Social Studies Guiding Principles

Standards & Outcomes Based Instruction

Essential knowledge in the social studies is comprised of a broad and comprehensive knowledge base of history, geography, world cultures, and the events which shaped them. This knowledge base is aligned to National and State Standards, as well as West Irondequoit Outcomes, and serves to promote rigorous and transferable conceptual understandings. Social studies instruction is designed with the end in mind.  It uses a decision making model which is reflective, thought provoking, and oriented toward the formation of reasoned conclusions.  Essential Questions and Enduring Understandings challenge students to think at the highest analytical and evaluative levels. Our program develops historical thinkers through a vertical alignment of content, concepts, and skills. Our goal is to maximize the achievement of all learners as they advance through the program. This goal is developed and sustained by a professional learning community which is collaborative and committed to continuous improvement.

 The social studies classroom is the laboratory of democracy for all citizen learners.

  • Effective social studies instruction empowers students to comprehend, appreciate, and participate in a diverse, complex, global society.
  • Student centered classrooms prepare students for the world of work by fostering independence and cooperative problem solving that deepens cognitive and interpersonal development.

Critical thinking skills are essential to the development of student independence and the creation of empowered, responsible citizens.

  • Through critical thinking experiences students develop historical habits of mind through which they question, acquire, and categorize evidence, develop    hypotheses, and formulate conclusions which are integral to historiography.
  • Scholarship requires the essential knowledge, skills, values, and perspectives to identify hidden issues as students formulate and substantiate a well reasoned stance.

We are committed to the rigorous development of disciplined inquiry in the research process.

  • The research process develops the ability to access, evaluate, and synthesize a wide variety of information sources through the creation of research projects, papers, and presentations.
  • In an age of instant global communication it is imperative that students be competent, critical consumers of technological information sources

Rich social studies instruction develops critical literacy through the processes and practices of historiography. This instruction is essential as students make meaning across time, place, and culture.

  • Students as historians and social scientists strive to be fair and impartial as they analyze and evaluate primary and secondary documents from multiple perspectives.
  • As students internalize historical habits of mind they will transfer these skills across content and disciplines.

Social studies assessment is a process of ongoing, formative evaluation designed to provide targeted feedback toward mastery of the social studies standards.

  • Social studies assessment is multi-faceted and includes on demand summative assessments, as well as Capstone projects, research papers, and presentations.
  • Timely feedback supports student centered reflection and growth as well as providing teachers with the data needed to adjust instruction.
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