Social Studies Signal

Social Studies Signal

Nov. 2022- Social Studies Signal Newsletter


Updates from the Ohio Department of Education

Ohio’s Readiness Assessments Available for American History and American Government

The Department, in conjunction with Cambium Assessment, Inc., provides a suite of optional online assessments for educators to use in grades 3 through high school. The Restart Readiness Assessments, available for English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies, are designed to help schools and districts identify student progress early and receive actionable performance data. Educators can administer these assessments using the same systems with which Ohio educators and students are familiar from the administration of Ohio’s State Tests. 
Benchmark Tests
Benchmark tests are:
  • Full-length assessments mirror the content and test characteristics of Ohio’s State Tests in terms of length.
  • Test specifications.
  • Blueprints and tools available to students (such as the calculator).
These benchmark tests will be machine-scored, allowing reporting in near real-time to give teachers rapid access to results. The new, innovative reporting system reports results with additional tools to assist teachers in understanding and using the data.
Checkpoint Assessments 
The second major component of the Restart Readiness Assessments consists of 150 checkpoint assessments. Each checkpoint assessment consists of six to 10 items and offers a range of opportunities to assess within each reporting category. Items provide varying levels of difficulty or complexity.
Teacher Resources 
The testing portal offers several resources to assist teachers, including: 

Financial Literacy Licensure Update

Under Ohio law, students entering 9th grade on or after July 1, 2022, must earn one-half credit of financial literacy as a graduation requirement. Educators with licensure in social studies, family and consumer sciences or business education are permitted to teach financial literacy. The Department recently updated the Financial Literacy FAQ with a complete list of social studies, family and consumer sciences and business education licenses qualified to teach financial literacy without pursuing the validation of financial literacy.
Educators with licenses not on the above list will need to earn the financial literacy licensure validation to teach financial literacy. The Department is currently developing the licensure validation rule that will be presented for adoption by the State Board of Education.

Student Interactions with Peace Officers Update

The Ohio Department of Education is continuing to work with advisory and working groups on revisions to the draft Student Interactions with Peace Officers Model Curriculum. The advisory and working groups are revising the model curriculum based on the Spring 2022 public comment period. Once the groups have finished revisions, the Department will post the updated draft on its website. Following the public comment period, the Department will present the draft to the State Board of Education of Ohio for approval. The Department will continue to publish updates on its website and through the EdConnection and Social Studies Signal newsletters.

Office Hours with Ohio Department of Education Consultants

Ohio educators can schedule office hours directly with Ohio's Social Studies and Financial Literacy Education Program Specialists, Justin Leach and Linda McKean, using the Microsoft Teams Bookings links below: 

2023 Ohio Teacher Leadership Summit Call for Presenters

The Ohio Teacher Leadership Summit is June 14, 2023, at the Ohio Union on the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus. Event organizers currently are accepting proposals to present.
The goal of the summit is to build a statewide network of teacher leaders and administrators to promote and strengthen teacher leadership in Ohio.

This exciting event brings together schools, districts and organizations doing innovative work to develop teacher leaders by sharing successes, lessons learned and strategies for overcoming challenges around teacher leadership implementation.

The Call for Presenters submission form is open through Nov.16.
Check the Ohio Teacher Leadership Summit webpage for updates on the summit.
For questions, contact

News from Education Organizations

Ohio Council for the Social Studies (OCSS) Posting: Communication Director

The Ohio Council for the Social Studies (OCSS) is currently seeking candidates to apply for the new, paid position of Communication Director. Candidates should be proficient in using social media and have strong communication skills. All are encouraged to apply. Click on this link for details.

2023 High School Mock Trial Registration

Team registration for the Ohio Council for Law-Related Education's (OCLRE) 2023 High School Mock Competition is available on the "Statewide Competition" tab of the mock trial webpage. The team registration deadline is Friday, November 18. For more information on the Ohio High School Mock Trial pro­gram, please con­tact Danielle Wilmot at or 614-485-3507.

PBS Learning Media Launches New U.S. History Collection for Middle and High School

According to Current, "GBH in Boston is rolling out a new collection of free-to-use digital multimedia resources to help middle and high school educators teach American history. The U.S. History Collection, accessible through PBS Learning Media, spans pre-colonial history to the present and draws on public television's extensive archive of documentaries." 

African American History Through Primary Sources

The Bill of Rights Institute recently launched a free resource for grades 9-12. The Plainest Demands of Justice: Documents for Dialogue on the African-American Experience is a seven-lesson resource that utilizes primary source analysis to explore the efforts to realize the Founding principles of liberty, equality and justice by exploring critical periods in African American history. A culminating assessment has students choose a topic to research and present to make connections to how the work to ensure a society aligned with Founding principles continues in the present day.

