The Office of Middle/Secondary Learning is pleased to sponsor both the Golden Horseshoe Program and the West Virginia State Social Studies Fair. In addition, we partner with several organizations to provide our students—and teachers—with exciting events and opportunities such as the United States Senate Youth Program (in collaboration with the Hearst Foundation), Youth and Government (with the Youth Leadership Association), Ambassador Camp (with the WV Culture Center), National History Day (with WVU’s Public History Department), National Geographic’s Geography Bee (with National Geographic and concord University), GIS programs, and the Gilder-Lehrman Institute’s Teacher of Year Award.

Contact the Division of Culture and History

The West Virginia Ambassadors Camp, an educational summer camp for students entering ninth grade.  The program was introduced by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History with support from the West Virginia Department of Education.  Visit for additional information.

Contact Information
Dustin Lambert, Coordinator
Office of Middle/Secondary Learning
Phone:  304-558-5325
FAX:  304-558-1834
1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East, Building 6 Room 221, Charleston, WV  25305

Each year thousands of schools in the United States participate in the National Geographic Bee using materials prepared by the National Geographic Society. The contest is designed to encourage teachers to include geography in their classrooms, spark student interest in the subject, and increase public awareness about geography. Schools with students in grades four through eight are eligible for this entertaining and challenging test of geographic knowledge. For detailed information regarding the National Geographic Bee, school registration, student qualifications, daily quizzes and study guides, please visit the following website:

West Virginia K-12 GIS

Contact Us

  • Erika Klose, Coordinator

  • Office of Middle & Secondary Learning, 1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East, Building 6 Room 603, Charleston, WV  25305

  • Phone: (304) 558-5325

  • Fax: (304) 558-1864

This award recognizes exceptional K–12 American history teachers across the country. Nominate a teacher today at

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
19 West 44th Street, Suite 500
New York, NY 10036

The Golden Horseshoe Test has been administered in West Virginia each year since 1931 and is the longest running program of its kind in any state. The top-scoring students in each county receive the prestigious award and are inducted as “knights” and “ladies” of the Golden Horseshoe Society

golden horse shoe icon

2019-2020 School Year Golden Horseshoe Online Testing Calendar

February 18


February 19


February 20


February 21


February 26


February 27


February 28


Brooke Barbour Berkeley Clay Greenbrier Jefferson Calhoun
Ohio Boone Braxton Hampshire Lewis Kanawha Logan
Wetzel Cabell Gilmer McDowell Mason Monroe Marion
Putnam Doddridge Grant Mineral Mercer Roane Pleasants
Hardy Marshall WVSD/B Mingo Fayette Pocahontas
Harrison Morgan Wyoming Summers Lincoln Raleigh
Monongalia Taylor Webster Hancock Randolph
Nicholas Tyler Wirt Upshur
Pendleton Wayne Wood Jackson
Preston WVSD/B

Upcoming Dates

August – September 2019 Update Golden Horseshoe county contacts.
 October  TBA – Student Programs Webinar
December  1 – Private and Home-School student registration for Golden Horseshoe testing begins.  (See Golden Horseshoe Registration Form blow under the headings Registering Your County’s Students to Take the Golden Horseshoe Test and Forms.)
 January 2020  1 – Deadline to request Braille Test.

Last week of January –  

Online Practice Test available for students.  (Practice tests are posted once a week on Fridays.)

Golden Horseshoe Essay Test Question for ALL counties is sent to county contacts.

All students must have logged into the GH platform to test their usernames and passwords.

 February  12 – Golden Horseshoe Written Essay Test for ALL counties.

14 – Essay tests must be received by the WVDE Office of Secondary Learning.

14-COB – All Practice Tests are turned off.

19-21 – Golden Horseshoe Online Multiple Choice Testing (County test schedule is above).

26-28 – Golden Horseshoe Online Multiple Choice Testing (County test schedule is above).

 March  16-20 – Golden Horseshoe winners names will be sent to counties and Winner and Honorary Packets will be mailed.

23 – Deadline to nominate an Honorary Golden Horseshoe recipient.

 April  10 – Deadline for name corrections for the program, certificate and name badges.
 May 1 – Golden Horseshoe Ceremony, Capitol Complex.

