Developing effective curriculum in a rapidly-changing world means that it is never quite established or set. It must be flexible and able to adapt to student needs. The Standards Aligned System is built on the principles of backward design as forwarded by Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins in Understanding by Design. For an important "Big Picture" of the place of the social institution of education, administrators and teachers are urged to consult Schooling by Design (yep, same authors). Both works are available from

Chapter 4 (Curriculum) of PA Educational Code

Pennsylvania's Standards Aligned System (a Work in Progress)

Pennsylvania and the National Common Core Standards (VERY IMPORTANT!)

Common Core Standards for **English Language Arts and History/Social Studies**

The July 2002 Academic Standards for the Social Studies (Civics and Government, Economics, Geography and History) still stand as regulation under Chapter 4 of the Pennsylvania School Code. The following documents will be useful in helping your district plan to meet the benchmarks of these established standards using the Standards Aligned System Curriculum Framework. Please note that at the time of this writing, the Department of Education has not developed two of the six essential components of the SAS Curriculum Framework. The two missing elements are Vocabulary and Materials and Resources.

Standards Only:

Civics and Government




The following are curriculum planning documents that contain the current standards and corresponding four elements of the Curriculum Framework that an educator would encounter in the Standards Aligned System. Big Ideas, Concepts, Competencies and Essential Questions are linked to the Standards. At the time of this posting, the Curriculum Framework elements of Vocabulary and Materials and Resources are still under consideration. These documents are in Word format, allowing you to copy them and expand ideas and notations for your own use. As you probably know, a Standards Aligned System is a continuous Work-in-Progress, and a lot of the educators who have spent countless hours on the project are aware that revision is a constant. The goal is to provide EFFECTIVE and RELEVANT educational experiences for students facing the heady challenges of the 21st century.

Horizontal SAS Model:

K-3 Social Studies

4-6 Social Studies

7-9 Social Studies

10-12 Social Studies

Vertical SAS Model:

Civics Standards Area 5.3 for Grades K-4 :

Civics Standards Area 5.3 for Grades 5-8:

Civics Standards Area 5.3 for Grades 9-12: