Social Studies Signal

Social Studies Signal

August 2023- Social Studies Newsletter


Updates from the Ohio Department of Education

Welcome Back to School!

The Office of Learning and Instructional Strategies extends a welcome back to Ohio’s social studies teachers and administrators for the 2023-2024 school year. The Department of Education’s Social Studies and Financial Literacy Consultants, Justin Leach and Linda McKean, look forward to supporting districts, schools, administrators, teachers and staff through the upcoming school year.
Ohio educators can schedule a time to connect directly with Ohio's Social Studies and Financial Literacy consultants, Justin Leach and Linda McKean, using the Microsoft Teams Bookings links below: 

Release of Spring 2023 Test Items and Other Ohio OST Portal Updates

The Practice Test Site is now updated with Spring 2023 Ohio’s State Tests released items. Item Release Scoring Guides for these items are now available on the test portal. Each of the scoring guides contains associated learning standards, answer keys, scoring rubrics, sample student responses, and notes on scoring with rationales that describe why response options are correct or incorrect. In addition, the scoring guides contain information about Depth of Knowledge (DOK) for mathematics, English language arts and social studies and Cognitive Demand (CD) for science. 

The Readiness Assessments (RAs) – composed of Benchmark and Checkpoint tests – also include updated content. All writing items on the RAs now use the instructions and writing rubrics introduced in Spring 2022 and are machine scored. Many checkpoints have new or revised test questions.
The Office of Assessment is happy to introduce the new Assessment Authoring system. This flexible and user-friendly system enables teachers to create their own tests from a large bank of Ohio test questions, administer these tests to their students using the familiar Test Delivery System, and view results in the Centralized Reporting System. Assessment Authoring launches August 1st from the Teachers and Test Administrators section of the test portal. A user guide and training presentations will be available to help users become familiar with the new system. More communication is forthcoming about Assessment Authoring.
For questions about the released test item materials and Assessment Authoring, please contact the Office of Assessment at

News from Education Organizations

The Ohio Holocaust and Genocide Memorial and Education Commission is Hiring

The Ohio Holocaust and Genocide Memorial and Education Commission is seeking qualified candidates for two new roles in the organization: 

The Commission gathers and disseminates Holocaust and genocide educational resources and promotes awareness of issues relating to the Holocaust and genocide while advising state government officials on these relevant issues.

Please direct questions to the Commission's Executive Director, Andrea Brookover, at or 740-243-5996

Bring the Smithsonian American Art Museum to the Classroom

Explore U.S. history and culture through a free interactive videoconference. Museum presenters create connections between American art and your curriculum, engaging students and lifelong learners at schools, libraries, and senior centers throughout North America. Artful Connections programs promote collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and communication via discussion.

Looking at Art:

  • To See is to Think (grades 3+)
  • America’s Signs & Symbols (grades 3+)
  • Found Object Artworks (grades 3+)
  • Contemporary Craft Works (grades 3+)

Exploring History:

  • Young America (grades 4+)
  • Lure of the West (grades 4-7 and 8-12)
  • A House Divided: Civil War (grades 5+)

Celebrating Heritage:

  • African American Artists (grades 4+)
  • American Indians (grades 3+)
  • Latino Art and Culture (grades 4+)
Learn more about the Classroom Videoconferences

Ohio Council for Law-Related Education 2023-2024 Program Calendar

The Ohio Council for Law-Related Education has shared its 2023-24 calendar. The dates for all upcoming competitions and showcases, along with their Mock Trial Conference and Constitution Camp, are as follows:
  • Mock Trial Conference: September 25-26, 2023
  • Constitution Camp: October 2-3, 2023
  • HSMT Districts: January 26, 2024
  • High School We the People: February 2, 2024
  • HSMT Districts Makeup (VIRTUAL): February 3, 2024 
  • HSMT Regionals: February 16, 2024 
  • HSMT Regionals Makeup (VIRTUAL): February 24, 2024 
  • HSMT States: March 7-9, 2024
  • Moot Court: April 12, 2024
  • Middle School Mock Trial: April 19, May 3 and May 17, 2024
  • Middle School We the People: May 10, 2024

Professional Learning Opportunities

School Leaders Open House at the Nancy and David Wolf Holocaust and Humanity Center

The Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center invites school leaders to celebrate the start of the new school year by learning how you can partner with the Center. School administrators and leaders are invited to an exclusive open house for education leadership on Thursday, August 31, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. The Center has designed the open house for school leaders to explore the award-winning museum in Cincinnati's historic Union Terminal, connect with colleagues from other school districts and gain valuable tools to elevate programs in the coming year. The Center offers field trips, youth programming, professional development, curricular resources and other educational offerings to ensure that the lessons of the Holocaust inspire action today.

District leadership, curriculum and DEI directors and school board members are encouraged to attend. The Center will provide appetizers and beverages. Interested school leaders can get tickets here by Tuesday, August 22.

Registration Open for the 103rd Annual National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) Conference

The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) is pleased to open registration for the 103rd NCSS Annual Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, from Dec. 1 to 3 at the Music City Center. This year's conference theme is "Social Studies: Working in Harmony for a Better Tomorrow."

Teaching American History (TAH) Fall Seminars invites educators to participate in conversational seminars that explore themes in American history and self-government by studying original historical documents. 

Other Resources, News and Information

Kids Voting Ohio Mock Elections

Kids Voting Ohio (KVO) Mock Elections allows students to put civics into practice this fall. This program is free to educators and gives students in grades 3-12 the opportunity to learn the importance of voting and civic involvement in an engaging and fun way. 
The Mock Elections program provides teachers with several supports to aid implementation. KVO staff customize all the ballots, create student voter IDs, provide curriculum and information necessary for mock election prep and provide participating schools with “Future Ohio Voter” stickers.
KVO is planning Mock Elections for the fall of 2023. Educators interested in having their school participate can register using this link.

Free Resources with the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

The Smithsonian Center for Folklife & Cultural Heritage offers free lesson plans and learning guides. The Center also invites educators to watch videos, order books and recordings and browse online exhibitions to link to a world of cultural heritage educational materials.

The resources in this newsletter are free and have been reviewed using the Department’s Social Studies resource filter against established criteria. Copies of the completed filter forms are available upon request. Inclusion in this newsletter does not represent a recommendation to use a resource. Many quality resources are available beyond those included here. Educators should use their professional expertise to determine the suitability of any particular resources for use in their districts, schools or classrooms.