Good time to study local history

To the editor:

The public is facing an organizational crisis brought about by closure of schools in response to the coronavirus. It is in a time of crisis that an organization’s members will be (more) eager to adopt new structures that promise to reduce the uncertainty and anxiety generated by a crisis (Shepard, 1969).

Now is the time to capitalize on alternatives. One such alternative in our tri-county area focuses on an in-depth study of its local history, geography and cultural anthropology, referred to as “America’s Past Through the Eyes of Local History.” This project is offered in response to the fact that an in-depth study of local history and geography is an important link in the education of all students in public education.

The following two websites, which are in process, are offered for consideration as an activity for our home-bound students during this crisis:

¯ www.americaspastthroughtheeyesoflocalhistory.com

¯ www.dataforamericaspastthroughlocalhistory.com

The first site provides the rationale and basis for the project, designed for teachers and parents, including a section that outlines the processes for student involvement. This project features a record-keeping system for keeping track of experiences that will be used for assessing and evaluating learning outcomes.

The second site is an extensive collection of documents required for an in-depth study regarding Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties in Northern New York state.

There are provisions on each site for input and questions regarding their use; inquiries will be responded to in the order in which they are received. Please take the time to explore these sites and engage students in discovering the vital importance of local history and geography as a basis for understanding other places more distant in time and location.

Robert L. Arnold


SUNY professor emeritus of education

Awarded the 2018 St. Lawrence Academy Medal for Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Education


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