Social Studies Framework


The General McLane School District is committed to high levels of proficiency for students in our all of our schools in Erie County, PA. In that quest for excellence in education, we continue to examine district policies, our building level initiatives, and our classroom practices in an effort to bring the very best of teaching and learning to the entire General McLane School District community.

We are dedicated to a unified approach to the teaching of Social Studies to create life-long learners who are able to truly understand social studies content, with the ability to question and think critically about their learning experiences. Our practice and approach is driven by our own experiences and collective wisdom coupled with the works of such experts in the field as the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the National Research Council (NRC), the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).

General McLane’s approach to curriculum design incorporates the research and best practices of Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, Understanding by Design. Understanding by Design is “not a prescriptive program, nor is it a philosophy of education. It is a way of thinking more purposefully and carefully about the nature of any design that has understanding as the goal” (2005, p. 7). In today’s world, students need to be able to do more than memorize facts and processes; they need to understand what they are learning.

General McLane School District has established the following understandings as essential to guiding its Social Studies curriculum. These Enduring Understandings will be embedded in all Social Studies Course Descriptions and Units of Study.

Social Studies Curriculum
Enduring Understandings


  1. As citizens of the global community, we not only have specific rights, but important responsibilities as well.


  1. Cultural values and beliefs affect the course of historical events and historical events affect the development of cultural values and beliefs.

Movement / Technology

  1. The development of technology and the spread and exchange of ideas has, and continues to impact the course of history.

Economics / Geography / Politics / Global Community

  1. The United States history, culture, geography, political and economic systems play a major role in the global community.
  2. The history, culture, geography, political and economic systems of the global community impact life in the United States.


  1. Conflict and cooperation between different groups of people help to shape the direction of history.

Critical Thinking

  1. Critical analysis of history involves sound methods of research and the development and use of high-level thinking skills.
  2. Historical events must be judged, evaluated, and understood based on the perspective of those who experienced it – not the perspective of the student who studies it.