School Software Group: Curriculum Management for a Successful K-12 Framework
Chris Trina, Co-founder
With evolving technology, the most notable disruptor lately in the education arena has been the increased popularity of Open Educational Resources (OER). The potential for replacing textbooks and online programs with free curriculum, lesson plans, and activities can have a significant impact on the budgetary challenges faced by many districts. However, the districts need to ensure these resources are of high quality and easily accessible. School Software Group’s Build Your Own Curriculum (BYOC), is a tool that helps a district to harness and combine all of its curricular resources, including OER. “From our perspective, a clearly defined, consistently delivered curriculum is the key to educational success,” says Chris Trina, Co-founder of School Software Group. “Our philosophy has always been to provide BYOC as a tool that is easy to implement, and focused on improving the basics of education.” With a strong focus on product innovation, School Software Group works closely with district partners integrating the latest technology with ever-changing education standards to address the challenges facing today’s educators.
For the K-12 vertical articulation, the company offers a ‘big picture’ view of how their curriculum guides instruction, ensuring courses are being composed and students are receiving the appropriate instruction for their grade level. “BYOC is beneficial for everyone, imagine a large district where resources are not consistently available—our software levels the vast educational sphere for students and teachers,” adds Trina. The platform has a user-friendly online framework offering district curriculum in a format that guarantees ongoing and systematic growth across a district. Once curriculum is written and entered, incremental changes can be made at any time, providing districts with opportunity to achieve continual improvement.
A truly effective district curriculum should serve as the ‘throbbing brain’ of district knowledge allowing all staff to learn from and leverage each other’s ideas
“The ultimate goal is to help the district evolve into a process of continuous improvement,” explains Trina. “A truly effective district curriculum should serve as the ‘throbbing brain’ of district knowledge allowing all staff to learn from and leverage each other’s ideas.”
One of the challenges in many districts today is that while individual staff members are accomplishing great things in a vacuum, there is no central district knowledge base to leverage these individual pockets of success—BYOC is the solution to this problem. For instance, Independence Unified School District 446 was keen on transitioning from one set of curriculum standards to another, and also finding a way to alleviate the stress teachers were feeling in the face of having to rework their curriculum. After researching and evaluating available solutions, the district adopted BYOC. The integrated lesson-planning tool within BYOC allowed teachers to plan, design and publish lesson plans through an organized structure that automatically aligns lesson content with defined learning targets and the teaching staff utilized BYOC’s cross-district sharing tool. Today, BYOC provides a way for the districts to organize and align curriculum to standards that are constantly changing with ease and flexibility.
School Software Group’s innovation lab is the 500 districts in 27 states, increasing each day, that are currently using BYOC— driving the product enhancements and providing valuable feedback. The company has recently released an enhanced version of BYOC, BYOC+ that wraps the district curriculum with a Classroom Management and an Assessment Management system. “We are all about making school districts more efficient and better at what they are already doing by leveraging the true power of technology,” concludes Trina.
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