The Details on Departmentalization

By: Kelly Reilly, Principal

With the addition of 5th grade this year, HTLS has completed the build out of the Elementary School, but that’s not the only exciting thing happening this year.  HTLS now uses the departmentalization model for 3rd-5th grades.  Each day the students rotate between classrooms for their four-core subjects.  They see Ms. Hemmann for Language Arts, Ms. Vogel for Math, and Mrs. Kellar for Science & Social Studies.

So why the decision to departmentalize?  During the 2017/2018 school year, HTLS interviewed teachers and administrators from other Lutheran Schools as well as the local public schools that were using this model.  We also paid a visit to a few neighborhood schools to see the process in action.  Through this, we learned that with departmentalization:

  1. Teachers have more opportunity to collaborate on student success
  2. Students are introduced to various teaching styles
  3. The physical movement between each class provides an energy boost
  4. Students are more prepared for the style of middle school
  5. Responsibility & independence are encouraged

It was clear to the school board and administration that shifting to departmentalization was the right move for HTLS.   We are now more than a month into the process and have been encouraged by the positive response from the staff and students.  We look forward to the success the rest of the year will bring.

Here’s what the experts on the situation have to say:

  • “As a teacher, I am empowered to specialize my craft.”  – Nicole Hemmann, Language Arts
  • “It’s really fun because you’re not sitting down at the same desk all day.”  – Luke, 4th Grade
  •  “I like having the support of the other teachers to bounce ideas off of.”  – Katherine Vogel, Math
  • “It’s fun because we get to see different teachers each day”.   Sidni, 3rd Grade
  •  “With departmentalization the students are given a unique opportunity to be able to prove themselves as responsible and mature individuals.”   – Elizabeth Kellar, Science & Social Studies
  • “I like that we get to have different teachers and different activities in each of the classes.”   – Taylor, 5th Grade