Ohio Social
Studies Signal

Ohio Social
Studies Signal

November 2021


Updates from the Ohio Department of Education

November is National Native American Heritage Month

Nov. 1 marks the start of National Native American Heritage Month. The National Congress of American Indians describes this month as “a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people. Heritage Month is also an opportune time to educate the general public about tribes, to raise general awareness about the unique challenges Native people have faced both historically and in the present and how tribal citizens have worked to conquer these challenges.” 

The Library of Congress has compiled selected resources for teachers available across various government agencies.

Fall Testing Updates Available

New information about fall testing is available on the Department’s Resources for Return webpage. As districts embark on fall 2021 testing, the safety of students and staff should continue to be the top priority. Assessments should occur only if they can be administered safely. Because most districts are in a five-day, in-person instructional model, the Department anticipates schools will be able to follow pre-pandemic administration procedures.

Ohio Department of Education Releases Abbreviated 2020-2021 School Report Cards

Recently, the Ohio Department of Education released the 2020-2021 Ohio School Report Cards. Due to the continued challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s report cards, like last year’s, do not contain overall grades for any districts or buildings, individual grades or ratings for given components or performance measures. This is in keeping with legislation passed earlier this year, which acknowledged the various obstacles to education the pandemic has presented.

This year, the Ohio School Report Cards provide information on graduation rates, Prepared for Success indicators and demographic and enrollment data, along with other district and school operational details.

Interview with Ohio Teacher of the Year Kurt Russell

In September, the Ohio Department of Education named Oberlin High School Social Studies teacher Kurt Russell the 2022 Ohio Teacher of the Year. Recently, Mr. Russell sat down for an interview with a local newspaper, The Oberlin Review. 

November Social Studies Office Hours

Social Studies Office Hours will occur on Nov. 23 from 2:30-4 p.m. Office hours are a time for social studies educators across Ohio to connect with the Department's social studies consultants to ask questions and receive needed support. Educators can join the office hours via Microsoft Teams. Click here to join the meeting.

News from Other Organizations

Ohio Council for the Social Studies Conference 2021

The 2021 Ohio Council for the Social Studies (OCSS) Conference occurred on Oct. 16 at Capital University. At the conference, OCSS announced the winners of its 2021 awards. Congratulations to the following award winners: 
  • Social Studies Leader Award: Dr. Nancy Patterson, Bowling Green State University 
  • Outstanding High School Social Studies Teacher: Amy Elsass, Miamisburg High School
  • Outstanding Middle School Social Studies Teacher: Adam Sarver, Princeton Community Middle School
  • Jim Sheehan Pre-Service Teacher Award: John Bourne (Bowling Green State University), Zach Little (University of Cincinnati), Luke Newton (Ohio Wesleyan University), Andrew Reeve (Mount Union University), Emily Rolince (Ashland University), Colleen Schloss (University of Akron).

Social Education: Getting Serious About Sourcing Information: Considerations for Teachers  

recent article published in Social Education examines important considerations for social studies educators for sourcing information and documents included in classroom activities. The authors state this has become even more important with the increased use of materials from online educational marketplaces. While the Teachers Pay Teachers website claims 7 million teachers used their platform last year, the authors’ investigation of top-selling U.S. history materials on the website found “an overwhelming 70% to be of overall low to moderate quality” and these resources “often did not include multiple historical perspectives or authentic pedagogies, such as opportunities for discussion or a focus on important themes rather than minutiae. The article goes on to provide guidance on what sourcing information should be provided and offers four critical questions for consideration when creating lessons that utilize historical sources. 

Professional Learning Opportunities

2021 National Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference

Registration is open for the 2021 National Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference scheduled for Nov. 15-21, 2021. The conference will be a fully virtual event. This year’s conference marks the 101st annual conference. Information about registration is available on the National Council for the Social Studies website. Please direct any questions about the conference to the National Council for the Social Studies.

Social Studies Resources

Teaching About the Holocaust

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum shares that “teaching the Holocaust requires a high level of sensitivity and a keen awareness of the complexity of the subject matter.” To support teachers, the museum has created guidelines for teaching about the Holocaust.

Ohio also is home to the nationally renowned Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust and Humanity Center located in Cincinnati. The center provides resources and programs that can support Ohio educators who teach about the Holocaust.

ESRI’s Free GeoInquiries

Geography is one of the four-strand areas identified in Ohio’s Social Studies Standards for grades K-8 and includes topics on spatial thinking and skills, places and regions, and human systems. Esri, or the Environmental Systems Research Institute, has created free resources and lesson plans to support geography instruction and utilize the online mapping tool ArcGIS. These lesson plans, called GeoInquires, are standards-based inquiry activities for teaching map-based content and can expose students to geographic information systems (GIS).

Other Resources, News and Information

The National Archives Marks the 100th Anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Solider

Veterans Day this year marks the centennial of the creation of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. To commemorate this anniversary, the National Archives has organized teaching activities and events on its website.

CIRCLE: What the Research Says: History and Civics Education  

In August, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) shared considerations based on research for creating “more equitable and effective civic learning.” The summary, What the Research Says: History and Civics Education, can be accessed on the CIRCLE website

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.

Send comments/questions to:

Justin Leach, Social Studies Consultant, Office of Learning and Instructional Strategies justin.leach@education.ohio.gov.
Linda McKean, Social Studies Consultant, Office of Learning and Instructional Strategies linda.mckean@education.ohio.gov.