In 2012 Shannon Pfleiderer, director of curriculum and instruction at The Rose Academies in Tucson, AZ said, “Many of our materials that were developed over the last two years were built around the CCSS concepts,” he said, “and based on the prototypes that we have access to.”
The Rose Academies are a group of four public charter high schools designed to provide alternative education for at-risk students and others who have had a tough time in traditional learning environments.
As the schools’ administrators and teachers continue to learn and explore the depth of CCSS and define mastery from a Common Core perspective, Pfleiderer said the team has embraced technology as a key facilitator during the process.
One of those tech tools is online eLearning solution OdysseyWare, which provides virtual textbooks and other content that students access on classroom desktops and laptops.
Before selecting a new platform, The Rose Academies shopped for software options and even considered sticking with their existing setup.
“Our previous software provided a reasonable virtual textbook and allowed us to author and sequence our own materials,” explained Pfleiderer, “but we wanted more functionality and multimedia—and a more modern interface—all while meeting the Common Core standards.”
Because of the population they serve, The Rose Academies already have some experience managing and addressing developmental learning gaps.
“Long before CCSS came along, students came to us needing remediation and re-teaching,” Pfleiderer said, so that any virtual textbook and content provider she chose would have to address those content gaps, provide external links to additional resources (for reinforcement), and help the schools comply with CCS.
“We needed software that would help us address brand new concepts for students in a non-threatening manner that somehow meshed with the students’ past experiences,” he said.
Making the Grade
After exploring the online curriculum options on the market, Pfleiderer and his team chose OdysseyWare for several reasons. They liked the way students and teachers could send messages back and forth, comment on lessons, and directly access lessons through the messaging function.
Pfleiderer said the schools were also looking for an interface that would allow teachers to author and modify the curriculum in a way that not only met CCSS requirements but that also engaged students. This is just one more way schools are working toward compliance with the Common Core State Standards.