Virginia Council for the Social Studies
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Summer Opportunity

The Virginia War Memorial is pleased to announce its schedule of 2014 summer See Freedom Speak Teacher Institutes for middle and high school teachers.

The institutes are six one-day professional development opportunities offered free of charge to public and private school teachers of US II and VA/US history. Institutes will be held at various locations throughout the Commonwealth including the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, the Virginia Transportation Museum in Roanoke, the Fred Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon, and the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond.

Each program begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. and includes a complimentary lunch. All six of the programs are aligned with the Virginia History and Social Science Standards (SOLs) and are eligible for teacher relicensure points. Remember, there is no registration fee, and teachers may register to attend one or more of the programs.

This summer will be our ninth year presenting the See Freedom Speak Teacher Institutes. We have put together an outstanding lineup of interesting topics, locations, and well qualified guest speakers – including World War II veterans and Holocaust survivors to relate their first hand experiences. Also included will be scholar lectures, book author presentations, tours of hosting venues, and a special off-site tour at the Dupont Plant demonstrating the products they are creating to keep our armed forces safe on the battlefield.  Our goal is to give teachers the additional knowledge and resources to make history come alive in their classrooms. We encourage teachers from throughout the Commonwealth to attend.

You may obtain more information and register to attend one or more of the institutes by visiting the Virginia Memorial website.

VCSS Conference

Check out the Conferences page to register for the 2014 VCSS State Social Studies Conference.

Nominations for the 2014 Standards of Learning Item and Test Review Committees

The Office of Assessment Development is seeking nominations for the 2014 Standards of Learning (SOL) Item and Test Review Committees.

The committee meetings will be held in Richmond, Virginia, according to the attached schedule. Approximately 15 members are needed for each of the 34 committees, and school divisions may nominate one or more representatives for each committee.

Committee members will be chosen based on the following criteria:
  • grade-level experience and content area expertise; 
  • in-depth knowledge of the SOL; 
  • instructional/supervisory experience with students of varied learning styles, abilities, and aptitudes, including students with disabilities and students with limited English proficiency;
  • and balanced regional representation. 

Committee members selected for the 2014 SOL Item and Test Review Committees will be expected to:
  • serve a one-year term and attend all daily scheduled meetings in their entirety (committee members may not be excused for other meetings or events unless there is a personal emergency); 
  • use technology provided, such as a laptop computer; 
  • sign a Non-Disclosure/Conflict of Interest Agreement;
  • examine test items to confirm a match with the SOL; 
  • review test items for appropriateness and fairness; 
  • examine test items for equity, bias and sensitivity issues, and stereotyping regarding gender, ethnic, religious, political, age, or socio-economic group; 
  • examine field test data for potential test items; 
  • and recommend whether items are to be included in the test item bank. 

Committee members will be provided the following:
  • reimbursement for meals and travel expenses in accordance with state travel policy and guidelines;
  • lodging; 
  • incentive of $125 per meeting day for committee members not under contract with a school division at the time of meetings; 
  • and certificate for recertification points (pending local approval). 

All individuals who wish to serve on the 2014 committees, including those who have previously served, must submit an online application through the Assessment Committee Application Processing System (ACAPS).

The application will require a professional reference and division approval. The procedure for submitting the online application is available at

Completed applications are due to the Virginia Department of Education by February 14, 2014.

An informational video that provides an overview of the item and test review process, along with reflections from Virginia educators who have participated in this process, can be found on the Virginia Department of Education Web site at:

If you have questions, please contact the student assessment staff at: or by phone at (804) 225-2102.

Your continued support of this effort is greatly appreciated.
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