District Implements New Curriculum Management Platform
Eastchester Union Free School District continues to enhance the educational experience for its students and their families. This year, the District is implementing a new public-facing curriculum-mapping technology, EduPlanet21, that will allow for greater transparency in the academic process.
A key component of the new software is that it will give students, parents and guardians the ability to access important course information in a simpler, more intuitive fashion, said Scott Wynne, the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.
“The district has been curriculum mapping for years, but the difference this year is the focus on increasing communication with parents, and our desire is to make the information that we have more visible,” said Wynne. “We want to make this more accessible for parents, students and the community at large, so that everyone knows what’s going on in each of our classrooms.”
According to Wynne, the new software will provide parents with general course outlines but also answer two simple, yet important, questions: What will each student know at the end of each course? And what skills will each student have?
“You have two sides of the coin; knowledge and skill,” said Wynne. “And the premise of this program is it is based on backwards design. You are starting with the end-goal in mind and planning backwards to make sure you’ve covered everything that you wanted to access by the end of every course.”
K-12 Supervisor of Humanities Susan Chester believes that the EduPlanet21 software will help to create a more consistent interface across the district in keeping with one of Superintendent Dr. Ronald Valenti’s early goals.
“When you get a syllabus from a teacher depending on the school, the grade or the course, that paper is going to look different from teacher to teacher,” said Chester. “But the unifying thing now is that, for everyone who teaches English 9 or Math 7, these are going to be the uniform pieces for every kid, every class and every teacher.”
Minnie Iannuzzi, the K-12 STEM supervisor, echoed Chester’s sentiments and added that when the system is fully implemented, there will be a seamless transition in the way that course goals and information are presented regardless of grade levels or schools.
“If I’m a parent with kids in many schools, I know that even if I’m looking at Greenvale or the High School, the content is presented in a similar fashion,” said Iannuzzi. “It’s much more user friendly for the parents and it frames the information it in a way that is easy to understand.”
Ultimately, said Wynne, the idea behind utilizing EduPlanet21 and other interfaces that will streamline parents’ access to classroom information—including daily updated grades that will be accessible through the District’s Home Access Center—is to offer parents a chance to take a more active role in their child’s education.
“I think there are so many opportunities at this point for a parent to stay on top of the progress that their child is making, so this gives parents the opportunity to choose their level of involvement,” he said.
Iannuzzi and Chester also believe that with more information readily available, students—especially those at the secondary level—will be better able to chart their own academic paths.
“It gives a lot more information than our course catalogue does, so I think kids can be more empowered with this extra information and confident in knowing that even if you went to Greenvale and I went to Anne Hutchinson, we both learned the same information,” said Iannuzzi.
“I also think it can enhance the conversations students have with their counselors,” added Chester. “Because this has more of a focus on knowledge and skills, a student can say that by 11th grade, they want to be in this class, so now, let’s work backward with the information we have.”