Golden Horseshoe Information

Essay test- February 21, 2023 Online Test for Fayette- March 9, 2023

Golden Horseshoe Participants:

Please read the email below from Dustin Lambert as well the two attachments that I have forwarded to you.  Please make sure those at your school who need to know this information are given this information.  Remember to send the signed confidentiality statements to Dustin Lambert.  You will find both the essay and the online confidentiality statements on WVDE webiste.

The essay is on February 21 and the online test for Fayette is March 9.

Please share all of this information with principals and teachers.

  • The essay test is schedule for Tuesday, February 21st unless you have make contact with us to make other arrangements. I will email the prompt on February 17th.
  • Please check your county online test schedule and prepare accordingly:
  • Tuesday, February 28: Brooke, Hancock, Ohio, Wetzel, Putnam
  • Wednesday, March 1: Barbour, Boone, Cabell, Doddridge, Hardy, Harrison, Monongalia, Pendleton, Ritchie, Tucker
  • Thursday, March 2: Berkeley, Braxton, Gilmer, Grant, Marshall, Morgan, Taylor, Tyler, WVSD/B
  • Tuesday, March 7: Clay, Hampshire, Lincoln, McDowell, Nicholas, Wyoming
  • Wednesday, March 8: Greenbrier, Lewis, Mason, Mercer, Mingo, Preston, Summers, Webster, Wirt, Wood, Wayne
  • Thursday, March 9: Jefferson, Kanawha, Mineral, Monroe, Roane, Fayette
  • Tuesday, March 14: Calhoun, Logan, Marion, Pleasants, Pocahontas, Raleigh, Randolph, Upshur, Jackson

All students in the county must take the online test on the same day to qualify for the competition.

  • Students must complete the online test in ONE setting. They may not start the test and then be offered a break/lunch and come back to complete it once they have left the testing location.
  • Once students close the test or their session expires, they cannot reenter the test.
  • The make-up window for Golden Horseshoe is March 20-24, 2023.

Any 8th grade student who did not take the exam on the regularly scheduled day for the county, must take the exam during the make-up window. Students who take the exam during the make-up window are not eligible to compete for a Golden Horseshoe – the test only serves to fulfill the middle school social studies testing requirement. 

  • The second practice test opened yesterday, January 30, 2023 and will remain open until February 10, 2023.
  • Please remind teachers of the confidentiality agreements for the essay and online test. I’ve attached both to this email. No one is permitted to administer the essay or online test without signing, scanning, and emailing me a copy of the form. 
  • If  you have homeschool students taking the Golden Horseshoe, you will need to share their credentials to log in to take the practice tests. They may do this at home. The public school must inform the family of the dates and times to take the essay and online test. They cannot take these at home. 
  • Virtual schools students may write the essay virtually and scan a copy to the school, but they must come to the public school to take the online test in the presence of a teacher who has signed the confidentiality agreement. There are no exceptions to this expectation. To participate in the competition, virtual school students must take the online test at the public school.
  • Visit our website for additional information! 

Please let me know if you have questions!

Best Regards,

Dustin Lambert, M.Ed.


Middle Schools & Social Studies 6-12

West Virginia Nonpublic Schools & Homeschool

PK-12 Academic Support

Office of Teaching and Learning

Building 6, Room 500

1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East

Charleston, WV 25305-0330

304.558.8098 P

304.558.1613 F

Francis Pierpont: The ‘Father of West Virginia’

Francis Pierpont: The unheralded ‘Father of West Virginia’

Francis Harrison Pierpont, the “Father of West Virginia,” was born in Monongalia County, not far from Morgantown, which was established by his grandfather. But he spent much of his life in Marion County, where the family moved when he was a young child.

Travis Henline, the former manager of Independence Hall in Wheeling, said Pierpont is one of the most important historical figures in West Virginia’s history.

“One of the things that surprises me the most about Francis Pierpont is that when you mention him to most people, they don’t know who he is,” Henline said. “He is one of the most unknown figures in West Virginia history, but one of the most important.”

When Pierpont was young, his family moved to Middletown, which eventually became Fairmont, where his father operated a tannery. He had some formal education in a small, one-room schoolhouse, but was largely self-taught.

“He read the classics, like the “Odyssey” and “The Iliad,” the Bible and others, and kind of educated himself,” Henline said. “That’s one of the compelling things about his story, is he came from very humble beginnings. He was not a part of the established Virginian aristocracy. His father was a tanner.”

In 1835, Pierpont entered Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania. After graduation, he returned to Virginia and began working as a teacher in Harrison County. From there, Pierpont was appointed to a teaching academy in Mississippi.

“In Mississippi, he was confronted for the first time by the horrors of slavery,” Henline said. “When he returned to Virginia, he was a very outspoken abolitionist. He was never a politician, but he was very vocal.”

During that time teaching, Henline said Pierpont also began to study the law.

“Back then, there weren’t very many established law schools,” Henline said. “You would just read the law and sometimes serve an apprenticeship with an attorney, and then you would take the bar exam.”

Pierpont eventually became the lead counsel for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, as well as practicing law in private.

