Williamsville Central School District

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Program Description

Social Studies Content, Concepts, and Skills

The Williamsville K-12 Social Studies Program is built upon the New York State Social Studies Learning Standards and the New York State Social Studies Core Curriculum.

Social studies is the study of history, geography, economics, government and civics.  Instruction also draws on disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, political science, psychology, religion, law, archaeology, philosophy, art, literature, other humanities subjects and the sciences.

Social studies courses give students the knowledge, intellectual skills, civic understandings, and dispositions toward democratic values that are necessary to function effectively in American society.  Instruction in social studies helps students to assume their role as responsible citizens and as active contributors to a society that is increasingly diverse and interdependent with other nations of the world.  Social studies courses give students the skills and knowledge to solve problems, make reasoned decisions, conduct research in order to cast informed votes, place conflicting ideas in context, and make good judgements in dealing with the tensions inherent in society such as the enduring struggle to find the proper balance between protecting the rights of the individual and promoting common good.                                                     

Content, concepts and skills form the framework for teaching the learning standards and goals for the social studies curriculum.

  • Content is outlined by New York State for each of the K-12 grade levels.  The content at each level is based on the New York State Learning Standards consisting of history, geography, economics, government and civics.
  • Concepts serve as content organizers for the vast amount of information people encounter every day.  Concepts represent mental images, constructs, or word pictures that help people to arrange and classify fragmented and isolated facts and information.  Students learn that a concept is usually abstract, a product of analysis and synthesis of facts and experiences rather than a definition to be learned, and constantly subject to change and expansion of meaning and delineation of detail.
  • Skills are not learned in isolation but rather in context as the students gather, organize, use and present information.  Students also build skills for participating in interpersonal and group relations.  These skills are introduced, applied, reinforced, and remediated within the framework of the K-12 social studies program.
(Source: New York State Social Studies Core Curriculum, 2006)