“I teach a different type of student now. I teach adult students now. So that’s still there, the teaching aspect is there, but also helping them map out their curriculum. We were using Curriculum Trak – I was mapping out all my own curriculum, and being able to show them, show educators, admins, how to do this, definitely was an easy transfer, since I’ve already done it all myself.” – Angie Parker, Curriculum Trak Support Specialist
The following transcript has been edited for clarity and brevity. Listen to the full podcast episode here or using the player below.
Michael Arnold: Angie Parker joins me in The Teacher’s Lounge today to provide what we could call a behind-the-scenes look at how Curriculum Trak works. Angie is the most recent addition to the Curriculum Trak support team. She came on board as a Support Specialist in January of 2022, but Angie was no stranger to Curriculum Trak; she helped with several projects prior to joining the team full time. And she did that in addition to being a classroom teacher at Lenawee Christian School, a non-denominational school in Southeast Michigan, who has used Curriculum Trak since 2012. Angie, along with her husband, Jonathan, both happen to be a graduate of Lenawee Christian School, and Angie pursued a business degree out of high school before returning to Lenawee Christian as a teacher, while also pursuing a master’s degree in educational technology. She taught at LCS for 17 years before she came our way; and in that time, in addition to being a K-12 technology teacher, an AP computer science teacher, a yearbook advisor, and many other things, Angie served as the staff Curriculum Trak trainer and support person for the teachers there at LCS.
The Parkers have four children, who are now also attending Lenawee Christian, and we’re happy to have Angie join the Curriculum Trak team, as well as having her join us here today in The Teacher’s Lounge. Welcome, Angie.
Angie Parker: Thank you for having me.
Angie Parker’s experience at Lenawee Christian
Michael Arnold: My pleasure, and it’s great to work with you, but it’s great to also have an opportunity to share your story. And your teaching experience is pretty diverse. You did a lot of different things. Tell us a little bit about some of the things that you did in those 17 years there at Lenawee Christian.
Angie Parker: As I’m sure most of you are aware, in a small school, you wear many hats so that you can fill all the roles that are needed. So I was teaching – my last year there I was teaching kindergarten through fifth grade technology, a career class, entrepreneurship class, financial peace, dual enrollment, intro to computers, and then an AP computer science principles class, as well as an economics course. Many roles were taken in my many years there.
In addition, I was also class advisor for the freshman class and also head of dress code for girls. It’s always fun for anybody who has that job, but somebody’s gotta do it. But I taught many different things over the years. And as stipulations have changed, I taught dual enrollment business courses for a while, but then the state of Michigan changed those regulations, where you had to have a master’s in business to teach the dual enrollment business courses and I only had a bachelor’s. So that’s when I went back and got my master’s in educational technology, so I could still teach some dual enrollment courses on campus at LCS. Those are always the ones that are fun to teach because students are choosing to do it. And it’s fun because they have an interest in it.
So like you said, I did yearbook but I handed that off as soon as administration would allow me to hand that off because that was just my least favorite thing – but I always did it with a smile. I was glad to hand that one off, relying on students to get their work done was not always my favorite thing, but learned a lot in that process.
And actually when I first started teaching that course, that was the first year we took it all digital and online, cuz they had not done digital yearbook before that. So before that it was taking pictures, getting ’em developed, and putting ’em on paper old school, so that was a fun jump to go, to be the first teacher to do it all online.
Michael Arnold: Yeah. So it doesn’t sound like in those 17 years that you had very many years that were the same back to back, as far as, this is what I taught last year and this is what I’m teaching this year. Were there a lot of changes from year to year or is that just the way it sounds?
Angie Parker: I think their work probably changes every year. There was a time where I didn’t do elementary technology for a while. They had somebody else doing that. And then I jumped back into it. You just never know what your needs are gonna be and where you’re qualified and what roles they need to fulfill.
I’ve always had certification in English but I never taught English the whole time I was there. They just work with your certification and fill whatever needs they can do. And of course, I was willing to do whatever they needed me to do and understood, so they knew I was gonna take on the challenge and do the best that I could. I must mention one year I even taught a PE class, even though I’m not certified.
