Building Alignment Across Social Studies: Presented by Thinking Nation

Event Details

  • Date:
    • January 18, 2024 - January 18, 2024
  • Presenter Name:
    • Zachary Cote
  • Registration Deadline:
    • January 11, 2024
  • Start / End Time:
    • 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM (EST)
  • Onsite Registration:
    • 8:30 AM - 8:50 AM (EST)
  • PGP Points:
    • 5
  • ESC Member Price:
    • $35.00
  • Non Member Price:
    • $50.00
  • Facilitator:
  • Location:
Event Cancellation Policy
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With the many contents within social studies, it can sometimes feel like we are teaching in our own content silos, without the tools or language to effectively collaborate across our contents and grade levels. However, if we root our pedagogy in the discipline, rather than the content that we teach, we can utilize a common language for success in our classrooms and properly collaborate with our peers. 

The result? A more unified social studies discipline, backed by effective data on student growth, that enables vertical alignment across our schools and districts. In such polarizing political times, social studies is more essential than ever. By building alignment, we demonstrate to those outside our discipline that we are united in our goal to empower students as thinking citizens. We also demonstrate to our students just how important our discipline is for supporting their own growth as thinkers, citizens*, and future participants in the workforce. 

Two locations available (indicate selection on registration form below):


PD will be broken into 4 clear stages that support our alignment with each other:

Stage 1: Rooting Ourselves in the Discipline. First, we need a common definition of what it is that we do!

Stage 2: Support students in the art of questioning and analysis. The best scholars are defined by their ability to ask good questions. Supporting our own students’ analytical strengths is essential for empowering them as thinking citizens.

Stage 3: How do we measure disciplinary success? Explore formative assessments on disciplinary thinking. These assessments can strengthen our students’ thinking skills while also giving teachers a common language for success that can be a docs point for collaboration, PLCs, and department goals.

Stage 4: Using data to push student growth and vertically align. We’ll talk about how common rubrics don’t mean lost autonomy. By anchoring our summative assessment on historical thinking skills we can maintain the content we teach while building a better collaborative culture in our departments.

*Given the inherently civic nature of this approach to social studies, we will also spend time demonstrating how this approach can be effectively utilized in integrating the new 6th grade civics course into the broader social studies standards for all middle and high school grade levels.”


About the Presenter:

Zachary Cote is the executive director of Thinking Nation, a social studies education nonprofit based in Los Angeles. Prior to this role, he taught middle school history at a public charter school in south Los Angeles. His writing has appeared in EdWeek, Edsurge, and The Fulcrum. He blogs regularly at He earned his BA in History and Single Subject Teaching Credential from California State University, Channel Islands and his MA in American History from Pace University.

Special Instructions:

NIESC and NWIESC are hosting this opportunity with all other Indiana ESCs as a hybrid opportunity. This means, you will be in-person with a group of your peers and a facilitator will guide you through collaborative activities while the presenter is virtually presenting to all locations at once.  This allows the Indiana ESCs to provide high quality presentations at a lower cost.  Session times are:

9am – 2pm EST in Mishawaka, IN
8am – 1pm CST in Gary, IN


Event Cancellation Policy

NIESC Cancellation Policy

Registrants who notify NIESC of their cancellation on or before the registration deadline date will not be required to pay the registration fee.

  • Registrants who cancel after the registration deadline but one week before the workshop date or call to cancel on the day of the workshop, will pay 50% of the registration fee.
  • Registrants who neglect to call or notify NIESC of their cancellation will be responsible for paying the full registration fee.
  • On official school corporation weather-related cancellation days, registrants will not be required to pay registration fees