Integrated planning and analytics platform to eliminate gaps in curriculum and instruction

App of the Week

Chalk is a planning and analytics platform that enables K-12 school districts to develop a cohesive, standards-aligned map for curriculum and instruction, and receive actionable real-time assessment data, to support success at all stages throughout a student’s academic journey.

Chalk’s powerful data and insights make it possible for districts to seamlessly map curriculum from grades K-12, eliminate gaps in instruction, maximize teaching and learning time, and ensure a successful transition between grade levels.

 

Formats/platforms used:

The Chalk integrated solution is a SaaS (software as a service) platform for districts.

 

Primary URL:

https://www.chalk.com/
 

 

Problem solved:

If you already have good processes for curriculum and instruction, Chalk is the perfect tool to augment these processes by bringing them into one integrated system, providing more timely insights and actionable data, and saving teachers time so they can focus efforts on the classroom.

But if, like many districts, you’re not yet satisfied with your processes, Chalk gives you a refined process for designing curriculum and developing instructional practices. The platform integrates siloed, non-user-friendly processes into one functional system. It amplifies the value of each individual component by bringing them into one system, in full alignment, where everything works together seamlessly and previously invisible gaps are identified and closed.

Stephanie Bechtol, Assistant Principal of Trinity Catholic School, has a concise and helpful explanation of how her school deployed Chalk to increase cohesiveness and alignment:

“We knew that we needed a framework for teachers to use that was consistent across grade levels and subject areas that would align to the standards.”

At the district level, Chalk will help you answer the following persistent questions that are present even when you have good processes in place:

  • How do we ensure that curriculum, instruction, and assessment are all in alignment, and remain in alignment, with each other and with the standards?
  • How can we improve the year-to-year transition, so teachers know what was taught and how well students learned it?
  • As an administrator, how can I understand how my teachers are teaching the curriculum, and how can I get the insights to deliver timely feedback when needed?
  • How can we understand what we aren’t doing well or anticipate what we won’t do well, so teachers can make adjustments now?
  • How can we get teachers involved with the planning process without adding more work to their plate, and also give them more time to deliver instruction that helps all students succeed?

 

 

 

Primary user age:

Chalk is designed to support every grade level represented across school districts, from K through 12.

 

Audience served/subjects addressed:

Chalk supports cohesive curriculum mapping and instructional planning in any core subject area.

 

Standards:

Chalk’s standards alignment tracking enables districts to align all curriculum and lessons with crucial state and national standards and pinpoint gaps in coverage. Districts can embed curriculum directly into a teacher’s daily instruction planning, using Chalk’s curriculum and lesson planner; create organized unit plans in a centralized and collaborative way; ensure alignment with multiple standards in your curriculum design across buildings and classrooms; and personalize classroom instruction for outcome based education.

 

Lesson time needed:

Chalk does not require lesson time, but instead supports teachers in delivering lessons that are aligned to the curriculum, and that prepare students to succeed on assessments. When using the platform, teachers feel confident they are covering the required material, and the comprehensive curriculum mapping from year-to-year enables teachers to pick up right where the previous year’s teacher left off–avoiding the time wasted by overlapping instruction, but also ensuring no material is missed.

 

 

Pricing model:

Chalk is available on an annual license for districts of all sizes. Visit https://www.chalk.com/ to schedule a demo and receive a custom quote to suit your district’s needs.

 

Other services included:

Chalk provides a number of different supports, beginning in the implementation process and continuing throughout their collaboration with districts:

Implementation Support

Chalk provides expert implementation support, with a process built around each district’s unique needs. Chalk’s customer success team works closely with your district to understand timelines, success metrics, and check-in points to plan out a customized implementation process. This includes onboarding administrators onto the platform and providing adequate teacher training. The process is built around the following three C’s of implementation:

Criteria–Together, we will define what success means to you at the start of our partnership. With this, we will outline a detailed timeline of deliverables for both parties to assure accountability.

  • Communication–Timely and transparent communication will ensure mutual accountability when it comes to meeting key milestones on your road to success.
  • Commitment–From our team to yours, we will work diligently toward a common goal. Your success means everything to us; we will always be here to help you.

Ongoing Support for Sustained Success

As your district continues in your use of Chalk, including your change management efforts and helping all educators throughout the district to maximize the platform’s benefits, the Chalk team provides ongoing support. Each district has a dedicated account team throughout its collaboration with Chalk.

In addition, direct-to-teacher support is available in the form of a live online chat feature, enabling teachers to have their questions answered throughout the day. This comes in particularly handy for busy teachers, who often have only a few minutes available at a time and need quick answers, so they can find a solution now rather than waiting out the standard 24-hour period often provided by support teams. This support is not limited to technical questions, but in fact gives teachers access to Chalk’s expert team, who can provide guidance on teachers’ processes, allowing them to receive redirection when needed and reassurance when they are doing it right.

By aligning processes for teachers, providing the right technology and support to make their jobs easier, and clearly demonstrating a positive impact on student achievement, Chalk is able to help leaders gain buy-in for curriculum and instruction initiatives and sustain their success. At every level, from the classroom to the district, you will be able to define and plan for success according to your own organizational objectives.

