Fall 2009

Narragansett School System

Department Chair Specifications


The department chairpersons will be directly under the supervision of the principal and assistant principal.  They will work with the district’s curriculum coordinator where relevant.  He/she will have a teaching assignment in the department level where he/she is assigned.  He/she will assist the administration in the development, implementation, supervision, and evaluation of programs in his/her subject area.  He/she will implement the policies of the Narragansett School System.


Department Chair Qualifications


  • Tenured teacher with 3 years’ experience in the content area or a degree related to the area of service;
  • Knowledgeable and current in curriculum, instruction and assessment, and State initiatives;
  • Understanding of standards-based instructional practices as demonstrated by written and implemented standards-based units;
  • Willingness to support a vision for improvement in student performance;
  • A life-long learner as demonstrated by active, professional development in the areas of standards-based instruction, differentiation of instruction, content literacy, adult learning strategies and Federal and State initiatives;
  • Effective communication skills;
  • Demonstrated organizational skills;
  • Experience in or willingness to be trained in facilitation skills;
  • Willingness to work within and across department and grade levels;
  • Ability to work cooperatively with staff and school and central administration;
  • A clearly articulated vision for improvement in student performance and department progress.




  • Actively participates in two building-based leadership meetings;
  • Consultation role in all school improvement meetings;
  • Represents the department at school-wide functions such as teacher, parent orientation, yearly transitional meetings, and other after school and evening functions when asked by administration;
  • Participates in hiring of teachers by serving on appropriate committees;
  • Conducts all departmental meetings;
  • Maintains open communication among principals, teachers, parents, and students;
  • Orders instructional supplies and equipment for the department and submits requisitions to the principal using the approved purchase order protocol;
  • Exercise inventory control and distribution of books, supplies and equipment.  Prepares yearly textbook inventory;
  • Makes recommendations to the principal for the maintenance, repair and safe use of facilities, equipment and materials.  For science, this will include duties as defined in the chemical hygiene plan.


Curriculum/ Program Leadership and Instruction


  • Develops annual departmental vision, goals, and priorities.  Submits reports to the principal and assistant superintendent at mid year and end of year;
  • Assists and documents efforts to help department or grade level members in developing and implementing curriculum.  Initiates and supervises curriculum development projects;
  • With the assistance of the department or grade level members, prepares, reviews, and revises written curriculum guides and updates the Program of Studies as needed;
  • Along with the assistant superintendent, prepares policies and procedures for the department or grade level to implement the curriculum and develop appropriate assessment practices;
  • Provides teachers with information about new curriculum development, including techniques of instruction, assessment, and new materials;
  • Provides interpretations and answers questions concerning curriculum guides for students, teachers, administrators, and Narragansett School Committee members;
  • Work with non-tenured and tenured teachers who have transferred into the department to familiarize them with the curriculum.  The department head may not work in any capacity in the teacher mentor program;
  • Coordinates interdisciplinary studies wherever feasible.  This includes initiating dialogue with other departments or grade levels, supporting faculty collaboration and arranging curriculum sharing;
  • Works with school administration to foster a spirit of unity, harmony, and cooperation within, and among departments;
  • Articulates the curriculum among the middle school, elementary, and high schools through the development of a K-12 articulated curriculum;
  • Works with the assistant superintendent to initiate textbook and material evaluation and selection;
  • Continually reviews student needs, teaching methods, and instructional materials to provide curriculum continuity;
  • Develops and models relevant and varied instructional approaches and a variety of assessment methods;
  • Keeps current in curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices;
  • Collects data to evaluate goals and programs and effectively present information to all school constituencies;
  • Identifies instructional issues and works towards developing creative and functional solutions to these problems such as: behavioral management strategies, and addressing disengaged learners;
  • Acts as a liaison between school administration and members of the department.


Professional Development


  • Encourages and coordinates professional growth activities of all members of the department;
  • Keeps abreast of new developments in the content area and of professional development opportunities by means of current literature, membership in professional organizations, attendance at conferences, school visits, and/or course work;
  • Continues to develop interpersonal skills necessary to maintain open communication among chairperson, department members, and administration;
  • Assemble and maintain a professional library;
  • Assist department members in developing best practices by suggesting methods such as:

v  Classroom observations (with no responsibility to evaluate teachers);

v  Providing critical feedback;

v  Co-teaching in a department or grade level member’s classroom;

v  Modeling varied instructional approaches to meet the needs of all students;

  • Keep department members informed of current professional literature, announcements, correspondence, bulletins and reports.
  • Facilitates common planning sessions.