• Social Studies

  • Social Studies is the integrated study of historical analysis, social sciences, and humanities to promote civic competence and insightful personal reflections. Social Studies is an ever-evolving study of human life and the events that have built our society into what it is today. At Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS), Social Studies education is a vital component of a well-rounded educational experience.  

    The vision for Social Studies learning in Pittsburgh Public Schools is that students will develop historical, critical thinking and problem-solving skills as they engage with holistic histories and 21st century challenges in a culturally sustaining learning environment in order to deconstruct dominant narratives, develop deeper understandings, and generate new solutions as leaders in their local, national, and global communities.  

    To assist students in becoming the most informed citizens fully capable of achieving rich potential and prepared with proper knowledge of self and society, Pittsburgh Public Schools must provide a rigorous and comprehensive 21st century Social Studies learning experience for all students, kindergarten through twelfth grade. The PPS Social Studies curriculum is fully and intentionally aligned to the relevant and robust Pennsylvania State Standards, with recognition of the National Standards for Social Studies, including an emphasis on the College, Career and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies learners and delivered through curriculum that is organized both chronologically and thematically. The curriculum is focused on elements from the Social Sciences and the four strands of Social Studies, namely: 

    • Civics and Government (Citizenship) 

    • Economics 

    • History (Historical Analysis) 

    • Geography 


    A quality education in Social Studies is essential and deserved in the lives of all PPS students, and to society as a whole. Social Studies education helps to develop in students an understanding and appreciation of the experiences of the past, the realities of the present, and the possibilities for the future in an educated search for truth. Through instructional strategies and pedagogy including inquiry-based learning, problem solving, analytical thinking, reasoned decision-making, historical analysis, culturally responsive pedagogy, and utilization of technology, students are provided with the skills necessary to live, cooperate and compete effectively in a global community. The PPS Social Studies students of today will be the designers of the future, but they must first understand the foundations of history  


    Key Principles in Social Studies Learning in PPS include: 

    • Historical Thinking skills 

    • Inquiry-based learning 

    • Multicultural representation, counternarrative, and hard history 

    • Culturally responsive pedagogy 

    • Literacy skills, including disciplinary and media literacy 

students in social studies classroom