Central New York

Council for the Social Studies

Central New York Council for the Social Studies

2017 Annual Conference




Tuesday, October 24, 2017

7:30am - 2:20pm

Carnegie Conference Center, 2nd Floor Driver's Village

Scroll to the bottom of the page to register


Keynote Speaker

Douglas Egerton

Professor of History, LeMoyne College

"The Southern War on States' Rights, 1848-1865"

CNYCSS is proud to welcome Dr. Egerton, preeminent scholar of the American South, as our keynote speaker. Dr. Egerton has written numerous books and articles on race and politics in 19th century America and, through his scholarship, he continuously seeks to explore how the undercurrents of history shape our modern age. In this talk, Dr. Egerton examines the historical understanding that states’ rights have always been a means to an end, rather than an end in itself. For much of the antebellum era, southern planter-politicians embraced states' rights and small government as a way to protect their "peculiar institution." With the end of the Mexican War, however, promptly dropped the concept, as they realized that small central government would not get them what they desired: control over the American Southwest, annexation of Cuba, or the recovery of runaway slaves. When they could not seize control of the federal government, planters seceded from the United States and created their own, highly centralized Confederacy. As a long-time presenter to CNYCSS, Doug will use this particular narrative to arrive at new compelling questions that students can be asked about this history, and will sharpen our broader understanding of how arguments shift in the context of events, societal goals and power struggles.

Lunch Keynote

Dennis Connors

Curator of History, Onondaga Historical Association

"Abolitionist Tribulations and Celebrations: The Aftermath of the Jerry Rescue"

Dennis Connors has had a long and distinguished career as a local historian and preservation activist in Syracuse that crosses five decades. Mr. Connors has served in a variety of capacities in both historical institutions and local government, in addition to editing and writing five (and counting) books on Syracuse Area history. During our lunch session, Dennis will bring us into the heart of an important piece of our area’s history. Many people have heard about the bold rescue of a fugitive slave from the hands of federal marshals that took place in Syracuse on October 1, 1851. But for much of the story, that event was only the beginning. The aftermath involved arrests, trials, secret journeys, protests against the rescuers plus provocative anniversary celebrations that shocked local officials. Dennis’ presentation is one of many lively stories about our local community’s critical role in the history of the United States and beyond that he expertly tells. This program is a sample of a number of opportunities available to you and your students through the Onondaga Historical Association, and you are encouraged to take full advantage of this significant community resource.

Dennis and his OHA colleagues have an impressive array of pre-developed programs that can be delivered to your classroom or shared with students during a visit to the OHA.  This presentation is just the tip of the iceberg!  Contact the OHA about bringing an informative talk like this directly to your students.


7:30am to 8:30am

8:35am to 9:40am

9:40am to 10:00am

10:00am to 10:50am

11:00am to 11:50am

12:00pm to 1:25pm

1:30pm to 2:20pm

Registration and Continental Breakfast

Keynote Address

Please Visit Museum Row

Session A Presentations

Session B Presentations

Brief Business Meeting and Lunchtime Keynote

Session C Presentations


Session A

A1: "CNY and the Massachusetts Fifty-Fourth Infantry"

Douglas Egerton, LeMoyne College

Students and teachers often wonder if there are local connections to stories that are "famous" in popular history.  Many are familiar with the early months of the first northern black Civil War regiment due to the 1989 film "Glory," a beautifully acted if very inaccurate movie.  The film implies that most of the men in the regiment were southern-born runaways.  In fact, the regiment was almost exclusively manned by northern-born freemen.  Pennsylvania supplied the largest continent of soldiers, with New York second.  Sixteen recruits signed on in Syracuse, and twenty from Rochester.  This lecture explains who did so, and why, despite the fact that the Empire State denied most black men the vote.

Doug Egerton is a scholar at LeMoyne College and has written over ten books on the American South.  He is a frequent presenter at CNYCSS and is also delivering our keynote address.  This presentation aligns with NYS Framework Grade 4.5, Grade 7.8 and Grade 11.3 directly and is a great illustration of the local connections we have to the American story.