Michael Arnold: Oh, wow. Let’s ask Angie. She can do it.
Angie Parker: That was special. It was a physical fitness one. So it was one where it was older kids. They had their workouts that I just had to monitor, but it was one of those years they didn’t have someone to fill this one hour. That was a while ago, but that just popped into my memory; it was a special memory.
Michael Arnold: So in any given day, you could be working with students as young as kindergarten and as old as senior class dual enrollment? What was that like?
Angie Parker: That was mentally taxing. I can tell you on some days you would go from teaching the five-year-olds and the special things that happened with five-year-olds in the computer lab. I did have one child lick the keyboard. He was trying to type with his tongue during COVID!
So things you never thought you’d have to say: “Don’t lick the keyboard, that’s yucky.” But those are just things you laugh about, but then having to switch over to seniors, you can’t speak to them the same way you speak to kindergartners. Although sometimes, you feel you’re speaking the same way.
Sometimes, it would literally be walking down – quick transition, okay, get my mind in the right setting. That was mentally taxing, but it’s fun. You get the joys of five-year-olds, you get the fun of 18 year olds and the different way you interact and can joke around. I never had a dull moment or day, that’s for sure.
Adjusting to Covid-19
Michael Arnold: What about prep periods? Did you have time to prepare in between, or what did that look like?
Angie Parker: Pre-COVID, yes. We had block scheduling, so I would have maybe one or two hours during the week that I would use for prep, but I have all these different prep. So I’m of the mindset, use every minute that you have to the best of your ability during the day. So if I was teaching third grade computers, the first 10 minutes of our 30 minute session, they would do typing.com.
So while they’re logging in and they’re doing their typing – they usually did a great job (the elementary) just out those 10 minutes of typing; they were interested and engaged – I would quick log onto my lesson planning and okay, this is third grade. I’m gonna quick make up my lesson plans for this period for next week. Let’s do that right now. And that part didn’t take a lot because I’ve been able to reuse what I’ve done over the years, their basic computer stuff that every kid needs to know.
But for the higher classes, like the DE courses or the AP computer science, those took quite a lot longer. However, their projects that they would work on in class were often independent at some point in the hour and a half blocks. So I used that time to lesson plan. Let’s get this done, or else you’re just going to be going crazy and never having any time to do anything, taking everything home, because you’ve gotta grade your stuff, but I would squeeze every last minute of my day to try to be efficient.
Michael Arnold: Yeah. And you said that was pre-COVID. How did that change during COVID?
Angie Parker: Of course, during COVID we had a lot less subs. As many schools had subs drop out and then as people would get sick long term, we had a few teachers that had some long-term issues dealing with COVID or their children did or whoever in their family, so we would cover those classes at the drop of a pin. You just never knew.
Since COVID began and even this school year, it seemed like almost every prep period, you were covering for another teacher. Almost every single day without notice, a lot of times. And it’s nobody’s fault. It’s just what’s happened the past few years.
So even my child would have to get tested because they were in close contact and at our school and in our state, you had to get tested to come back to school and they’re playing basketball. So they have to come back to school; she gets tested.The last day of her required testing, she’s got COVID, even though she wasn’t sick or anything.
So then I gotta scramble at the beginning of the school day, and all the rest of my kids have to go home too. What a nightmare. I have to go home too and do some remote teaching. It was just nuts, and it was very hard to just do your job, just hard to teach.
Supporting teachers on curriculum mapping
Michael Arnold: Yeah, very disruptive. In addition to all of the teaching that you did, you also did a lot of work with Curriculum Trak and curriculum mapping at LCS’s Curriculum Trak user. And you played a role in training, so describe that a little bit. What did you do to support teachers in their curriculum mapping efforts?