Mid-Month – Golden Horseshoe Online Multiple Choice Test scores are e-mailed to the county superintendent.

Golden Horseshoe Information

Preparing for the Golden Horseshoe Essay and Multiple Choice Online Test

Golden Horseshoe Preparation Page:

Providing Access to the Golden Horseshoe Online Practice and Actual Tests for your county’s students

Any 8th-grade student may take the Golden Horseshoe Test one time.  This test is a competition. It is not a summative exam and it is not required.  We will be using a WVDE built platform to house the Golden Horseshoe Online Multiple Choice Test.  Students who are not familiar with this platform become familiar with it by taking the weekly practice test.  We request that all students test their usernames and passwords by January 31, 2020.

Both home and private school students are eligible to take the test.  All students must be registered using the Golden Horseshoe Registration form by January 31, 2020.  The form must be filled out completely and correctly.  If the form is not completely correct, the form will be returned and the student(s) will not be registered.

Public School Students

Public school students do not need to be registered.  To access the tests students will need a username and password for the WebTop. If students do not have the login information it can be obtained through your building principal and/or county technology specialist. Your County technology specialist can provide you with a new or simplified login if you need one.

Once correctly completed private/homeschool registrations have been received by the WVDE Office of Secondary Learning, the registration forms are submitted to the Office of Assessment and Accountability once a week for a batch enrollment.  It takes about a week to a week-and-a-half to get the students enrolled.

Home-School Students

Home-school students will need to be registered to take the test.  The registration form can only be completed by a teacher, counselor or school/county administrator where the student would normally have attended public school. Once the student has been enrolled, we will e-mail the person who submitted the registration with the student’s information and instructions. The process should take no more than one week. If it does please send an e-mail to Dustin Lambert,  NOTE:  Home-school students are required to go the school that they would normally have attended to take the Essay Test and the Online Golden Horseshoe Test

Private School Students

Private schools may participate as long as they have a school code and complete the registration form.  The school code and county code can be obtained from the Master School Code website at, by selecting the county the school is located in and then scrolling through the list of schools.  NOTE:  Private schools must take the essay test and online Golden Horseshoe test on the same day as the rest of the county.  Private schools should notify the county Golden Horseshoe County Contact that they are participating so that information can be distributed to the school.

If a private school does not have a school code, one can be obtained by contacting the Office of Information Systems at 304-558-8869.

Golden Horseshoe Registration Form

Essay Test – February 12, 2020

The essay test is not required and if a student chooses not to complete the essay it does NOT disqualify them from taking the online Golden Horseshoe Test.  The essay test is used to break a tie between scores for the online test.

The essay test is scheduled for February 12, 2020.  Two weeks prior to the test we will e-mail the essay question to the Golden Horseshoe County Contact.  We ask that the Golden Horseshoe County Contact distribute the essay test to their schools, pick the essay test back-up and send the entire county’s essay test back to the WVDE in one envelope.  In case your county is spread out, the individual schools can return the essay tests directly back to the WVDE Office of Secondary Learning.  We recommend that you send the tests back with some time of tracking number in case the package is misplaced by the Post Office.

  • The essay test CAN be administered by the regular WV studies teacher in a regular 40-45 minute class period.
  • The teacher/test administrator will be asked to complete a confidentiality agreement and an absentee roster.  The absentee roster should include students who are absent on the day of the essay test and any student who chooses NOT to take the essay test.

All students in the state MUST take the test on February 12, 2020. If a student is absent the day of the essay test, he/she may NOT make it up. The only exception is if your school is delayed or closed due to weather or an emergency. In that case, all students in that county will need to take the essay test on another day. If a delay or closure occurs please contact the WVDE Office of Middle/Secondary Learning at 304-558-5325 ASAP and ask for Jennifer Gill.

Online Test – February 19-21, 2020 and Feb 26-28, 2020

Public school students access the testing platform via their WebTop.  Home and private-school students will have an external link to access the practice and online tests.

Essay Test Forms: AbsenteeRoster.pdf, Essay Test Confidentiality Agreement

Online Golden Horseshoe Test

The online test is a 50 multiple choice question test that can be completed in 40-45 minutes.

