Audience: Vanessa Olona and Vanessa Olona

Dear Room 22 & Room 23 Fifth Grade Families,


We are writing to share news about an exciting change to the way students will be placed in fifth grade for the 2018-2019 school year. Lafayette Elementary School will departmentalize English Language Arts in grade 5 in Mrs. Olona and Ms. Carella’s class. This research-based approach has been met with success at Happy Valley Elementary, and both Mrs. Olona and Ms. Carella have departmentalized at previous school sites. Departmentalization allows teachers to teach in areas of specialization while students move from one classroom to another for instruction.


This means the following:

  • One teacher will be instructing reading

  • One teacher will be instructing writing


Each student will have a homeroom in which they check in during the morning. They will then rotate to their scheduled classes and return to their homeroom in the afternoon to collect their belongings and be dismissed at the end of the day. Of course, they will still have the scheduled specials (Art, Music, Physical Education, Library). They will continue to have lunch and recess together.


There are many advantages to departmentalization which include but are not limited to:

  1. Specialization. Students receive instruction from teachers specialized in particular disciplines.

  2. Instructional Team. Students benefit because they are exposed to the instructional wisdom of more than one teacher. In addition, teachers involved in departmentalizing will get to know a wider range of the fifth grade student body.

  3. Transition. Departmentalization in the elementary school aligns with middle school organization and schedule, better preparing students for that transition.

  4. Depth of Instruction. Teachers are able to complete more in-depth lessons in a specific area.


The decision to departmentalize in grade five was made with very careful consideration, including the most important factor - it will have a positive effect on your child’s education. Here at Lafayette Elementary we continually strive to optimize the delivery of curriculum and instruction. We will be sure to monitor the effectiveness of this model to ensure success for all students.


Should you have any questions regarding the implementation of departmentalization in fifth grade, please direct your questions to Mrs. Kim, Mrs. Olona or Ms. Carella. We look forward to a wonderful and highly specialized school year.



Vanessa Olona

Posted by: Vanessa Olona
Published: 8/20/18