Watching a high school graduation these days is often a very colorful event. As the proud graduates file into gym or the auditorium, their graduation gowns are festooned with cords, signifying their scholastic and service achievements. National Honor Society, foreign language honor society, English honor society, Mu Alpha Theta math society – but conspicuously missing from the list is a social studies honor society. The absence of an honor society recognizing excellence in social studies has only served to underline the secondary status with which these classes are often regarded.
Well, no more! Ten years ago, the Florida Council for the Social Studies established an honor society for secondary students within the state. Several years ago, FCSS approached NCSS with the proposal to take Rho Kappa, their social studies honor society, national. In December, it becomes a reality, as NCSS will launch a national Rho Kappa at the conference. This will open to all secondary students in grades 9-12 who meet the academic and service requirements laid out in the national constitution. Any accredited public or private high school in the country is eligible to start a local chapter of Rho Kappa.
Rho Kappa will be governed by a National Advisory Council appointed by the NCSS president. These members will serve three year terms; they will be responsible for oversight on the national level and for highlighting the importance of this new national honor society. The inaugural National Advisory Council members are
- Linda Massey – TX – chair – Past President of Texas Council for the Social Studies; former TCSS Secondary Teacher of the Year
- Steve Goldberg – NY – Past President of NCSS
- Mike Koren – WI – Former NCSS Middle School Teacher of the Year; former NCSS Board member
- Peggy Jackson – NM – Former New Mexico Teacher of the Year; current NCSS Board member
- India Meissel – VA – Former NCSS Secondary Teacher of the Year
For information on how to establish a local chapter of Rho Kappa, attend the launching in the Exhibit Hall of the NCSS conference on Saturday, Dec. 3 2011 at 1pm. After the conference, information will be available on the NCSS website or by contacting Kristen Pekarek at Kristen@ncss.org.
Let’s set the goal of establishing Rho Kappa chapters in all 50 states, in urban, rural and suburban schools across the country. Let’s send the message that the social studies claim an equal place among the academic disciplines – and let’s watch our graduates don NCSS blue cords as they march to their future.