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Social Science


In accordance with the College, Career and Civic Life (C3 Framework) for Social Studies State Standards, we believe that the social sciences are integral to sustaining a Democratic Republic in which citizens are aware of their changing cultural and physical environments; know the past; and act in ways that promote the common good. The mission of the social studies program at The Joseph Sears School is to provide all students with rigorous and authentic learning opportunities that ignite their passions for learning and enhance their abilities and motivations to contribute as citizens in their communities. Our curriculum is informed by the Illinois Learning Standards for Social Science, the College, Career and Civic Life (C3 Framework) for Social Studies State Standards, the Common Core Literacy Standards for Social Science, as well as other *current best practices in social science education. Through reading, writing, and thinking deeply, our students become young historians and impactful global citizens.

Vision Statement

Know the past. Engage the present. Impact the future.

Essential Processes

These processes guide the teaching & learning of Social Studies at The Joseph Sears School

  1. Reading, analyzing and interpreting primary and secondary sources
  2. Constructing arguments using claims and evidence from diverse sources
  3. Exploring and generating questions that challenge students’ depth of thinking
  4. Building strong content knowledge in history, civics, economics and geography.
  5. Applying the research process to gather relevant information
  6. Engaging in controversial issues in an objective, informed and empathetic manner
  7. Thinking like a historian*
  8. Applying mastered knowledge and skills to the creation of authentic student-created artifacts.

*Historical thinking requires understanding and evaluating change and continuity over time, and making appropriate use of historical evidence in answering questions and developing arguments about the past.

Attributes of a Graduating Student from The Joseph Sears School

  • Capable of making informed opinions and decisions
  • Active global citizen
  • Skilled informational & argumentative writer
  • Critical reader of primary and secondary sources
  • Skilled researcher
  • Rich foundation of Social Studies content knowledge
  • Critical thinker - read with a critical lens- capable of making choices w/ civility
  • Active participant in civic and democratic processes both individually and collaboratively
  • Strong executive functioning skills

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