Austin ISD Social Studies News

Vol. 27, December 2017

It's the Holiday Season...

Three weeks left until Winter Break. As you wrap up this semester and prepare for Spring, check out upcoming teacher and student opportunities.

US History MOY exam Information

Testing Window: January 8-26

Testing Time: up to 2 hours if needed

Last day to scan: January 26, 2018

The open response questions will not have score points assigned to them and will not be scored in Schoolnet. Teachers should evaluate student written responses to determine proficiency of the standards being tested. Please scan all answer documents by the window closing date.

The rubric for the open response questions will be available in Schoolnet.

Social Studies TEKS Streamlining

Social Studies TEKS Streamlining Work Group Applications Ongoing

TEA will continue to accept applications for the pool of applicants from which work group members will be selected throughout the TEKS streamlining process.

To access the application, and for more information regarding the social studies TEKS work group application, please visit the Social Studies TEKS Streamlining webpage. Questions regarding the application or TEKS streamlining process may be sent via email to

Teacher Opportunities

TAH: Civil Rights: Constitution and Law

When: Wednesday, December 6, 2017, from 8:00 am - 2:30 pm

Where: Baker

Who: US History and US Government Teachers, all campuses

Austin ISD Social Studies will cover the cost of subs.

Sign Up Here!

Explore the evolution of Civil Rights laws and constitutional interpretations, from the era of Reconstruction through the mid-20th Century in this one-day seminar. A selection of original documents will serve as the foundation for this discussion, aimed at helping teachers develop a greater understanding of the key laws, court cases, and changes in legal understanding as related to Civil Rights in America. This program is open to all area teachers; however, Austin ISD teachers will receive priority for program placement.

Discussion Leader: Dr. Joshua Dunn, Professor of Political Science at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

Access PDF copies of the reader and agenda here.

NHC Workshop on Feb. 7

How can we understand the Arab Spring by analyzing graffiti and pop art?

How can a humanities moment reveals a deeper understanding of our world and lives?

How are mobile devices giving students access to new perspectives and landscapes?

The National Humanities Center (NHC) is celebrating forty years of supporting excellence in humanities research and pedagogy. Located in Durham, North Carolina, the NHC provides blended professional development opportunities and instructional materials for educators of all levels. These resources bridge the divide between scholarship and the classroom—and aim to create more effective environments for teaching and learning.

Join Andy Mink, NHC Vice President for Education Programs, for a professional development workshop titled Humanities in Class: Critical Inquiry and Classroom Practice in the Information Age to learn more about emerging trends in humanities education with a particular emphasis on the digital environment. This hands-on session will feature guides and resources in support of disciplinary practice—including U.S. and world history, English language and literature, music, art history, classics, geography, civics, and philosophy. Participants will receive new digital resources with classroom-ready materials as well as opportunities for new workshops and seminars.

After the workshop, a wine and beer reception at the Byrne-Reed House from 5-7 will feature the music of Austin native Matt Smith.

Location: The Julius Glickman Conference Center, located on the first floor of the University of Texas at Austin College of Liberal Arts Building off 23rd Street and the San Jacinto Circle.

Date and Time: Wednesday, February 7, 2018 from 3:00 to 4:30 pm

This workshop is free and open to educators at all levels. RSVP about your attendance no later than Friday, January 30, 2018. Space is limited so reserve your place soon!

Register for your spot at

Field Trip Scholarships Available from ACCESS

The group ACCESS to Learning is providing field trip scholarships of $200 for schools taking field trips to local educational or cultural sites. The scholarships are first come, first served, so the sooner teachers can submit the applications, the better! See file below.

Student Opportunities

Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month Student Video Contest

The Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission (THGC) is excited to announce their 2018 student video contest. The mission of the THGC and these contests is to increase awareness of the Holocaust and other genocides. Students participating in the contests will learn about the many Texans who helped liberate countless innocent people from Nazi camps. All entries are due by March 2, 2018.

The student video contest is open to students in grades 6-12. Students will create an original 2-3 minute video responding to the following prompt: “Describe your reaction to a time when you witnessed someone being mistreated, and what you learned from the experience.” For contest information and guidelines, visit the following webpage:

Video Flyer linked below.

Law Day 2018

Each year, Law Day is celebrated nationally on May 1 to honor the rule of law. Law Day underscores how law and the legal process contribute to the freedoms that all Americans share. Law Day also provides an opportunity to recognize the role of courts in this democracy and the importance of jury service to maintaining the integrity of the courts.

2018 Law Day Theme: Separation of Powers: Framework for Freedom

The U.S. Constitution sets out a system of government with distinct and independent branches—Congress, the Presidency, and a Supreme Court. It also defines legislative, executive, and judicial powers and outlines how they interact. These three separate branches share power, and each branch serves as a check on the power of the others. “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition,” James Madison explained in Federalist 51. Why? Madison believed that the Constitution’s principles of separation of powers and checks and balances preserve political liberty. They provide a framework for freedom. Yet, this framework is not self-executing. We the people must continually act to ensure that our constitutional democracy endures, preserving our liberties and advancing our rights. The Law Day 2018 theme enables us to reflect on the separation of powers as fundamental to our constitutional purpose and to consider how our governmental system is working for ourselves and our posterity.

Prompt: "Explain or depict why the separation of powers is important to preserving freedom."

  • The essay must be no longer than 500 words, typewritten, and double-spaced
  • The essay must show critical analysis and be based on historical evidence
  • Only one student per entry and one entry per student
  • Must complete and have parent sign the release form (on the back of the flyer linked below)
  • All entries must be submitted to the Austin Bar Association by 5 p.m. on Friday, March 9, 2018. Entries may be emailed to No late entries will be accepted
  • Students give the Austin Bar, State Bar of Texas, and Texas Young Lawyers Association the right to reproduce material submitted in any medium without time, use, or territorial limitation as long as it is for noncommercial purposes
  • Questions? Contact Nancy Gray at or 512.472.0279.

Educational resources

American Bar Association:

Texas Water: Esri 2018 Map Competition

The Texas Alliance for Geographic Education is partnering with Esri to host the Middle School and High School Map Competition in Texas this year. This year’s theme is Texas Water.

With skill, passion, and analysis, high school and middle school students are exploring their world and creating interesting map products with ArcGIS Online. Esri challenges US students to create and share maps about something in their home states, striving to be among the best in the school, state, and nation. Esri's 2018 ArcGIS Online US School Competition is open to high school ("HS," gr.9-12) and middle school ("MS," gr.4-8) students in the US who can analyze, interpret, and present data via an ArcGIS Online web app or story map.

Final maps are due: May 4, 2018 at 5 pm CST

You can learn more and register for the map contest at The site also includes a checklist, deadlines, and examples of previous winners.

If you find any resources that you'd like to share...

just email Melanie with a brief description and the link!
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Austin ISD Secondary Social Studies

High School Specialist - Melanie Kirchhof

If you have any questions or comments, please contact me by one of the means below.

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