Whitney Olson is an educational consultant employed by the Sacramento County Office of Education to coordinate the National History Day program in California. Her responsibilities include leading professional development and creating resources for students and teachers in 32 counties. She coordinates the statewide contest, bringing together 1600 students and 300 hundred to celebrate student research and inquiry each year. As a member of the Executive Coordinators Committee for National History Day, she supports state affiliates across the country with planning online and in person conferences and leading a task force to address cultural sensitivity. In 2018, Ms. Olson brought a teacher camp to California, providing an opportunity for teachers and librarians to learn how to support students with historical inquiry. Previously, she has served as the Region One Representative on the CCSS Board of Directors in 2017-18. She also served on the CCSS Conference Committees 2017, 2018, and 2020.
Ms. Olson received her Bachelor of Arts in History at the University of California, Berkeley; her single subject teaching credential from San Francisco State University; and is currently working on a Master of Arts in American History at Pace University.
CCSS is at a critical juncture. Organizationally, CCSS is challenged with shifting to a digital world, where our teachers communicate and collaborate in a virtual space. Increasing membership and extending our professional support beyond conferences requires the organization to reconsider how today’s social studies teachers access professional development. By increasing visibility and inserting the organization into the conversation in every corner of the state, CCSS has the opportunity to drive the conversation around social studies education. I challenge board members to consider how CCSS might better connect with social studies educators, promoting policy, content, and pedagogy, through new partnerships and online platforms. History might be old, but CCSS needs to be current to be relevant.
I plan to work with fellow board members to rethink how we can best fulfill our mission by looking at best practices in similar organizations, recruiting members who will advance the organization with ideas and follow-through, and continuing our work to elevate the conference to the next level.