The Mission of the Georgia Council for the Social Studies is to advocate for, support, and celebrate the advancement of quality social studies teaching for Georgia students.

The Vision of the Georgia Council for the Social Studies is to prepare students to be knowledgeable, effective decision makers and engaged citizens in a globally interdependent world.



Latest on State and Regional Social Studies Fairs . . .

Regional and State Social Studies Fairs have been postponed to school year 2022-23.

The fairs are funded by the in-person GCSS conference, which will not take place this school year.

We encourage teachers to have students maximize the extra time by stretching out each step of the
process in anticipation of entering thorough, well-developed projects next year. Stay tuned for
suggestions on how that might be done to be posted on this website.

Our directors and judges miss the interaction with the students but look forward to next year!




The retreat has been rescheduled for June 17-18, 2021 and that we will open registration in the late fall, 2020.


2020 GCSS State Social Studies Fair Regional Winners and Directing Teachers!

CLICK HERE to see the online state social studies fair welcome letter and submission instructions information.


The 2019 award winners are online. To take a look here CLICK HERE.


The 2019 annual conference photos are up. CLICK HERE to check them out. 

2021 Virtual Conference

Click Here to Download the 2021 GCSS Virtual Conference Flyer

Click Here to Download the 2021 Virtual Conference Schedule at a Glance with session descriptions and additional information

Teaching Social Studies in Challenging Times

November 6, 2021


Challenging Separate Schools: Adding to the Story


Charlayne Hunter-Gault 
Award Winning Journalist 

Charlayne Hunter-Gault is an award-winning journalist with more than 50 years in the industry, extending her work at various times to all media. She is the author of four books—the latest an e book, called Corrective Rape, which details the devastating way some men in South Africa attempt to “correct” gay women’s sexual identity; To the Mountaintop: My Journey Through the Civil Rights Movement, is a historical narrative for young readers grade nine and up, published by The New York Times and Roaring Brook Press. Her other two books are New News Out of Africa: Uncovering the African Renaissance, Oxford University Press and In My Place, a memoir of the Civil Rights Movement, fashioned around her experiences as the first black woman to attend the University of Georgia, in 1961, now a Vintage Press paperback. 
In 2005, she returned to NPR as a Special Correspondent after six years as CNN's Johannesburg bureau chief and correspondent. She joined CNN in April 1999 from National Public Radio, where she worked as the network's chief correspondent in Africa and was awarded a Peabody in 1998 for her coverage of the continent. 
Hunter-Gault worked for 20 years with the PBS NewsHour, alt...READ MORE


Christy Hale
The Power of Activism, Then and Now: School Desegregation in Lemon Grove
Author/illustrator Christy Hale has created over 30 books for children. Accolades for Christy’s books include: ALA Notables, a Boston Globe Horn Book Award, Notable Books for a Global Society (IRA), NCTE Orbis Pictus Recommended Title, First Place New York Book Show, NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book, FOCAL Award LAPL, Bank Street Best Children’s Books of the Year, SCBWI Crystal Kite Award, CBCC Choices Selection, Top Ten Title New York Public Library, Chicago Public Library Best Informational Book, and many starred reviews and Best Books of the Year lists. Christy’s illustrations have been selected for the Original Art Show, the Communication Arts Illustration Annual, and the Society of Illustrators Annual Show...READ MORE


Duncan Tonatiuh
Author and Illustrator of Picture Books and Social Justice
Duncan Tonatiuh (toh-nah-tee-YOU) is both an author and an illustrator. His books have received multiple accolades among them the Pura Belpré Award, the Sibert Medal and the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. Duncan is both Mexican and American. He grew up in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and graduated from Parsons School of Design and Eugene Lang College in New York City. His artwork is inspired by pre-columbian art, particularly that of the Mixtec codices. His aim is to create images and stories that honor the past, but that are relevant to people, especially children, nowadays.
The title for my talk is Picture Books and Social Justice. I will speak about my journey to become a children’s book author and illustrator. And of how through picture books I have been able to comment on challenging topics like immigration and segregation....READ MORE