Test proctor/Moderator

    • The test proctor/moderator/administrator MUST NOT be the regular classroom teacher for the online Golden Horseshoe Test.
    • The test will be turned on at 7 AM each morning and off at 3:45 PM each afternoon.
    • The test is timed by the proctors/moderators and students should be allowed 40-45 minutes to take the test.  The test will NOT shut the test down after 40-45 minutes.
    • If a student has an IEP that requires classroom accommodations, please provide those accommodations.  For example, if a student requires extra time, please give that student extra time.  If a student requires someone to read to them, please arrange for someone to read the test to the student

The regular WV Studies teacher may NOT administer the Online Golden Horseshoe Test to the students.  The WVDE requires an online confidentiality agreement stating that the test administrator is NOT the regular WV Studies teacher and will keep all information regarding the Golden Horseshoe test confidential.  This confidentiality agreement must be signed 3 days prior to the county’s scheduled test day.  We recommend that you have all the teachers and test administrators complete the confidentiality agreement on an ISE day to make sure all teachers and test administrators are familiar with the test’s regulations.

Internet Usage Tips on Test Day

  • We suggest that you ask all other computer users to refrain from downloading or tying up the broadband.
  • If there is an internet slow down, please allow the students sufficient time to make the test fair.
  • If a student has kicked off the Internet, just have them log back in.  As long as the student has not submitted the test he/she can reenter the test

After the testing is complete, all absentee rosters will need to be e-mailed/faxed to the WVDE Office of Middle/Secondary Learning.  We will check to make sure that the county’s winners are not on the absentee list before declaring them actual winners.

Online Test Forms

Three Days prior to the test

FAX to 304-558-1834 E-mail a scanned copy to Jennifer Gill

Mail to WVDE, ATTN:  Jennifer Gill, 1900 Kanawha Boulevard East, Building 6 Rm 620, Charleston, WV  25305


The number of winners is determined by population but every county is given a minimum of two winners.  The bigger the county is the more winners they will have.  The Golden Horseshoe test is a competition within a county NOT within the state.  We do not have average scores for the state or counties.

As we begin getting the winners, we will send the list of winners to the superintendent and the county contact.  Please stress to your teachers we will not be sending the scores to the counties until the middle of May.

We will send information directly to the students and their families about the Ceremony.  If a teacher/test administrator would like to attend, we have extra seating in the lobby area where a closed circuit TV is set up or they can participate behind the scenes by being an escort.

Nominating Honorees

Each year it is customary to honor selected educators or individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to West Virginia, West Virginia Studies and/or Golden Horseshoe program by naming them as Honorary Knights or Ladies of the Golden Horseshoe.  An individual is nominated by the county superintendent only.  Each county superintendent may nominate only one person per year.  Only 10 persons a year may receive the award.  In the event more than 10 nominations are received, a committee will review all nominations and select the ten most deserving nominees.  To nominate an individual, please complete the online form at Golden Horseshoe Online Honorary Nomination Form



Contact Information

Dustin Lambert, Coordinator (
Office of Middle/Secondary Learning
Phone:  304-558-5325
FAX:  304-558-1834
1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East, Building 6 Room 221, Charleston, WV  25305

About the Fair


Exemplary education requires the reciprocal participation of the community and the student.  Effective social studies education requires the engagement of the learner in the investigation of the social science issues.

West Virginia social studies education affords all students the opportunity to ask essential questions, recognize patterns of behavior, think critically, create solutions, predict outcomes and draw conclusions to help them learn to solve problems.  With these opportunities in place, students of social studies will be prepared as participatory citizens of the 21st Century global society. The West Virginia State Social Studies Fair provides the opportunity for students to excel in these realms. Visit for detailed information.


