Social Studies

Social Studies education helps students understand the world in which they live and prepares them with the knowledge and skills to become informed, thoughtful, and active citizens in a culturally diverse democratic society and complex world.

Social Studies draws upon anthropology, archaeology, economics, geography, history, law, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, and sociology as well as appropriate content from the humanities, mathematics, and natural sciences (adapted from the National Council for the Social Studies [NCSS] definition of Social Studies).

RIDE creates conditions for every Rhode Island student to think critically and collaboratively, and act as a creative, self-motivated, culturally, and globally competent learner. Rhode Island students are prepared to lead fulfilling and productive lives, succeed in academic and employment settings, and contribute meaningfully to society (RIDE Strategic Plan, 2021-2027).

Revised Rhode Island Social Studies Standards were endorsed by the Council for Elementary and Secondary Education in February 2023. Please see the tab below for more information about the revised Standards.

Rhode Island Social Studies Standards

Revised Rhode Island Rhode Island Social Studies Standards were endorsed by the Council for Elementary and Secondary Education in February 2023. LEAs are working toward making their shifts to align with the new Standards. Shifts should be completed for full implementation of the new Standards by the 2026-2027 school year.

The full Standards document is available for download in PDF format:

The Standards document is also broken into segments for easier access below:

Kindergarten – Grade 8

High School

Informational Slides and Recording

The Rhode Island Social Studies Informational Standards Session has been recorded and is available here. This recording was created in May of 2023. 

A slide deck from the Rhode Island Social Studies Standards Informational Session is available for educators to share with their teams whether at the LEA or school level. It can be used to help with understanding of and planning for the implementation of the new Social Studies Standards. See the notes sections for talking points.  

LEAs are expected to review the revised Standards, identify grades requiring shifts, and develop a timeline for aligning curriculum and instruction by the fall of 2026.  RIDE will provide supports to LEAs in developing and implementing their timelines for the shifts they will need to make.  RIDE will also be putting together guidance documents including the Social Studies Frameworks, guidance on civics instruction, guidance on implementing and supporting the student-led civics project, guidance on the use of ELA materials where they can act as supplements to social studies materials, and guidance on core and supplemental curricular resources. In addition, RIDE will provide professional learning opportunities for educators.

With the release of the new Rhode Island Social Studies Standards, there have been numerous questions about how they affect social studies curriculum and instruction in Rhode Island. Please see this Social Studies Standards FAQs document to find answers to many of those questions.

Timeline for Implementation
Fig.1 - LEA and RIDE Collaboration Timeline

The Social Studies Curriculum Framework provides guidance around the implementation of the Rhode Island Social Studies Standards, particularly as it relates to the design and use of curriculum materials, instruction, and assessment. 

The frameworks streamline a vertical application of standards and assessment across the K–12 continuum within Tier 1 of a Multi-Tier System of Support (MTSS), increase opportunities for all students, including multilingual learners and differently-abled, to meaningfully engage in grade-level work and tasks, and ultimately support educators and families in making decisions that prioritize the student experience. These uses of the curriculum frameworks align with RIDE’s overarching commitment to ensuring all students have access to high-quality curriculum and instruction that prepares students to meet their postsecondary goals. 

RIDE Social Studies Documents Associated with the Social Studies Curriculum Framework

In September 2019, the Rhode Island Department of Elementary & Secondary Education invited Rhode Island educators to participate as members of a new Rhode Island History & Social Studies Advisory Committee (RIHSSAC). Through an application process, RIDE selected approximately 30 social studies, history, civic education, and elementary teachers from across the state to form this new advisory.

This Committee acts as advisors to RIDE and ambassadors to the education community on matters of history, civics, and social studies education. This committee also serves as a working group for a variety of initiatives, including work on the revised Social Studies Standards along with forthcoming Frameworks and other materials to support the Standards.

For more information on the RIHSSAC, please email: Social Studies

Stay informed about social studies – related information through the new Rhode Island Social Studies Newsletter. The first issue of the newsletter will be October 6 2022, and will be published once a month. Newsletter entries will include professional learning opportunities, conference announcements, open-source teaching resources, information to join academic competitions, enrichment ideas, opportunities to share with students, and other items that are specific to Social Studies or related disciplines.

Questions can be directed to: Social Studies


  1. Civics Education – RIGL §16-22-2
  2. Genocide and human rights education – RIGL §16-22-22
  3. Statewide Education Standards - RIGL §16-22-30
  4. Curriculum Frameworks - RIGL §16-22-31
  5. Holocaust and Genocide Education in Secondary Schools – RIGL §16-93
  6. African American History Education in Elementary and Secondary School – RIGL §16-110
  7. Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander history study – RIGL §16-22-36