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Want to write memos like a DOE employee? Here’s how

“The Common Core” takes a singular verb and “curricula,” not “curriculums,” is the correct plural form, according to a style guide that Department of Education employees received this week.

The guide, which Chalkbeat obtained after officials distributed it to their teams this week, focuses mostly on ensuring that department communications reflect standard grammar and punctuation rules. There are also tips about how to format the department’s ubiquitous PowerPoint presentations. But there are also a few places where the guide takes a firm stand on education policy issues.

For example, the guide emphasizes that department employees should refer to Advance, the department’s branding for the new rules governing how teachers are rated, “as both a teacher evaluation and development system (never just ‘teacher evaluation’) because it was created not only to evaluate teachers, but to support their growth.”

And here’s how the guide defines charter schools: “Charter schools are public schools and therefore are inherently included whenever you make reference to New York City public schools.” That’s a style tip that Chancellor Carmen Fariña might need to bone up on — she has suggested on a couple of occasions that she sees charter schools as distinct from schools that the Department of Education runs.

Speaking of Fariña, the guide explains how to punctuate her last name for department employees using Windows computers: “To create the “ñ” symbol in Microsoft Word, hold down the Alt key while typing the numbers 164.” The guide doesn’t explain how to create the enya character on other operating systems, so here’s a cheat sheet, on us.

The complete guide is below:

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