Karen Korematsu, L.H.D.
Founder and Executive Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute
Dr. Karen Korematsu is the Founder and Executive Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute and the daughter of the late civil rights icon, Fred Korematsu. Since her father’s passing in 2005, Karen has carried on his legacy as a public speaker, educator, and civil rights advocate. She shares her father’s passion for social justice and education and in 2009 established the Fred T. Korematsu Institute to advance racial equity, social justice, and human rights for all. The Institute’s work has expanded from K-12 civic education to promoting Public civic engagement and participation. Karen crisscrosses the country speaking to audiences from Kindergarten to Judges and inspiring all to establish in their State the Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution on January 30, in perpetuity...READ MORE

2020 Annual Conference

Due to COVID-19 uncertainties, the 2020 face to face GCSS Conference has been replaced with a virtual conference.

As an affiliate of the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) the Georgia Council for the Social Studies agrees with the statement below.

January 7, 2021

NCSS Responds to Assault on Democracy


On Wednesday, January 6, 2021, the United States witnessed a devastating moment which tore at the very fabric binding our nation together. That fabric is the result of values and ideals that have been shaped and retested many times over the past few centuries—sometimes peacefully, sometimes through brutal conflict, and often with still more issues left unresolved. The words of our founding documents have been debated and expanded upon many times, yet our biggest strength as a nation is our ability to engage in civic discourse peacefully, and to transition power based on the consent of the people. That fabric begins to be woven in our K-12 social studies classrooms right when our youngest learners walk through the door on their first day in school. It continues to be nurtured to what we all aspire to be a lifetime commitment to engage in civic life.


Yesterday was a day of shock, division, and hatred. It was a day that reiterated the fragility of our democracy. Today, however, must be a day of recognition, discourse, and healing. It must be a day when all educators are supported in their communities when students arrive to ask questions about how our civic society works. Our students are coming to a new school day with many questions. They may be wondering about the structure of our republic, our democratic process, the hypocrisies and racial disparities in our responses to protests, and the difference between a peaceful exercise of First Amendment freedoms and a mob riot. They may be confused, frightened, enraged, or simply wondering what happened and why it happened. Our students must have the unbiased opportunity to ask those questions—and our educators must have the resources and support to allow those questions to be asked, and the support to provide for meaningful and truthful inquiry to occur. Today must be just a starting point for these conversations.


One of the greatest signs of respect we can give to our nation today, and in the future, is to support our educators and our students in their civic learning and engagement. Let them unpack, process, ask, and engage. The future of a healthy civic life and the strength of our republic depend on it. Let’s recognize the vital need to prioritize civics, history, and social studies education. We call on elected leaders and decision-makers at all levels—from the United States Congress to local school boards—to make this investment for student learning and teacher professional development and ensure a healthy democracy. If we learned anything from yesterday’s events, it is that this investment is needed now more than ever. 


Stefanie Wager

President, National Council for the Social Studies


Lawrence M. Paska, Ph.D.

Executive Director, National Council for the Social Studies


NCSS Resources


Democracy Is Not a Spectator Sport: The Role of Social Studies in Safeguarding the Republic.

Kenneth C. Davis

Social Education (September 2019)

It's a critical time to engage in classroom discussions about democracy—what it is, what threatens it today, and how we can protect it


Strongman: The Rise of Dictators and the Fall of Democracy

Kenneth C. Davis

Social Education (October 2020)

Teaching students about the history and patterns of authoritarianism can help bolster our own collective awareness of the vulnerability of democracy. . 


Why Do We Still Have the Electoral College? An Interview with Dr. Alexander Keyssar.

