Contributed by Jeanette W.
How have you integrated Curriculum Trak into your school culture?
We initially began mapping with CT, but then found out that the Lesson Plan feature of CT syncs with our SIS, RenWeb, so we added the Lesson Planner component. Many teachers immediately began using it for their lesson plans, and now have a database of lesson plans that they can reuse, adjust, and improve each new year. My school also purchased several strands of Biblical Integration. This provided some direction for teachers new to Christian education who were not sure where to begin, and has opened up a variety of new ideas and techniques for all teachers to use.
When our principal hired two new second grade teachers, they inherited a bank of lesson plans left by the previous teacher. This made the adjustment to a new school and new grade level much easier for them. Additionally, the curriculum maps provided ready-made pacing guides for the year, complete with objectives and activity ideas.
What steps did you take to train, support, and encourage your teachers in their mapping efforts?
Our school incorporated time for mapping into the in-service schedule. After showing teachers the basics of Curriculum Trak, many immediately saw the benefits of the mapping process and finished their maps quickly. Other teachers were not so eager and the process dragged on too long for some. In retrospect, I would have helped the less-eager teachers develop a timeline for the process by breaking the process into chunks. I believe this would have provided better support for initial mapping completion.
What advice would you offer to schools just starting the process?
I would advise schools just beginning to look at templates from other schools and consider what is essential for their mapping purposes. Looking back, I would have incorporated Essential Questions into our template.
What tips, strategies, or tools did you find most helpful in advancing your efforts?
Once our staff revised the Expected Student Outcomes (ESOs) for our school, I realized that Curriculum Trak could play an essential role in filtering these ideals directly into daily lessons. The CT staff helped me upload the ESOs to Curriculum Trak. Our teachers were excited to add the ESOs to their maps and lessons with just a click of the mouse. The accreditation team that visited recently was impressed with the dissemination of ESOs within our school. They saw and heard ESOs in several lessons while they were on campus! Curriculum Trak is an integral piece of verifying that our school is targeting ESOs throughout the grade levels.
Where are your mapping efforts leading you? What’s next as a result of your efforts?
After about 3 years using CT, we are just now at the point where maps are complete enough to be published for our school community. We are also ready to check alignment with our chosen standards and our school’s ESOs. The reports that CT allows administrators to pull are excellent tools to help check for gaps in standards or ESOs.