Elementary Specialist model

A representative workgroup has been meeting over the last several months to develop a recommended elementary specialist model pending restoration of specialist time reduced for the 2019-20 school year. This process involved evaluating best-practices, surveying staff and families, and conducting community forums. Workgroup members developed a recommendation that was guided by operating within the current budget climate, providing a consistent district model, minimizing transitions while maximizing instructional minutes, and supporting the district’s academic goals.

Based on stakeholder input, the workgroup made a variety of revisions and voted with 95 percent approval to recommend this elementary specialist model.  

To support a district-wide perspective and connection to key areas of interest, the workgroup was comprised of 40 members representing the groups outlined below:

Workgroup Representation

  • Primary Teachers
  • Intermediate Teachers
  • Health & Fitness Specialists
  • Developmental Music Specialists
  • Art Specialists
  • Science Specialists
  • Library Specialists
  • Band/Strings Specialists
  • Principals
  • Parents

The recommended specialist model incorporates a blend of consistency and individual school autonomy to provide instruction through a specialist in the content areas of Health & Fitness, Art, Developmental Music, Science, Band, and Strings. Specialist offerings were intentionally designed relative to the specific elementary grade band.

It is essential to note that the specialist model outlines the delivery model for content and not whether or not a content will be taught to students. All elementary content areas will be provided to students by a classroom teacher or specialist. The recommended model provides a consistent experience for K-2 students in all elementary schools and provides autonomy for individual schools to utilize a science specialist or an art specialist in grades 3-5. The recommendation also includes a library experience for students K-6. To provide additional context and background, please see the Frequently Asked Questions resource.

SPS remains under tight budget constraints that were adjusted to meet changes to how school districts are funded statewide as a result of the legislature’s implementation of the McCleary court decision. The decision to restore specialist time will be contingent upon 2020-21 budget development and approval process. 

Questions and comments can be emailed to Teaching and Learning.