Social Education (October 2020)

This probing discussion of the Electoral College offers new approaches to teaching about this often-perplexing political system 


Demystifying the Electoral College: 12 Frequently Asked Questions 

Tiffany Middleton  

Social Education (September 2012)

What is the Electoral College? The Electoral College is a body of people appointed by each U.S. state and the District of Columbia, who elect the president and vice president. Voters in each state and the District of Columbia select electors to be the authorized participants in each presidential election. The electors cast electoral votes after the general election and officially elect the president and vice president.


Election Security: Fundamental and Threatened

Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, Suzanne Spaulding and Devi Nair

Social Education (September 2020)

Inviting students to ponder the meaning of secure elections can launch an important discussion about public trust in election results. 


Confronting Confirmation Bias: Giving Truth a Fighting Chance in the Information Age

Alan C. Miller 

Social Education (October 2016)

At a time when algorithms shape and filter our newsfeeds, teaching students news literacy—how to differentiate credible information from misinformation—has taken on unprecedented importance.  


Misinformation in the Information Age: What Teachers Can Do to Help Students

Erica Hodgin and Joe Kahne

Social Education (September 2018)   

Three educational approaches outlined in this article help young people develop the capacity to judge the accuracy and credibility of online information.


Teaching Students to Navigate the Online Landscape

Joel Breakstone, Sarah McGrew, Mark Smith, Teresa Ortega, and Sam Wineburg  

Social Education (September 2018)     

There is no silver bullet for combatting the forces that seek to mislead online, but we can equip students with a digital tool belt stocked with strategies. 


Teaching Controversial Issues in a Time of Polarization.

Kei Kawashima-Ginsburg and Rey Junco

Social Education (November/December 2018)

Families and principals can play a crucial role in fostering controversial-issue classroom discussions that support students’ civic learning.  


Invoking History in Today's Politics

Jocelyn Stanton and Laura Tavares 

Social Education (October 2016)

Studying the Weimar Republic can help students make connections between the past and present and understand how history can inform our choices today. 


Beyond the Nineteenth: A Brief History of the Voter Suppression of Black Americans

Anthony Brown, Joanna Batt, Esther June Kim

Social Education (September 2020)

A close look at the history of African American voting rights can launch a lively classroom discussion about present-day democratic struggles.


Additional Resources

Disclaimer: National Council for the Social Studies has curated these materials to offer helpful teaching strategies and resources for educators. The links posted on this webpage do not represent an endorsement of any organization or product by the association as a whole, its staff, or the members of its board.


#sschat resources

ADL-Discussing Political Violence and Extremism with Students

Civics for All Resource Guide

Civil Discourse in the Classroom 

Creating Civic Spaces in Troubling Times

CSPAN: Learning from Previous Presidential Transitions

CSPAN: The History of Contested Presidential Elections 

District of Columbia Public Schools

Dr. Alyssa Hadley-Dunn Teaching the Days After

Facing History and Ourselves

Fostering Civil Discourse: A Guide for Classroom Conversations

Fostering Civil Discourse: How Do We Talk About Issues That Matter 

iCivics Peaceful Transfer of Power

Illinois Civics

Michigan Council for the Social Studies

Mikva-Attack on Capitol

National Constitution Center

Newseum-Front Pages From Around the Country


PBS-Structured Academic Controversy 

Teaching About Controversial or Difficult Issues 

Teaching Tolerance-Civic Disobedience 


National Council for the Social Studies, 8555 16th Street, Suite 500, Silver Spring, MD 20910, United States, 301-588-1800


