Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Liberal Studies

First Advisor

Patricia Whang


The focus of this Capstone Project is on building teacher-student relationships within departmentalized elementary schools. Departmentalization, beginning at the fourth and fifth grade levels, is an issue because it gives teachers drastically less face to face time with their students than a traditional self-contained schedule. According to the scholarly literature, young students need strong, positive relationships with their teachers to do well academically. Departmentalization reduces the time to form these relationships. An argument is made that if teachers and schools meet certain criteria, these relationships can still be established, even with less time than what self-contained schedules provide. Upon interviewing the principal, and five fourth/fifth grade teachers at an elementary school where departmentalization is implemented beginning in the fourth grade, three themes emerged as ways to address the issue presented. Based on the data, an action was chosen as the most effective option for establishing teacher-student relationships within a departmentalized structure.