La Estrella Texas Council for the Social Studies eNewsletter // November 2018

La Estrella de Tejas (The Star of Texas) is the official e-newsletter of the Texas Council for the Social Studies. La Estrella is published four times a year to provide our community with timely information and opportunities related to social studies education in Texas. The contents of La Estrella are not copyrighted unless indicated. It is appropriate, however, to credit sources as well as La Estrella when reproducing items from this e-newsletter. Reproduction for profit is prohibited. To ensure La Estrella is delivered to your mailbox, add laestrella@txcss.net to your contact list.

#TXCSS2018: it's a wrap!

Thank you to all of the participants and volunteers who contributed to the success of this year's conference. We hope the opportunities to collaborate, connect, and network with other teachers from across the state serve to be invaluable to your career as a social studies educator. We encourage you to become involved with TCSS by selecting from a variety of opportunities like participating in your local council, serving on a committee, contributing to our digital and print publications, or by running for an office on the executive committee.

Once again, thank you to the over 900 conference attendees who support and advocate for social studies education. I look forward to seeing you at next year's combined TCSS/NCSS 2019 conference in Austin, Texas. Please stay tuned for more information.

Erika Lowery - President, TCSS

#TXCSS2018 Award Recipients

The Texas Council for the Social Studies is pleased to announce the following award recipients at our annual conference. If you would like to nominate a fellow colleague for a TCSS award, please visit the Awards and Grants page of our website.

  • High School Teacher of the Year - Amanda Killough - Lewisville ISD
  • Betty Barringer Middle School Teacher of the Year - William Waghorne - Round Rock ISD
  • Elementary Teacher of the Year - Fredericka Jesus - Austin ISD
  • NOVA Award - Traniece Brown-Warrens - Houston ISD
  • Billy Sills Distinguished Service Award - Mary Smith - Cy-Fair ISD, Retired
#TXCSS2018 Award Recipients

Classrooms Across Texas

Thank you teachers for sharing your photographs and inspiring other teachers across Texas with ideas to use in their own classroom. Your willingness to share your experience and knowledge of the classroom gets at the very heart of the TCSS mission: to provide Texas educators with professional learning, resources and support to strengthen social studies education and civic participation.

Below, you will find a sample of the classroom photographs we received. Visit txcss.net/classrooms to check out the rest of the classrooms across Texas.

Classrooms Across Texas

Contributing Teachers

Abby Rosenthal - Grand Prairie ● Emily Dragoo - Richardson ● Rebecca Kidder - Belton ● Stephanie Sanders - Flower Mound ● Jordan Hinkle - Colleyville ● Anna Braudrick - Denton ● Nora Dearing - Bay City ● Susan Locklear - Pasadena ● Rebecca Richard - Forney ● Frances Rivera - Prosper ● Kristee Allen - Crowley ● Alyssa Jones - Manor Bethany Trevino - San Benito ● Elizabeth Howson - Belton ● Danielle Conner - Belton ● Kyle Cobern - Euless ● Trasa Cobern - Euless ● Bettie Saccardo - Covington

GET FEATURED in La Estrella - If you would like to share photos of your classroom, please email laestrella@txcss.net with your name, city, and photos of your classroom. Photos will be used on our website and social media channels - please make certain photos are of the classroom space only (no students, please).

Last date to submit classroom photos is 12/14/2018.


Membership in your local council provides opportunities for collaboration with professionals in related fields who care about the future of social studies education in Texas. We encourage you to become an active member of your local council. Find a local council in your area.

If you would like to organize a local council in your area, TCSS is here to help. Below you will find a list of items to consider when planning to create a local council. You can download this list to access more resources to get started. Email socialstudies@txcss.net for additional support.

  • Resources - Local councils that have completed the affiliation process are eligible to receive a premium set of tools to assist with the development of a local council and the creation of an online presence. Please complete the following form to submit a formal request for the set of resources.
  • Recruitment - Form a group of interested individuals; contact local private schools, colleges, and historical societies. Councils vary in size across the state from small university councils of 5–15 members to large urban and suburban councils of 50–75 members.
  • Organization and Officers - Discuss council organization, elect officers, and outline responsibilities. Councils usually include a President, President-elect or Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer, a Board Representative. The Board Rep. attends the TCSS Board Meeting at the fall conference and spring meeting.
  • Membership and Dues - Decide on the amount of your local dues. The amount of local council dues are decided by your council and vary between $5.00–$15.00 around the state. State dues are currently $30.00.
  • Constitution - Write a constitution. Download a copy of a sample constitution.
  • Affiliation Process - Complete the TCSS Affiliation Form. Completing the affiliation process affords you access to a premium set of resources offered by TCSS.
  • Website and Social Media - Create an online and social media presence for the local council and follow our social media channels : Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook
  • Meetings and Activities - Decide on the number of meetings for your council. Some local councils have 1–2 meetings each semester, including special events and field trips. Begin planning activities and meetings for your council!


TCSS seeks individuals interested in advocating for and supporting social studies education by serving as a member of a committee in our organization. Individuals interested in learning more about the various committees, and important meeting dates should visit our Leadership page and complete the form to sign up for a particular committee.

TCSS Committees at Work


#TXCSS2018 Reflection and Next Steps

During our annual conference, we shared the above graphics with our participants as a way to reflect and plan for using the content learned from each session during the conference. The response to this reflection experience was incredible! We appreciate all of the individuals that participated in our first social media reflection experience. Download the social media challenge document to learn more about how conference attendees participated in this experience. Thank you for all that you do and we hope your found your #TXCSS2018 experience valuable to your work.

The winner of our #TXCSS/NCSS2019 conference experience is:

Jose Antonio Ramirez, Clint Independent School District, El Paso, Texas

As an instructional coordinator, I could not have asked for a better sampling of strategies, projects, and learning tasks to share with teachers across my district.

The 2018 Texas Council for the Social Studies conference immensely benefited me, both as a professional and as a person. Through entertaining presentations such as "8th-Grade Social Studies STAAR Review Bootcamp" and "Engaging All Students with Escape Rooms," I was introduced to innovative, engaging, and student-centered ideas and activities. As an instructional coordinator, I could not have asked for a better sampling of strategies, projects, and learning tasks to share with teachers across my district.

Other sessions such as "Aesthetic Realism" and the "Situation Room" not only provided me with great takeaways for the classroom, but also afforded me the opportunity to reflect on the humanity involved in teaching and learning. These sessions were a reminder of the powerful and unequivocal truth that all people have more in common with one another than they have differences. More importantly, I was made aware of the absolute need to impart this truth onto our students.

The 2018 Texas Council for the Social Studies conference was an educational and reinvigorating experience for me. It not only championed the ideas of increasing student engagement, analytical thought, and social-emotional success, it also made certain to provide attendees both the framework and tools necessary to achieve them. Above all, the TCSS conference taught me that if we truly aspire to reach our full potential as both individuals as well as participants of the larger education system, we must remember that we are in the business of teaching humans and we have more in common than we think.

See you in Austin for #TXCSS/NCSS2019!

About TCSS


The Texas Council for the Social Studies is a nonprofit organization serving all social studies educators and supporters across the state. Social studies is the study of social relationships and the functioning of society. We are made up of history, government, economics, geography, civics, sociology, and anthropology specialist and professionals. Membership in TCSS provides opportunities for professional growth, collaboration with other educators, and opportunities to be active citizens working for the advancement social studies education.



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