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Iowa team to draft new social studies standards

Friday, January 15, 2016

Draft standards will be subject to public review process

Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise today announced the members of a state team that will rewrite Iowa’s social studies standards for public review and possible adoption statewide. The team’s work will begin Jan. 21.

“As a former social studies teacher, I understand from personal experience the need to have high-quality standards that drive instruction,” Wise said. “I see this writing team as a great opportunity to improve our social studies standards and to raise awareness of the importance of having clear and consistent expectations for what Iowa students should know and be able to do to be successful.”

Iowa has set statewide standards for mathematics, English-language arts, science and 21st century skills that will be revisited over time. The state’s social studies standards have more room for growth and improvement, Wise said.

For example, about a third of Iowa middle school and high school teachers who responded to a recent survey said they were dissatisfied with Iowa’s social studies standards, which were adopted in 2008. In written comments, 17 percent of the surveyed teachers said Iowa needs clearer, more specific social studies standards.

Academic standards outline a set of expectations, not a curriculum, so decisions about how to help students reach statewide standards remain with teachers and school administrators.

The Social Studies Standards Writing Team will develop draft standards that will then be subject to public review in line with Gov. Branstad’s Executive Order 83. This will include convening a special review panel and seeking public input statewide.

The team will meet for the first time on Thursday, Jan. 21 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the State Historical Museum (3rd floor classroom), 600 E. Locust St., in Des Moines. Meetings are open to the public.
Members of the writing team are as follows:

  • Rebecca Helland, Pella Community School District
  • Katy Swalwell, Iowa State University
  • Kim Heckart, College Community School District
  • Jenny Sinclair, Norwalk Community School District
  • Trenton Williams, Des Moines Public Schools
  • Michelle Hahn, Sioux City Community School District
  • Jennifer Cooley, State Historical Museum
  • Kimberly Villotti, Iowa Department of Education
  • Mandie Reynolds, Riverside Community School District
  • Dan Nietzel, Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency
  • Tandi Permenter, Clinton Community School District
  • Kerri Tharp, Muscatine Community School District
  • Alisa Meggitt, Iowa City Community School District
  • Jennifer Knight, Earlham Community School District
  • Julie Bauer, Diocese of Davenport
  • Mike Miller, Ankeny Community School District
  • Joe Judge, Albia Community School District
  • Alicen Morley, Boone Community School District
  • Jeff Ferguson, Dowling Catholic High School
  • Chad Christopher, University of Northern Iowa
  • Jennifer Anderson, Treynor Community School District
  • Carol Van Waardhuizen, Ames Community School District
  • Ryan Austin, Carroll Community School District
  • Canada Snyder, Des Moines Public Schools
  • Catherine Mein, Ballard Community School District
  • Sean Neilly, Cedar Rapids Community School District
  • Jacqueline Johnson, Glenwood Community School District
  • Chad Timm, Grand View University
  • Alex Oberle, University of Northern Iowa
  • Christian Davison, Marshalltown Community School District
  • Michael Kennedy, Dubuque Community School District
  • Chad Guge, North Scott Community School District
  • Richard Snyder, Wartburg College
  • Crystal Holt, Denison Community School District
  • Mike Knedler, State Board of Education (ex-officio)

For more information, visit the Social Studies Standards Writing Team webpage.

For more information about Iowa’s state standards, visit  


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Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on May 22, 2018 at 6:37am.