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Rethinking 5th Grade
Posted 05/24/2018 10:21PM

Introducing Departmentalizing

There are some very exciting changes to the fifth grade program for the 2018-2019 school year. In an effort to align the final year of the PYP curriculum with the first year of the MYP curriculum in middle school, CDS will be departmentalizing several subject areas in our fifth grade. Next year, fifth grade students will have:

  • One teacher for math for 90 minutes each day
  • One teacher for language arts for 90 minutes each day
  • One teacher for homeroom and the IB Units of Inquiry, including Exhibition

Students will begin each day in their homeroom classes. Following homeroom, the students will attend math and language arts classes; they will return to their homerooms for Unit of Inquiry instruction in the afternoon. All fifth graders will continue to have their specials throughout the week and will have lunch and recess together.

Departmentalization allows teachers to teach in areas of specialization while students move from one classroom to another for instruction. As part of their Best Practices research, IB has recently approved PYP schools to departmentalize.

There are many advantages to departmentalizing, which include but are not limited to:

  1. Specialization:  Students receive instruction from teachers specialized in particular disciplines.
  2. Instructional Teams:  Students benefit because they are exposed to the instructional wisdom of more than one teacher. In addition, teachers on the grade level get to know more of the students within the grade.
  3. Transition:  Departmentalizing in the elementary school aligns with the middle school organization. 
  4. Depth of Instruction:  Teachers are able to complete in-depth lessons in a specific area.
  5. Equity:  Each student will receive equity of instruction in each of the content areas since it will be delivered and received using the same methodology from the content area instructors. 

The decision to departmentalize in grade five was made with very careful consideration, including the most important factor – positive contribution to the education of our students. The improvement of the learning process for elementary school children is an enduring goal at Carrollwood Day School, and we continually strive to optimize the delivery of curriculum and instruction.  

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