Professional Learning Opportunities

Registration Open for The 2022 National Council For The Social Studies (NCSS) Annual Conference
The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) will welcome its members and all social studies educators, administrators and specialists from across the globe to the first face-to-face NCSS Annual Conference since 2019. NCSS has scheduled the conference for Dec. 2-4, 2022, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 
The NCSS Annual Conference is the largest gathering of K-12 social studies classroom teachers, college and university faculty members, curriculum designers and specialists, district and state social studies supervisors, international educators and social studies discipline leaders. The conference will feature: 
  • 500+ sessions covering 6 sub-themes to increase your professional development.
  • A growing lineup of featured speakers and panels.
  • Opportunities to network and exchange ideas with other social studies professionals.
  • An exhibit hall highlighting the latest resources and services for your classroom, school or business.
  • Clinics, tours and special social events.
National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) has assembled a preview guide of programs, exhibits, sessions and speakers for its conference. Interested educators can learn more about the conference and register on the NCSS website.  

The Rural Experience in America Professional Development Program

Funded by a grant from the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources program, the National Council for History Education (NCHE) announced Year 2 of The Rural Experience in America program. The program is a series of free professional development opportunities to support K-12 teachers focusing on this year's theme, Rural Lives in Context. 
Options in year two of the program include: 
  • Asynchronous learning using primary sources through the Library of Congress 
  • Online colloquia focused on the theme: Rural Lives in Context
  • Onsite colloquium in July 2023 
Interested educators can learn more on the NCHE website

The Renate Frydman Dialogue Series on Holocaust & Genocide: Echoes of Kristallnacht

The Holocaust & Genocide Education Network (HGEN), formerly the Ohio Council on Holocaust & Genocide Education (OCHGE), is offering a monthly dialogue series in 2022-2023. Named for Ohio Holocaust educator Renate Frydman—a founding member of HGEN, the Director of the Dayton Holocaust Resource Center, and the author of Anschel’s Story—the Frydman dialogue series brings a range of topics to educators seeking to develop their knowledge around the teaching of the Holocaust and genocide. On November 9, the anniversary of Kristallnacht (November 9, 1938), Misty Ebinger, Social Studies Teacher at New London High School, will share teaching strategies to help educators understand Kristallnacht more clearly, emphasizing the use of the Echoes and Reflections curriculum. Interested educators can learn more and register using the QR code on this flyer

Free Online Professional Development from the Alpaugh Family Economics Center

The University of Cincinnati's Alpaugh Family Economics Center offers educators several free professional development opportunities in November.
These online options include:  Questions about PD from the Alpaugh Family Economics Center? Please get in touch with Emily Schalk

Other Resources, News and Information

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.

Connecting Classrooms to Congress Project

The Civic Engagement Research Group (CERG) at the University of California, Riverside, is seeking 12th-grade Ohio social studies educators interested in participating in their Connecting Classrooms to Congress project. The Connecting Classrooms to Congress project will develop and test a social studies curriculum module that enables high school students to study–through a bipartisan lens–a pressing issue with which policymakers at the national level are grappling. Students will then discuss that issue with their sitting member of Congress in an online deliberative town hall.
Teachers selected to participate will receive a $1000 stipend for: 
  • Engagement in four 90-minute professional development sessions. 
  • Implementation of the 3-week curriculum. 
  • Participation in the research activities associated with the project. 
Interested educators can learn more through this recruitment flyer and should contact Agata Soroko at by Nov. 7, 2022. 

Street Law Introduces

StreetLaw, Inc., recently launched a new educational resource called Legal Timelines in American History. StreetLaw developed the resource in with funding from the Library of Congress' Teaching with Primary Sources project. It is part of a multi-year project to develop classroom resources that integrate Library of Congress sources to support instruction about legal history.

National History Day Resources from the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Are your students among the more than half a million middle and high schoolers participating in National History Day each year? The Smithsonian Learning Lab and the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC)’s education team have resources to help

Visual Arts Resources for the History Classroom from EDSITEment

EDSITEment offers several resources for educators interested in incorporating visual arts in the history classroom, including: 
  • Videos, background essays, and more from the NEH-funded Smarthistory resource
  • The Picturing America collection includes resources like the work of Romare Bearden, an artist inspired by his family’s experience of the Great Migration. 
  • Collection on Arts of the Afro-Atlantic Diaspora, developed in collaboration with the National Gallery of Art. 
    • This collection includes a virtual gallery of paintings and sculptures with background information, discussion prompts and lesson plans for using visual arts to teach about the transatlantic slave trade.

Ford’s Theatre Virtual Programs

Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C., offers educators and students several virtual programs and field trips throughout the school year focused on President Abraham Lincoln and his legacy in American History. 
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
Linda McKean, Social Studies Consultant, Office of Learning and Instructional Strategies