Contributed by David T.

The curriculum mapping journey at Pella Christian Grade School began in 2004 with a presentation by PCGS’s Curriculum Coordinator, Judy V.  I’ve attached that presentation to this blog entry and can confidently say that PCGS has experienced a much more significant benefit than we’ve imagined over the last fifteen years of curriculum mapping.  I can remember antiquated AppleWorks map templates that staff struggled to enter data into, and I recall eventually transitioning to an equally challenging Excel template. While serving as a Curriculum Coordinator, I can remember the file folders, within file folders, with file folders on my computer and annually remembering to update those files to the latest maps.  The first five years were more than a little messy as we constantly tweaked the format of our maps.

In 2009 Pella Christian Grade School began a partnership with CurriculumTrak that simplified the management of curriculum maps for the school.  CurriculumTrak was a game changer for PCGS. The ability for our school to create a map template and the intuitive nature of CurriculumTrak was welcomed by all of our staff and allowed our team to create living maps that are kept up to date.  It also gave our staff access to all of our school’s maps so that discussions could take place regarding vertical and horizontal articulation. Also, our staff now had access to hundreds (now thousands) of maps of fellow teachers.

We are several iterations into what mapping looks like at PCGS, and I can confidently say that it has had a profound impact on teaching and learning at Pella Christian Grade School.  The school’s implementation of Professional Learning Communities, a Multi-Tiered System of Support, and now the Teaching for Transformation Frameworks all have roots in the journey that began nearly fifteen years ago with an introduction to Curriculum Mapping.  Our mapping story has many twists and turns, and at times it is still messy, but it certainly has stretched us beyond our comfort zone and brought clarity to our work.