Seattle Public Schools


Social Studies

Social Studies Curriculum

The Social Studies department supports students, families, and teachers in learning about the world in the contexts of History, Economics, Geography, and Civics. Social Studies skills are used to build new understanding and utilize background knowledge to construct meaning and share complex ideas in these four areas.

Connecting to Since Time Immemorial (STI)

The state-developed and SPS-approved Since Time Immemorial curriculum is a crucial part of social studies education in Seattle Public Schools (SPS) and Washington state.

State law mandates the teaching of local tribal history in Washington’s K–12 classrooms. Moreover, the Since Time Immemorial curriculum takes an integrated approach so that teachers can teach this content within social studies units aligned to state standards and, where appropriate, build toward successful completion of OSPI-developed classroom-based assessments (CBAs).

Since Time Immemorial Resources

SPS has a wealth of resources and guidance on STI on the “American Indian Studies” webpage.

In addition, to get guidance on specific curricular resources, instructional materials, and books, please visit to the SPS Native American Education Library

Finally, to view the state-developed resources on STI, please visit the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) Since Time Immemorial webpage.

Social Studies and Life-long Learning

Social Studies, History, and Humanities classes will require students to develop life-long learning and critical thinking skills as they engage in “authentic intellectual work.”

“Authentic intellectual work,” engages students in “construction of knowledge, through the use of disciplined inquiry, to produce discourse, products, or performances that have value beyond school.”

King, Newman and Carmichael, 2007
Seattle Public Schools students will engage in authentic intellectual work by researching events from multiple perspectives, analyzing their findings and developing responses to questions in the context of History, Economics, Geography, and Civics. Students will use reading, writing, and communication skills to create papers or presentations that show their ability to think critically and struggle with complex ideas.

“A democratic education means that we educate people in a way that ensures they can think independently, that they can use information, knowledge, and technology, among other things, to draw their own conclusions.”
Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, School of Education, Stanford University