Park Hill School District in Kansas City, Missouri, wanted to find the best-fit curriculum development tool to address key issues ranging from accessibility to educators to a more transparent overview for the public and found their solution in School Software Group’s BuildYourOwnCurriculum. Dr. Jeff Klein, Executive Director of Research, Evaluation, and Assessment, and Dr. Jennifer Corum, Principal of Prairie Point Elementary, evaluated five curriculum development tools to find which would best ensure long-term success.
Finding a Best-Fit Solution
Before starting the evaluation process, a criterion was established that would meet Park Hill’s present requirements plus anticipate future needs and growth. The initial goals included an emphasis on goal-oriented functionality to aid parents, teachers and administrators.
Dr. Jennifer Corum, Principal
“We wanted a curriculum management product that could support teacher collaboration, be more transparent to parents all while being visually appealing,” Corum said.
There was also an emphasis on finding a tool that had strong administrative capabilities to efficiently introduce systematic processes to create uniformity across the district. Dr. Klein wanted to find a curriculum management tool that used a “commonality of language — same set of terms, common across all levels” to achieve district-wide curriculum standards.
A Clear Choice
Over the course of two months of rigorous vetting, it became evident that the best choice for Park Hill was BuildYourOwnCurriculum (BYOC). The decision was reached after a multi-level assessment that started with five companies and was then reduced to three finalists. Each candidate presented to a curriculum committee tasked with reviewing the wide variety of solutions — and who thoroughly considered how each company would meet Park Hill’s needs and provide essential features for future growth. The committee announced their decision – BYOC was the clear choice.
BuildYourOwnCurriculum is more than a curriculum mapping tool; BYOC is a curriculum management tool that fulfilled all of the initial criterion set forth by providing unique resources and features far beyond curriculum mapping. Curriculum development now has the potential to take place on a multi-media platform across the district allowing it to operate on a real-time schedule.
“BYOC is a living, breathing document because of its quick response time that allows for consistency when updating curriculum – even when applied to the fourteen schools within our district. It has real-time effects in terms of communication amongst educators and instructional coaches,” noted Dr. Corum.
Dr. Klein emphasized, “The rate that curriculum changes is faster and faster and the ability to make those changes electronically is paramount so that adjustments can be made without lots of paperwork and headaches.”
“It’s flexible and reliable,” said Dr. Klein, “Out-of-box customization lets the client control and manage the information system.”
Park Hill found that they were able to easily handle all day-to-day operations in customized templates to best complement their existing processes and vision for the future.
Talking to references about their experience with BYOC, Dr. Klein found that “references told us that School Software Group was incredibly supportive” far beyond the sale. The glowing confirmations from other school districts and the growing statewide network in Missouri of schools working with Education Technology Partners and School Software Group was evidence to Dr. Klein that, “we would be working with companies committed to excellence and improvement.”
Commitment to Excellence
An award winning and recognized school district located in suburbs of Kansas City, Park Hill has a reputation for excellence. The existing high levels of performance meant that the school district required a product that would be flexible for future growth.
“I think it will strengthen the utilization of teacher collaboration and lesson plans because they are being tied back to curriculum and standards. BYOC seamlessly combines curriculum, assessment and communication into one easy-to-use application which is invaluable,” emphasized Dr. Corum.
Dr. Klein said, “You’re looking for quality and repeatable processes which are done consistently to help with systemizing the curriculum process, as a time saving tool, and to improve quality. This is structured specifically and consistently in BuildYourOwnCurriculum through learning targets and assessment to insure we have best practices across the school district.”