“He was also an entrepreneur,” Henline said. “He worked as a brick manufacturer and he owned interest in a coal mine. And of course this was on top of practicing as an attorney.

In 1861, the Civil War began, and Virginia voted to secede from the Union.

“At this time, people in western Virginia were trying to decide what to do,” Henline said. “There were a couple huge meetings in Clarksburg, one for Unionists and one for Confederates. Then, on May 13, the First Wheeling Convention was held. Western Virginia was going to try to differentiate itself from Virginia, because most of the northern counties did not want to secede. Not much came of that convention, so they disbanded and decided to come back in a more formal way. Pierpont was at the convention and returned to his home in Fairmont. One night, he’s reading the Constitution in his study, and his wife hears him exclaim ‘Eureka! I have it!’

Pierpont had been looking at Article IV of the Constitution, which says in Section 3 that for a new state to be formed, it must receive permission from its parent state and from Congress.

“Pierpont’s plan was that they would form a new government of Virginia which was loyal to the United States,” Henline said. “The idea was that because the Virginian government had seceded, they were no longer the legitimate government of Virginia. Pierpont wanted to establish a Union government in Virginia, and then from that position, they would give themselves permission to become a new state. But they needed Congress to buy into it, they needed President Lincoln to buy into it, and they needed the people to buy into it.”

In June of 1861, Pierpont brought his idea to the Second Wheeling Convention, where he was unanimously elected to serve as the governor of what was called the Reorganized Government of Virginia.

“We know today that June 20, 1863 is the day West Virginia officially became a state,” Henline said. “But June 20 is a significant date for another reason as well. Two years before that, on June 20, 1861, Francis Pierpont was sworn in as the governor of the Reorganized Government of Virginia.

The establishment of the Reorganized Government of Virginia marks the first and only time in American history that a state’s citizenry attempted to establish a new government.

“This was an unprecedented action,” Henline said. “But of course it was in the midst of an unprecedented Civil War. These were unprecedented times in the U.S. and nobody knew what was going to happen. Pierpont once referred to this as the fearful experiment, because any number of things could have gone wrong.”

After being sworn in, Pierpont immediately called for aid from President Lincoln, who provided it. After no small amount of debate, Congress seated two new U.S. senators and five U.S. representatives from the newly established government.“In essence, this meant that both the president and Congress had acknowledged that the government was legitimate,” Henline said

Initiative to enrich WV civics and social studies education

Sent on Behalf of:

News Release: Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education Launches New Education Initiative   

With the help of a $136,250.00 Benedum Foundation grant, the Robert C. Byrd Center and Shepherd University announces the People Powered Civic Action, Community Engagement, and American Representative Democracy initiative to enrich the civics and social studies education of West Virginia students across the state. Utilizing the rich resources of the Robert C. Byrd Archives, this educational initiative has been structured to transform the teaching of 10th, 11th, and 12th grade history, social studies, and civics classes, as well as AP American history classes. 

The People Powered Project is designed to bring together thirty public school teachers from across the state for an intensive introduction to the principles behind the People Powered teaching project, as well as a range of experiential learning tools developed by the Byrd Center for the teaching of civics and social studies classes. High school history and civics teachers can apply for one of two intensive workshops, held virtually from the Byrd Center on June 28 and 30, 2023.  If accepted for the People Powered Program, the teachers will receive a stipend of $925 each for the time and energy spent participating in the workshop and the pilot project over the 2023-24 academic year. 

At the end of the 2023-24 academic year, civics, history and social studies teachers participating in the project will select a particularly effective, fun, or high-stakes learning activity, lesson, or unit to present at the April 20, 2024 People Powered capstone presentation, also virtual for statewide access.  The most effective presentation will be awarded a $5000 prize for their school to enhance the social studies curriculum and/or to apply toward learning resources and educational initiatives at the winning institution. 

The People Powered project is geared to engender civic action, community engagement, and to enhance American Representative Democracy in the curriculum and lives of young citizens throughout West Virginia, and most important to inspire experiential learning in the social studies curriculum in the public schools through the resources of the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education. 

Teachers who are interested in participating in the one-day work and People Powered project can submit their application directly online at the Byrd Center website at, by clicking the People Powered link under “Education.” Only thirty teachers will be selected for the project, so educators are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. For information, contact People Powered Program Manager, Dr. Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt at the Shepherd University Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities at Applications are made directly online through the Byrd Center website.

People Powered 2023 ProgramTraditional civics education has focused largely on the establishment, structures, and inner-workings of the federal government, specifically the duties and prerogatives of the executive,…

FREE Electoral College Map

FREE Electoral College Map from C-Span Classroom

C-Span Classroom has released their 2024 electoral college map and teachers may request their free copy here.

Their website includes lesson plans and activities to help students understand our voting system.

While you wait for the printed map to arrive, here’s a jpeg file for you to use!

Dynamic Summer PD Opportunities


Dynamic Summer PD Opportunities for Social Studies Teachers in Historic Valley Forge, PA!

Enrich your knowledge and your classroom experience through our critically acclaimed and accredited seminars! Teachers across the country are welcome to apply and scholarships are readily available!

