A year ago the NWCSI (NorthWest Christian Schools International) Executive Committee offered to pay the setup fees for any of our NWCSI schools who wanted to use CurriculumTrak to map their curriculum. The Committee made this offer because it saw the potential benefit of using a common online platform to facilitate sharing and learning among our schools and beyond. To date, eight of our schools have elected to take up this offer, with others planning to do so in the near future.
The curriculum mapping process is a powerful tool to help schools examine and narrow the gap between practice and mission. The purpose in its initial stages, is to make explicit what is actually being taught in the classroom/school. Once this information is gathered, the maps serve as a vehicle to examine the fit of what is being taught with what we say we want students to learn. As maps are updated and revised, they can serve to guide educational decision- making and to communicate what makes your school unique and distinct.
Before the advent of powerful, affordable, easy to use online tools, the benefit of mapping was limited, primarily, to individual schools. That is changing. With a few clicks, we can now share our maps with each other and view maps from Christian schools across the country.
Of course we can use the CurriculumTrak tool to work individually on our maps, borrowing ideas on occasion from other schools’ maps. To do so, however, would be to miss a powerful opportunity to learn and grow together – intentionally. If we want to leverage this opportunity, we need to ask each other – How can we work together to make mapping a dynamic, intentional venue for growth both within and among our schools?
We took an initial step to address this question at the 2013 August Event. Fifty some educators gathered at Mount Vernon Christian High School to talk about mapping and to explore the curriculum mapping tool. It was the barest of beginnings, but it was a beginning. Where can we go from here?
Let’s not miss this opportunity!