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School & District Management

Ill. Elementary School Tries Subject-Area Assignments

By Hana Maruyama — November 26, 2013 1 min read

The Chicago Tribune reports on an elementary school in Northbrook, Ill., that is experimenting with “partner teaching.” Under the initiative, students in 3rd through 5th grades at Shabonee School have two subject-area teachers—one for science, math, and social studies, and one for language arts and reading.

The idea, according to the school’s principal, John Panozzo, is to give teachers a chance to focus more deeply on particular academic areas and thus give students a better learning experience because the classes now play to the teachers’ strengths.

As with many things in schools these days, the change was partly driven by the Common Core State Standards.

“With the rigor of the common-core standards and the expectations placed on those standards, we felt this would be a better model for teachers to go deeper into instruction and differentiate for the needs of the students,” Panozzo told The Chicago Tribune.

He said that Shabonee is the only school he knows that is using the partner-teaching approach, though an expert quoted by the Tribune says that it is not uncommon for elementary schools to have a designated math teacher.

So far, the article suggests, reactions from both parents and teachers at Shabonee appear to be positive, with some noting that the arrangement boosts student engagement.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.