Curriculum-Mapping Improves Learning: Homegrown Software Enables Teachers to Update the Curriculum Regularly
Williams, Courtney, District Administration
ABOUT 100 MILES NORTHEAST of Indianapolis, Richland-Bean Blossom Community School Corporation, or RBBCSC, comprised of 3,000 students and 200 teachers, has struggled to update its curricula year after year. This was an especially tedious project last summer when the suburban district aligned their English language arts and math curricula to the Common Core State Standards and Indiana's state standards. Teachers spent hours creating curriculum binders that were rarely used because they cannot be updated easily.
Assistant Superintendent Carol Gardiner recognized this problem and decided to make the process more efficient than create, print, bind and repeat. When Tamra Ranard, director of technology, was hired in 2009, Gardiner asked if she could develop curriculum-mapping software, as the district could not afford to purchase this type of software, which costs at least $8,500 per year. RBBCSC is in the process of a digital transition.
"My technology team had never programmed something as extensive as this program," Ranard explains. "When software is in development, it is generally given a code name, and we chose Goliath because we were in a David versus Goliath situation."
Teach, Evaluate and Revise
Ranard also developed a data warehouse, which allows teachers to access and store data from formative assessments, class exams and state tests.
"Our former method left curriculum on shelves, but now it's alive in classrooms," she says. "Teachers look at their curriculum maps monthly at the very least, and they are reflecting on their practice--making changes to lessons that didn't work and updating those that did."
When building their maps, teachers can run reports to find out if standards are left out or if there are redundancies. …