The National Council for the Social Studies defines social studies as "the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence.” The National Council also states that the primary purpose of social studies education is to help our children and young adults "develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world.”
Social studies promotes engaging participatory citizenship where global awareness of civic issues such as financial literacy, healthcare, domestic affairs, foreign policy and the environment are actively monitored and influenced by all citizens interacting internationally for the benefit of all mankind.
W.Va. Schools to Mark West Virginia Birthday with Summer Camp for Social Studies and the Arts
This West Virginia Ambassadors Camp will be a week-long event conducted at the University of Charleston June 17 through June 21. Campers will stay on the UC campus during the week while they learn about West Virginia history as well as participate in classes taught by West Virginia artisans.
“As both an educator and parent, I believe that we cannot afford to overlook the significant and dramatic effect social studies and the arts have on student achievement,” said state Superintendent Jim Phares. “Research shows that the study of the arts can have a positive effect on student performance, while the study of social studies leads to a well-informed and civic-minded citizenry. This camp will allow our students to experience both.”
County superintendents have been invited to work with the middle schools in their area to select two ambassadors as well as two alternates per county to participate in the program. The students are to be eighth graders during the 2012-2013 school year. Students selected to participate are expected to return to their home counties and serve as ambassadors. Activities throughout the year following the camp are to include presentations at school-wide assemblies, scheduled classroom events at local elementary schools and the creation of an exhibit at county commission buildings.
During the camp, students will spend a day at the West Virginia Capitol Complex, where they will participate in a mock Legislature, tour the state museum, capitol, state archives and state library. In addition, the arts experience will include hands-on art projects as well as a workshop with the West Virginia Dance Company and dress rehearsal with the Charleston Light Opera Guild.
The ambassador program is sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, the Sesquicentennial Commission, the City of Charleston, the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences, the West Virginia Power baseball team, the University of Charleston, and various other state agencies and non-profit organizations.
For more information, contact Joey Wiseman or Jack Deskins in the Office of Instruction at 304-558-5325, or the Office of Communication at 304-558-2699.
Dr. Joe Mace, Lewis County Superintendent of Schools accompanied 45 8th graders to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, April 1st and 2nd. The trip was funded in part by a grant from the Bartol Educator's Conference through the Benedum Foundation. It was given to West Virginia History teacher, Francine Snyder , as part of an ongoing project to teach the Civil War in the classroom. The balance of the trip was funded by levy funds through the Lewis County Board of Education. Students experienced the museum, cyclorama, and Morgan Freeman narrated fillm. A National Park Service guide acompanied the students on a tour of the battlefield and National Cemetery. The students also toured the David Wills House.
Over one hundred Nitro and Saint Albans students participated in the Family Law Courts Mock Trial on April 30th, 2013. Hosted by Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College at their new campus in South Charleston, students became lawyers, witnesses, and jurors in a simulated case that required students not only to study the law but domestic violence to grasp the damaging forces spousal and partner abuse can cause to society. Saint Albans students were guided by AP Government teachers Vickie Hensley and Ed Hughart and Nitro High’s team was facilitated by AP Government teacher Drew Wendt. The case materials were prepared by the originator of the mock trials, Family Law Judge Mike Kelly, and the case was heard before Circuit Court Judge Louis “Duke” Bloom. Without Judge Bloom going above and beyond the call of duty and reorganizing his schedule, local lawyers volunteering their time and knowledge, Judge Kelly providing the case materials, and Dr. Craig Giffin with the KVCTC hosting the event students would not have been able to participate in this touchstone learning opportunity. Each of these gentlemen should be commended for their dedication to the education of our youth and their willingness to sacrifice for the greater good.