The goals of the Virginia Council for the Social Studies are to foster professional growth, develop communication among stakeholders in the social studies community, and to promote the teaching of social studies in Virginia, the United States, and the international sphere. The Virginia Council of the Social Studies is an affiliate with the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS).
Treasurer & Membership Chair:
Legislative Liaison, Southside, and New River Valley:
Northern Virginia Representatives:
Central Virginia Representatives:
Sarah McDermott (Independent Council)
Western Virginia Representatives:
Government and Public Relations:
Currently, as this is being posted, the Virginia General Assembly hasn’t passed a budget which means a final decision on SOLs for secondary Social Studies courses hasn’t been made, yet.
Before the GA ended this year, the final bill (SB 969) impacting SOL tests and authentic assessments would allow for EOC tests to be based off an authentic assessment. Originally, SB 969 specifically prohibited performance assessments, but then at the last minute, it was amended to allow for them.
But then the session ended without a budget. When the Senate came back in the last few weeks, the budget they were debating referred back to the original wording SB 969.
So in conjunction with the Virginia Social Studies Leaders Consortium, we submitted the following letters to Virginia Senators in support of the amended SB 969 which allows for performance assessments:
As members of the Virginia Social Studies Leaders Consortium (VSSLC) and the Virginia Council on the Social Studies (VCSS), we urge you to amend budget item 130#1s as reflected below. The proposed language is essentially the current language adopted by the House Education Committee (SB 969) as proposed by the patron, Senator Newman. It was supported by the Board of Education, the Virginia Association of School Superintendents (VASS), and a number of education stakeholders. The current language of budget item 130#1s reflects the original language in SB969 prohibiting performance assessments rather than the language ultimately agreed to by the patron and all interested parties.
As a result of the Revised Standards of Accreditation, many school divisions across Virginia are under the impression that verified credit may be earned in the coming school year through locally developed, authentic performance assessments. Local budgets, time, and expertise are currently invested in the development of these assessments and the related professional learning for teachers. While the VSSLC accepts that a state-developed assessment may be a necessary compromise, it is worth noting that many public school teachers and leaders will be both surprised and disappointed by legislation that underestimates the benefits of local authentic performance assessments.
The proposed amendment below supports statewide accountability for social studies education at the high school level. However, it does so by supporting a more balanced approach which includes performance assessments and doesn’t simply emphasize memorization at the expense of understanding and application. The shift towards utilizing performance assessments compels school divisions to more fully measure what students know, as well as what they can do with this information. We are confident that this change in assessment will improve social studies instruction, deepen student understanding, and sharpen critical thinking skills.
Below is the rest of the letter, which won’t paste into this post nicely, so it’s an image.
52nd VCSSE State Conference
Our next state conference will be held at the Hotel Roanoke on November 2 and 3, 2018.
Planning has begun! If you’re interested in helping us plan, please email us.
The Annual Conference offers sessions for every K-12 teacher – from those beginning their
professional careers to seasoned veterans.
Our agenda is packed with new, exciting, and informative presentations. In order to
“Harmonize the Human Experience”
There will be content specialists offering in-depth sessions in geography, citizenship, history and economics.
This broad theme will explore the following questions:
- How can we weave the humanities and arts into our social studies instruction?
- How do we guide students to see history through multiple perspectives?
- How do we support and enrich learners at all levels with unique strengths and needs?
- How are we integrating social studies into other content areas?
- How do we teach both skills and content in a harmonious way?
Your registration includes access to all general workshop sessions, the exhibition hall and vendor fair, continental breakfast Friday and Saturday, and lunch on Friday. Conference registration also includes membership in the Virginia Council for the Social Studies.”
Pre-service teachers, student teachers, and teachers attending this conference for the first time may attend the conference for a reduced fee. See the fees page for information about our group discount!