Angie Parker: So we would have some dedicated time for curriculum mapping during our PD days. Our administration was very gracious that way, and then we would be point people. I’d be one of the point persons that would answer any questions, as we’re all working in the library or the cafeteria for teachers who had questions or were getting stuck, or whatever help they needed.
And then even at the beginning of this past school year, a new teacher came in and I was the one who met up with her before school even started – a couple times for a couple hours to get her into the Curriculum Trak. She was assigned to courses that were already done. They were already mapped, so that’s lovely. She just wanted to understand, go into the previous mapping that had been done, how the teacher had been teaching, what they’d been using. That was extremely helpful in her transition; one of the main benefits of Curriculum Trak for sure.
Angie Parker’s ties to Lenawee Christian School
Michael Arnold: So outside of teaching at LCS for quite a long time, 17 years, I think many teachers move around a little bit more than that, but LCS was kind of like home for you. You attended LCS from what grade? When did you first start attending LCS?
Angie Parker: We started there when I was in third grade and then I went all the way till graduation. And that’s where I met my husband. We dated in high school, all through college, and then came back here and now our four children now attend. It’s really cool just to see the full circle come to fruition. My daughter’s second grade teacher was also my husband’s second grade teacher, so that’s really cool to see.
Michael Arnold: Yeah. Did you have any kids of former classmates in your class as you were teaching?
Angie Parker: Oh, yes. It’s always fun because then you can share funny stories: Hey, I remember when your mom did this. Just a great way to connect and engage with the students.
Michael Arnold: Yeah. I think those full circle moments are so cool for a school as it matures. Seems like you would’ve been one of the early students to LCS. As a school matures, to see the second generation come back or those graduates come back, bringing their children and teachers, having the opportunity to teach the children of their former students. What an amazing term, and I think I’ve said before, there needs to be a term for teachers who are teaching a second generation – like grand-students or grandkids. That’d be kind of neat.
Benefits of a Christian education
Michael Arnold: And then as your own kids are exploring or attending LCS, what are some of the benefits that you’re seeing in their life as a result of Christian education?
Angie Parker: It’s really cool because I get to see the biblical integration of all their subjects. They’re not just doing science or social studies. They’re also getting that biblical integration piece into all of their lessons, which is really cool to hear them discuss and talk about. But it’s also neat when they have their chapels that they get super excited about and just the worship that they get to be a part of. Every Friday afternoon, all the elementary kids gather, and you can hear them singing throughout the hallways. And it’s just a really precious time. And it’s really cool, and even my daughter who was a freshman, she plays guitar on the high school worship team, and so it’s just really cool to see them get so involved. My daughter’s also a chaplain. They have chaplains for each grade, so just to see the influence that these teachers and administration have on the kids, since they’re kindergarten, five years old, you can truly see that as they go through the whole system, it really speaks a lot about Christian education and how impactful it can be.
Angie Parker’s journey leaving LCS and joining Curriculum Trak
Michael Arnold: So when you were considering joining Curriculum Trak on a full-time basis, I know that wasn’t an easy decision. You’re a graduate of LCS, you’ve been at LCS for all those years. Your kids are there. What brought that decision about? Do you care to share that a little bit?
Angie Parker: It was probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve made for a very long time because LCS is like a second home to me. I’d been there for a long time, since third grade if you think about it. But I just felt led to do something different in education. The education sector is just changing, and my home life is changing.
I have four children. We adopted two boys four years ago, and as they get older, they just have more needs that I need to take care of for them at home. And obviously the past few years, the needs in the education sector with your students have skyrocketed, not just only teaching but the mental health of your students in the past few years has been requiring a lot of attention.
I just was feeling very spent and didn’t have a lot of room for myself to be able to breathe; let’s just say it that way. I had a particularly stressful weekend and was praying and saying, well maybe at the end of the school year, I start to look for something different. And then that Monday, after that really hard weekend, there was an email for a remote full-time position with Curriculum Trak. And I truly felt that was God’s divine intervention right there saying, here you go. You don’t have to look. Now’s the time you need to take care of yourself. You need to take care of your family but you can still work in education with educators and administrators in Christian education. So I felt like it was the absolute perfect thing for me.