A2: "Can You Spare an Hour for the Ottoman Empire?"

Howard Eissenstat, St. Lawrence University

The Ottoman Empire continues to be a topic that both captivates and confounds students and teachers alike.  The history is rich, prominent and interdependent with much of our curriculum, but what about it matters most?  This presentation will help teachers to conceptualize the Ottoman Empire in their treatment of the contemporary Middle East.  The goal is less to give an overview of Ottoman or Modern Middle Eastern History, than a consideration of the ways the Modern Middle East represents a continuation - and break from - its Ottoman past.

Howard is back by popular demand!  As teachers continue to adjust to the new Framework and expectations for a new exam, it is so vital to have depth and context for one of the trickier aspects of the transition.  Teachers of Grades 6, 9 and 10 will especially appreciate this session, as it aligns with NYS Framework 6.6, 9.7 & 10.1 directly.  The presentation is open to all who are interested in a deeper understanding of the Middle East as an important region to their course of study.

A3: "Television News and the Crisis of Civic Information"

Rob Thompson, Syracuse University

The 2016 election revealed a fierce urgency in social studies teachers' needs and ability to explain and contextualize "news" for students.  Where do we begin?  What do we need to know ourselves?  A healthy republic depends upon the institution of journalism.  Of late, that institution has been threatened by serious challenges to its business model, occasional shoddy reportorial practices, and, more recently, an aggressive attack by the president.  We'll try to put this into some historical context and suggest what it might portend.  This is a starting point for our field's recognition that a significant part of sound social studies practice is an intentional focus on media literacy.

We are thrilled to have Professor Thompson return to CNYCSS after a long hiatus!  Professor Thompson is a nationally reknowned “ambassador of popular culture” and a preeminent scholar around television’s role in American society.  He has regularly appeared on NPR, 60 Minutes and has given interviews to the New York Times, to name a few.  All teachers, K-12 will appreciate his thoughts on the subject of our civic health – teachers especially in grades 8, 11 and 12 who deal directly with the historic and current role of journalism in American politics will find the session instructive.

A4: "Differentiating Historical Thinking Instruction"

Mary Kate Lonergan, Eagle Hill Middle School

Students' ability to work with disciplinary sources is critical to their success.  How can we teach students to read, analyze, and evaluate primary sources in a classroom full of diverse learners?  Teaching historical thinking is more complicated than simply transmitting facts or engaging in the basic reading of texts and not all students are prepared to think in this capacity.  In fact, some students even lack the skills necessary to read primary sources.  Participants will be introduced to research based best practices for developing historical thinking skills in an inclusive setting in an interactive, dynamic capacity and will leave ready to implement several techniques.

We are excited at CNYCSS to offer the opportunity for meaningful exchange of resources and best practices between colleagues.  We are fortunate to have current classroom teachers like Mary Kate share what works based on their own experiences and research.  This is an important session for all teachers K-12.  The 6 social studies practices are embedded within historical thinking and primary document work, and Part 2 of the revised Global Regents will have a specific section on source analysis and historical thinking.  These are practices to adopt right now in our classrooms!

Session B

B1: "Me First!  The Roots of Alt-Right Xenophobia and Nationalism"

John Langdon, LeMoyne College

Donald Trump, Jorg Haider, Marine Le Pen, Nigel Farage, Geert Wilders...and the list will probably grow before it shrinks.  What's behind the recent surge of alt-right super-nationalism?  Is it really all that recent?  How can we explain it to students?  What are its prospects for success?  Can we really answer all these questions in 50 minutes?  Well, we can try.

Our annual PD conference is not complete without John!  As a scholar, curriculum expert and award-winning teacher in his own right, John always has his finger on the pulse of what topics need “fine-tuning” for our classrooms.     Any teacher trying to contextualize and understand the undercurrents of discontent in modern democracy will find this session useful.  Teachers –especially in grades 3-12 - who address other nations, other forms of government, historical episodes involving nationalism, and our modern political landscape will no doubt find John’s talk directly impactful to their teaching.

