West Fargo Public Schools values the key concepts and global understanding encouraged through social studies instruction. In addition to the state standards, our curriculum groups have worked to include the C3 Framework for Social Studies State Standards – focused on college, career, and civic life; as well as the National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies, which provide a framework for teaching, learning, and assessment.
At the elementary level, social studies instruction is connected to language arts through non-fiction reading and research. In addition to a wide variety of topic-oriented non-fiction texts written at grade level for students, teachers and students also have access to the TimeLinks textbook series, maps, globes, and other social studies resources. Students read and learn about historical events, practice the research process with social studies topics, and participate in key simulation activities to gain further understanding.
Students in sixth grade focus on learning about the ancient civilizations of the world. In addition to topic-focused non-fiction texts written at grade level for students, teachers and students have access to textbooks from TCI called History Alive: The Ancient World and History Alive: The Medieval World and Beyond. Instruction begins with Mesoamerica, moving into the River Valley civilizations, followed by Ancient Greece and Rome, and lastly finishing their studies with Medieval times around the world. Throughout sixth grade, geography is embedded. In seventh grade, students continue to understand geographical features and impacts and begin to learn United States history, focusing on colonization through the Civil War. Government plays a significant role in seventh grade social studies as students learn about federal, state, and tribal government structures. The teachers and students utilized topic-focused non-fiction texts, mapping tools, and TCI History Alive: The United States through Industrialization. In eighth grade, North Dakota and US history continues from Reconstruction through present day, including Native American tribal history. This grade level utilizes mapping tools, resources on North Dakota history, and a textbook from TCI called History Alive: The United States through Modern Times.
At the high school level, students are required to complete 3.5 credits of social studies for graduation and are also offered electives in a variety of courses including many AP courses starting their sophomore year. Students will take World Geography in 9th grade, Western Civilization or AP European History as sophomores, then continue as juniors with US History or AP US History, and finally during their senior year take Government and Economics which are both also offered as Advanced Placement courses. The high school Social Studies program develops citizenship, having students become aware that through a thorough understanding of the past, we can better explain and understand the present and plan for the future. Without an understanding of the role of a citizen in a democratic society, that society will not long survive. It is the function of schools in general, and Social Studies departments in particular, to prepare students for their role in that democratic society.