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The Council of State Social Studies Specialists was founded in 1965 with the primary goal of providing a vehicle for the exchange of ideas among the various states. Its members include the specialists, consultants, and supervisors who have responsibilities for social studies education in the various state departments of education/public instruction. The membership officially meets once a year just prior to the annual convention of the National Council for the Social Studies.
COUNCIL OF STATE SOCIAL STUDIES SPECIALISTS
The Council of State Social Studies Specialists is an organization founded in 1965, with the primary goal of providing a vehicle for the exchange of ideas among the various states. Its members include the specialists, consultants, and supervisors who have responsibilities for social studies education in the various state departments of education/public instruction. The membership officially meets once a year just prior to the annual convention of the National Council for the Social Studies. Other meetings are planned and held as is feasible and desirable. In these meetings, a program is planned which attempts to familiarize the members with now developments and provides an opportunity for cooperative endeavors and coordination of efforts. The members have many common rules, responsibilities, and problems; yet each has a position that is somewhat unique. State social studies specialists occupy positions that require a variety of roles to strengthen instruction for school students. At times activities involve the specialists with local schools within the state; with the various bureaus, offices, and divisions of the state education department; with institutions of higher education within the state; with programs established by state and federal legislation; with professional organizations, and with public and private agencies outside of the state department of education. The various duties performed are summarized in the following sections relative to the roles and responsibilities of the state social studies specialists.
ROLES OF STATE--SOCIAL STUDIES SPECIALISTS
Service to Local Schools
State social studies specialists provide leadership in developing and improving education in local schools in many ways,
Assisting schools with the improvement of local program guidelines through curriculum studies.
Providing consultative services to schools. Planning and providing in-service education programs for schools.
Developing criteria to assist schools in selection and utilization of test and audiovisual materials.
Consulting in the selection of state-adopted textbooks.
Communicating and disseminating information on social studies developments to schools through bulletins and newsletters.
Assisting schools in the preparation of proposals for federal grants.
Encouraging and assisting experimentation, innovation and research in schools.
Coordinating the development of state social studies frameworks.
Developing educational television programs for social studies.
Serving on state and regional accrediting teams to enforce and improve social studies standards in schools.
Liaison Within State Education Agency
State social studies specialists serve as resources for specialists in other areas and as spokesperson for social studies education with their state departments of education by engaging in activities such as these:
Conducting research concerning the current status of needs of local school programs--both within and outside of the state--in the area of social studies specialization.
Assisting in the development of philosophy, objectives, policies, guidelines, and plans of the state department of education.
Participating in the planning of statewide conferences.
Cooperating with specialists in other bureaus and divisions.
Serving as resource people or official spokesperson for social studies.
Communicating ideas for legislative action.
Advising about textbook adoptions.
Cooperating and participating in the evaluative activities of the state department of education.
Assisting offices of certification in the study of criteria for the establishment and revision of standards.
Reviewing federal program proposals and cooperating in planning efforts to utilize most effectively federal program funds.
Assisting in the development of course and graduation requirements.
Planning educational television programs.
Intermediary with Institutions of Higher Education
State social studies specialists are in a unique position to provide colleges and universities within the state information they seek in planning and implementing their teacher-education programs. They are able to perform this service in ways, such as:
Providing college and university personnel with vital information relative to local social studies programs and current state and national curriculum activities.
Providing consultative services to college and university social science and education departments.
Promoting cooperative working relationships between professional educators and scientists.
Providing feedback information on the relevance of teacher-education programs.
Serving as liaison people in improving understanding between local school districts and institutions of higher learning within the state.
Identifying cooperative teachers for student-teacher programs and assisting in the placement of student teachers.
Involving college and university professors on statewide social studies curriculum committees.
Demonstrating now and innovative teaching strategies and materials.
Encouraging the use of college personnel as consultants for state and local in-service programs.
Planning with college and university personnel in developing social studies courses especially designed for preparation and continued education for school personnel.
Assisting in the evaluation of teacher-education programs and encouraging the use of college and university personnel in the evaluation of local school programs.
Assisting in the development of teacher certification standards for social studies program approval in teacher education institutions.
Advisor for Programs Established by State and Federal Legislation
For programs that embrace social studies education, state specialists serve actively to promote optimal benefits in many ways, such as:
Assisting in the determination of local and state educational priorities. Assisting in the writing and interpretation of state guidelines for programs that involve social studies.
Aiding local schools in planning, writing, and submitting project proposals.
Reviewing and evaluating social studies projects supported with state or federal funds.
Encouraging local schools to seek special funds for social studies programs.
Coordinating programs initiated by the curriculum division with other state department divisions.
Disseminating information of state and federal funds relative to social studies.
Directing allocation of funds for social studies.
Providing estimates of success in activities involving the social studies for state and federal governments.
Recommending to the state and federal governments needed modifications in existing programs, as well as in the
Need for new programs designed to improve education in the area of social studies.
Resource for Professional Organizations
In addition to membership in local, state, and national organizations, state specialists serve as key members of professional organizations concerned with a special area of education. They join those organizations that satisfy individual needs and offer the appropriate relationships to the concerns of state specialists in social studies. Notable among these organizations are National Council for the Social Studies, National Council for Geographic Education, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and various social science organizations. The state specialists' involvement with professional organizations include:
Belonging to and actively participating in the work and meetings of state and national professional organizations.
Assisting in planning state professional conferences.
Serving on executive boards of social studies.
Contributing to professional publications.
Working with joint councils on economic education.
Representing the views of state councils in state departments of education.
Maintaining communications with other state specialists throughout the nation.
Cooperating with state councils in publicizing and advancing curriculum developments in social studies.
Consulting with and advising leaders in state and national professional organizations.
Identifying potential participants for service and work in professional organizations.
Consultant to Other Public and Private Agencies
The state specialists work cooperative with various governmental and private agencies to strengthen social studies instruction, by engaging in activities in the following ways:
Coordinating educational activities with other state agencies.
Helping schools define and utilize services provided by other agencies.
Maintaining positive relationships with news media.
Consulting with authors and editors of publishing companies.
Working with local and state historical organizations.
Working with private and parochial schools.
Responsible Leader for Social Studies
Among school personnel throughout the state, state social studies specialists have a key leadership position. Through recognize competence as successful classroom teachers, curriculum specialists, and state staff members, the specialists exert leadership for schools and teachers. The state specialists serve school personnel within the state as planners, as resource people, as advisors, as guides, as facilitators, as spokesperson, as representatives, as coordinators--in short, as leaders.
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