Curriculum and Instruction

Social Studies

Leaders' Guide Contents

Introduction | Board of Regents | Acknowledgments | Using This Guide

Overview of the New York State Social Studies Prekindergarten–Grade 12 Program

  • Overview of Social Studies in the United States and in New York State
  • The New York State Social Studies Initiative
  • NYSED Part 100 Regulations of the Commissioner of Education (for Social Studies)
  • New York State Education Law (for Social Studies)
  • Leadership and Learning (Leadership and Learning is sometimes referred to as the Regents Strategic Plan. It includes: The Challenge; The Mission; The Vision; and Goals.)

Developing and Implementing a Standards-Based Curriculum

  • The New York State Learning Standards for Social Studies
  • History of the Learning Standards
  • How to Obtain Copies of the Learning Standards
  • What is a Standards-Based Curriculum?
  • Overview of the New York State Social Studies Core Curriculum:
    Prekindergarten–Grade 12 Course Outlines (PowerPoint)
  • Bilingual Glossaries
  • Items for the 21st-Century Social Studies Classroom
  • Case Studies: Standards-Based Social Studies Learning Experiences

New York State Social Studies Assessments

  • Test Schedules
  • Summary of New York State Social Studies Assessments (PowerPoint)
  • Test Specification Grids
  • Revised Social Studies Generic Rubrics
  • NYSED Part 100 Regulations of the Commissioner of Education (for Alternatives to State Assessments and Alternate Assessments for Students with Severe Disabilities)
  • Directions for Administering Regents Examinations
  • Department-Approved Social Studies Alternative Examinations
  • Regents Action on Graduation Requirements
  • Testing Exemptions for Transfer Students in Grades 11 and 12: Global History and Geography
  • State Testing: From Development to Implementation
  • Test Manuals for School Administrators
  • NYSED Scoring Materials
  • Case Studies: Organizing State Assessment Scoring Sessions
  • Understanding Your School/District Report Card

Intervention, Acceleration, and Special Education

  • Academic Intervention Services (AIS)
  • Case Studies: Academic Intervention Services in Four New York State Districts
  • The Advanced Placement (AP) Program
  • Other Accelerated Programs
  • Students with Disabilities

Tools For Social Studies Supervisors

  • Tips for New Supervisors
  • Teacher Certification Information
  • Code of Ethics
  • The New York State Textbook Loan Program
  • Professional Development Plan (PDP): 175 Hours Professional Development Requirement  
  • Sources For Professional Development

The New York State Education Department’s Resources and Publications

  • Websites
  • Navigating the New York State Education Department Websites (PowerPoint)
  • Publications


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Board of Regents

Regents of The University 

Name/Title Location
Robert M. Bennett, Chancellor, B.A., M.S. Tonawanda
Adelaide L. Sanford, Vice Chancellor, B.A., M.A., P.D. Hollis
Saul B. Cohen, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. New Rochelle
James C. Dawson, A.A., B.A., M.S., Ph.D. Peru
Anthony S. Bottar, B.A., J.D. North Syracuse
Merryl H. Tisch, B.A., M.A., Ed.D. New York
Geraldine D. Chapey, B.A., M.A., Ed.D. Belle Harbor
Arnold B. Gardner, B.A., LL.B. Buffalo
HARRY PHILLIPS, 3rd, B.A., M.S.F.S. Hartsdale
Joseph E. Bowman, Jr., B.A., M.L.S., M.A., M.Ed., Ed.D. Albany
Lorraine A. CortÉs-VÁzquez, B.A., M.P.A. Bronx
James R. Tallon, jr., B.A., M.A.  Binghamton
Milton L. Cofield,  B.S., M.B.A., Ph.D. Rochester
John Brademas, B.A., Ph.D. New York
Roger B. Tilles, B.A., J.D. Great Neck
Karen Brooks Hopkins, B.A., M.F.A. Brooklyn

President of The University and Commissioner of Education:
Richard P. Mills

Deputy Commissioner for Operations and Management Services:
Theresa E. Savo

Interim Deputy Commissioner for Elementary, Middle, Secondary, and Continuing Education:
Jean C. Stevens

Assistant Commissioner for Curriculum and Instructional Support:
Jean C. Stevens

Administrator in Charge for Curriculum and Instructional Support:
Ann D. Getman

Assistant Director for Curriculum, Instruction and Instructional Technology:

The State Education Department does not discriminate on the basis of age, color, religion, creed, disability, marital status, veteran status, national origin, race, gender, genetic predisposition or carrier status, or sexual orientation in its educational programs, services and activities. Portions of this publication can be made available in a variety of formats, including braille, large print or audio tape, upon request. Inquiries concerning this policy of nondiscrimination should be directed to the Department’s Office for Diversity, Ethics, and Access, Room 530, Education Building, Albany, NY 12234.

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ALBANY, NY 12234
Anne Schiano  - Assistant Director
Curriculum, Instruction, and Instructional Technology Team
Room 320 EB
Albany, New York 12234
(518) 474-5922; FAX: (518) 473-4884

To: District Superintendents, Superintendents of Public Schools, Building Principals, Social Studies Instructional Supervisors, Social Studies Department Chairs and Social Studies Teachers

Date: February 15, 2006

From: Anne Schiano

Subject: The New York State Education Department Social Studies Leaders’ Guide

Welcome to the New York State Education Department Social Studies Leaders' Guide, an online publication designed as a reference tool for school leaders and teachers of social studies. This is the first in a series of Leaders’ Guides under development. They are intended to provide essential information and resources to support improved standards based education programs to students of NYS schools prekindergarten through grade 12. Similar guides are under development for science, English language arts and mathematics.

