New Jersey District Gets Results by Focusing on Implementation
East Orange School District is an inner-city district located in East Orange, New Jersey. There are currently 10,000 students and 600 teachers among the 21 schools making up the district. Learning.com curriculum is the board approved, digital literacy curriculum for grades K-8, and the district has been using this curriculum for over 10 years. Although familiarity and usage of Learning.com curriculum existed, there wasn’t much of a plan throughout the district on how to use it.
When Paulette Salomon transitioned to the Supervisor of Instructional Technology of East Orange School District in 2010, she recognized a need for change. Paulette had worked as a Technology Teacher Trainer for the district prior to her transition and was familiar first hand with the demands of the curriculum. Previously we shared some recommendations on how to make onboarding successful. Below are some of Paulette’s best practices straight from East Orange School District for an effective implementation process.
“When I came on board as the supervisor, I felt that it was important to align the lessons to our standards, curriculum, and benchmark assessments. What I did to be more meaningful is come up with a pacing calendar to be used as a guide, but still gave teachers flexibility to incorporate other lessons as well.”
Paulette creates a pacing calendar for grades K-8, so they have something to follow each school year. The pacing calendar outlines what online safety lessons, keyboarding lessons, and last school year, she included a computational thinking and coding lesson for teachers to cover. The use of pacing calendars provides clear guidance on how teachers should use Learning.com curriculum to help align the lessons to requirements to meet district benchmarks.
“Throughout the year, I have teachers do a shared presentation, the topic in December was coding for Computer Science Education Week, and I had them do one slide to represent how they’re teaching coding in their schools and give them a chance to tell their story.”
Paulette continually focuses on providing all her teachers with structure and consistency. She makes sure to include one common item for everyone so they can all discuss it. This past school year, the common item was coding, so every grade level got a computational thinking and coding lesson. Each new school year she tries to change it up and do something new, but includes a common item that teachers can discuss and share their experiences which provides a unifying element that strengthens their district.
“They love the structure. They love that we have a common thread to guide our discussions.”
“I take the summary by class and send to my principals and technology lead teachers. Sharing data is important because everyone is talking about the assessment – PARCC, ELA, math and science. I want them to add technology to the discussion.”
Each year, Paulette sends out data to her team with a summary broken out by class. By providing reports with visible data on progress and usage, Paulette is giving principals and technology lead teachers something measurable to help them reach their goals.
Paulette has developed a sustainable and smooth implementation process for her district. She provides guidelines, clear expectations, and measurable data for teachers and principals, so they are set up for success. From Learning.com, we wish all of you at East Orange School District a great school year!
If you’d like to learn more about getting customized pacing calendars, contact us here!