Michael Arnold: That’s awesome how that works out. I was talking with someone else the other day who’s also in education. And I said it’s okay for those teachers who feel like they’re on the front line; they’re taking all the fire. It’s okay for them to say, I need to step back now and let someone else step up and shoulder this burden. I need a change for my own mental health, for my own family, for my own sake. And so we’re glad that the opportunity came along. I know that you’re excited. Curriculum Trak’s just fulfilled all of your hopes and dreams, it’s the funnest job you’ve ever had.
What it’s like to work for Curriculum Trak as a support specialist
Michael Arnold: And I wanna ask you about this, especially having been in technology, I know you’ve seen a lot of changes in technology over the years that you’ve been in the classroom. But this remote support, technology support, educational support role, this wasn’t even something that I could have imagined when I was in college learning to become a teacher. Did you ever see yourself in this kind of a role? I know it fell in your lap, but how could you even imagine a role like this? It’s just crazy.
Angie Parker: I have never once considered remote working and never knew it was even possible pre-COVID. But then with COVID, remote teaching, remote learning, you know, what a disaster. I’m sure educators everywhere were never more tired and mentally exhausted than during the remote learning and remote teaching. It was so hard. And then having your own kids in your house with their classes, just way too much. I’m glad we’re past that part of everything, but remotely working, I never thought it would be something that I would be able to do.
So it’s been a great change of pace. It is busy now; we’ve talked about that. Teachers and admins are able to work on their Curriculum Trak so it’s busy, but I love what I do. It’s just like my days fly by. Like, oh my gosh, it’s 3:23PM, like what happened? You just keep busy, but I just love technology. So for me to sit here and talk to educators, like I did this morning, it’s just so fun to connect with them and empathize with them and encourage them.
And to be able to also help people who are having little struggles on Curriculum Trak. I can’t log in, I can’t do this, help. Yes. I’m here. Don’t worry. We’ll fix it. We’ll get it done. Don’t worry.
So I still get to help people. I still get to teach people. I still get to engage with people. But from the beauty of my quiet home. So it’s a great mix.
Michael Arnold: What would you say is the most pleasant surprise or the best thing about coming into this role? And then the opposite side, what’s the thing that you still miss the most about leaving the classroom?
Angie Parker: There’s a lot. I love to problem solve. That’s always fun for me. So figuring out and helping people out with problems, that’s always fun, but also meeting new people and talking to new, to new people all the time when I’m setting them up or training them and helping ’em, that’s very fulfilling.
And then what I miss most from the classroom is the physical interaction of students. But sometimes that would be too much; sometimes you’re like, just leave me alone for five minutes. But at the same time, you get those little hugs from the kindergartners. Once in a while, the whole class would come in and once the first kindergartner walks in and hugs you, guess what every single one in the line does? They all hug you. All of that just fills your bucket though.
Michael Arnold: Yeah. They say you need about 10 hugs a day to be a fully actualized human being. Hard to get that in the remote environment.
Angie Parker: We were listening to a podcast the other day in the car with our kids, and it said to hug your kids for 30 seconds straight once a day. And so my husband’s been doing that and they just scream and wiggle, and it’s quite funny, but it’s their little physical touch. And it’s hilarious.
Michael Arnold: Yeah. I heard it. Hug your kids; don’t be the first one to let go. Make your kids push you away, and my daughter would turn that into a competition.
How being a teacher relates to Angie Parker’s new role at Curriculum Trak
Michael Arnold: So anyway back to the role, from a behind-the-scenes view, and this might be an obvious question, but how much transfer would you say there is from what you did in the classroom, working with technology, working with students, even working with teachers, to what you’re doing now?
Angie Parker: I teach a different type of student now. I teach adult students now. So that’s still there, the teaching aspect is there, but also helping them map out their curriculum. We were using Curriculum Trak – I was mapping out all my own curriculum, and being able to show them, show educators, admins, how to do this, definitely was an easy transfer, since I’ve already done it all myself.
