Morris Rosenberg and DCSS’s Outreach to High Schools

Tomisin Fasosin’s paper in this issue, which extensively cites the research of Dr. Morris Rosenberg, is a wonderful example of the substantial contributions and continuing relevance of Dr. Rosenberg’s research focusing on the adolescent mind. Ms. Fasosin is a 12th grade student at Marriotts Ridge High School in Maryland, and she wrote her paper in fulfillment of requirements for independent research course taught by Mr. Paul Eckert, Resource Teacher at Marriotts Ridge High. In the fall of 2018, Ms. Fasosin reached out to the editor of The Sociologist for guidance in “researching in the field of sociology”. In many email and telephone conversations with the editor, Fasosin asked thoughtful questions about sociological research, and her paper reflects her budding skills as a sociologist. In 2019, the District of Columbia Sociological Society (DCSS), guided by the vision of Sally Hillsman, DCSS president, began an outreach program, in cooperation with the American Sociological Association (ASA), to engage High School students and teachers.

Dr. Morris Rosenberg is honored every year by the DCSS with an award in his name, presented to a sociologist with outstanding achievement in the field. It is therefore appropriate (and serendipitous) that DCSS’s outreach efforts to engage high school students and teachers coincides with a paper by a local high school student who found much relevance in research on the adolescent mind by Dr. Morris Rosenberg, and reached out to The Sociologist as an authoritative source.

DCSS’s nascent High School Outreach program builds on efforts by the ASA and its involvement with the National Council for Social Studies (NCSS), whose membership includes K-12 classroom teachers, university faculty, and curriculum designers. In 2018, ASA organized a half day symposium at the NCSS Annual Meeting in Chicago. The symposium consisted of three sessions: (1) Dr. Laura Beth Nielsen, from Northwestern University, spoke about hate speech and free speech in the classroom. (2) A representative from Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) gave a presentation on data literacy and ICPSR resources for teachers. (3) Two high school teachers (who are long-term leaders in the high school sociology community) shared lesson plans. At the 2019 NCSS Meeting in Austin, Texas, the ASA organized three sessions about (1) gun ownership and how to talk about guns in the classroom based on research by Dr. Harel Shapira at the University of Texas, Austin; (2) free data resources for elementary and secondary school teachers presented by Dr. Kevin Dougherty of Baylor University and Diego de los Rios of ASA; and (3) informational exchange on lesson plans.

During 2019, DCSS and ASA also made several attempts to reach out to several high schools in the Maryland suburbs and the District of Columbia.

It has been difficult to engage high school teachers and instructors because we believe there is little incentive for them to become involved with DCSS or ASA. The advantages of membership are not clear or even tangible to many high school sociology or social studies teachers and instructors. We have learned that many high school teachers do make long-term commitments to the discipline. Our outreach efforts are ongoing as we develop new strategies for engagement.

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