B2: "Ways of Understanding: Cultural Analysis of Multilateral Interventions in Global Crises"

Robert A. Rubinstein, Syracuse University

We often ask students to consider what kinds of questions can be asked and answered using the variety of tools and disciplines counted among the social studies.  This presentation explores a possibility of using an anthropological cultural perspective to analyze the joint work of military units and humanitarian groups in battling conflict and crises.  The presentation will include a brief explanation of the history of multilateral intervention in conflicts following the Second World War and how such interventions have changed especially since the early 1990s.  Participants will focus on issues of civil-military coordination.  Using health as a lens, we will discuss some situations in which this coordination has been useful and some in which it has not been helpful.  Teachers will have the opportunity to engage in reflection on how anthropology can take students inside complex global problems and potential solutions.

CNYCSS is pleased to welcome Professor Rubenstein for his first presentation at our PD day. The State’s new focus on Enduring Issues compels teachers at all grade levels to ask students to think about global issues in new and different ways.  For sure, teachers of enriching courses like anthropology, military history, and current events will be well-suited to this talk.  Teachers of Global 9 & 10 and all those interested in seeing how this story can connect classroom learning to social studies practices like Contextualization and Civic Participation will also enjoy this thought-provoking session.

B3: "Best Practices for ELLS in the Social Studies Classroom"

Lauren Cirulli, Syracuse City School District

In the emerging social studies classroom we find more primary sources, more argumentation...with an influx of English Language Learners (ELLS) in schools nationwide and new regulations, educators are often left wondering how to best teach their students.  The emerging concept of translanguaging will be highlighted, which provides students the opportunity to utilize their entire linguistic repertoire to facilitate language and content acquisition.  This presentation will also provide participants with the opportunity to discuss and take away applicable strategies for use in their classroom.

CNYCSS recognizes the diversity that exists in classrooms across the region.  We are honored to offer a session devoted to meeting the needs of students who are learning English as well as the vast and complicated content of our discipline.  Teachers K-12 can benefit from the strategies that Ms. Cirulli will share, as it prepares us to be a welcoming and supportive community for English Language Learners.

B4: "Everybody Wins: Building Positive Partnerships with Historic Sites"

Rebecca Stephens, Eagle Hill Middle School

Many of our local, and not so local, historic sites are understaffed and underfunded and yet they possess phenomenal resources that are sitting in drawers.  As the demand for more interactive and document-driven instruction rises, this session will talk about the benefits that will come from building a partnership between educators and historic sites.  Rich Strum, Educational Director at Fort Ticonderoga, and Chris O'Neil, Executive Director of Chittenango Landing Historic Site, will both participate in the discussion of how teacher-museum educator partnerships can be established.  We will also share lesson plans that have been developed as a result of our collaboration.

Social Studies learning need not be confined to the walls of a classroom.  CNYCSS is proud to have strong relationships with our fellow educators in the museum community of Central New York.  Teachers can work with historic sites to develop classroom content and opportunities for on-site learning.  4th, 5th, 7th, and 11th grade teachers will find that a good deal of their framework content is directly connected to many opportunities for collaboration in Central New York.

Session C

C1: "Constitutional Law and Constitutional Norms: What's the Difference and Why Does it Matter?"

Keith Bybee, Syracuse University

The Constitution is a far more nuanced democratic institution than most of us imagine.  We often think that the Constitution establishes the basic rules of political order and that the Supreme Court's job is to tell us what those basic rules mean.  Thus, in times of deep conflict and crisis (i.e., right now), we often turn to the Court for answers.  But not all of the basic rules of our politics are written in the Constitution and many parts of the Constitution operate without ever being interpreted by the Court.  Participants are promised a thorough examination of the difference between constitutional law and constitutional norms, and a discussion of whether the Court is ultimately capable of saving us from ourselves.

