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Social Studies Standards

Status Update as of 6/21/23:

On June 21, 2023, the State Board voted unanimously to approve the revised social studies standards for the District of Columbia. Read the resolution and approved standards here. The new statewide standards are slated to be implemented starting in school year 2024–25 in District public schools. Learn more here about OSSE's plan for implementation support.

Why Revise D.C.’s Social Studies Standards?

The current social studies standards in D.C. were last revised in 2006. The standards pre-date the existence of both the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) and the State Board of Education. While the current standards feature strengths--covering a wide range of topics, a revision is long overdue. The revision process presents an opportunity for the District’s social studies standards to be culturally responsive, anti-racist, to impart important social studies content in the early grades, strengthen student knowledge of democratic principles and values, and promote civic engagement.

How to Keep Track of the Revision Process:

The State Board will regularly update this web page to document progress. Members of the public and Advisory Committee members can find all related documents on our shared Google Drive folder. In general, upcoming live streams and video archives can be found on the DCSBOE official YouTube Channel. Meeting archives can also be found on Simbli

SSSAC Shared Drive SBOE YouTube Channel

Additionally, the table below is intended to detail all aspects of the revision process and to organize them in a user-friendly manner.

  • Process Overview (Tab 1) – An overview of the phases of the revision process, which was presented by OSSE at the April 2020 working session. 
  • Key Stakeholders (Tab 2) – List of all of the stakeholders, roles, and descriptions involved in the revision process.
  • Timeline (Tab 3) – List of every action that pertains to the revision process, from resolutions passed to meetings and panels, including links to all corresponding relevant documents, agendas, minutes, and meeting videos.
  • List of Advisory Committee Members (Tab 4) – List of the Social Studies Standards Advisory Committee members.


Advisory Committee

The State Board, in partnership with the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), began its review and update of the District’s statewide social studies standards in July 2020. To conduct this substantive review, the State Board convened a Social Studies Standards Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee is responsible for drafting guiding principles and making recommendations to the State Board and to OSSE on how the state standards should be revised and updated to reflect the needs of students and teachers in the District.

To reach our goal of revised standards that better serve our District, diversity was a vital component of our selection process, ensuring that this Advisory Committee is reflective of the schools and residents of each ward, as well as the expertise of both school-based and non-school based individuals. The State Board opened the application for the Advisory Committee during its May 20 public meeting—with applications being accepted for 3.5 weeks. The State Board solicited applications through all of our social media channels, individual email blasts to all public school principals, local ANC representatives, and constituents of all 8 wards. The State Board also extended the application deadline from June 12 to June 15 to ensure equity of applicants and that all applicants had ample time to complete and submit their applications. 

After receiving over 100 applications, the members of the State Board conducted a blind, anonymous review of all applications. The State Board convened following this blind, anonymous review to discuss top scoring applicants— where diversity of membership (ward of residence and work, race, ethnicity, gender) and representative voice (parent, teacher, student, expert) were all factors that were considered when developing the final selection process and Advisory Committee make-up.

The State Board has selected a diverse and knowledgeable cohort of 26 members that represent Pre-K–12 teachers and curriculum experts, school district leaders, parents, students, higher education personnel, and experts from organizations in relevant social science fields. In keeping with SBOE's commitment to transparency, all applications for the Advisory Committee are open to public review. The original application can be found here. 

We are honored to announce the members of the Social Studies Standards Advisory Committee:

Name School, Organization or Position
Alexander O'Sullivan BASIS DC PCS, Student
Alyssa Richardson Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Student
Barbara Davidson StandardsWork, Inc., President
Daniel Espinas DCPS, Teacher
Elizabeth A. Worden, PhD American University, Associate Professor
Emily Brimsek National Center on Education and the Economy, Manager, Professional Learning
Fadhal Moore Georgetown University, MPP Candidate
Jennifer DePaoli Learning Policy Institute, Senior Researcher
Jessica A. Rucker EL Haynes High School PCS, Teacher
Karen Hopkins Human Rights Educators USA, DC Area Representative
Karen Lee Thurgood Marshall Academy PCS, Teacher
Lamar James Bethea Statesmen College Preparatory Academy, Teacher
Laura Fuchs HD Woodson High School, Teacher
Lauren Grimes The Community Enrichment Project, Founder
Maria Marable-Bunch National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, Associate Director for Museum Learning and Programs
Melanie R. Holmes MacFarland Middle School, Teacher
Michael Stevens Friendship PCS, Director of Social Studies
Molly France Two Rivers PCS, Instructional Guide
Molly Sloss Capitol Hill Montessori School, Teacher
Nicolas Ojeda Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Teacher
Rebecca Schouvieller DC International School PCS, Teacher
Reginald L. Williams Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, Social Studies Teacher
Sally Schwartz Globalize DC, Executive Director
Sarah Buscher Janney Elementary School, Teacher
Scott Abbott DCPS, Office of Teaching and Learning, Director of Social Studies
Shelina Warren Dunbar High School, Teacher

