League to Hold Harvard Case Method Civics Project Community Discussion; A Nation Divided: The U.S. and the Challenge of Secession

The League of Women Voters of Greenwich held a community discussion moderated by Harvard Professor David Moss at Greenwich High School in November 2017, Photo Credit: League of Women Voters of Greenwich

(Bergen County, New Jersey; May 30, 2021) — The League of Women Voters of Northern Valley (LWVNV) and the Social Studies Department at Park Ridge High School invite the public to attend the interactive discussion, A Nation Divided: The U.S. and the Challenge of Secession.  The community discussion takes place on Tuesday, June 15 at 7:30 p.m.  The case presented is from the Harvard Case Method Civics Project.

Join a discussion of President Lincoln’s momentous decision to go to war in 1861 to keep the Union together.  Participants will consider: How would you respond to the Southern States desire to secede from the United States in 1861?  Could President Lincoln have avoided armed conflict between then states?  How would you have confronted the challenge of secession?  People interested in learning more about how slavery and racism still affects politics in the United States and policy making should attend.  Learn how the case method of teaching can strengthen civics education.  Participants will be provided readings in advance to discuss the legal case, decided in 1861, on the divisive issue of secession in the United States.

Hybrid Event

Teacher Kelly Epstein, Photo Credit: Courtesy of Kelly Epstein

The event will be presented as a hybrid, both in person and virtually. The in person format will be held at Park Ridge High School’s Little Theater, located at 2 Park Avenue in Park Ridge, New Jersey.  Convenient parking is available on the upstairs deck off Park Avenue and on the street.  Parking is also available on the lower level using Wampum Road.  Enter through the Main Entrance Portico facing Park Avenue.

People, who do not want to attend in person, should contact lwvno.valley@gmail.com and request to participate virtually.  The link to attend the event will be sent closer to the date of the community discussion.


Register in advance to attend the event and receive the reading materials at https://bit.ly/3vD8hNQ.  A confirmation email will be sent with the link to the case, A Nation Divided: The U.S. and the Challenge of Secession (1861), and questions to guide the reading.  The program will follow all COVID-19 safety protocols, including social distancing and wearing of face masks.

Park Ridge social studies teacher Kelly Epstein will introduce the topic and guide the question and answer session using the teaching technique she learned in the Harvard Case Method Civics Project last summer.  The League of Women Voters supports using Harvard Business School’s renowned case method customized as a teaching tool to engage students to learn history and democracy in a dynamic, interesting way.

Each year, Harvard Business School Professor David Moss presents a workshop, Improving Civics Education with the Harvard Case Method, which draws civics and social studies teachers throughout the country.  The Harvard Civics Project initiative brings case method teaching to high schools and uses this methodology to deepen students’ understanding of American democracy.  The curriculum draws upon information on topics ranging from the Constitutional Convention to Civil Rights.

Leagues across the country nominate outstanding high school teachers from public, private, and charter schools in grades 9-12 teaching U.S. history, government, or civics to participate in the case method workshop.  Teachers accepted to participate in the project agree to teach four cases in their classes during the academic year and moderate one community case discussion with their League.

For further information about the event or the LWVNV, contact lwvno.valley@gmail.com.  Learn more about the League on the organization’s website at bit.ly/LWVNVinformation and its blog, https://lwv-of-northernvalley.constantcontactsites.com/.

About League of Women Voters of Northern Valley

The League of Women Voters of Northern Valley, a chapter of the League of Women Voters (LWV), is a non-partisan, grassroots civic organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of public policy issues and influences public policy through education and advocacy.  The LWV was an outgrowth of the 19th Amendment passed in 1920 giving women the right to vote.  Today, the LWV operates at the state and local levels through more than 700 state and local Leagues in all 50 states and in Washington D.C., the Virgin Islands and Hong Kong.

The League of Women Voters of Northern Valley was founded in 1946 as the League of Women Voters of Closter.  By 1964, it included 11 municipalities in the Northern Valley and was renamed the League of Women Voters of Northern Valley.  Today, the chapter serves 29 municipalities.

The organization develops grassroots leadership and achieves widespread credibility because it is strictly nonpartisan.  Throughout the year, a range of voters services and programs are provided, including candidates’ forums, registration drives, dissemination of nonpartisan information about candidates and issues, and public meetings to discuss current issues.

For information, visit the chapter’s website at bit.ly/LWVNVinformation and its blog at https://lwv-of-northern-valley.constantcontactsites.com/.  For opportunities to get involved or join the organization, contact lwvno.valley@gmail.com.  Follow the LWVNV on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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