CNYCSS looks forward every year to the return of Keith Bybee to our program.  Keith is a leader in scholarship and instruction as a joint professor at SU’s Law School and the Maxwell School for Citizenship and Public Affairs.  He has numerous publications about law and politics and is always ready to bring us up-to-date on crucial issues facing the Supreme Court, one of our least understood branches of government.  Understanding the Court is essential at all grade levels; it particularly resonates with NYS Framework 3.7, 4.4, 5.6, 7.4 & 7.5, and in many topics across grades 8, 11 & 12. 

C2: "Political Polarization in the Trump Era"

Chris Faricy, Syracuse University

Back by popular demand!  This session will examine how the two political parties have grown apart ideologically over the decades and how Democrats and Republicans are operating differently under President Trump.

We are pleased to have Professor Faricy join us again this year.  As social studies educators, we are just beginning to wrap our heads around the significance of last year’s elections.  This session will assist many teachers K-12 in our own education according to social studies practices like comparison, contextualization, causation, and civic participation.  The NYS Frameworks for grades 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11 & 12 all deal with topics like political parties and dynamics of governing that will be explored in this session. 

C3: "Simplifying the Complex - Aligning SS Writing Instruction to State Assessments"

Pamela Charron Hogan, OCM BOCES

As the state transitions to new assessments, lots of teachers have questions about best practices in social studies writing.  In this session, we will learn the process of aligning social studies writing instruction to the NYS Regents Assessment grading rubrics to enhance student learning and achievement.  Teachers will also look at an easy to use step-by-step process for students to follow, which guides them through the writing process from start to finish.  The "DBQ Recipe" and the "Thematic Roadmap" have proven successful for students, and we will discuss the connections between these strategies and the new assessment models on the horizon.

CNYCSS welcomes another great practitioner from our community!  The NYS Framework emphasizes writing as a critical skill that must be taught through our discipline, with a range of tasks that are to be incorporated into instruction.  Teachers across grades K-12 will benefit from learning some great techniques for developing their students disciplinary writing – so that as they approach regents exams in high school they are ready for success!

C4: "Myth and Reality: How the Cold War Really Ended"

John Langdon, LeMoyne College

Most residents of the United States believe that the Reagan Administration forced the USSR to surrender by spending colossal sums of money on an armaments buildup designed to drive the Soviets into bankruptcy.  Outside the United States, very few people believe this description of the events of the late 1980s.  In 2015, Russian archives that had been closed since the mid-1990s were quietly opened to scholars.  What did they discover about this controversy?  What do our students need to know about the end of the Cold War?  Participants will explore these exciting questions together.

The Cold War is a time in history that fascinates students and teachers alike.  Teachers of Grade 8, 10, 11 will find this session enhances their understanding of this critical moment in history, and for those who focus on the current relationship between the US and Russia, the session will provide additional context for the dynamic connections between the two nations.  Remarkably, this will also be a story that allows educators to see social studies practices up close – gathering and analyzing new sources of evidence, exploring new timeframes and causations in the traditional Cold War narrative, comparative analysis of multiple perspectives on the Cold War, and examination of continuities and changes in our understanding of this global phenomenon.

$60 - Members

$75 - New/Renewing Members (1 year membership & conference registration)

$30 - Full-Time Students

Advance registration closes on October 18.

CTLE forms can be picked up at the Registration Table at the conclusion of the conference.

If your payment is outstanding at the time of the conference, please bring cash or check payment (made out to "CNYCSS") with you to the conference.  NO PURCHASE ORDERS PLEASE.  If you are bringing payment with you the day of the conference you will need to go to the "Solutions" section of the Registration Table. 

Please e-mail Carrie-Ann Ronalds with questions regarding conference registration and/or payment.


(click here for printable mail-in registration form)

Conference Co-Chairs:

Vince Monterosso & Charles Coon

Museum Row Coordinator:

Mary Duffin

CNYCSS is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. New York. 2657 East Fayette Street, Syracuse, NY 13224.

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