Aside from public mandates to share a district or a school’s curriculum, research has shown the benefits of a public curriculum to have a profound impact on key stakeholders throughout the learning process, including students, parents-families, and teachers.
Teachers, Students & Parents-Families Engagement: Why it Matters.
According to a meta-analysis study by Diana F Tyson and Nancy E Hill, there is a correlation between a student’s academic performance and the participation of parents-families in the efficacy of their children’s education. Early engagement established a foundation for student success and achievement. Involvement that reflected academic socialization had the strongest positive association with achievement and was most consistent with the developmental stage of early adolescence.
Sharing your school or district’s curriculum publicly is an effective tactic of an overall strategy to improve student success, transparency, and accountability via key stakeholder engagement.
When we document our curriculum [and share], we think deeply about creating purposeful learning opportunities… it acts as a living document that not only tracks how we grow student learning but also tracks the parts of learning that we value the most. These opportunities build student learning and develop our professional learning communities to give us happy, valued students and teachers.”
Sarah Jayne Fast, Junior School Curriculum Director, West Point Grey Academy, on the integration of the Atlas Curriculum Mapping platform to improve engagement
Key Benefits of a Documented, Shared Public Curriculum Site
At Atlas, we find common themes reported by users of our curriculum mapping platform: consistency, collaboration, reflection, and transformational benefits for teachers, students, and families. All the advantages described by respondents culminated in these shared goals.
- Students benefit from an organized curriculum held to a high expectation. Students benefit from teachers who work together. Students benefit from a malleable, living curriculum. And students benefit when teachers are empowered.
- Families are the hub that binds the educational learning journey together that improves student outcomes. Parents take an active role and become more in tune with their child’s emotional and intellectual needs. They have a better understanding of the curriculum, role of the teacher, and feel more committed to their children’s schools.
- Sharing curriculum improves the teaching process. It gives teachers tangible resources and goals, stimulates input and creativity, and enables self-reflection on the strength of the curriculum by comparing it alongside strides in student growth and proficiency. Teachers and administrators experience higher morale and job satisfaction, while parents have more respect for the teaching profession.
- Effective communication between parents and teachers, results in a 24% reduction in absenteeism, according to a report by Johns Hopkins University (JHU).
Patrick Leary, an Atlas Curriculum Mapping customer at Upper Freehold Regional School District, shared that the purpose of having a public site was to “allow parents to search for curriculum.” Mr. Leary and his team create transparency by welcoming their community to explore their curriculum and outline the purpose and importance of their work to improve engagement with parents, families, and the community.
In the spirit of transparency and collaboration, the trend reveals that more schools are choosing to share their curriculum with the broader community, including incoming families, current students and families, accrediting agencies, boards, and prospective educators, regardless of state mandates that require public sharing.
We are committed to implementing a transformative, relevant curriculum that provides an exceptional education for all students. The Atlas mapping program is a valuable tool that the faculty use to articulate what students should know and be able to do. In mapping their curriculum, teachers collaborate about consistency across the school’s curriculum as well as vertical and horizontal alignment of the content and skills that are taught. We use Atlas to map the standards we have adopted, which further supports curricular alignment and demonstrates our commitment to using external sources of accountability to ensure success for all students…so that our families, as well as the public, can better understand the story of teaching and learning at our school.”
Michele Allison, Curriculum Coordinator at Academy of the Sacred Heart in Bloomfield Hills, MI
With an Atlas Public Site, you can share the components that make the most sense whether units at a high level, standards, content, skills, or include the resources students will be using to support their learning. The flexibility of an Atlas Public Site is that it is separate from the internal Atlas site used by school educators—a huge benefit that allows the choice to share what and when you want to the public.
Want to discover how an Atlas Curriculum Mapping Public Site helps you engage students and families that inspire success?
1) Why you should share your curriculum?
2) How my school chooses what to share?
3) How does my school introduce curriculum?
Why Curriculum Planning Matters for Teachers
Let’s be honest, no amount of technology, apps, or whiz-bang gadgets can ever replace the human element—the Teacher, our greatest asset in education! And they rightfully deserve our admiration and support. What smart technology can do is enable schools and districts to better develop, collaborate, articulate, and engage key stakeholders along the curriculum planning process and learning journey. With this, a shared goal and vision becomes reality while schools and students thrive.
Let’s look at what’s on the minds of teachers and how they’re feeling. A study by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and the Collaborative for Social-Emotional and Academic Learning (CASEL), discovered the most often mentioned feelings of teachers were frustration, being overwhelmed, stress, and tiredness. It’s no wonder teachers suffer from burnout and, according to research, 30 percent of teachers leave the profession after five years. Departure alone from the profession can have its own significant human resource consequences in retaining and hiring talent.
Other factors relating to this dilemma relate to poor leadership, teacher support, and a negative work climate, including increased job demands connected to testing, standards, alignment, difficult student behavior, and a lack of collaboration and decision-making input. What’s more, there is limited training in Social Emotional Learning (SEL) to support the emotional needs of educators and students.
There is good news. The ability to contribute to curriculum planning and collaboration helps solve some of these issues where teachers feel their input is recognized and supported by leadership as part of an important stakeholder along the learning journey. Teachers believe that when their curriculum resources are well-aligned to learning standards their chances for success in the classroom improve.
The greatest hope I have for the future is embedding higher-level thinking in the curriculum. Without the commitment to curriculum mapping using Atlas we couldn’t have a consistent framework for instruction.
Dr. Raina Kor, Retired Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, Irvington School district.
Working with our partners, we’ve discovered that many teachers welcome input from parents and families and should play a role in decisions that form curricula. Curriculum planning and sharing improve engagement with students, families, teachers, and the community. A public site engages parents resulting in improved teacher performance. Parents learn to value the work teachers infuse into their child’s learning development and the many challenges they face to inspire student success. Teachers feel appreciated and motivated. Trust, transparency, and accountability form the foundation for success.
Additionally, according to the JHU report, academic performance improves when parents and families are engaged. Student classroom behavior, self-esteem, and grades improve as they feel more motivated in their studies.
Why curriculum map? Collaborations are integral to curating and mapping our school’s curriculum. Mapping can break down the walls of the silos that are so common in any school. Making time for formal reflective practices that must be implemented as part of the process will enhance everyone’s experience in education. It can have a huge impact on all stakeholders: students, teachers, administrators, and parents. Greater connection to outcomes and standards and closing the gaps in our curriculum will also happen. I believe that this process will encourage greater creativity and reinvigoration for veteran teachers.
Sherry Wolfe-Elazer, Teacher at the Gray Academy of Jewish Education in Manitoba Canada
Curriculum planning, stakeholder collaboration, effective leadership, teacher support, professional development, student learning, transparency, accountability, and parental engagement are all necessary to empower educators and students to greater success. It is too important to ignore and worth an investment in our students, the future leaders of our society.
At Atlas, we aspire to help your school, students, and communities thrive in a fast-changing world. We like to think that is the reason we are the most widely used curriculum planning platform everywhere.
Discover how an Atlas Curriculum Mapping Public Site inspires success and helps you engage students and families along the learning journey.
Read about the Atlas Curriculum Mapping platform and our Professional Development solutions that empower alignment, articulation, and meaningful collaboration. Visit us at onatlas.com or contact us at [email protected] for more information.