President’s Message

From the desk of Elyse Poller,

I would like my first order of business as CCSS’s new president to publicly thank David Bosso for his many years of fine leadership for our organization.  Dave’s vision, passion for social studies, graciousness, and attention to detail served CCSS well. He helped increase our visibility among state leaders, allowing us to be more effective in our advocacy efforts; he developed productive partnerships with other social studies organizations, allowing us to create and deliver valuable professional development opportunities to our members; he encouraged active involvement of members of our board; and his accomplishments as an educator – most recently his induction into the Teacher Hall of Fame – inspire each of us to do a little more.  I would also like to personally thank Dave for his support, guidance, and friendship over the years. I am honored to have him as a colleague and friend. He leaves big shoes to fill! 

What makes taking on this responsibility a bit less daunting is the knowledge that I am surrounded by exceptionally talented, committed, hard-working and creative CCSS board members and officers.  We are all ardent supporters of a robust social studies education in our Connecticut schools and universities and work effectively together to fulfill our mission.

I visited my in-laws in Australia this summer (winter) and watched quite a few movies on the very long flight.  At the start of each film, Delta showed a one minute video called Close the Gap (available on YouTube) that speaks to how people often assume those from other regions / countries are very different until they have a chance to interact.   Although Delta may be using the film to promote travel, each time I watched it, it reinforced my mission as a social studies teacher. I want my students to seek other perspectives, to embrace the diversity of the human race, to recognize that every individual deserves respect, and to seek to understand how cultures developed over time.  I want them to ask questions, to wonder, to challenge, and to work to make the world a little better each day.

The work that CCSS does supports educators like me by advocating for the social studies to local, state and national officials, delivering relevant and effective professional development, recognizing excellence through our annual awards, and providing networking opportunities.

There is a lot ahead for our organization.  Our annual Fall Conference – to be held on Friday, October 4th at Central Connecticut State University – will be an engaging and informative event.  We are grateful for the tireless efforts of our co-chairs, Laura Krenicki and Annie Tucci, along with many other of our all-volunteer board members who are selecting and scheduling workshops, recruiting vendors, coordinating the facility, organizing the program, planning registration, and all the other parts of pulling together an event of this kind.  

Our theme of Creating Citizens: Every Grade, Every Year speaks to our priority of getting social studies back into elementary schools across our state.  It is essential that we begin developing our future citizens and leaders early. There will be sessions relevant to all grade levels, along with a panel discussion on women’s rights from suffrage to #MeToo, as well as unconferencing opportunities, a wide selection of vendors, and recognition of our 2019 CCSS award winners.  Registration is open.

We also look forward to working with our new governor, commissioner of education, and other elected officials on social studies issues.  We welcome your input on where we should set our priorities in our advocacy work. Please complete this brief survey by the end of September.

I hope your school year is off to a good start and that we will see you in October.