Is Curriculum Trak part of your checkout checklist? Many schools have an end-of-year checklist to help every member of staff, faculty, and administration know exactly what should be done before they part ways for their summer months of rest, relaxation, and reflection. These lists are more about teamwork than accountability. They bring clarity to your efforts to cut through the end of year craziness and help ensure that the right things are dealt with and not left to ferment until everyone returns in the fall. It’s important to submit grades, take bulletin boards down, organize and inventory textbooks, clear all personal items from lockers, cabinets, and hallways not only to make way for summer maintenance and cleaning, but also to make way for the next school year to begin successfully. No one wants to return in the fall to find that junk from the last school year is still hanging over your head. Can you picture the faculty lounge fridge after a summer’s worth of neglect? While that might not be the most pleasant mental image, it underscores how valuable a checkout checklist can be for both teachers and administrators in the mad dash towards the finish line. 

As you think about what items are (or should be) on your checkout checklist, we would invite you to consider adding specific Curriculum Trak tasks to that list as well. Adding curriculum review and revising responsibilities to the end of year checklist is quickly becoming a best practice among Curriculum Trak schools. Asking teachers to review and refine the guaranteed minimums of their courses can yield great benefits. It can allow the teacher to capture their reflections of the past year when the outcomes are freshest in their minds. It can also help ensure that maps, units, and even lesson plans are ready to be relaunched in the fall prior to the increased intensity of back-to-school activities. But, perhaps the biggest benefit of this practice is that it can help those teachers who like to use their break to rethink and reimagine their approach to areas of instruction. Revisiting their maps can provide a clear focal point for those efforts to bolster and update their practices, strategies, and resources for the next year. 

Exactly what items you choose to add to the checkout checklist are best determined by your specific curriculum goals for the current year. Consider what support you want to provide for your teachers as they head out, and how you would like to see them prepare to return to their post in the fall. We do not recommend requiring a massive amount of curriculum mapping work to be part of an end-of-year checklist. No one should feel like their curriculum maps are preventing them from the joys of summer break. But, there are small, but valuable parts of a curriculum map you could focus on, or specific Curriculum Trak reports you could use to leverage the value of the process, the goals of the teacher, and the level of instruction at your school. Our support team would be happy to help you identify some specifics that might work best for you, but the following questions could also be valuable to consider:  

  • As I end the year, how would I update my course outline (sequence of unit titles) to better indicate how I plan to teach the course next year? 
    • The Scope and Sequence Report can provide insights into how clearly and uniquely the current course outline fits into the broader instructional area. 
    • The Other Curriculum Area could be used to find similar maps or units. 
    • Any editor can rearrange, update, or add units to their course using the “Edit Timeframes & Units” button in the upper left corner of their map. Units can be clicked, dragged, and dropped into the best location for the course. 
  • Are there standards that need to be updated or reviewed in order to ensure better coverage next year? 
    • The Standards/Benchmarks by Course report can indicate missing, under-instructed, or over-instructed standards. 
    • The Standards/Benchmarks Map by Grade can indicate gaps in standard/benchmark alignment in the subject area and can yield insights about necessary changes to instruction. 
  • Could I update my Unit Timelines now based on next year’s calendar to ensure viable pacing for next school year and support my summer planning initiatives? 
    • Unit Timelines are set in the Edit Timeframes and Units area. The Unit Timelines report shows when each unit is scheduled. Filling out this information based on the calendar for the next school year can provide key insights about viability and could drive changes to the course outline or specific unit instructional strategies. 
      • What if an important assessment will not happen until after Christmas break? 
      • What if Spring Break is later next year than it was this year? 
      • How could I adjust my early units to ensure I have enough time for my later units? 
      • Should I find an alternate assignment or assessment opportunities to make better use of time? 
    • Unit timelines not only help set the budget for the next year, they also support unit planning and lesson planning. 
    • The Unit Timelines Report provides a valuable collaboration tool for other teachers, administrators, and even admissions directors. 
  • What aspects of my unit plan should I update now based on my reflection of this past year? Do I need to more clearly define outcomes or objectives, find more relevant resources or explore alternate instructional or assessment strategies? 
    • In theory, the fields out to the right on any map, past the units and standards columns, should always be in some state of flux. These fields are meant to capture the latest, greatest instructional practices the current teachers are using because they know they work. 
    • The end of the year is a great time to recognize which portions of the map, which template fields, may not be as clearly defined as they could be or need to be updated to reflect latest practices. 
    • Each unit has a date stamp to reveal when items in the template fields have been changed last, and that information is available in the Scope and Sequence report as well. 
  • Based on my current reflections over my instruction this past year, what training opportunities should I seek out in the coming months to help me better prepare for instruction? Would Curriculum Trak training be helpful? 
    • As teachers reflect on their template fields, the fields toward the right in the map, they may find that they need additional support with such items as Essential Questions, Biblical Integration, Assessment Strategies, or any other of the specific columns in their map. 
    • Using the View Curriculum by Template Field or the Search by Keyword reports, teachers or teams of teachers can collaborate over specific fields, strategies, or concepts. These reports could provide some low-level professional development. 
    • If an administrator finds trends among the instructional team (using the same reports), it could lead to specific professional development opportunities for the next school year. 
  • What information might I be able to gather from the community, either from other maps within our Curriculum Trak account (using reports), or from the Other Curriculum Area? 
    • The variety of reports in the Reports menu can be used as a collaboration tool for any teacher within your Curriculum Trak account. They can pinpoint specific concepts, find specific instructional or assessment strategies, or simply compare their area of instruction with others.
    • The Other Curriculum area can take any teacher within your account out to the broader network of Curriculum Trak schools to find ideas about their course (Search by Course Name) or specific units of instruction (Search by Unit Name). 
    • Exploring these areas can help teachers glean valuable insights into how their courses could be enhanced or improved. 
  • Should I review, update, and coordinate my first week of lessons now so I am ready to jump right into teaching in the fall?
    • Lessons cannot be scheduled for your next school year until your account has been rolled over to the next year. This is done automatically on July 15th unless you request an earlier date. 
    • Some schools request a rollover date immediately following their last day of school. This allows teachers to begin scheduling their first week’s lessons before they check out in the Spring and sets them up to hit the ground running in the fall.  

In an effort to share practical applications of the items above, we are happy to share the following ideas for checkout practices we have gathered from the Curriculum Trak community: 

  • Identify the specific report that would provide the best insights for your current practices, ask each teacher to run that report for their area and print off their findings. They can write their insights (or email them to their administrator) as part of their checkout process. 
  • Consider using the report as a focal point of the checkout conversation. Discuss insights from the past year and goals for the next year. 
  • Ask teachers to search the reports area and find two or three insights into their course, their area of instruction, or their grade level. These could be integration opportunities, areas for improvement, items to celebrate, or simply questions they would like to have answered. 
  • Ask teachers to explore the Other Curriculum area (by Course or by Unit) with one of the following goals: 
    • Setting two or three favorites for quick reference in the future. 
    • Collecting two or three ideas for enhancing their course (concepts, strategies, etc.)