Welcome to Social Studies

The Social Studies program offers a well-articulated K-12 curriculum in which students make seamless transitions between elementary, middle, and secondary education. Concepts are introduced at the elementary level and serve as the foundation for the development of higher level concepts as students continue their education in the Irvington Public School System.

It is our desire that our programs develop in students the ability and inclination to employ critical thinking and decision-making strategies and an understanding of the uniqueness and interdependence of regions and nations in a global age.

Here to Assist You

x1670 Hutchins Latasha, Secretary

image of children surrounding the planet earth

“It is my hope that our Social Studies programs develop in students the ability and inclination to employ critical thinking and decision-making strategies and an understanding of the uniqueness and interdependence of regions and nations in a global age.”
Ms. Teresa Steele-Hunter

Interwoven throughout each grade level are learning objectives that involve the following Social Studies skills:

Social Scientific Problem Solving
Students are taught to recognize a problem, make relevant hypothesis, select pertinent data, test their hypothesis, and reach conclusions and apply their conclusions to new situations

Decision Making
Students are taught to define goals, identify alternatives, analyze alternatives and choose the best alternative

Social Political Participation Skills
Students participate in persuading, compromising and debating as they identify situations in which social action is required and then work to influence those in positions of social power.

Critical Thinking
Students are taught to distinguish between fact and opinion, distinguish relevant from irrelevant information, determine the credibility of a source, detect bias, determine the strength of an argument or claim, move from specific to general, and make inferences from available information.

Cooperative Skills
Students learn to contribute to the support climate of a group, participate in making rules for a group, and serve as a leader or follower in a group.

Personal Skills
Students learn to communicate their convictions, feelings, or beliefs, adjust their behavior to fit the dynamics of the situation, appreciate alternative perspectives, and respect individual differences and similarities.

The statement primary purpose of the Social Studies Department is to promote an understanding of the world, human interaction, cultural diversity, cultural heritage, and to equip students with the knowledge and understanding of the past, which is essential for coping with the present and planning for the future. The Social Studies Department will encourage the recognition of interrelationships among the Sciences and Humanities and help give students the necessary tools to become responsible and proactive citizens.

sst_philThrough inquiry based learning, students learn responsibility and social studies content. Some teachers choose to let students participate in cooperative learning activities. Other teachers may feel that the discovery method is best and let students generate questions and research to find their answers. We believe that effective and diligent teachers can combine these different methods so that all learners could benefit. All students are capable of learning, but each may learn best with different instructional methods.

For this reason, the curriculum has been designed to thoroughly engage students in geography, economics, political systems, history and culture through a wide variety of rich literature, innovative and interesting online technology, hands-on projects and activities that integrate Mathematics, LAL, Science, Art and Music. All levels will also infuse Multicultural Awareness, Careers, and applications of Current Events to their specific disciplines. Students need to realize that social studies impacts and is impacted by each of the other content areas.

Each Irvington teacher experiences the joy and excitement of teaching the future through our students. We have the privilege and responsibility to work with Irvington’s children and youth in helping them to prepare for life in the 21st century.

Resting on the pillars of equity and excellence for all children, the Irvington Board of Education’s Social Studies Department is committed to providing curricular and instructional guidance and assistance to all students, all teachers, and the community as a whole.

In essence, the social studies curriculum is an invitation to the teachers of Irvington to use various standards and approaches in Social Studies for planning significant, challenging, and an effective Social Studies program. With this in mind, our students will be met with exciting challenges and will persevere in the content area of Social Studies by becoming life-long learners and active participants in society.

You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.” Author…Clay B. Bedford

The themes presented in Social Studies are diverse, relevant, and can be directly linked to other content area themes, which allows for cross-curricular integration.

Grade level teachers K-5 deliver the elementary social studies curriculum during weekly lessons that are often integrated with language arts, mathematics, science, and character education. sst_elem-schoolTeachers are encouraged to plan in this matter in an effort to ensure adequate time on task in each of the content areas in order to maximize the overall achievement of course objectives.

The curriculum for kindergarten through third grade is organized thematically around the central concepts of civics, history geography, and economics. The curriculum for fourth and fifth grade represents a concentration on historical understanding of the United States and New Jersey. Concepts of civics, geography and economics are discussed through the historical context.

“He who dares to teach must never cease to learn.” Author Unknown

The middle school social studies teachers deliver content daily to students in grades sixth through eighth. The lessons are also at times integrated with science, language arts, math, arts and character education. The infusion of these other content areas take place throughout the sst_middle-schoolyear depending on the subject matter. The sixth grade curriculum is a world history survey course, which is organized around civilizations studied throughout history. The course begins with a brief discussion of geography skills and an introduction to the importance of culture. It moves into the discussion of ancient civilizations. The seventh grade curriculum is a world geography course, which introduces critical map skills and an application of those skills by looking at cases studied around the world. The eighth grade curriculum is a civics course, which explores citizenship, democracy, and the role of government. There is a great deal of emphasis on reading critically and writing skills.

“Education is an important element in the struggle for Human Rights. It is the means to help our children and our people rediscover their identity and thereby increase their self-respect. Education is our passage to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.”

At the secondary level, grades 9-12 focus on World Cultures history of the United States, African-American Studies, and Psychology.

Grade 9: “World History”

This course deals with the historical background and development of civilizations around the globe extending from pre-historic times to the emergence of the Modern World. Emphasis is placed on an inclusive view of Early Civilizations of both hemispheres; African Middle Eastern, Asian and Meso-American, the classical period of development, Empire development globally, the expansion of the major religions throughout the world, the Renaissance and Reformation in Europe, and the emergence of the Modern World.

Grade 10: “United States History I”

This course deals with the historical background and development of American society extending from Pre-Colonial times to the emergence of the United States as a world leader. Emphasis is placed on unit themes, which include the Pre-Colonial period, American Revolution, Growth of Democracy, Nationalism, the Westward Movement, Slavery and Politics, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and Pre-Twentieth Century Foreign Affairs. In essence, students will relate our country’s democratic heritage and tradition to present day problems and issues.

Grade 11: “United States History II”

This course examines the economics, political, and social development of the United States during the Twentieth Century. Emphasis is placed on unit themes, which include the Emergence of Modern America, World War I, Post-War Domestic Period – 1920’s American Foreign Policy between two World Wars, the Stock Market Crash/Depression, the New Deal, World War II, the Civil War, Korea, Vietnam, Social change of the 60’s, and the New Conservative Tide. A concluding unit addresses issues and challenges facing the United States today.

Grade 10-12: “Introduction to Psychology”

This course provides students with a balanced view of the principles and application of psychology for everyday living. This course includes topics of current concern including human development, motivation and emotion, personality, learning principles, perception, language development, intelligence and it’s assessment, personality, stress and conflict, psychological disorders and different forms of therapy including psychological therapies and biological therapies. Psychological principles are applied to everyday life. In addition, this course should provide the student with useful insights into abnormal as well as the normal personality.

Grade 10-12 “African American History”

This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the historical, social and cultural developments of Black Americans from their African heritage to the present. Emphasis is placed on the thoughts, feelings, and ideals of Black Americans as expressed in their literature, folklore, and speeches. A major consideration is to provide students with a balanced treatment of materials, which truly reflect the Black American experience.