Rob Vicario is Coordinator, History-Social Science, Content Literacy, and World Languages for the Irvine Unified School District and is an adjunct professor for Santa Ana College. He began his career teaching middle school students in the heart of Santa Ana. After 15 years of working at his craft, Rob joined the UC Irvine History Project as its first Literacy Coordinator and then became Co-director while also serving as a program specialist in Santa Ana Unified. This dual position allowed him to direct several grant programs that offered customized professional learning experiences to his colleagues. Through collaboration with university scholars, classroom teachers, and the outstanding network of educators that makes up the California History-Social Science Project, these institutes and workshops deepened content knowledge, improved instructional approaches that focused on the development of literacy and analytical thinking skills, and promoted mentorship and the collegial bonds that invigorated fellow teachers and strengthened our resolve. Vicario later became a site administrator prior to joining the Orange County Department of Education as the History-Social Science Coordinator working with public and private schools throughout the region while collaborating with colleagues from other county offices and organizations across the state. Rob is also the proud father of two high school students and grateful husband to an amazing teacher at a dual immersion school in beautiful Santa Ana.
The social studies classroom is the most powerful tool we have to preserve and protect our democracy. From the proliferation of misinformation and the assault on truth, to the threat of authoritarianism and ever-widening income disparity, K-12 teachers of History-Social Science need and deserve the support and resources necessary to address these issues by preparing every student for college, career, and civic life. To do so, though, educators in and out of the classroom will need to commit to teaching an authentic, relevant history that enables kids to see themselves reflected in it and empowers them to act on that knowledge for the common good. This commitment demands the skill and curiosity of teachers to pursue truth with their students and administrators who will defend that ethical, inclusive, and just inquiry against calls for keeping the status quo. For many of us connected to CCSS, the journey toward a culturally and linguistically responsive curriculum as well as assessment that builds hope and efficacy has just begun, while others among us are already leading this charge. Regardless of where you find yourself on this journey of improving your craft, I look forward to joining you in the work to help every child thrive.