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DOE agrees to new departmentalization terms and conditions

The Department of Education sent instructions to elementary school principals on March 23 that spell out the procedures they should follow when considering departmentalization, in which one teacher is designated to teach a particular subject area.

The DOE took that step to settle a union-initiated grievance that was filed after a number of elementary school chapter leaders reported their principals were departmentalizing subjects and grades without regard to the UFT-DOE contract.

The DOE has agreed to the following terms and conditions for departmentalization:

  • Grades K–3 are not to be departmentalized except if a school properly ratifies and approves a school-based option (SBO).
  • Schools that wish to departmentalize English Language Arts and/or math in grades 4, 5 and/or 6 may do so only by posting an ELA and/or math position to teach these subjects for a particular grade or grades. All postings must be done in accordance with the contract and will be based on posted qualifications. Any other departmentalization in these grades requires a properly ratified and approved SBO.
  • Decisions about departmentalization must be made prior to teachers filling out preference sheets so that teachers are aware of the options from which they can choose.

“This is an example of how our contract works for members,” said Ellen Gallin-Procida, the director of the union’s Grievance Department.

As with all posted positions, the chapter leader and the principal are to consult about the positions and postings.

As with all SBOs, an SBO on departmentalization must have the support of both the principal and the chapter leader, and an SBO cannot be adopted unless 55 percent of the UFT members who actually vote — not 55 percent of all members at the school — vote to support it.

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