And like I mentioned, working on the side for Curriculum Trak, I had done a lot of the mapping for some of the publishers that Curriculum Trak uses. I can always easily guide them in the best practices for mapping.
Michael Arnold: Do you find as you work with schools that you see a lot of common threads? Are they more unique or more similar, as far as their needs, their concerns, their requests, their problems?
Angie Parker: I think generally they’re pretty similar, but then you get your few outliers that are maybe more involved with Curriculum Trak, every little part of Curriculum Trak. There are some admins that really get into it and want to know all the ins and outs of it. And that’s cool to see too. When somebody gets that engaged with the software, you can see they truly have a passion for it.
But it just depends on the school, too. Some schools have different ways of mapping. You just work with them as it comes and do what they want to do, what their district wants them to do, as best that we can help them.
Adjusting to the role
Michael Arnold: As you think back to when you jumped into this role, maybe partially to take a breather from the day-to-day stress of the classroom, but also because you were looking for something new – what is something about your work now that you didn’t anticipate, or have found to be intriguing or interesting about taking this position up?
Angie Parker: I guess maybe all the setups and the rollouts that I do, so helping clients – I guess I just didn’t know what that would look like. It was just diving into the unknown. And anybody that knows me knows that when I’m handed something new or a challenge like that, I go all in and do as much as I can to help prepare myself for when that comes along. I wasn’t too confident at the beginning doing the consultations in a zoom setting. But just like I would tell my kids, the more you do something, the easier it gets. And that’s true for this job too.
Michael Arnold: And I know you’ve had lots of practice with that now. We were warning you when you came in January, we’re gonna get really busy in June; that’s when educators and administrators have a chance to take a breath and then focus on their curriculum. And we’re right now about mid-June as we record this podcast. You were just saying before we started recording, we’re busy; we got busy. So about how many schools do you interact with on a daily basis, if you had to estimate?
Angie Parker: I would say between the support center questions and consults, probably at least 10 schools today. And sometimes there’s many more than that. It just depends. Like you said, you never can predict what the day has for you. You might have something planned that you’re gonna do and work on, but nope. One day somebody, one school will all be working on Curriculum Trak and so there’s a bunch of questions, and that’s okay.
Michael Arnold: And as you kind of described your lesson planning and trying to keep ahead of your students, you described what I would call a proactive person. You’re always thinking ahead, trying to stay a step ahead. As a support specialist here at Curriculum Trak, would you describe that as proactive or reactive?
Angie Parker: I would say proactive because I’m constantly trying to learn so that when a question does come in, I don’t have to react. Of course there’s still a lot of problems that arise that we all have to figure out [that] we don’t even know the answer to. But when I’m learning things, I try to remember so that, okay, next time this question comes up, I’m gonna have that answer so I don’t have to look it up or try it. But I guess it’s also reactive too. You never can predict what issues come up. Never.
Michael Arnold: I get what you’re saying. As I figure something out, as I learn something, I’m not just doing it for this school. I’m doing this for all the schools who might come later who have a similar question, so that I can be prepared. That’s a good approach.
What a typical day looks like as a support specialist
Michael Arnold: So give us some insight: what does a typical day in Angie’s office look like, as she’s working through Curriculum Trak support?
Angie Parker: Now do you want summertime or when the kids are home?
Michael Arnold: Tell us both. Because that’s an interesting perspective. It’s like, while the kids are outta the house, it’s easier to work from home. But when everyone’s at home, working from home is not all that it might be cracked up to be, so tell us a little bit of both; if you don’t mind.
Angie Parker: So I started in January, like you said, so super quiet, super calm. It was cold out [but] in my office, nice and cozy working quiet. And that was, for me, a good transition. I needed that quiet for my head space; so that was good, and being able to get up and go get a drink whenever you want. You don’t have to wait for the bell to ring to go get a drink; it’s great.
