There are a number of new professional development opportunities in the works for K-12 social studies teachers in Massachusetts. Starting this year, Mass Council will reinstate an annual statewide conference in addition to the regional conference. The statewide conference will be offered to Mass Council members for an in-state discount registration rate. Non-members and out-of-state educators are also invited to participate at a higher registration rate. The statewide conference will be planned in the fall, but to kick-off our statewide conference program, we will hold a beta conference this spring in March 2015. There will be a number of workshop sessions offered at a state university (to be announced later) as well as around the Commonwealth including Museum of African American History in Boston and National Archives in Waltham. Mass Council is also exploring to offer or sponsor a three-day summer content institute seminar. The summer institute seminar shall be designed with a specific content focus in social studies and is coordinated by one of the several statewide social studies education organizations, such as the Massachusetts Center for Civic Education and the Massachusetts Geographic Alliance.
There is no regional conference this spring since the NCSS Annual Conference was held in Boston this past November. However, Mass Council has begun working on NERC2016. NERC will take place on April 4-7, 2016, at the Sturbridge Host Hotel and Conference Center in Sturbridge, MA, and we will soon be calling for proposals this spring.
Every year, Mass Council celebrates K-12 educators for their excellence, accomplishments, passion, and commitment in teaching and supporting social studies education to all K-12 students throughout the Commonwealth. This year is no different and we ask you to consider nominating an educator you know who deserves such recognition. We have several award categories:
- William Spratt Awards for Excellence in Teaching Middle School Social Studies
- William Spratt Awards for Excellence in Teaching High School Social Studies
- Barbara Capron Award for Excellence in Teaching Elementary Social Studies
- John Riley Award for Excellence in Teaching Geography
- George G. Watson Jr. Award for Excellence in Teaching Economics
- Charles Mitsakos Outstanding Supervisor Award
- Richard Aieta Award for Promising New Teacher
- Don Salvucci Award for Excellence in Promoting Civics Education
All nominations are due January 31, 2015. For nomination forms, click here. Award recipients and respective nominators will be notified later this spring, and will be invited to the Mass Council Board Annual Meeting in May 2015 to receive their awards.
This month, Massachusetts will be under the leadership of a new governor, Charles Baker. It has been reported that Governor Baker will appoint James A. Peyser as the new education chief for the Commonwealth. As President, I congratulate them for their new roles, and it is my hope that we will be able to establish a partnership to recognize that a rigorous and comprehensive social studies education is integral for all K-12 students to achieve academic excellence and success for college, career, and civic life.
Happy New Year!
Gorman Lee, Ed.D.
Mass Council President
Earlier President’s Messages