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Social Studies

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News & Announcements ​

  • NEW!  15 Annotated Resource Sets for Teaching About the Historic and Civic Contributions of the LGBTQ community.  These Annotated Resources Sets (ARS) were developed by Colorado teachers following two days of professional development focusing on content and pedagogy for inclusion of the historical and civic contributions of LGBTQ+.  These resources are made available for teachers to use as part of their lesson planning. Providing primary sources, secondary sources, inquiry questions, and background knowledge gives teachers everything they need to start an engaging lesson that pushes students to engage in critical thinking and explore! Thank you to the following teachers who contributed to this work:

Name School District Name School District
Whitney Barnes Jeffco School District Debra Palmer Cherry Creek
Amy Deschamp Mesa 51 Michelle Pearson Adams 12
Tyson Emborg Douglas County  Jenny Pettit St. Vrain Valley
Sarah Fritsche Adams 12 Jana Pugsley Adams 12
Steve Foster Durango 9-R Danielle Root Summit SD RE-1
Angela Hambleton Boulder Valley Denae Rosato Adams 12
Laura Israelson Adams 12 Cathay Seely Adams 12
Colleen Kopay Cherry Creek Sam Westerdale Aurora Public Schools
Danielle Mawhir Adams 12 Kathy Zaleski Adams 12


  • Nuchiu Strong: A Kindergarten - First Grade Resource Guide In September 2021, the Kwiyagat Community Academy opened its doors to 28 smiling faces, ready to begin either their kindergarten or first-grade school year. Each student became a part of history, as the Kwiyagat Community Academy is Colorado’s first public charter school on Tribal land. “Kwiyagat” [KWEE-yah-gut]  means bear, appropriately named considering the strength, courage, and actions the Ute Mountain Ute People have taken to preserve their language and culture in an ever-changing world.

    These lessons were developed in collaboration with K-1 Colorado educators and members of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. Each lesson is aligned to the most current Colorado Academic Standards to provide teachers with a description of what students need to know, understand, and be able to do. The most recent social studies standards (2022) now include knowledge of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, the two federally recognized Tribes with jurisdiction in Colorado. The lessons have one central theme, the Circle of Life, by which the Ute People live.

  • 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!!  Revised!  A Holocaust and Genocide Implementation Guide (April 2024). 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.

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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