And then summer happened and then school got out, and kids are home – it’s a little bit more of a challenge. But we have a schedule for the kids in my house; it’s printed out. That’s just how I am. And they’ve made their schedule for the week. And from this time to this time, I’m gonna be doing this. From this time to this time, you’re gonna be doing this, okay. So don’t interrupt Mom; Mom has a meeting. I write my meetings there too. You cannot come into my office at all during this time. And I have to run them here and run them to camp and pick them up and run them to practice and pick them up. And that’s always when a Google voice call comes in. I told you that’s always when somebody calls. It’s been a little bit crazier but obviously still able to get stuff done.
I actually still get up really early, like my kids are still in school. I’m up by 5:45 AM or 6:00 AM. You’ll often see some things in the early hours being done, whether it’s an email sent or a ticket being updated, just because I’m able to be so much more productive at that time. Because once they’re up, I’ll get interrupted, and then oftentimes once they’re settled down, I’ll check back in.
It’s awesome to have that flexibility though, to be able to work before they get up, work during the day. Like I’m working in my office, but hey mom, can you do the…? Yes. Okay. And then sit back down. What was I doing? Okay.
But after supper, everybody’s kind of settled down, I’ll hop back on for a little while and clean up anything else I need to clean up. But it is my first priority. All clients can know, all schools can know that I am constantly watching the support center; that is always my number one priority.
Michael Arnold: Well, it’s because you get it though, too. If you were working on Curriculum Trak, if you had a question, you might only have a 15-, 20-minute window to do what you’re trying to do. You don’t want to just wait for a response. And I think that really drives all of us here at Curriculum Trak. Be as responsive as possible. Yes, we’re humans; we have lives outside of work – but we wanna support these schools. And sometimes things come up like you had to pull a budding driver out of the ditch yesterday at your home.
Angie Parker: Yes, that was an adventure, when you’re supposed to have a meeting. But luckily it was with you and not with a client. Student driver got herself stuck in our ditch and some people that were working nearby, bless their hearts, came and pushed her out and she had her first fun experience to learn from. But hey, she took it in stride like a champ. So that was good.
Working with multiple schools in different time zones
Michael Arnold: How do you set boundaries when you’re at home? Because [at] Curriculum Trak, we serve over a thousand schools in just about every state within the United States and then 36 other countries or territories. So just about any time zone you can imagine, there’s a Curriculum Trak school there. We don’t expect you to work 24 hours a day. How do you set boundaries while working from home with schools all over?
Angie Parker: That’s been hard for me, not because I feel like there’s too much work to do but because I just like to answer people’s questions. And that’s how I was when I was in education too. I didn’t like emails unanswered in my inbox so that’s just my innate feelings of, there’s tickets sitting there for me to answer or to assign to whoever can address them. It’s just in me to want to do that.
Some days I am busy, like on the weekends. Some days there are really busy times and I just can’t check it; we’re off doing this and or that – Father’s Day’s Sunday, so I won’t be doing too much. But I set my computer on the kitchen counter, so every time I walk by I refresh the tickets and if there’s something quick I could answer, I just answer it. But I don’t feel like I have to, if that makes sense. I don’t feel like, oh, I gotta answer this. It’s Sunday – no, I don’t have to. It’s if I want to on the weekend.
Michael Arnold: I had a situation recently. I got locked out of my email account. Could you imagine what you would do if you were locked? So I was locked out of my email account – [it] happened at 10:00, and I know exactly what happened because I just checked my email two minutes before and I’m like, oh no, what am I gonna do?
And so I was back in by 8:00 AM the next morning. But I did not realize how many times I just absentmindedly grabbed my phone and checked my emails to see, okay, what’s out there? What’s happening? What can I respond to now or what can I start drafting a response in my head for tomorrow morning, so people don’t think I’m a psycho for answering emails in the middle of the night?
