St. John the Baptist Catholic School

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Academics » Platooning/Departmentalized Instruction

Platooning/Departmentalized Instruction

Platooning:


St. John the Baptist Catholic School employes an innovative organizational program called “platooning”. “Platooning” in education refers to departmentalizing at the elementary level, similar to how Jr. High and Secondary school students are taught. This movement creates teacher specialists in our 3rd through 8th grades in the core courses: Language Arts, Science, Math, and Social Studies. Research has shown that Transition Kindergarten through 2nd grade benefit most from one classroom teacher. St. John’s Vice Principal Celine Ford explains, “Elementary teachers must teach every required subject. Platooning enables the teacher to focus on the subject they are most passionate about. Teachers go from being generalists to specialists.” Principal Nancy Jordan adds, “With the California Common Core, students are expected to have a deeper knowledge in the foundations of Language Arts and Math. Platooning also enable us to more effectively direct professional development funds. Rather than all teachers feeling pressured to attend workshops in all subjects, we can support each in growing their area of expertise. Research for platooning is positive.” In addition, platooning provides for more dynamic use of instructional space in that classrooms are dedicated to their subject through materials, decorations, resources. For example, the 3rd grade classroom is a “Language Arts Lab”. The 4th grade room is now a “Math Workshop”. With platooning, St. John’s also incorporates block-scheduling or extended class periods, enabling teachers to expand Project-Based Learning opportunities. Block-scheduling and subject-specific advanced training supports teachers to better meet the needs of diverse learners.