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Charting new waters in social studies

Thursday, March 20, 2014

If academic subjects were ships, the SS Social Studies is ready for righting with Stefanie Wager at the helm. The upcoming Best Practices in Social Studies Institute will help chart a new course for the discipline.

Wager, a social studies consultant for the Iowa Department of Education who is organizing the June institute, says social studies is a critical part of a student’s educational map.

“Social studies is the essence of who we are, not only as individuals, but as a nation and a global society,” Wager said. “It is through social studies that we learn our history and what it means to be a citizen, fulfilling the civic mission of schools.”

The Best Practices in Social Studies Institute will provide an opportunity for educators to learn from experts in the field while navigating the waters of best practice.  Presenters will share their expertise in specific content areas, strengthening the educators’ knowledge and delivery of social studies content.

“The institute is an attempt to bring teachers from around the state together and provide them with quality professional development,” she said. “In a recent survey we conducted, 59 percent of teachers reported zero access to social studies professional development in the last two years.  We want to change that statistic and ensure that there is equity and access for social studies teachers across the state.”

Social studies historically has not received the same kind of high-profile attention as literacy or math. That doesn’t mean social studies should be put on a backburner, Wager said.

 “It belongs embedded in a well-rounded, quality education,” she said.  “It encompasses interdisciplinary concepts and skills utilized in reading, math, and science.  It guides our understanding of diverse cultures and our past.  It informs our decision making for our future. Social studies is the veritable fabric of our society.”

The Best Practices in Social Studies Institute will be held June 24-25 at the State Historical Museum of Iowa, 600 E. Locust Street, in Des Moines.   For more information, go to

To register, go to  Contact Stefanie Wager with questions at .

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Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on February 23, 2018 at 9:45pm.