Curriculum Mapping Support

Chalk also provides a framework and an expert support team to help districts with their curriculum mapping. This includes a helpful curriculum mapping guide that shows you how to create, implement, and sustain a guaranteed viable curriculum, along with a curriculum mapping tool that allows you to create units around the standards. State and Common Core standards are uploaded directly into the platform, making it easier to ensure alignment as you plan.

Other Resources

Additional resources include:

  • A detailed support page with troubleshooting tips and numerous FAQs for administrators, teachers, and parents.
  • A resources page with articles and case studies to help districts and educators throughout their processes.

 

 

What makes Chalk unique?

There are a number of factors that make Chalk’s planning and analytics platform a unique tool, but three of the major ones are:

  • Powerful analytics uncover gaps in curriculum and instruction
  • Real-time data is available to teachers and administrators to enable timely adjustments before, not after, the assessment
  • The integrated planning and analytics platform for curriculum and instruction is designed specifically to meet district-wide needs

Identify Gaps in Curriculum and Instruction

The first way Chalk achieves this is by presenting an integrated system that ensures these two key elements are not siloed. The only way to truly identify meaningful gaps in curriculum or instruction is to see the alignment between curriculum and instruction.

Next, Chalk takes a step beyond simply “digitizing” your resources, which would do little to identify gaps for you and would still leave you with that burden. Chalk’s technology allows you to take a more holistic approach–school-to-school, grade-to-grade, and class-to-class–to understanding your entire instructional process, developing consistency across the district, and gaining insights into why you achieved your resultsTechnology is not merely used for the sake of taking resources online, and is instead deployed in a transformative manner, with powerful real-time analytics that augment your processes and give you the information needed to make changes now. These are a few of the specific insights Chalk can provide into your gaps in curriculum and instruction:

  • By evaluating the alignment between your curriculum and instruction, Chalk can identify gaps in standards coverage. With full integration and alignment, teachers can also feel confident they are covering all the standards.
  • Chalk gives you assessment results that can be directly traced back to the date of instruction and unit plan, showing at a granular level where a gap exists, and giving teachers the opportunity to course-correct.
  • Curriculum is seamlessly mapped across all grade levels, from K-12, identifying and eliminating gaps in instruction that occur in the year-to-year transition.
  • Chalk supports consistent curriculum and instruction across all schools and classrooms in the district, so teachers in a given school don’t have instructional gaps compared to their grade-level peers elsewhere.

Real-Time Data Enables You to Take Action

Real-time insights give you the ability to do a diagnostic–understanding what’s going wrong now, so you can make adjustments–rather than an autopsy–simply knowing what already went wrong, but without the ability to change your approach.

There are many reasons why this is essential, but they all come back to maximizing the effectiveness of your teachers and success of your students. As an administrator, having the ability to provide useful data and timely feedback to teachers means that you will be able to help them not only increase learning and achievement this year, but year-over-year, through the streamlined curriculum mapping that improves cohesion and consistency across K-12.

Further, these insights mean you are applying the right data to the right students. By contrast, systems that provide a rich trove of data from this year’s students that teachers can’t apply in the classroom until next year, means that the insights are not being applied in the relevant context. Next year’s learners will have their own unique needs, so a process without real-time data can lead to a cycle of “too late” adjustments. Chalk’s real-time insights solve each of these challenges to help districts success.

A Solution Truly Designed for Districts

While Chalk caters to many different stakeholders and end-users, including teachers, principals, and district administrators, it really shines at the district level where the analytics engine is powerful enough to not only help districts make adjustments to their current teaching practices, but can have an impact year-over-year in supporting students’ entire K-12 lifecycles. Here are just a handful of the specific benefits that are fully realized through a district-wide implementation:

  • Seamless curriculum mapping across all grade levels, from K through 12, eliminating gaps in instruction that occur between grades and ensuring successful year-to-year transitions.
  • Curriculum and instruction alignment at all grade levels, maximizing teaching and learning time not only each year, but in aggregate for the whole of a student’s K-12 journey.
  • Consistent curriculum and instruction across all schools and classrooms in the district, guaranteeing that students are learning the same content as their grade-level peers.
  • Transparency into platform usage and instructional data enables administrators and specialists at the district level to provide support to individual educators as they learn how to maximize success, as well as deliver real-time feedback on instruction to close gaps and enhance student learning.

 

Here is what user’s are saying:

“When we get our data from the state assessment, we can see how our numbers correspond to what we taught throughout the school year. That really is the power of having Chalk.”

--Dr. Tamara Willis, Superintendent, Susquehanna Township School District

 

“The use of software like Chalk allows us to stay in touch. It allows us to collaborate. It allows us to do things as a district, rather than as just isolated little components”

--Dr. William Morelan, Curriculum Coordinator, Jasper School District

 

“That ability to have all your resources in one location and not have to search really impacts the students’ learning and that downtime is truly lessened.”

--Carmel Fantelli, Instructor in Social Studies, Gilmour Academy

 

“With each part of implementation, we see more success and engagement. We have so much positive feedback from our parents. It had a positive impact on our community and parents.”

--Robin Finley, Technology Specialist, Alma School District

 

 

 

 

 

 

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