Austin ISD Social Studies News

Vol. 12, January 2016

In this January issue of our Austin ISD Social Studies Newsletter, we have included information about Texas legislative obligations, TEA updates, upcoming professional development opportunities inside Austin ISD, information about student opportunities, and highlighted online instructional materials.

Don't forget to check out our updated social studies website for more resources, CRMs, and exemplar lessons!

TAC §81.7 High School Deputy Voter Registrar

The voter registration deadline for the March 1, 2016 Primary Election is Monday, February 1, 2016.

It is the duty of a high school principal (or high school voter registrar designated representative), to register eligible high school students under Section 13.046(a) of the Texas Election Code as a high school deputy voter registrar, by distributing voter registration forms at least twice during the school year. The Secretary of State's office is suggesting that high schools register students by the February 1, 2016 deadline.

The voter registration applications must be accompanied by a notice informing the student how they can submit their completed applications. (see attachment below)

If you are already a volunteer deputy voter registrar for Travis County, we encourage you to let your principal know in case she/he would like to designate you as her/his representative.

High School Principal Letter Voter Registration

High School Principal Order Form Voter Registration

Notice to High School Students

Texas Election Code Section Attachment

Foundation High School Program Rules

Proposed Amendments to 19 TAC Chapter 74, Curriculum Requirements, Subchapter B, Graduation Requirements

Public Comment Period: December 25, 2015 – January 23, 2016

Earliest Possible Date of Adoption: January 2016 SBOE meeting

The official public comment period for proposed amendments to graduation requirements for the Foundation High School Program is now open. Please visit to view the proposed amendments and submit public comments.

Proposed New Personal Financial Literacy Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills

Proposed New 19 TAC Chapter 113, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Social Studies, Subchapter C, High School, §113.49, Personal Financial Literacy (One-Half Credit), Adopted 2016

Public Comment Period: December 25, 2015 – January 23, 2016

Earliest Possible Date of Adoption: January 2016 SBOE meeting

If approved, the proposed new course would be available beginning in 2016-2017. The SBOE is scheduled to consider the proposed new Personal Financial Literacy TEKS for second reading and final adoption at its January 2016 meeting.

The official public comment period for the proposed Personal Financial Literacy TEKS is now open. Please visit to view the proposed new TEKS and submit public comments.

Austin ISD Secondary Learning Opportunities

High School Social Studies Instructional Leadership meetings

Dear HS Instructional Leaders, our Spring meetings will be:

Thursday February 4, 2016 from 1:00 - 4:00 pm

Wednesday April 6, 2016 from 9:00 - 12:00 pm

Please sign up on HCP and if you are unable to attend one of the meetings, please send a campus representative.

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USH District-Wide PLC on HCP

Experiential Activities in Economics Workshop

Wednesday January 20, 2016
1:00-4:00 pm
Baker Center

Participate in active learning opportunities for key economics concepts that include support for Sheltered Instruction and English Language Learners that you can implement immediately in your classroom. Participants will receive materials for the activities and support from the Social Studies Specialist as requested.

1/2 day Substitutes will be covered by the Austin ISD Social Studies Department.

If you're interested, email Melanie Kirchhof, and I will register you as soon as the course becomes available on HCP.


Stock Market Game Spring 2016

REGISTER NOW - Spring Program Dates:

February 8 - April 15, 2016

Learn why over 25,000 students in grades 4-12 participated last year in this easy to teach, easy to learn online investment simulation/competition.

Click here ( to view a short video on the Stock Market Game™.

SMG registration is $10 per Team with up to five students per team. Austin ISD Social Studies will cover the registration costs for up to 2 teams from each high school campus that participates in the Stock Market Game.

Free live webinar training Click here for more info

Register your student teams today at

GOVT-E-Congress Interactive Legislative Simulation

Looking for an interactive way to teach about the legislative branch? The Youth Leadership Initiative’s E-Congress program allows students to learn about Congress by writing original legislation and following it through the lawmaking process.

There are two great ways to participate- an interactive National E-Congress session that runs from January through April and a My E-Congress that allows you to use our technology to run a classroom simulation at any point during the school year.


2016 State of the Union Address

The State of the Union address gives the President of the United States an opportunity to speak to the nation, highlight the achievements of the previous year, and layout plans for the year to come. President Barack Obama will deliver his final State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 12th.

You can watch the entire speech LIVE at 9:00pm ET on C-SPAN, or stream it on using your computer or mobile device. The President's speech, as well as the Republican response, will be archived and available for you to stream in your classroom from the C-SPAN Classroom website the following day.

Use our State of the Union Lesson in the lead up to the President's address, featuring a classroom activity, handouts, and links to video of historic State of the Union speeches delivered by previous presidents dating back to Harry S. Truman. There is also a 13 minute Bell Ringer clip with Senate Historian Donald Ritchie discussing the history and evolution of the State of the Union.

C-SPAN Classroom Resources:

USH-GOVT-ECON : Bill of Rights FREE Resources

Documents of Freedom is a comprehensive, all-digital textbook covering history, civics, and economics.

Voices of History is a digital storehouse of our top primary source-based lesson plans. The curricula covers eight different subjects - They explore important topics like religious liberty, citizenship, and preserving the Bill of Rights.

GOVT-Win the White House iCivics Game

Running for the presidency isn’t easy! In Win the White House, you get to manage your very own presidential campaign by strategically raising funds, polling voters, launching media campaigns, and making personal appearances. Keep a close eye on the map as you battle over electoral votes and popular support.
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Austin ISD Secondary Social Studies

Middle School Specialist - David Levee

High School Specialist - Melanie Kirchhof

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

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