Social Studies




The K-12 Social Studies Learning Standards consist of Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs) and Grade Level Expectations (GLEs) that describe what students should know and be able to do in civics, economics, geography, history, and social studies skills.       

Download a draft of the new Social Studies K-12 Learning Standards: SS K-12 Learning Standards

In addition to the Social Studies K-12 Learning Standards, the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework guides instruction with six instructional practices promoting civic education for K-12 students.


Social Studies
Teacher speaking about the United Kingdom

In the Northshore School District, Social Studies teachers follow the Washington Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs), which focus on Civics, Economics, Geography, History, and Social Studies Skills.

The components of effective Social Studies instruction provides students with the knowledge and skills to be responsible citizens.  

A responsible citizen:

  • Uses knowledge of the past to construct meaningful understanding of our history in order to enrich and enlighten our lives. (Historical Perspective)

  • Uses knowledge of geographical concepts, such as spatial patterns and both human and natural systems, to understand processes that impact our world. (Geographic Perspective)

  • Uses knowledge of government, law, and politics to make decisions about and take action on local, national, and international issues to further the public good. (Civic Perspective)

  • Uses knowledge of production, distribution, and consumption within modern economics to make decisions. (Economic Perspective)

  • Uses a wide range of Social Studies skills, including critical thinking, to investigate and analyze a variety of resources and issues and seek answers. (Critical Thinking Skills)

  • Uses effectively both group process and communication skills to participate in democratic decision making. (Interpersonal and Group Skills)

Core Instructional Materials

Adopted Curriculum
  • Grade 6:
    • History Alive! Ancient World and History Alive! Medieval World - adopted 2016
  • Grade 7:
    • Geography Alive!-adopted 2018
    • The Washington Journey - adopted 2012
  • Grade 8: 
    • History Alive! The United States Through Industrialism - adopted 2016
  • Grades 9-10: 
    • World History: The Modern Era - adopted 2010
  • Grade 11:
    • The Americans - adopted 2009
  • Grade 12:
    • TCI Government Alive! Power, Politics and You - adopted 2013

Additionally, Since Time Immemorial: Tribal Sovereignty in Washington State is the tribal sovereignty curriculum taught in elementary, middle, and high schools.




Social Studies follows grade-specific content and standards for the pathway. Additional course offerings are available once in high school.


Assessments for Learning


Students complete a classroom-based assessment (CBA) in civics in 5th, 7th, and 11th grade.


Graduation Requirements

Graduation Requirements
  • 1.0 Credit: World History
  • 1.0 Credit: US History
  • .5 Credit: Contemporary World Issues 
  • .5 Credit: Civics
  • One semester in Washington State History and Constitution must be met in 7th grade as a non-credit bearing high school course.

The normally prescribed sequence of the social studies curriculum is 1.0 credit each in grades 10, 11 and 12.

Parent Resources


Subject Areas