It is the intent of the Social Studies fair to:

  • Recognize and reward outstanding achievements of Social Studies students; Implement the Next Generation West Virginia Content Standards and Objectives for Social Studies (Policy 2520.4);
  • Develop among participants an ability to apply the scientific method as it applies to social studies investigations;
  • Challenge students to be inventive and think creatively; Provide relevance;
  • Encourage students to demonstrate what they know and to observe what others throughout the state know regarding social studies content;
  • Provide the opportunity for students to interpret the cultural, social, political, geographic and economic forces of historical and current issues and events and to understand more fully the nature of social studies;
  • Encourage students to draw more heavily on all areas of social studies as a means of broadening and deepening their understanding of social science concepts and principles;
  • Encourage students to practice information and communication skills, thinking and problem-solving skills, interpersonal and serf-directional skills;
  • Provide a forum for student public speaking;
  • Generate public interest in and appreciation for the broad interdisciplinary areas of social studies;
  • Develop a greater public appreciation and understanding of the abilities of youth;
  • Encourage global awareness, economic and civic literacies, health and wellness;
  • Provide an opportunity for students to implement the 21st Century learning skills (Policy 2520.14);
  • Encourage the utilization of technology tools where appropriate (Policy 2520.14).

Contact Information:
Dustin Lambert, Coordinator (
Help (
Office of Middle/Secondary Learning
Phone:  304-558-5325
FAX:  304-558-1834
1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East, Building 6 Room 221, Charleston, WV  25305

Photo: 2018 USSYP recipients at Washington Week

The 2019-2020 United State Senate Youth Program is being updated this year to reflect requests made by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation. We have added a short online pre-qualifying questionnaire, changed the order of the test and the applications, and have moved the test online.

Information about the 2019-2020 scholarship was mailed to High School Counselors in early August 2018.  Please see your Counselor about the testing process. If he/she did not receive the packet of information please have him/her contact Dustin Lambert immediately at (



  • Sept. 6, 2019 — Last day to submit pre-qualifying questionnaires
  • Oct. 11, 2019 — Applications due
  • Oct. 14, 15 or 16, 2019 — Online exam
  • Oct. 21, 2019 — Finalists notified that week
  • Nov. 8, 2019 — Interviews held in Charleston, WV

Two high school juniors or seniors will be selected as delegates to represent West Virginia in the 58th Annual Washington Week which will be held March 7-14, 2020, in Washington, D.C. The William Randolph Hearst Foundation sponsors this program. In addition, a $10,000.00 college scholarship will be awarded to each of the two delegates.

Enclosed you will find a copy of the 58th Annual U.S. Senate Youth Program brochure. The PDF of the brochure and additional program information can be found on the U.S. Senate Youth Program website at If you have questions, please contact Jennifer Gill ( at 304-558-5325.

We strongly encourage your students to participate in this exciting program. It is an incredible opportunity for students to experience first-hand the workings of our national government. Each year we have heard from parents whose children missed the opportunity to participate because they were not aware of the deadlines and requirements. We want to ensure that all our students are afforded the possibility of being part of this unique program. Since the United States Senate Youth Program originates at the local level — via nominations from their teachers, principals, and counselors — the WVDE is not permitted to distribute applications to individuals. Therefore, our students rely on your support to provide them with the information they need in order to participate.

Note: Please review the selection criteria carefully. Students who are selected as Delegates are required to attend the entire Washington Week, arriving by the deadline on March 7, 2020 and not leaving before the close of the program on March 14, 2020. Students who are not able to do so will forfeit both Washington Week and the scholarship.


SECTION A:  Rules for Choosing West Virginia Delegates:

The accompanying brochure lists the qualifications for applicants, which include the outstanding academic ability and demonstrated qualities of leadership and service. The West Virginia delegates will be chosen by the following rules:

  1. Regardless of race, creed, color, sex or financial need, students are eligible to be candidates for the U.S. Senate Youth Program provided they
    • have not previously been a delegate to the
    • are currently serving for the entire school year in an elected/selected capacity in any one of the following student government, civic or education organizations —
      • Student body or class president, vice president, secretary or treasurer
      • Student council representative
      • Student representative elected/selected (selected by a panel, commission or board) to district, regional or state-level civic or educational organization
      • Officer (members are not eligible if they are not officers) in the school’s chapter of the National Honor Society or in one of the discipline-based National Honor Societies, such as the English and Social Studies Honor Societies
      • Organizations such as FFA, FBLA, Key Club and other national service groups are allowable organizations if the student is serving in an ongoing and active high-level elected or appointed leadership position for the entire academic year
    • are permanent residents of the United States, and at least one of their parents/guardians is a legal resident of West
    • are currently enrolled as a junior/senior in a public/private school in West
  1. Students must complete the following by the deadlines below —
    • Sept. 6, 2019 —submit a pre-qualifying questionnaire
    • Sept. 27, 2019 — Complete application
    • Oct. 15, 2019 — Take online exam
  1. Six finalists are selected from the application pool based upon a combination of essay scores, academic records, school activities, and evidence of
  • Each finalist makes a formal presentation and be interviewed by a selection committee. The committee is composed of six professionals and/or community members who will make the final selection. The names of the two delegates and two alternates will be announced by the Randolph Hearst Foundation in
  • In identifying school candidates for the program, you may want to consider —
    • Leadership ability
    • High scholastic standing
      • A demonstrated ability to
    • Ability to read, write, speak and think
      • Clear speech and logical thought processes. These are important for the question and answer sessions with distinguished speakers during finalist interviews in Charleston and Washington
    • Community involvement
      • Participation in a wide spectrum of activities on and off