We welcome many West Virginia educators every year and we hope you can join us this year.

You won’t want to miss this unique opportunity. Apply today for one of our in-person seminars:

Black History Resources 2023

Black History Resources

 by gsumner3rd

Celebrating Black History Month

February 2023

Black History Month, also known as African American History month, has been nationally recognized by every U.S. president since 1976.  We are happy to share resources with you throughout the month of February to bring to students’ attention the changes in how people of African descent in the United States have viewed themselves, the influence of social movements on racial ideologies, and the aspirations of the black community.

National Archives

The National Archives holds a wealth of material documenting the African American experience and highlights these resources online, in programs, and through traditional and social media.

Public Broadcasting

PBS provides a collection of 17 lesson plans and resources that cover topics ranging from important civil rights anniversaries to discussions about race in current events.

Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Explore Black History Month with your students using lessons, podcasts, activities, and primary sources.

National Geographic KIDS

A brief history of the celebration and history of African Americans as part of Black History Month


CNN focuses on 28 Black figures – one for each day of February – who don’t often make the history books.

National Park Service

From the first footsteps of enslaved peoples on American soil to where Martin Luther King, Jr. challenged us all to rise to his “Dream,” national parks preserve the places where this history happened.


In celebration of Black History Month, iCivics shares resources as well as partner organizations to support learning and conversations in the classroom.

Center for Civic Education

The Center for Civic Education has posted The School Violence Prevention Demonstration Program presenting lesson plans that explore the use of nonviolence in history, paying particular attention to the civil rights movement, and African American history.

History Channel 

General information for Black History Month is presented by the History Channel.

Closing the racial wealth gap isn’t a simple fix. But many experts say education and financial literacy can help. In this article, we identify the impact this knowledge gap has on the African American community — and explore how Black educators and financial advisors are working to close it.

Other Resources

Carlotta Spears Bass | Unladylike

Learn about Charlotta Spears Bass, a crusading newspaper editor and politician who was one of the first African American women to own and operate a newspaper in the United States, in this video from the Unladylike2020 series.

Brown v. Board of Education and Jackie Robinson’s Push for Equality

Students examine why and how Jackie Robinson fought for further integration after the Supreme Court’s decision that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education. Students will explore the Robinson family’s experiences facing overt racism, and discuss the ways implicit attitudes of prejudice shape people’s behavior and treatment of others.

Keep Your Head Up | Black America Since MLK | And Still I Rise

In this lesson, students examine their attitudes about some of the complexities posed by race. Students then explore the success of two African Americans in the entertainment industry—Oprah Winfrey and Robert L. Johnson, head of BET (Black Entertainment Television).

National Archives

The National Archives holds a wealth of material documenting the African American experience and highlights these resources online, in programs, and through traditional and social media.

Financial Literacy  

As we celebrate Black History Month, there is no denying that there are inequalities in our country that need addressing. Closing the racial wealth gap in America isn’t a simple fix, but many experts say education and financial literacy can help. To shed light on the topic, here is an in-depth article discussing:

– The impact that this knowledge gap has on the African American community
– Socioeconomic and cultural barriers
– The role of Black financial advisors

Social Studies Glenville Workshop

Sent on Behalf of Glenville State University

Glenville is hosting a free workshop for teachers! Please see all the details below. Space is very limited.

October 28, 2022  


Presentation by Jason Gum highlighting Glenville State University’s WV Veterans Oral History Collection. Presentations by members of Glenville State University’s Social Science department on teaching with primary sources in various fields such as US history, WV history, Appalachian history, civics, African-American history, and geography.  


Screening of Harriet Tubman: Visions of Freedom, followed by a roundtable discussion of the film. 

October 29, 2022  


Dr. Francene Kirk, Director of the West Virginia Folklife Center will present her curriculum unit on creating historical plausible characters. A continuation of the presentations by members of Glenville State University’s Social Science department on teaching with primary sources. 

Cost:   $0  

The WVU Department of History received a grant from Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Eastern Region Program, coordinated by Waynesburg University.  Grant funds will cover: 

·        One–two nights accommodation in Glenville or the surrounding area for participants traveling further than 15 miles to campus  

·        Meals   

·        Up to $100 travel allowance (mileage reimbursement or rental car) for participants traveling further than 15 miles  

·        Participants who incorporate Library of Congress resources into their curriculum will be eligible to apply for one of four available awards of $300 to be distributed in February 2023.   

·        The grant will fund registration for the National History Day contest for eight NHD students who incorporate Library of Congress resources into their research  

Registration:  There is funding for 12 teachers to participate in the October 28-29, 2022 workshop.   Please register by completing this survey:

These workshops are sponsored in part by the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Eastern Region Program, coordinated by Waynesburg University. 

Best Regards,

Dustin Lambert, M.Ed.


Middle Schools & Social Studies 6-12

West Virginia Nonpublic Schools & Homeschool

Division of Academic Achievement and Support

Office of Teaching and Learning


Building 6, Room 500

1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East

Charleston, WV 25305-0330

304.558.8098 P

833.627.2833 Toll Free

304.558.1613 F