Departmentalize the Fifth Grade in ALL Roselle Park Elementary Schools
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What is Departmentalization?
Basically, its when students change classes for their core subjects, such as Language Arts and Math. Sherman used to implement departmentalization for many years until three years ago. Nevertheless, this is an issue that affects all of our Elementary students. At a Sherman PTA Meeting in September, I asked Mrs. Glomb, Sherman principal, why this change was made. Unfortunately, I did not receive a clear answer and was told it would be better to ask this question at a Board of Education Meeting. So, in November, I attended a Roselle Park Board of Education Meeting where I asked Mr. Garrido, our Superintendent of Schools, why this change was made. Unfortunately, he too did not provide a clear rational reason for this change. The only thing he did mention was the concern for loss of instructional time. In other words, too much time was being lost in transitioning from classes. Please take the time to read below why I believe fifth grade students at Sherman and Robert Gordon and Aldene should be allowed to change classes in order to better prepare them for the middle school level.
What the Research says...
1. Departmentalizing prepares kids for the transition to middle and high school, making graduating to the next level of schooling not such an overwhelming prospect.
2. Departmentalization breaks the monotony for students. Students are able to move more frequently during the day, which helps increase attention. It also provides students with an opportunity to be challenged academically by different teachers in different classroom environments.
3.Students also develop interpersonal skills by being exposed to different teaching styles.
4. Departmentalizing is a cost-neutral way of upgrading instruction. In other words, the number of teachers doesn’t change, their responsibilities just shift. Teachers become more effective and the budget isn’t impacted.
5. Allowing teachers to focus on and master one or two subjects provides for a greater level of expertise and deeper understanding. Because of this, teachers have a greater ability to differentiate their instruction to meet the needs of all learners.
In addition, I shared my concerns with Mrs. Carlin, principal at Roselle Park Middle School, asking her to share her experience. She was kind enough to speak to her staff to see what they thought about the last few years of incoming fifth graders as opposed to past years and the consensus was that students who did not change classes at the elementary level seemed to be "emotionally more immature, they are less prepared/organized, take longer to transition to the rituals and routines of the departmental schedule and seem more dependent on the teacher."
Mr. Garrido and the Curriculum Advisory Team have agreed to meet with me to discuss this proposal in more detail. If you agree that fifth graders should be allowed to change classes as they did in the past, please sign this petition to show your support.
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