SECTION B:  Test Administrator Responsibilities:

1.     Have students complete and submit the online pre-qualifying questionnaire by Sept. 6, 2019. Test administrators will be informed which of their students have qualified by Sept. 13, 2019.

2.     Complete and submit the entire application for qualified applicants (both the school section and the student section) by Sept. 27, 2019. Semi-finalists will be informed by Oct. 11, 2019

  1. Fax the Test Administrator’s Confidentiality Agreement to Dustin Lambert at 304-558-1834 by October 11, 2019
  2. Administer the test on October 15, 2019 to qualified applicants. If a student is absent that day please call Dustin Lambert at 304-558-5325 no later than the morning of October 16, 2019 to schedule a make-up test.
  3. Finalists will be informed by the week of Oct. 21, 2019

SECTION C:  Sample Test:

A sample test can be found at

Section D: Informational Letter to School Contacts

This letter will also be mailed to county contacts on file.

Section E: Prequalifing Questionnaire

This questionnaire must be completed by students before September 6, 2019.


These are fill-able forms.
Contact Information Sheet
Student Roster

Contact Information

Coordinator, Dustin Lambert (
Office of Middle/Secondary Learning
Phone:  304-558-5325
FAX:  304-558-1834
1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East, Building 6 Room 221, Charleston, WV  25305

The Purpose

Our 8th graders learn the operation of state government, strengthen their understanding of the three branches of government, better understand the Constitution, and learn the responsibilities of citizenship.

The Students

Participation is open to 8th graders from every school and homeschoolers from across the state. The program currently reaches students from thirty (30) counties and seventy-seven (78) different schools. Our goal is for every county to participate.

The Classroom

The Capitol – Senate, House of Delegates, Governor’s Office, Supreme Court, other Constitutional Officers; the United States Federal Court and the Charleston Municipal Court.

The Instructors

Legislators, Judges, Department Heads, Program Volunteers, and YLA staff.

The Schedule

Seminars are three day (Mon-Wed or Wed-Fri) sessions held during the Legislative Session January – February. Students invite their local legislators to a banquet dinner on the closing evening (Tues/Thur) of each session at 6:15 pm.

Legislative Banquet

Students get to meet and interact with their Legislators at an evening banquet.

The Learning Model

Observation, questioning, and discussion with elected and appointed officials, as well as key government staff help students experience the complete process of governance.

The Sponsors

The 8th Grade Youth & Government Seminars are a program of the Youth Leadership Association in cooperation with the WV Department of Education, Governor’s Office, WV Supreme Court of Appeals, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Treasurer of State, President of the Senate and Senators, Speaker of the House and Delegates, Charleston Municipal Court, United States Federal Court, WV State Bar Foundation, participating parents, schools and teachers, and Founder Al Emch from Jackson Kelly.

Now – enjoy, learn, help others, and make lasting differences for good!

For more information, please visit:

Welcome to our YLA West Virginia Youth in Government!

Ohio-West Virginia Youth Leadership Association

For well over 60 years, West Virginia’s best and brightest students have been meeting annually to participate in Youth in Government!  Cecil Underwood was Governor when he worked with our HI-Y students, advisors and staff to plan our first YG.  Their work convened our first WV YG in 1958 at the Capitol.  The founding principles Governor Underwood and those helping him built into Youth in Government remain our foundation today – integrity, volunteer service, responsibility, and citizenship.

