www.edmentum.com

Beyond the #EducatorFirst Hashtag

Beyond the #EducatorFirst Hashtag

#EducatorFirst is a movement at Edmentum. It’s posted on our walls, written on our windows, hanging in our cubicles, printed on our T-shirts, and found in our email signatures. It’s easy to add a hashtag to the world around us, but how does #EducatorFirst really impact curriculum development? 

I’ve found myself reflecting on this question quite a bit. We strategically built our curriculum team with former educators. We’ve always listened to our educators. Yet, there still seemed to be something missing. Should we involve educators as curriculum is being developed?

Over the past year, we’ve received a lot of educator feedback about Exact Path’s middle school English lessons. They missed the mark. They didn’t meet educator or student needs. We knew we had to make it right. 

Our curriculum team set out on a mission. They aggregated feedback, researched, and brainstormed. They created a new instructional approach and built a prototype lesson. It seemed like we had a solid plan, but what did educators think?

A group of generous Exact Path educators agreed to review our shiny, new prototype lesson for middle school English. Their responses were much different than we expected: “This isn’t quite right,” “Students won’t be engaged,” and “Try again.” That’s not what anyone would want to hear. Even so, our team gleaned every possible piece of feedback from that conversation, determined to get the lesson right.

The mission continued. The prototype lesson evolved. We conducted additional conversations with Exact Path educators. The feedback persisted. The prototype got closer to the mark with each iteration. Four iterations later, we went back to that first group educators and asked them to look at the prototype lesson again. This time, responses included: “This is perfect!,” “It is exactly what we envisioned!,” and “Students will be engaged.” Mission accomplished!

We carried this prototyping process forward into all active curriculum development. In a period of three short months, our team has talked to over 150 groups of educators about new curricula that we will be releasing this summer. It’s been an amazing experience. 

So, this is what I’ve learned about how #EducatorFirst impacts curriculum development. It’s our expertise in curriculum development, combined with educators’ expertise from the front line. It’s open, honest conversations and a willingness to evolve. It’s an essential partnership from which students are the ultimate benefactors. I’m looking forward to a great future of #EducatorFirst impacting Edmentum’s curriculum development!

Want to learn more about the design process of the Edmentum curriculum team? Check out this recent blog post about how educators and students come first with our programs!