Dear CGA members,
We have had an exciting year at the CGA with plenty of new ideas coming from all quarters. Some of these are still just sprouting, and others have successfully borne fruit. Mixed metaphors aside, in this issue of On the Road, we will report on some of our successes from this year. Among these are a terrific Geography Awareness Week Kick-Off Event at UCONN, successes at the Connecticut Geo-Bee, the ever-popular Connecticut High School Geographic Challenge which welcomed many new teams this year, exciting professional development programs at the Yale PIER Institute, a very well-received hosting of the New England Geography Education Network (NEGEN) Leadership Workshop in Mystic, and a tremendously successful “Oceans Across the Curricula” professional development program led by our own Ed Argenta.
We are also in the early stages of developing some new initiatives. As part of the NEGEN workshop, we made plans to start developing a giant floor map of Connecticut that will travel around the state to classrooms. We also discussed the development of regional and in-state training programs for teachers to use geo-spatial technology in the classroom. We are hoping to send at least two teachers to the Teachers Teaching Teachers GIS (T3G) workshop in California this summer. They will bring back material and knowledge to help develop a geo-spatial technology curriculum in Connecticut. If you are interested in being involved in using computer mapping tools, including technology like GPS, please let us know. We have also purchased a few GPS units to loan out to teachers who might be interested in working with GPS in the classroom. For now, these units will live at UCONN, but please contact me if you would like to arrange borrowing one for teaching. We had a terrific event with the Mark Twain House in September to kick off this academic year. There will be plenty of other events as the year progresses. Check us out online for more updates on upcoming events.
Our core committees have been quite active as laid out in their reports in this issue. The Mission-Message Committee has been successful in getting support for the Teaching Geography is Fundamental bill from nearly the entire Connecticut congressional delegation. CGA members have also become involved in Connecticut Department of Education working groups on framework materials for social studies in the state. The group is working to develop state frameworks through the lens of the newly released C3 Framework for Social Studies State Standards. The C3 document outlines four core content areas in the Social Studies: Civics, Economics, Geography, and History. The working group has a goal of completing the task of revising the Connecticut Social Studies Frameworks by March. Their work will have to be approved by the State Board of Education, but ultimately, the intent is to move our state Social Studies Framework out of “draft” form to support Social Studies teaching and learning throughout the state. The Capacity Building Committee has been very busy finishing up and formalizing our strategic plan while also developing a plan for building more funds for the Alliance from donors. Thanks to their hard work, we have a terrific pair of new brochures for the CGA highlighting our activities and also presenting options for potential funders. Our Providing and Offering Committee has been successfully getting the word out to schools and the public, making our events run smoothly, and providing materials and professional development to many teachers across the state. All of these committees run on the power of enthusiastic volunteers and any of them would love your help. Please consider getting involved.
We have other big events in the early planning stages that I hope to announce next year. Thanks to our terrific leadership team and volunteers, new and exciting things are happening to support geo-literacy in Connecticut.
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