YLA Youth in Government is distinctly different.  We’re about citizenship, not politics, political careers, talk, or debate. YG seeks solutions for the common good as we lift others up to become their very best, work to change conditions so all succeed, and to make our make our schools, communities and state better than we found them.

In these three days at the Capitol, experience the process of state government by preparing and then presenting legislation in the actual House or Senate Chambers, make decisions to move West Virginia forward, create connections with peers and adults from across our state, and have a great time with a purpose.  Make friends, learn all you can, put your best ideas forward, and make differences for good now and throughout your life.

YLA began as a State YMCA in 1867.  The Youth Leadership Association is inclusive, signaling an invitation to all to participate.  New doors of opportunity are opening for more youth to benefit in all YLA programs.  YLA youth will make even greater contributions to improving our communities, states, and nation.

You choose where you want to participate.  Become a legislator, justice, page, press member, lobbyist or executive branch member.

As a result of House Bill 3080, beginning this school year, students in public schools will be administered a test the same as or substantially similar to the civics portion of the naturalization test used by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services between their ninth and twelfth grade years as an indicator of student achievement in the area of civics education.

An online and a paper/pencil version of the test will be available beginning on September 10th at

Counties may also utilize the webtop to administer the exam. Each student will need their individual login information just as they do with the Golden Horseshoe Test. Scores will be given to students at the end of the exam and counties may periodically request a full report for their county.

Access via the webtop portal.

Clicking into Student Tools, then the Civics icon.


WV State Code WV State Code §18-2-9 requires county boards of education to establish a full week recognized as “Celebrate Freedom Week” during the regular school year: A full week of classes during the week selected by the county board of education shall be recognized as “Celebrate Freedom Week”. The purpose of Celebrate Freedom Week is to educate students about the sacrifices made for freedom in the founding of this country and the values on which this country was founded. Celebrate Freedom Week must include appropriate instruction in each social studies class which: (1) Includes an in-depth study of the intent, meaning and importance of the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation and the Constitution of the United States with an emphasis on the Bill of Rights; (2) Uses the historical, political and social environments surrounding each document at the time of its initial passage or ratification; and (3) Includes the study of historical documents to firmly establish the historical background leading to the establishment of the provisions of the Constitution and Bill of Rights by the founding fathers for the purposes of safeguarding our Constitutional republic. The requirements of this subsection are applicable to all public, private, parochial and denominational schools located within this state. Nothing in this subsection creates a standard or requirement subject to state accountability measures. To help educators select resources that address both the requirements of the bill and the West Virginia College- and Career-Readiness Standards in social socials, the Office of Teaching and Learning has prepared the following document that includes both the related CCRS by grade and a brief list of useful resources. Please note that these resources are 1) only some of the resources available and 2) provided for educators’ convenience. They are not to be construed as curriculum, nor should they be considered as required in any sense.

About National History Day

National History Day is now being coordinated through West Virginia University. For information on the national contest please visit For information on local and state history day competitions and to begin a history day program at your school please contact Melissa Bingman (

The National Contest is the final stage of a series of contests at local and state/affiliate levels. Students begin their journey by presenting their projects in classrooms, schools, and districts around the world. Top entries are invited to the state/affiliate level contests. The top two entries in every category at the state/affiliate level are then invited to the National Contest. The 2018 National Contest will be held June 9-13, 2019 at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Each year nearly 3,000 students with their families and teachers gather at the University of Maryland, College Park for the week-long event. These enthusiastic groups come from all fifty United States, Washington, D.C., Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and international schools in China, Korea, and South Asia. The excitement can be felt across the campus. After spending months on project research and preparation, and competing at local and affiliate contests, these students are eager to show their hard work at the National Contest.


National History Day motivates students to discover history by:

  • Cultivating interest:  students research a topic of their choice
  • Developing research skills: students act as historians discovering how to uncover primary sources, build historical context and form historical interpretations
  • Becoming experts on their research topic:  presenting their research to teachers, students and historians
  • Achieving success
    • The shy student gains confidence when speaking about a topic he/she has research.
    • The apathetic student gains passion by choosing a topic of personal interest.
    • The high achieving student increases his/her ability to articulate their learning through presentation.

Questions to: Melissa Bingman (