Making the Most of Your Curriculum Investment
As a finance guy, I’m consistently tasked with finding the best solution to help save time and money. When it comes to investing for a company there’s one basic rule: get in early and invest your time, money and resources. If the investment starts to go south, stick with it, give it time and advocate for your investment, rather than scrapping it and repeating the same cycle all over again.
The same rule can be applied to a school making a curriculum investment, and it can be challenging. Many of you may have experienced this situation, administrators see a new software product they believe will improve learning outcomes. After they secure teacher buy-in, and everyone is excited, the district decides to invest in the software and make a purchase.
Implementation: Where the Rubber Hits the Road
The lift of revising, updating and/or creating curriculum is heavy and in many cases, only a fraction of teachers end up implementing the new software within the first year. The school year goes by and now the software is up for renewal. Administrators notice that usage was low and choose to not renew the software. This can create all kinds of problems, the teachers who implemented the software are upset because they have to make significant changes to their curriculum for the second year in a row and other teachers are upset because they had started integrating the software into their curriculum and will not be able to implement it.
The time and money spent on this investment feel like a waste and now administrators have to find a new software to replace the old one. This can result in an endless cycle of frustration.
Help Your Investment Grow
To help avoid this cycle, here are three suggestions to keep your district out of this predicament:
- Give a product three years in order to see results. After three years there will be enough data to compare results and identify areas for improvement.
- Develop a system for continual buy-in from teachers. Create a community of best-practice sharing so teachers still have a space to give feedback and input which will allow open communication between administration and staff.
- Administer surveys to garner feedback.
- Create a committee that regularly meets and evaluates the status of curriculum usage.
- Run and evaluate reports on usage.
- Get deeper implementation by integrating the solution into core curriculum.
Each district is unique and has its own challenges with investing and implementing new curriculum and software. You don’t change textbooks on your teachers each year and you don’t have to change your software each year either.
Learn more about other districts who have successfully implemented Learning.com solutions in their classrooms.