Social studies colleagues, 

Welcome to the 2019 Best Practices in Social Studies Institute!  This is the sixth year of the Best Practices in Social Studies Institute.  Our goal in offering the institute is to ensure ongoing access to professional development in social studies across the state. This year’s institute focuses on helping support implementation of Iowa’s new social studies.  Over the course of the next two days, you will have the chance to attend over 40 different sessions.  Each of these sessions are connected to a best practice in social studies education and also support the new standards in some way- whether it be modeling a pedagogical practice or supporting new content required by the standards.   

A special thanks to all of the individuals and organizations who made the institute possible. Without their support each year, the institute would not be possible.  A special thanks to Johnston Schools for letting us use their facility for this event. Additionally, thanks to Social Studies.com for providing refreshments each morning of the institute. 

Here are some other important pieces of information regarding this year’s institute:

Institute Structure
The institute offers two strands- an elementary and secondary strand. On June 19th, secondary teachers will attend an all-day workshop with keynote speaker Joel Breakstone. On June 20th, secondary teachers will attend breakout sessions. Elementary teachers will attend breakout sessions on June 19th and an all-day workshop with keynote speaker Noreen Rodriguez on June 20th.

Getting to Johnston Middle School

The address of Johnston Middle School is 6501 NW 62nd Ave. Johnston, IA 50131. You can access directions by going here.


Parking is free and readily available. 

Best Practices
Why is this institute called the best practices institute? In 2014, the Social Studies Leadership Team identified ten best practices in the teaching and learning of social studies. Since then, the institute has connected each session offered to one of these best practices. You can view the best practices rubric here.

License Renewal Credit 

You can register for ONE license renewal credit by going to here. In order to receive the credit, you must fully attend the institute (sign in both days) and submit a one page reflection paper to stefanie.wager@iowa.gov no later than July 12, 2019. Follow instructions in the link to register and complete the assignment. The credit costs $25.00. Grades will be submitted around August 2019 with transcripts available on www.iseatranscripts.org shortly after that. 


Guest Network

Password: Win4dragons


You will have an hour and 15 minutes for lunch each day.  Here are some nearby restaurants: 

  • Hy-Vee (5750 Merle Hay Rd.)
  • Panera (5525 Merle Hay Rd.)
  • Bandit Burrito (5340 Merle Hay Rd.)
  • Culver’s (8660 Plum Dr.)
  • Jethro’s (5950 NW 86th St.)
  • El Mariachi (5825 Merle Hay Road)


Please share what you are learning at the institute by tagging @IADeptofED and/or using #iasocialstudies. 

Other Professional Development Opportunities this Summer

Several other organizations are planning free professional development opportunities for social studies teachers this summer. See an extensive list of national opportunities here and a list of Iowa opportunities here. Many of these offer license renewal credit, resources, and free breakfast or lunch.


Your feedback is important to us. At the end of the institute, please take a moment to complete the short survey found here.

Thanks for all you do each and every day in classrooms across Iowa.

Featured Speakers

avatar for Noreen Rodriguez

Noreen Rodriguez

Iowa State University
avatar for Joel Breakstone

Joel Breakstone

Stanford History Education Group
avatar for Ryan Wise

Ryan Wise

Iowa Department of Education


avatar for Ann Adkins

Ann Adkins

Clarke University

Kristina Aleksander

Secretary of State's Office

Chad Bakkum

Cedar Rapids Schools
avatar for Bryan Bauer

Bryan Bauer

Iowa Public Television
Education Consultant
avatar for Sebastian Braun

Sebastian Braun

Iowa State University
avatar for Carol Cassells

Carol Cassells

Grant Wood AEA
Curriculum Consultant
avatar for Jennifer Cooley

Jennifer Cooley

State Historical Society of Iowa
Education Manager
avatar for Elizabeth Dinschel

Elizabeth Dinschel

National Archives and Records Administration at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum
Archivist and Education Specialist
avatar for Cynthia Needles Fletcher

Cynthia Needles Fletcher

Iowa State University
avatar for Kris Fry

Kris Fry

Cedar Rapids Schools
Teacher/Instructional Coach
avatar for Alex Glade

Alex Glade

Heartland AEA
Social Studies Consultant

Holly Glade

Dallas Center-Grimes Schools
avatar for Chad Guge

Chad Guge

North Scott Schools
avatar for Nic Hartmann

Nic Hartmann

National Czech and Slovak Museum
avatar for Kim Heckart

Kim Heckart

College Community Schools
avatar for Todd Hospodarsky

Todd Hospodarsky

Medal of Honor Foundation
avatar for Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson

AO Wealth Advisory
Financial Planner
avatar for Rabbi David Kaufman

Rabbi David Kaufman

Temple B'nai Jeshurun
avatar for Jeff Kluever

Jeff Kluever

The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center
Assistant Director, Programs
avatar for Leo Landis

Leo Landis

State Historical Society of Iowa
avatar for Elaine Larson

Elaine Larson

National Geographic
Regional Director - Educator Network
avatar for Pat Lehmann

Pat Lehmann

Keystone AEA #1
Social Studies & SEBH Consultant
avatar for Heidi Lung

Heidi Lung

Iowa Museum Association
Univ. of Iowa, Director Museum Studies
avatar for Catherine Mein

Catherine Mein

Ballard Schools
avatar for Kimberly Meller-Angus

Kimberly Meller-Angus

Ankeny School District
Middle School Social Studies Teacher and 2018 Iowa History Teacher of...
avatar for Leslie Pralle Osborn

Leslie Pralle Osborn

Hampton - Dumont CSD
Instructional Technology Consultant
avatar for Nicole Padilla

Nicole Padilla

Social Studies School Service
Curriculum Specialist
avatar for Beth Ratway

Beth Ratway

Principal TA Consultant

Mary Reicks

Norman Borlaug Heritage Foundation
avatar for Mindy Romero

Mindy Romero

Mackin Educational Resources
Educational Consultant
avatar for Jenny Sinclair

Jenny Sinclair

Carlisle Schools

Tom Spindler

Norman Borlaug Heritage Foundation
avatar for Chad Timm

Chad Timm

Simpson College
avatar for Kelsey Tyrrell

Kelsey Tyrrell

World Food Prize
avatar for Jake Wager

Jake Wager

Johnston Schools
avatar for Stefanie Wager

Stefanie Wager

Iowa Department of Education
Social Studies Consultant

Sherill Whisenand

Secretary of State's Office
Project Director
avatar for Janet Wills

Janet Wills

Southeast Valley
avatar for Tyler Youngers

Tyler Youngers

Instructional Technology Consultant