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Transitioning to Departmentalization

Education is ever-changing and in order to service our students and families to the best of our abilities, we must evaluate our practices regularly.  This year, the Pioneer team has made it our mission ensure the absolute BEST learning environment for our students by providing more communication, and school to home connections.  \

Looking to the future, we hope to better our students’ learning by restructuring the way that we deliver instruction and moving away from our traditional combination classrooms.  We urge our Panther families to read through this information and contact us with any questions that you may have.  The more communication we have, the better we can serve our little panthers and their families!

What Is Departmentalization?!?

In the traditional elementary setting, students are in self-contained classrooms where their teachers work to be masters in seven different areas. In Pioneer specifically, students are often placed into combination classrooms where our teachers work to create individualized instruction for students in two grade levels, in seven different areas.While Pioneer has maintained a high level of success for years, the recent paradigm shift in education has made it necessary to alter our instructional strategies to ensure our students’ continue to thrive!

Through departmentalization, our teachers will now specialize in a few core subjects rather than maintaining seven, allowing for better differentiation and more individualized instruction for every student.

In addition to specializing in two content areas, they will teach those subjects in the same lesson. When the students learn math, they will then be able to apply that to what they learn in science. When they learn language arts, they will be able to apply that to what they learn in social studies.

Unfortunately, our student count is down resulting in a reduction in funding. This development made our team step back and evaluate what education would look like at Pioneer next year. The result was larger, combined classrooms, which would not benefit our students or our teachers. Looking to our mission for guidance, we began to evaluate ways that we could better group our students and foster a more purposeful learning environment where every student will be successful.

What is Departmentalization Going to Look Like at Pioneer?

  • Kindergarten through first grade will remain self-contained classrooms; one classroom and classroom teacher for all subjects.
  • Grades 2-3 and 4-6 will be assigned a homeroom and homeroom teacher. Here, they will get checked in for the day and make their transitions to recesses and lunch. Students will receive instruction from four of our highly trained teachers who will specialize in Math and Science or ELA/Reading and Social Studies.

While 2nd Grade is receiving instruction in ELA and Social Studies, the 3rd graders will be receiving instruction in Math and Science.

  • Grades 2/3
  • Homeroom – Mrs. Fanus
  • ELA/Social Studies – Mrs. Fanus
  • Math/Science – Ms. Painter
  • Grades 4, 5, 6
  • Homeroom – Ms. Ticknor
  • ELA/Social Studies – Mrs. Schnitzmeier
  • Math/Science – Ms. Ticknor or Ms. Painter

What Benefits Will This Have for the Students?!?

  • Allows for better instruction. Teachers are able to better differentiate their material to suit every student’s unique needs.
  • Our entire team would have equal ownership of every student allowing us to build relationships with each of our young panthers.
  • Breaks up the monotony of the day for students.
  • Provides students with an opportunity to be challenged academically by different teachers in different classroom environments.
  • Students will develop interpersonal skills by being exposed to different teaching styles and preparing for the transition to middle school.
  • Decrease in discipline problems by separating conflicting personalities.

What We Hope to Accomplish…

  • Eliminate the combined, self-contained classroom.
  • Maintain small class sizes to optimize one-on-one instruction.
  • Facilitate better learning through curriculum integration and application.
  • Meet the needs of all of our diverse learners.
  • Reduce behavior issues by separating conflicting personalities.

Don’t take our word for it – have a look at how other successful schools feel about departmentalization!

Contact Pioneer School Today!

Call: 406-373-5357
Principal: Email Mrs. Schnitzmeier