January 20, 2017

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: K-12 History and Social Science Standards of Learning Institutes Professional Development Resources

The Virginia Department of Education has provided targeted professional development through a series of eight K-12 History and Social Science Standards of Learning (SOL) Institutes.  These Institutes focused on the increased rigor and the history and social science skills emphasized in the 2015 History and Social Science Standards of Learning and Curriculum Framework.  More than 1,130 educators from 110 school divisions across the Commonwealth attended the K-12 History and Social Science SOL Institutes.  

Each of the Institutes began with a general session where the changes in the 2015 History and Social Science Standards of Learning were highlighted.  Educators attended an interactive session presented by the Library of Congress that focused on Teaching with Primary Sources. Concurrent course content sessions, facilitated by regional teachers, deepened the discussions of the new standards and curriculum framework, progression of skills, and experiences to use in history and social science skills instruction.  

Supporting professional development resources, including PowerPoint presentations associated with each K-12 History and Social Science SOL Institute, are available online on the History and Social Science Standards of Learning Institutes Webpage.  Teachers and school divisions are encouraged to utilize the professional development resources to improve student achievement through quality instruction.

Questions regarding the K-12 History and Social Science SOL Institutes or associated professional development resources should be directed to Christonya Brown, History and Social Science Coordinator, Office of Humanities and Early Childhood, by email at Christonya.Brown@doe.virginia.gov or by telephone at (804) 225-2893; or Betsy Barton, Elementary History and Social Science Specialist, Office of Humanities and Early Childhood, by email at Betsy.Barton@doe.virginia.gov or by telephone at (804) 225-3454; or Jill Nogueras, English and History Specialist, Office of Humanities and Early Childhood, by email at Jill.Nogueras@doe.virginia.gov or by telephone at (804) 225-3696.

SRS/CB/CH/vdg