2011 PCSS Conference in Pittsburgh
The history of Pittsburgh and its environs is linked to many milestones in the growth of our nation. The timeline begins before the inception of the United States. Long ago numerous indigenous cultures lived in the hills and valleys that define the land where the Monongahela and the Allegheny converge to form the Ohio. Later, the area witnessed the struggle between Britain and France for the political and economic dominance of the North American continent. Following the American Revolution, Pittsburgh became an important jumping-off point for lands farther west. It was known as the “Gateway to the West” long before the title became synonymous with St. Louis, Missouri. As the Industrial Revolution changed America, it also changed Pittsburgh. The city became an important manufacturing center and although it was noted for the production of many quality goods, steel became its product of distinction, thus earning the nickname, “The Steel City.” In recent years, Pittsburgh has once again proven it s resourcefulness as it successfully metamorphosed into a post-industrial city where medicine, healthcare, technology, and finances have helped it weather the Great Recession. As a result of its flexibility, the city was selected by President Obama to host the 2009 G-20 Summit and was recently named by Forbes Magazine as “America’s Most Livable City”, an honor not new to Pittsburgh. Because of the city’s importance and its model for urban resurgence, the Pennsylvania Council for the Social Studies (PCSS) has chosen Pittsburgh as the site for the Council’s 2011 annual conference. The conference site is the newly remodeled Doubletree Hotel & Suites. Located in Pittsburgh’s City Center, the hotel is within walking distance to many major downtown attractions. The 2011 conference theme is Social Studies and Literacy: A Natural Connection.
As proponents of effective social studies instruction, educators need to utilize an integrative approach in teaching the various disciplines that define social studies in Pennsylvania. Since social studies instruction involves students in listening, speaking, reading, and writing, the successful integration of literacy into the teaching of social studies is paramount. Proposals for the 2011 PCSS Conference should focus on methods for integrating literacy skills into the social studies learning experience. Proposals need to reflect the importance of utilizing literacy strategies and techniques for engaging students in acquiring the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed in becoming effective citizens in a democratic and global society. When reviewing conference proposals, PCSS is looking for examples of integration that encourage meaningful learning, specific strategies for everyday instruction, assessments that foster systematic instruction, and innovation for creating effective learning communities in the classroom.
The 2011 PCSS Conference will provide opportunities for sharing perspectives on integrating literacy into social studies classrooms. Through this interaction, conference participants will gain new insights into processes that can enhance the use of various literacy approaches in the teaching of social studies. Since curriculum integration and its connectedness in sustaining quality social studies instruction are very timely and compelling topics, the PCSS Board of Directors encourages all social studies advocates, as well as those engaged in the teaching of literacy, to attend the 2011 PCSS Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on October 13-15, 2011. See you in the “Burg.”
Joseph C. Labant