Social Studies Standards Guiding Principles

The initial work of the Advisory Committee included soliciting public input on social studies in the District and drafting 19 guiding principles. The guiding principles make recommendations to the State Board and OSSE on how the state standards should be revised and updated to reflect the needs of students and teachers in the District. The guiding principles were distributed for public comment in November 2020, and then presented and voted on at the State Board’s December 2020 public meeting in SR20-15. The final set of Guiding Principles can be found here.

2020-12-16-SR20-15-cover.png     2020-12-16-Guiding-principles-cover.png 

Left: SR20-15, the resolution that approved the Guiding Principles, Right: the final version of the Guiding Principles

Key themes include:

  • Fewer, higher, clearer, rigorous standards that will be coherent, developmentally appropriate and vertically aligned across grades Pre-K–12.
  • Expansion on the types of skills and knowledge to which all D.C. students should be guaranteed access (e.g., digital literacy, student agency, democratic citizenship, power and bias).
  • Recognition that the world our students are growing up in is—more than ever before—globally interconnected and culturally and racially diverse.

Additional work of the Advisory Committee will continue on an ad-hoc basis so that new statewide standards may be implemented by school year 2023–24 in District public schools.

Technical Writing Committee

In February 2021, OSSE launched the DC Social Studies Standards Technical Writing Committee, which is charged with the review and revision of the social studies standards. They will submit a revised draft to OSSE and the State Board will vote on them before the end of 2022.

The writing committee is comprised of K-12 social studies educators from DC Public Schools (DCPS) and public charter schools, as well as local and national technical experts in social studies. The work of the writing committee will be grounded in the Advisory Committee’s Social Studies Standards Guiding Principles. Learn more about the work of the Technical Writing Committee on OSSE's website.

Name School, Organization or Position
Aaron Bruewer, Ph.D. University of the District of Columbia (UDC), Assistant Professor of Education
Adrienne Glasgow  Dunbar High School, Educator
Alexus McIntyre Alice Deal Middle School, Educator
Alexis Mays-Fields Center City PCS, Educator
Alysha Butler McKinley Technology High School, Educator
Anthony Hiller DCPS, Office of Teaching and Learning
Ashia Caraway Capital City PCS, Educator
Ashley Chu Center City PCS, Educator
Brian C. Morrison, Ph.D. Ballou High School, Educator
Cosby Hunt Thurgood Marshall Academy PCS, Educator; UDC, Adjunct Professor
Daniel Kohn Paul PCS, Instructional Coach for Social Studies
Demetria Clark Anne Beers Elementary School, Educator
Elleni Abebe Roosevelt High School, Educator
Emily Brimsek, Ph.D. National Center on Education and the Economy
Heber Diaz Columbia Heights Education Campus, Educator
Kimberly F. Monroe, Ph.D. Trinity Washington University, Professor
Lelac Almagor DC Bilingual PCS, Educator
Lindsay Bell McCrea DCPS, Office of Teaching and Learning
Madison Kantzer DCPS, Office of Teaching and Learning
Megan E Patterson Center City PCS, Educator
Melanie R. Holmes MacFarland Middle School, Instructional Coach
Michael Stevens Friendship PCS, Director of Social Studies
Michelle Leonor MacFarland Middle School, Educator
Natalie Stapert Lowell School, Curriculum Coordinator & Educator
Rebecca Schouvieller DC International School PCS, Educator
Rob Manuel KIPP DC: College Preparatory High School, Educator & Instructional Coach
Sarah Buscher Janney Elementary School, Educator
William McMurtrey Ballou STAY High School, Educator
Yaniq Walford KIPP DC PCS, Educator
Zo Clement Two Rivers PCS, Educator