This particular guide is a revision of the original publication, Leaders Guide: New York State Social Studies Program K - 12, which was last updated in the late 1980s. It represents a collaborative partnership among various offices within New York State Education Department and with the social studies professional organizations. Since the original publication, many important advances have been made in social studies education including:

  • the development and adoption of Learning Standards for Social Studies (1996);
  • the statewide dissemination of the Social Studies Resource Guide with Core Curriculum (1997) which provides further specificity of the learning standards; and
  • the gradual phase-in of State assessments in grades 5 and 8, along with the Regents examination requirements in {Global History and Geography} and {United States History and Government}.

These changes represent a major initiative from the original New York State Regents Action Plan, enacted in the 1980s.

It is our hope that the educational learning communities of New York State will find this publication useful, practical, and informative. The New York State Social Studies Leaders’ Guide is not a static publication. It will be reviewed and updated periodically when new information becomes available.

Sections of the New York State Social Studies Resource Guide

The New York State Education Department Social Studies Leaders’ Guide is divided into sections that include: 

Features of the Leaders' Guide

Of particular interest to social studies leaders may be:

  • The Regulations of the Commissioner of Education for General Education and Diploma Requirements (For Social Studies) April 2001
  • The New York State Social Studies Initiative
  • Direct Access to the Social Studies Standards Including Key Ideas and Performance Indicators
  • Power Points
  • Prekindergarten – Grade 12 Course Outlines
  • Summary of New York State Social Studies Assessments
  • Navigating the New York State Education Department’s Websites
  • Tagged Social Studies Learning Experiences
  • New York State Test Specification Grids – Elementary, Intermediate, Global History and Geography and United States History and Government
  • Case Studies
  • Organizing Social Studies Scoring Sessions
  • Model Academic Intervention Programs (AIS)
  • Effective Staff Development Programs
  • Tips for New Social Studies Supervisors
  • A Brief Essay on Students with Disabilities
  • The Definition of Textbooks Under the Textbook Loan Program
  • Information about Advanced Placement (AP) Programs
  • Essential Items for Social Studies Classrooms in the 21st Century

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In April 2004, the Second Annual Social Studies Summit was convened by the New York State Education Department in conjunction with the New York State Council of the Social Studies (NYSCSS) and the New York State Social Studies Supervisory Association (NYS4A). An outcome of this meeting was 13 recommendations from the professional organizations to the Education Department. In response to Recommendation #10, New York State Education Department committed to reviewing and updating its current publications, with the intent of revising them for online publication.

The revision and publication of Leaders' Guide was made possible through the cooperative efforts of the NYSCSS, the NYS4A, and the Curriculum, Instruction and Instructional Technology Team of the New York State Education Department.

Three case studies:

  • Organizing State Assessment Scoring Sessions,
  • Model AIS Programs,
  • and Effective Staff Development Programs

were developed by the New York State Social Studies Supervisory Association board members. They also developed "Tips for New Social Studies Supervisors" component.

Names School Districts
Timothy Backus* South Colonie Central School District
Rick Bates Bath Central School District
Katherine A. DeForge Marcellus Central School District
Nancy Dinaburg Union Endicott Central School District
Mary Jo Dudek Niagara-Wheatfield Central School District
Steven Goldberg New Rochelle City School District
Kevin Klein Rochester City School District
Deborah Lloyd Peru Central School District
Scott Zajdel Cheektowaga Central School District
Gregory Zinsley Poughkeepsie City School District

* President of the NYS Social Studies Supervisors Association and a critical friend

If you have questions or recommendations for future updates in this online resource guide, please contact

Jo Ann Larson
Associate in Social Studies Education

New York State Education Department
Curriculum, Instruction and Instructional Technology
Room 320 EB
89 Washington Ave
Albany, NY 12234

Please note that this document is not available in print version.

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This guide has been arranged to assist you in implementing your standards-based social studies program. The sections are arranged in a logical order for presentation at meetings and workshops. You are first provided with general overviews of the State's regulations, curriculum, and assessments for social studies, before finding materials that will help you build your program on the basis of this information. You are encouraged, however, to select or rearrange materials to meet your particular needs.

Different types of materials are included in each section to allow for flexibility in using the guide. Each part contains:

  • background information and reference material for social studies supervisors, department chairpersons, curriculum specialists, principals, and other interested school administrators;
  • visual diagrams / graphic organizers that can be duplicated for workshops and presentations;
  • case studies, many written by practicing leaders in the field, on various topics for organizing your department;
  • PowerPoint presentations that are ready to use in presenting major material on the learning standards, core curriculum, and State assessment program, as well as the State Education Department’s Web resources.

Many pages in this document are easily reproducible. They contain essential information about the New York State social studies program for your quick reference at school, for sharing with your colleagues, and for building a school- or district-wide presentation.

Guiding your district’s social studies program is a necessary yet exciting task that requires careful planning, effective human relations skills, and content expertise. You are in a unique position to offer leadership and assistance in planning and implementing your social studies program. Whether you are a "seasoned" supervisor, principal, or curriculum developer–or a non-content specialist or new supervisor faced with numerous challenges in program planning–we hope this guide will provide you with sufficient support to be a valuable and lasting resource.

Last Updated: May 4, 2010