Contributed by Jennifer B.
How have you integrated Curriculum Trak into your school culture?
We have decided that CT is mostly internal–for teachers to keep records current, for teachers above/below a grade level to see what is being taught, to run reports for accreditation, and for new teachers. When we stopped worrying about it also being an external doc it simplified our thinking process.
What steps did you take to train, support, and encourage your teachers in their mapping efforts?
We have completed our maps in stages. Now, in year 4, we added Benchmarks. Due to our WASC requirements, we are doing additional work on including links and pdfs for assessments. However, since this is overwhelming, we gave teachers the opportunity to choose 1/3 of subjects taught for each of the next 3 years. This made our teachers feel less pressure while encouraging them to do a quality job. Our Faith Integration Mentor led inservices every year on CT for the first 3 years. These in-services were informative, collaborative, and fun. Teachers need time and support to do quality work.
What unexpected insights, findings or benefits have you discovered from your mapping efforts so far?
Asking the new teachers how usable the CT maps are is the best way to find out what is helpful or not. Some of our maps are more helpful than others. Also, having the maps has helped for curriculum review so that we can see what is taught across the school. For this reason, it is super important for teachers to use the same format for listing unit topics. Also, our teachers wish that we had included a column for how many lessons / periods a given unit takes. New teachers that don’t have this feel lost as to how much time a lesson or unit should take at their grade level.
What advice would you offer to schools just starting the process?
Assign manageable goals each year, and give your teachers a reasonable timeline to complete the work. Use in-service days with fun ways to celebrate success infused in the day. Having fun together can help a daunting task seem more manageable. Always have exemplars. Just like with our students, when teachers are the “students” they each have modes of learning that work best for them, so plan the work time remembering that teachers are humans, too–diverse and in need of breaks!
What tips, strategies, or tools did you find most helpful in advancing your efforts?
Having someone on staff who is passionate about mapping, faith integration, and accountability.
Where are your mapping efforts leading you? What’s next as a result of your efforts?
These will help is with WASC accreditation.