Style Guide


Rule: Spell out on first use only if there will be a second use on the page.

  • Avoid apostrophes to make possessive. Usually not needed.
    • ex: DOE schools, not the DOE's schools.
  • When there is an NYC DOE logo on the page, use DOE.
    • This is true of every page on the website


  • Stack on three lines as you would on an envelope.
  • Use shift-enter instead of enter between lines.


Lowercase "a" when writing of a specific administration.

Ampersand (&)

Avoid--doesn't have the same meaning in all languages


  • Initial caps.
  • List in alphabetical order when listing all five.


  • If complete sentences, use a period at the end.
  • All the bullets in a list must follow the same grammatical form.
  • You can use different formats, in different lists, on the same page.


  • Headings should be in title case
    • each word initial cap
    • exceptions for prepositions, articles, etc.
  • Headings that are questions are sentence case.
  • Many of the things we habitually cap at the DOE should be lowercase.
  • When in doubt, check AP Style.


Lowercase, unless as the title of an individual


Lowercase "c" unless it's in a heading.

Compound words

  • Use a hyphen to connect two modifiers preceding a noun
    • opt-out form
  • No hyphen when used as a verb
    • Joe chose to opt out.


  • En dash for time spans
    • From 3PM – 5PM
  • Em dash for interrupted thought
    • Did you know—I forgot what I was going to ask
  • Hyphen for compound words

Follow these Instructions on how to make each of the above.


  • Thursday May 1, 1999.
  • No ordinal numbers (th, rd).
  • In tables or other tight spaces you can use the two-letter abbreviations for days of the week.


    Means grades K-4, but can vary from school to school. 

    • Why not just use the grade span you mean?
    • "Elementary school" does not take initial caps.

      Gender Pronouns

      Use gender neutral language

      Grade Levels

      • Write out first, second, third, etc. for individual mention.
      • Spans can be written in numerals: grades 6 – 9 (or grade 6 – 9).
      • Be consistent in the same sentence or paragraph.

      High School

      • Two words
      • Lower case, unless part of a school's proper name

              Internet, Intranet, Web

              No initial caps in running text

                Job Titles

                Not initial-capped unless directly preceding an individual's name:

                • Director of Special Projects Jane Doe
                • Jane Doe is our director of special projects.


                • Not capped unless part of a proper name/title or heading.
                • Use uppercase K when abbreviating.


                Initial caps: French, Russian

                Large Numbers

                • Start with a numeral and write out the rest of the number.
                  • They spent more than $5 billion on textbooks.
                • When possible, round up to the next whole number group
                  • City schools educate 1.1 million students.

                Middle School

                No initial caps in running text


                Start with the dollar symbol ($) and use numerals—even for figures lower than 10.

                • There is $3 million worth of funding.

                Round dollar amounts to the nearest whole number unless there is a reason the exact figure is necessary:

                • $12 million

                Referencing millions? Keep it to two digits to the right of decimal.

                • $12.5 million
                • $12.25 million



                • Spell out under 10
                • No ordinal digits (3rd, 5th)
                • Never start a sentence with a digit
                • Spell out casual expressions: A picture is worth a thousand words, but a really good one is worth a thousand dollars.

                Exceptions: You can use numerals for under ten if discussing a range (see "Grade Levels" above). You should also use digits with standard measures: 5 gallons, 10 minutes, 2 pixels.


                Use digits and write out the word "percent". OK to use the symbol in tables and when space is at a premium.

                Phone Numbers



                The K is capital, even in running text (pre-K). There is always a hyphen between "pre" and "K." In "3K for All," there is no hyphen between 3 and K .

                School Names

                Use the initials PS, IS, or MS before a school number. Put a space between the initials and the number. Schools can have the same number and be in different boroughs. So include the borough: IS 285 Manhattan.

                Some school names include the words "elementary", "high school" "middle school" etc. Those words then take initial caps: LaGuardia High School.

                School Years

                Use four-digit years for both years: 2017– 2018 school year. 


                No initial cap unless in a title or heading.

                Special Education

                No initial caps in running text.


                Initial capital for state names. Use two-letter postal abbreviations to specify city location: Omaha, NE. On the website, abbreviate New York State as NY State.


                No initial cap except for language names: math, science, English language arts.

                Tech Terms

                Computer Science

                The study of computers and algorithmic processes, including their principles, their hardware and software design, their applications, and their impact on society. Computer Science & Digital Fluency - Definition of Terms (Page 10).

                Computational Thinking

                Computational thinking involves thinking about and solving problems in ways that can be carried out by a computer. Computational thinking not only underpins all theory and application of computer science, but also influences many other subject areas. Computer Science & Digital Fluency - Definition of Terms (Page 13).

                Digital Citizenship

                The ability to understand and act in safe, ethical, legal, and positive ways in online environments. Computer Science & Digital Fluency - Definition of Terms (Page 10).

                Digital Fluency

                An ability to evaluate technologies, transfer understanding to move fluidly between technologies, and create something new with technology. Computer Science & Digital Fluency - Definition of Terms (Page 11).

                Digital Literacy

                The knowledge of, and the ability to use digital technologies to create, research, communicate, collaborate, and share information and work. Computer Science & Digital Fluency - Definition of Terms (Page 10).


                • Abbreviate the morning and afternoon/evening hours as “AM” and “PM” with no space between the digit and the abbreviation.
                • When indicating a time range, separate two times by an en dash.
                • If the two times are both in the morning or afternoon, only write “AM” or “PM” after the second time: 8 – 9AM, 8AM – 12:30PM


                Refers to the entire DOE, not individual departments or offices.

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