Guidance for departmentalization in elementary schools

Many elementary school chapter leaders have reached out to union representatives with questions and concerns about the procedures for departmentalization in their schools. In response, the UFT filed a union-initiated grievance to ensure that all schools were following fair and consistent protocols.

To settle the arbitration case, the Department of Education 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 only 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. 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 to be chosen from.

Like all other SBOs, an SBO on departmentalization must have the support of both the principal and the chapter leader, and an SBO cannot be adopted unless at least 55 percent of UFT members at the school vote to support it. See the SBO manual for details.

The DOE has sent the same information to principals in Principals’ Weekly.

If you have any questions, please contact your UFT district representative.

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