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Facilities Planning

Organizational Pattern


Reference Guide #A.7

One of the elements of the long-range educational facilities plan required by Section 155.1 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education is the administrative organization of the school district, or as more commonly referred to, the organizational pattern of the school district.

The grade-level organization is defined as the grouping of grade levels by a school district for instructional and administrative purposes. Such common grade level organizations found in local school districts in New York State are the 7-3-3 pattern (grades K-6, 7-9, 10-12), the 7-2-4 pattern (grades K-6, 7-8, 9-12), the 6-3-4 pattern (grades K-5, 6-8, 9-12), the 9-4 pattern (grades K-8, 9-12), and the 7-6 pattern (grades K-6, 7-12).

The reason for this diversity in grade-level organizations may be due to the lack of evidence showing that a single grade-level organizational pattern is best for all school districts or for all students. Each organizational pattern has its advantages and disadvantages. Each local school district must weigh the attributes of the various grade-level organizations in light of its own particular situation and circumstances (e.g., facilities, curricular offerings, student demographics), and decide which one best meets its needs.

Many school districts, due to circumstances or needs, have undergone a grade-level reorganization. Each has had unique experiences as a result of individual situations, however, it appears that all have had to address and accommodate four critical concerns:

  • Plan the process carefully;
  • Allow and encourage broad and open participation and discussion;
  • Establish specific procedures, etc. for selecting and implementing a new grade-level configuration;<
  • Collect necessary and appropriate information for decision-making purposes.

The following list of do's and don'ts related to the planning and implementation of a change in grade-level structure is taken from the New York State Education Department's publication, "Resource Monograph on Grade-Level Reorganization, 1983":

  • Do develop a good public relations program.
  • Do involve the community in your planning.
  • Do involve your staff in committees.
  • Do involve your staff in visitations to other schools.
  • Do invite consultants to meet with your staff.
  • Do establish a timetable for all activities.
  • Do invite the parents of those pupils who will be in a different building to visit the building and meet the staff.
  • Do become knowledgeable about state certification requirements which might affect the assignment of staff.
  • Don't assume all staff members are interested.
  • Don't forget to involve the board of education.
  • Don't assume that the community will accept the philosophy and rationale of the grade-level reorganization.
  • Don't assume that your present program needs to be changed or modified entirely.