At the secondary level, grades 9-12, students expand their understanding of history and the social sciences. Following the geographic and historic perspectives of the elementary and middle grades, the secondary social studies program builds upon the study of North Carolina at grades four and eight, the United States at grade five, and the cultural geographic study of the world in grades five, six, and seven. The secondary level moves to a formal study of world and United States history; links civics and economics in a course intended to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to enter effectively into adult citizenship; and suggests a variety of social studies electives.

While we cannot predict what specific knowledge and behavior will be in demand as we venture in the twenty-first century, through social studies we can concentrate on educating citizens who will be scholarly, exercise leadership, and support democratic ideals. We can prepare our students for a post secondary world, be it continued schooling or the workforce.

The secondary level content sequence outlined is recommended, not required; however, there is a solid rationale for the specific suggested sequences. Concepts, skills, and generalizations developed in K-8 lead to a study of the world, with history as the lead discipline. As students proceed from the study of World History through the study of Civics and Economics, concepts and generalizations develop the foundation for and contribute to more in-depth study of United States History and the responsibilities of effective citizenship.

Local school systems or individual schools may choose to vary the sequence for compelling reasons; however, consideration should be given to the impact of these changes on subsequent courses. If variations are made to accommodate students' needs, instructional approaches, and scheduling decisions, the integrity of the content should be maintained.

World History

The studies of World History in high school builds on the knowledge students have gained in the cultural geographic studies in grades five, six, and seven. Students emerge from a cultural geographic approach of the world to a more formal historical approach. World History examines the world chronologically and thematically, focusing on the historical development of phenomena, the rise and fall of civilizations and their unique contributions to humanity, and the universal elements these civilizations have in common throughout time. World History, recommended for grade nine, establishes the basis for the founding principles of the United States political and economic systems and democratic processes.

Civics and Economics

Through the study of Civics and Economics, students consider political, governmental, and legal topics that engage them in examining the legal and political systems of our society, and the basic economic concepts, economic institutions, as well as reasoned approaches for analyzing economic problems, actions, and policies. Basic foundations in civics, government, and economics begin with and continue throughout the K-9 social studies program. This course begins with the historical foundations of civil, political, and economic activism that created our nation, state, and localities. It empowers students to become politically and economically active and responsible citizens of the twenty-first century. Civics and Economics, recommended for grade ten, develops the foundations for United States History by examining the early historical period of the nation, its founding documents, the Federalist Papers, and the formation of the United States as a nation state.

United States History

The study of United States History in high school builds on historical and geographical perspectives gained from the elementary and middle level study of North Carolina and the United States. The study of World History will enable students to place the United States in a world context. The economic and political perspectives and historical foundations gained from the study of Civics and Economics will prepare students for the examination of our nation's history. Given these foundational studies, it is appropriate that this high school course, United States History, emphasizes the economic, social, and political developments of the nation state up to and including the twentieth century. The study of our nation's history concentrates on understanding cause-and-effect relationships and on developing an understanding of multiple causation, the knowledge that things are as they are for many reasons. Such historical study leads beyond the memorization of unexamined and isolated facts toward the ability to detect trends, analyze movements and events, and develop a "sense of history."


The elective program consists of well-balanced offerings in history and the social sciences. The elective courses are designed to provide opportunities for pursuing areas of special interest, for preparation of advanced studies, and for completing high school graduation requirements. Elective courses may vary in length; some may be year-long courses, while others may be one-semester courses.