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News & Announcements ​

  • Special Release! Nine Sample Lessons for Secondary Teachers to Teach About the Colorado Constitution! 

This series of lessons, written by Colorado teachers, were developed to support secondary teachers in meeting the revised 2022 Colorado Academic Standards in civics which includes Evidence Outcomes on the Colorado Constitution.  The lessons include, among other topics, Colorado Statehood, How to Amend the Colorado Constitution, and the Structure and Function of Colorado’s government.  Here are the lessons:

The following teachers worked hard to complete these lessons:

  1. Candice Halvorsen
  2. Kelly Jones-Wagy
  3. Alyson Koerner
  4. Kurt Knierim
  5. Stephanie Walsh
  6. Sam Westerdale
  • 2022 Adopted Colorado Academic Standards for Social Studies

    • At its November meeting, the Colorado State Board of Education approved final revisions to Colorado Academic Standards for social studies after adding the contributions of ethnic and religious groups as well as LGTBQ+ people in the teaching of history and civil government.  The Colorado Academic Standards for Social Studies (adopted 2022).

    • School district have until the fall of the 2024 - 2025 school year to implement the revised 2022 Social Studies Standards.

  • Holocaust and Genocide in Colorado's Public Schools

    • NEW!!  A Holocaust and Genocide Implementation Guide.  This guide was written by members of the Holocaust and Genocide Studies committee.  The purpose of this guide is to support teachers in teaching about the Holocaust and other genocides.  Included in the guide is background information for teaching about genocide, write-ups about genocides found in the standards, a sample lesson plan, and professional development resources.

    • Holocaust and Genocide Standards.  This webpage highlights the Evidence Outcomes that are specific to the Holocaust and other genocides that must be included in a course(s) required for graduation.  

    • The Holocaust and Genocide Resource Bank. This resource bank is the work of the Holocaust and Genocide Studies Committee. The committee used a vetting tool to determine the quality, usability, and alignment with the Holocaust and Genocide standards for selection of collection resources.

  • Legislation Impacting Social Studies 2019 - 2021:  During the 2019, 2020, and 2021 legislative sessions, several bills affecting social studies have been signed into law. This document provides a brief overview of the elements of each law. That which is specific to the local school districts are in italics. Since this document provides only an overview, districts are encouraged to look at the legislation for specific details.
  • High Impact Instructional Strategies for the Social Studies Classroom Modules: These modules represent a few high impact instructional strategies for the social studies classroom. While there are numerous teaching strategies for effective social studies instruction, the research on high-impact instruction in social studies (in terms of a positive impact on student learning) focuses primarily in two areas: historical thinking, and civic knowledge and skills for citizenship. History education researchers tend to focus on how students analyze multiple historical documents and develop historical arguments, while civic education researchers focus on students’ evaluating information about public issues from multiple sources and viewpoints and develop reasoned judgments (Barton, K.C. & Avery, P.G., 2016, p. 1002). In addition to instructional strategies, each module provides examples that can be used in the classroom, as well as resources for further learning.

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Academic Standards

Preparing students for the 21st century cannot be accomplished without a strong and sustaining emphasis on the social studies. The social studies provide cornerstone skills that are the key to opening doors for a more diverse, competitive workforce and responsible citizenry.

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Curriculum Support

Article IX, Section 16 of Colorado's constitution states, "Neither the general assembly nor the state board of education shall have power to prescribe textbooks to be used in the public schools." However, CDE can still serve as an advisor to help districts and schools adopt, adapt, develop, or use the materials of their choice.

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Instructional Support

Instructional support is grounded in CDE's shared approach to Best, First Instruction as well as practices and strategies supported by professional organizations and scholars at the leading edge of social studies education.

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There are many opportunities to connect and grow as a professional educator with the larger Social Studies education community.

Social Studies Information

  1. The Gilder Lehrman National History Teacher of the Year Award The National History Teacher of the Year Award recognizes outstanding K–12 American history teachers across the country. The 2023 award & honors outstanding elementary or secondary school teachers. Nominate a teacher today!

  2. United States Senate Youth Program Colorado’s United States Senate Youth Application Now Available! The application for Colorado high school juniors and seniors to participate in the 61st annual United States Senate Youth Program is now available. The USSYP is a unique educational experience for outstanding high school students interested in pursuing careers in public service. For 2023, the 61st annual United States Senate Youth Program Washington Week is being planned for March 4–11, 2023, in Washington, D.C. Click here for the 2023 official program brochure For more information, visit this webpage:

  3. Social Studies Instruction and Reading Comprehension: Evidence from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study A new study finds that social studies instruction in elementary school improves student's reading scores! Here are the 2 key points from the study:
  4. Civics as a Graduation Requirement In 2004, the Colorado State Legislature passed a bill requiring all high school students to pass a course in civics. This is the only state graduation requirement. Specifically, the law states, "Satisfactory completion of a course on the civil government of the United States and the state of Colorado ... shall be a condition of high school graduation in the public schools of this state. Here is the full text of the law: CRS. 22-1-104.

For further assistance, please contact: 

Stephanie Hartman, Ph.D.
Social Studies Content Specialist