I’ll just share my own experience and you could share how you feel about it, but I’m humbled and honored to be able to serve the schools that we serve. There are a lot of schools, and yet, because we’re insiders, we are former Christian school teachers ourselves, we know what their day-to-day is, what their routine is and all the hats that they’re wearing. The prep periods they’re giving up, as you experienced, to serve their students. That when they do reach out to us for help, it’s like, wow, thank you for letting us play a minor role in your efforts to do the best you can for your students and your community. I’m sure that’s true for you too. That’s what drives you.
Which school Angie Parker would like to visit
Michael Arnold: If you could pick any one of the schools that we serve all over the world to go and just spend some quality time with any region in the world, maybe provide some onsite support for that time period, where would you go and why?
Angie Parker: Oh gosh, I don’t know. There’s just certain people that you meet that just make you so happy. And I met with somebody from Central Baptist School this morning – Travis is his name – and I had done the setup. And now I did the rollout, and we just have a fun time together. I don’t know where they’re located. I don’t remember off the top of my hat, but just to see some of these people in person would be so fun, just because you connect with some admins. You have a great time and we appreciate them and they appreciate us. And it’s just a great connection. But I don’t know. Probably overseas would be fun too. Just to see how Curriculum Trak is used physically in another country. I don’t know.
Michael Arnold: Yeah. So I think we’re getting ready to add another school in Hawaii in the next day or two.
Angie Parker: I can maybe go there.
Michael Arnold: Let them call me to come and do onsite training. We’ve worked with schools in Europe and Asia; that would be cool too. We have a couple schools in Ukraine and Russia right now. We’re like, no, not yet. We don’t wanna come visit you yet. We’ll pray for you and support you from afar.
Advice for teachers working on curriculum mapping and curriculum development
Michael Arnold: Well, from your vantage point as a classroom teacher, technology teacher, now support specialist for Curriculum Trak, what would you tell other educators or even school leaders about the practice of curriculum mapping, curriculum development, organizing your curriculum and even the use of Curriculum Trak? What advice would you give?
Angie Parker: I think that going through the Curriculum Trak mapping process as a teacher, how our admin at Lenawee Christian School did it was really good. They would give us PD time, so they recognized that our time was precious. They had focus time for that. We had accreditation coming up too, so it was important to get it all done, and they didn’t want to overwhelm us with all the things that we had to do. So that was really helpful. I would suggest that to admin as much as possible. If you can carve out time, if you wanna get this done, this is how it’s gonna get done. Teachers are so busy. They’re not gonna add this to their nightly schedule in all honesty; it’s just not gonna be there.
So carving out PD time, or even encouraging them, as you’re doing your lesson plans for the year, week by week, [to] visit your Curriculum Trak at the end of the week and put in there whatever you can copy and paste in there for what you’ve done for the week. I did that when I had a new course, so if I had a new financial peace course that I did, instead of just dumping it all in at once, because it was just too overwhelming, I pieced it little by little throughout the year. And I finished it ahead of time.
But having those mini goals, I think really helps teachers. Say, by the end of this month this is what we’d like you to have. So piecing it out into small goals is really helpful. And maybe even having teachers paired up with Curriculum Trak champions, if there’s certified teachers there. That certified teacher can have these five teachers in their group and maybe they meet once a week for half an hour or once, whatever. That dedicated time is how you’re gonna get it done.
Michael Arnold: I think that’s really good advice, because curriculum mapping is a hidden practice, just like lesson planning. Just like some of the other things that we do as – we know it’s good, we know it’s right, we know it’s helpful, but there’s bulletin boards to put up. There’s artwork to put outside the classroom door; there’s leading charts that need to be rearranged just because I need some peace in my classroom, and there’s family things. And so those hidden practices are easy to overlook and ignore, unless there’s dedicated times. So that’s great advice.
Michael Arnold: Well, Angie, we’ve been blessed to have you join our team. I know the schools that you’ve had a chance to work with and interact with are probably better for it. So thank you for your dedication and commitment to serving schools. And thanks for peeling back the curtain a little bit today, to share a little bit about what the life of a support specialist is like. We’ve appreciated this time. Thanks for joining the Teacher’s Lounge.
Angie Parker: Yes, thanks for having me.