities that exist within each that may further assist filmmakers in their work.

Descendants of DeWitty, Nebraska Present: The Ultimate Digital Black History Experience

Prepare to undergo a journey, with its inception beginning deep in the historic and pre-colonial heart of Africa, crossing the great Atlantic, passing through the American Underground, and ending with triumphant freedom at the longest lasting Black Homestead in Nebraska History, DeWitty (Audacious), Nebraska.

“From Lake Erie to the Seventh Concession, from Dillon Road to Drake Road to the west, the Buxton Settlement (formerly Elgin) fields are dotted with churches and houses built at the time, heroic of the way of the Underground. In 1849, Reverend William King settled there with the refugees in a territory of 9,000 acres of swamp and forest. Other refugees followed, acquiring and clearing acres, building churches, schools and industries. The settlers constructed the network of roads and drainage ditches that still exist today, transforming the place into an establishment of well-kept houses, reflecting the industrious nature of the inhabitants and the children who received a classical education. Today, the spirit of these determined settlers that claimed a free life in these plains lives on in their descendants.”

— Bishop Forrest C. Stith

Ken Burns in the Classroom

Ken Burns and his collaborators have been creating historical documentary films for more than forty years. Known for a signature style that brings primary source documents, images, and archival video footage to life on screen, these films present the opportunity to pose thought-provoking questions for students, and introduce new ideas, perspectives, and primary sources.


“No fancy words, no fancy suits, plain talk about issues you need to know . . . just in time.”

CitizenU is a political club dedicated to mentoring, tutoring and welcoming those who may be new to “inside the Beltway” stories and talk.  Join the 2 Teachers as they help train a new platoon of young citizens.  Learning about the government and politics is, after all, not a class but a lifestyle.  Here at CitizenU our mission is to “train political animals.”  It is never 2 late. There is always room 2B an educated citizen.

CivXNow Proposed State Bills

Click on your state to learn about the civic education legislation that’s been proposed. This map represents a scan of all state bills related to civic education. Inclusion of a bill on the map does not connote support or endorsement by CivXNow, iCivics, CivXNow Coalition members, or CivXNow state affiliated coalition.

April is Financial Literacy Month!

Personal Finance Institute Opportunity for Teachers (2 Locations)

Being an American ESL

Building on the popularity of the Bill of Rights Institute’s Being an American resource, this updated version will provide scaffolded support for ESL students.

The lessons will include modifications for ESL classrooms and learners. This resource will take students through the Founding documents including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, and provide tools for primary source analysis, individual writing assignments, and classroom discussion. Students can “connect the dots” by applying what they learn through studying these documents to civic values, American heroes, and exploring the meaning of citizenship.

Lesson plan features will include warm-ups, classroom activities, background essays, homework assignments, extensions, handouts, suggested modifications, vocabulary glossaries, and Founding principle connections.

*Please note that this resource is not available as of right now. You will need to sign up to receive a notification for when it is released.

National Council for Geographic Education – Call for Proposals

This year’s conference has been designed with busy educators’ schedules in mind.  The 3-day (long weekend) conference will provide you with the most engaging conference yet where you will be able to:

  • Connect with geography teachers, professionals, and colleagues
  • Attend engaging geographic education-focused sessions to increase your professional learning
  • Get the newest geographic tools and ideas to incorporate into the classroom and share with colleagues

Submission Deadline: 11:59p.m. (EST) April 30, 2022

Making History Matter: Toolkit for Communicators

Welcome to “Reframing History,” a communications toolkit for historians, museum professionals, educators, and other advocates. It’s designed to facilitate more effective communication with the public about history: why it matters, how it can be interpreted, and why it is important to incorporate critical thinking and a multitude of diverse perspectives in the ways we understand it.

The “tools” in this toolkit are evidence-based strategies for reframing history, developed and tested by the FrameWorks Institute in partnership with the American Association for State and Local History, the National Council on Public History, and the Organization of American Historians. These strategies are based on a two-year deep-dive research project undertaken by our organizations to develop specific recommendations for communicators. This research was funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Untold: Stories You Won’t Learn About In a Textbook

History Isn’t Dead. Perhaps now, more than ever, our history is a vital and very present part of the world around us. So it’s hugely important that young people feel a part of that conversation and can see themselves reflected in our shared past. Untold is a free collection of short, compelling, history videos and animations designed to engage new audiences in a new conversation and

  • shine a light on the stories that don’t always make it into the classroom
  • and question what we think we know about those that do.

Not everything worth knowing exists inside the cover of our history textbooks. Untold is here to fill in the gaps and bring new stories to life.

The Great Debates

The Museum of Broadcast Communications is committed to helping parents, teachers and anyone who wants to be a more informed voter. Within this site, we offer curriculum that develops critical thinking and media literacy in students, links to performance highlights, commentary and debate analysis that can help you understand how today’s debates are shaped by 60 years of broadcast history.

These guides are designed for high school classes. They can be adapted for middle school work as well. Each guide provides support materials, including worksheets and links to content, to help students understand the lesson.

NebTOPSS Annual Conference

Nebraska Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools, associated with the American Psychological Association, is offering a great professional development opportunity for any high school psychology teacher (or teachers who are interested in the science of psychology)!

NebTOPSS’s mission is to provide professional development opportunities for high school social studies teachers.  Participating in these professional development opportunities allows you the opportunity to network with other high school psychology teachers, learn from collegiate psychology professors and other psychology professionals, as well as obtain new resources for your psychology classroom.  With that mission in mind our fourth annual NebTOPSS conference will be on June 2, 2022 from 9:00-3:00.  Our focus this year is mental health and adolescent brain development.  The conference will be held at the UNO’s Community Engagement Center.  During the conference, you will have the opportunity to listen to Dr. Stuart White and Dr.Brittany Taylor discuss the various neuroimaging tools they utilize at the Institute for Human Neuroscience, as well as their research investigating the role of adolescent brain structures and function on behavioral disorders.  You will also participate in demonstrations and lessons that you could then take back to your classroom.  Plus breakfast and lunch will be provided.

*Please note that this year NebTOPSS is partnering with the Nebraska State Council for the Social Studies conference. While it is not required, we encourage you to consider registering for the NSCSS conference on June 3rd. If you register to attend the NSCSS conference, you will receive a discounted registration fee for the 2022 NebTOPSS conference. Visit the NSCSS website for more information or to register for this year’s NSCSS conference.

If you are ready  register now for NebTOPSS!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Rob McEntarffer at rmcenta@lps.org. Thank you for your consideration!