In Honor of Congressman John Lewis


In 2014, the Georgia Council for Social Studies was honored to host Representative John Lewis as keynote speaker to our annual state convention.  In his speech that day, Rep. Lewis did not champion his many accomplishments. He did not use the opportunity to campaign. He did not promote a sponsored bill. No. In his speech that day, John Lewis honored not himself, but the selfless work of the teacher. He spoke of the power of a teacher to change a life. He spoke of the power of a teacher to inspire a future. He spoke of the power of education to change the world. It should not surprise anyone that John Lewis would champion the power of education and the teachers who chose teaching as their career.  The child of sharecroppers, John Lewis overcame many obstacles to make it to school every day. The school he attended was not meant to raise leaders; it was meant to meet the minimum standards for schooling as provided by laws meant to separate but never equalize.  However, within those walls, John Lewis was given the tools needed to change his own life. He was inspired to dream of a future for himself beyond the fields of the farm. He was empowered to believe that not only could he have that dream but that he could help others achieve that dream, as well. As we know, John Lewis would accomplish all those things. In his speech in 2014, John Lewis revealed that the secret of his success lay within the walls of that small schoolhouse and within the heart of his teacher. Let us never forget the power we have as educators. Let us never forget that every child, regardless of obstacles placed in their life, has a leader within them. Somewhere in your class this year is the next John Lewis. Now, maybe more than ever, let us be ready. 

Tammy Ponder, Past President, GCSS

Statement on Racism

We, the Georgia Council for the Social Studies, stand together with the Black community against racism.  As social studies educators, we have the desire and ability to support causes that work toward racial justice and equality.

Link to the statement from the National Council for the Social Studies.

Scroll through the list of NCSS Notable Tradebooks for books that are about or relate to racism.

2021 GCSS Virtual Conference      

Saturday, November 6, 2021 (8:30-4:00)

Teaching Social Studies in Challenging Times


2020 was a challenging time for all Georgians regardless of the role we played. Heroic educators worked tirelessly to provide normalcy for students despite the challenges. As social studies teachers, we are aware that challenging times have existed in the past and will emerge in the future. Let’s face teaching social studies in challenging times together. GCSS invites you to join us for our annual conference virtually on Saturday, November 6, 2021 from 8:30-4:00. Sessions will be offered for all grade levels and HS content. 


Join us as we continue to learn engaging strategies for all students, pair literacy in the telling of the “stories” to teach social studies content, access instructional resources and virtually network with social studies colleagues as we navigate challenging times. The regular registration fee will be $90.00, $30.00 for students, and $50.00 for retirees which includes access to the virtual conference, GCSS membership and access to four new virtual sessions throughout the 2021-2022 school year plus access to all the 2020-2021 virtual sessions.  


Registration Links:
For additional information, contact:

Pam Knauer (

Gretna Soltis (

Dr. Eddie Bennett (

2021 GCSS Virtual Conference Keynote Speakers

Keynote #1: Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Dr. Karen Korematsu  (8:30-9:30) 

Our conference theme is “Teaching Social Studies in Challenging Times.”  On November 6, we will have the rare opportunity to hear directly the story of desegregating the University of Georgia from Charlayne Hunter-Gault,  along with Fred Korematsu’s story of challenging Japanese internment. We  will hear from both Ms. Hunter-Gault and Dr. Karen Korematsu, Fred’s  daughter, their stories of surmounting those obstacles and learning from  the past. There will be a brief Q & A time at the end of their talks. Let’s keep  their stories of strength and persistence alive in our classrooms. * 


Keynote#2: Christy Hale and Duncan Tonatiuh (12:30-1:30) 

We have all learned firsthand about “Teaching Social Studies in  Challenging Times” in 2021. Join us in this dual author keynote to listen as Christy Hale and Duncan Tonatiuh share the stories they uncovered of  little-known events in the history of school desegregation. Learn about the  Lemon Grove lawsuit in 1931, the first in the U.S., as well as the story of  Sylvia Mendes and her family’s suit in 1946 to expand school access. Both  of these events occurred before Brown v. BOE and help us build a more  layered and complex story to deepen our students’ understanding. There  will be a brief Q & A time at the end of their talks. * 


* Live keynote attendees will be able to receive two free books to use in  their teaching, related to Hunter-Gault, Korematsu, Lemon Grove, and/or  Sylvia Mendes. Books and speakers provided with the support of GaDOE  Social Studies and L4GA Grant, along with the Georgia Center for Civic  Engagement.