- A Brief History
of the Georgia Council for the Social Studies
- by Glen Blankenship
- GCSS Historian
- The year 1963 was a turning point in the
history of social studies education in Georgia. Mr. Stan
Bergquist, Georgia Department of Education; Dr. Marion Rice,
University of Georgia; Mrs. Jeannette Moon, Atlanta Public Schools;
and Dr. Ruby Crowe, Fulton County Schools, took the leadership
in organizing the Georgia Council for the Social Sciences (GCSS)
under the auspices of the Georgia Education Association (GEA).
Mr. Philip Secrist, a teacher in the Marietta City Schools, was
elected as the first president.
- The goals of GCSS were, and continue to be
- 1. To secure adequate recognition for the
social sciences and social studies among school curricula and
- 2. To serve as a means of inspirational and
professional growth through research, meetings, and other activities.
- 3. To provide means of cooperative study
of programs in social science curricula and methods.
- 4. To disseminate information through official
publications, meetings, and other means concerning the achievements,
purposes, and goals of the organization.
- 5. To cooperate in all ways possible with
other professional organizations, the Georgia Department of Education,
and local schools to improve the quality of education in Georgia
- The first conference of the Georgia Council
for the Sciences was held at Rock Eagle, in 1964, and these meetings
were held in February each year until the mid 1970s when the
conference date shifted to October.
- By 1966, GCSS was in a strong enough position
to incorporate as a non-profit education organization.
Largely through the work of Stan Bergquist, the social studies
coordinator at the Georgia Department of Education [1965-1971],
the Council was incorporated on September 14, 1966, and received
tax exempt status in 1968.
- In 1969, the Council began publication of
the Georgia Social Science Journal.
A second series, the Journal of Social Science
Research, was added later. With one publication focusing
on research and one on practical applications in the classroom,
the GCSS membership was the beneficiary of a powerful publications
program. The journals were published until 1993.
Other publications provided to the membership
replaced the journal. Yearbooks on various subjects including
the electoral process technology, and action research keep members
up-to-date on topics of interest.
In the fall of 1972, the Council began publication
of the quarterly newsletter News and Notes. The
newsletter continues uninterrupted to today.
- In 1981, the Council changed its name from
the Georgia Council for the Social Sciences to the Georgia Council
for the Social Studies. This move was made to more closely
align GCSS with the National Council for the Social Studies.
A leadership conference was established in 1981 by Gwen Hutcheson
at the Georgia Department of Education [1971-1993], in collaboration
with GCSS. This bi-annual meeting was designed to address
the needs of people in social studies leadership positions such
as social studies supervisors, social studies department chairs,
and central office personnel across the state. Today, this
conference is a function of the Georgia Leadership Association
of the Social Studies [GLASS], founded in 1990.
- In 1981, GCSS began the Outstanding Social
Studies Educator award, an annual program to honor Council
members who have distinguished themselves in their field. In 2009, the name of this award was changed to Gwen Hutcheson Outstanding Educator award. In
1990, GCSS launched the Programs of Excellence award to
recognize Georgia schools for outstanding social studies programs.
- In 1995, the Council's Board of Trustees
authorized the Berryman Service Award Given in memory
of Dr. Charles Berryman, long-time executive director of GCSS,
the award recognizes individuals who have made significant ongoing
contributions to GCSS and the social studies profession.
- In addition to these three awards, several
other awards (such as the GCSS President's Award) are
periodically given to honor special individuals. All awards are
presented each year during the Awards Luncheon at the GCSS conference.
- Today GCSS is served by a large elected Board
of Trustees, who oversee a staff of professionals who guide the
organization an executive director, a conference coordinator,
a secretary/newsletter editor, a webmaster, a social studies
fair director, and a historian. We all look forward to
the next 40 years of growth and advancement of social studies
- © Georgia
Council for the Social Studies