Frank Pisi is Director of History-Social Science at the Sacramento County Office of Education. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in History from California State University, Sacramento and a Master’s degree in Teaching History from Occidental College, where he specialized in student –centered curriculum development. Frank began his teaching career at the middle school and high school levels in the Elk Grove Unified School District, serving as classroom teacher and curriculum coordinator. After five years in the classroom, Frank transitioned to the California Department of Education (CDE), where he helped to shape school reform policy and worked to ensure greater efficiency in after-school and extended learning time programs. As the coordinator of CDE’s Regional System of District and School Support, he provided guidance to low performing schools and districts across the state. He has assisted hundreds of elementary and middle school after school programs in their efforts to better align program and practice to student needs and content standards. Throughout his career, he has personally trained thousands of classroom teachers in curriculum planning and implementation and after school program staff in strategies to infuse State Board of Education adopted curriculum standards into after school activities while maintaining a high level of youth involvement in the planning process. A strong proponent of youth-centered and youth driven programming, Frank regularly speaks about the critical importance of creating a relevant, engaging, and supportive environment to foster student success. Currently Frank directs SCOE’s History-Social Science efforts, designed to bring cross-curricular teams of middle and high school teachers together to engage their students in service projects around youth-identified issues or concerns. Frank is working towards a vision where civic engagement and responsibility is taught across the entire curriculum, forming the context for learning.
My whole career in education has been promoting a real-world and inquiry based approach to teaching and learning. The California Council for the Social Studies (CCSS) could play a significant role in supporting efforts to enhance the student learning experience. With its local councils, the opportunity to have an impact on a significant number of educators in California is great.
I would like to see the CCSS take an active role in promoting the fundamental shifts identified in California’s new HSS Framework. With a reach such as the CCSS, we could serve as a vital conduit to inform the California Department of Education’s (CDE) efforts to implement the new Framework. Serving as an organization that can help collect the voice of the field (through local councils), CCSS could position itself as an invaluable partner.
I would like to see CCSS help educators embrace an approach to teaching and learning that focuses more on the context for learning more than content of learning. The way to ensure a relevant and meaningful learning experience is to take a cross-curricular approach that involves blending all subject matters in support of a common objective. By utilizing current local issues, concerns, and data in lesson plans, students will be able to readily see the relevance of their educational experience, and the interconnectedness of what they are learning in each of their classes. The age-old question of, “When will I ever use this?” becomes moot because students will have opportunities to use the skills they’re learning in real-life situations.
Another area where CCSS could provide leadership and guidance is assessment. Authentic assessment. The state has been wrestling with a way to engage in authentic assessment in History Social Science that is NOT just a paper and pencil assessment. I believe that CCSS should come out as a supporter of performance assessments at the state level and could help to identify where they’re currently taking place.
If selected to serve as a CCSS Board Member, I look forward to providing valuable input and insight to inform the organization’s advocacy efforts and playing an active role in its continued growth.
Thank you for your consideration,