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Webinar: Implementing New Jersey's Revised ELA and Math Standards with Eduplanet21

Webinar: Implementing New Jersey's Revised ELA and Math Standards with Eduplanet21

March 20, 2024


Transcript Introduction

Jeff Colosimo: All right. So let's, let's get started. Good afternoon, everybody. My name is Jeff Colosimo. I'm the co-founder and CEO of Eduplanet21. We appreciate you registering for our webinar today. We are going to start the program by just giving you a little bit of an overview of who Eduplanet21 is and what we do.


We want to show you the work we've been doing in New Jersey. We want to show you some of the enhancements it's made around being able to implement the revised ELA and Math standards in New Jersey. With that being said, I'm going to go through a couple of slides here, and then I'm going to turn them over to Kelsey Jaskot, our Director of Customer Success.


And she is going to take you into the software demo. We are recording this, so upon completion, we will send you the recording. If you have any questions as we go along, feel free to throw it out in the chat. 


Let me get started. For those of you who know little about Eduplanet21, we are an educational technology company. And the main thing with regard to our mission is we focus just on curriculum. So, essentially, there are a lot of technology companies out there that do multiple things from student information systems to LMS systems, but we're kind of in that niche space that essentially all we do is we focus on helping school districts design, implement, write, and manage their curriculum. It's a niche that we're very good at. 


That's all we focus on. And again, that's primarily why we're talking to you today about the work that we're doing in New Jersey. So, when you focus on something, like, we do, you become very familiar with the challenges that school districts are having throughout, not only just around New Jersey and the East Coast, actually around the world, and it's very interesting to me that as we work with customers going forward, we see three consistent challenges that people are having today.


Now, these things change obviously over time, but again, these are the three primary challenges that we're seeing out there today with everybody that uses our system, everybody that comes to us about looking to manage their curriculum within our software. So the first and probably the biggest thing we're hearing today is around the concept of transparency.


So, you know, we may have a curriculum, and maybe we can view it to some extent internally, but we don't have anything for you forward facing. We're getting requests from parents, community and other people who want to get an idea of our curriculum. So with that concept of transparency, that's something that we have a module built out that we're going to actually start the conversation with showing you today.


It's the newest piece of our platform. Very excited about the second thing we're hearing a lot around is, inconsistency and challenges around alignment. So obviously, when we're talking about new standards in New Jersey, alignment is a big piece, but essentially, can you be able to go in at the unit level and at the course level and align and identify standards, whether they be priority standards, whether it be other standards you need to look at, and then when you're aligning and building those units and standards, do you have a standard framework to where essentially the curriculum looks the same across all levels of the organization, whether it be at the elementary level or whether it be at the secondary level.


And again, what we're going to show you today is some of the work that we've done around what we would call our template specifically for our customers in New Jersey. The last thing then that we're hearing a lot of because most of our customers typically come over from Google Docs is the ability to analyze the curriculum.


And obviously, if you're familiar with technology at all today, you're familiar with the concept of analytics. Can you can you run reports? Can you get information out of the system? Not just viewing your curriculum but be able to look for redundancies, look for gaps, look for alignment issues.


Kelsey is going to take you through those modules here in a couple of minutes, but we have what we call our curriculum blueprint. That's the piece that addresses your transparency issue. We have a module called Course Planner that allows you to essentially write out your course overviews, align to standards, look at scope and sequence, or even get into storyboarding, which is a relatively new piece of the platform.


So again, Kelsey is going to touch on that. Unit Planner has been around for a long time, being able to utilize kind of a scripted or backwards design approach to building out your units. And we've always had embedded professional learning again, because we focus only on curriculum, we're fortunate enough to have relationships with a lot of well-known thought leaders in the curriculum space, anywhere from Jay McTighe to Allison Zmuda to Heidi Hayes Jacobs.


They are all part of the Eduplanet team, and we utilize them to help us design, implement, and embed professional learning content to help make you successful. So, with that being said, I'm going to turn it over to Kelsey here, but essentially what she's going to take you through is in the software.


We're going to give you again that big overview picture of Curriculum Planner. Then she's actually going to demonstrate what we call our New Jersey template, and she's going to focus as she's doing on the alignment capability in the system, not only just New Jersey standards, but standards in general, and how they can be aligned, managed and so forth within our software.


So, again, welcome those of you who have just joined recently. The webinar is being recorded. And you will get a recording of the webinar upon completion. If you have any questions, either throw them out in the chat, or we'll open up the mic when Kelsey's done with her presentation, and we'll go from there.


So Kelsey, are you ready? I can stop sharing and turn it over to you. 

Implementing New Jersey's Revised ELA and Math Standards with Eduplanet21

Kelsey Jaskot: Sounds great. 


Jeff Colosimo: All right. 


Kelsey Jaskot: All right, and I'm going to take over screen share here. So, hey everybody, again, my name is Kelsey Jaskot. So, I lead our customer success team here at Eduplanet21. I also am fortunate enough to work with most of our New Jersey schools across the board.


So, today, I'm hoping this will be more of a tips and tricks for you, things that have been important to other schools in your area. That you can just start to get, you know, kind of your wheels turning and start to think about a bit. And as Jeff mentioned, we kind of have four key modules that all work together within Eduplanet to help you manage your curriculum.


So I'm going to kind of highlight just a couple of those today and some of the, you know, kind of key concepts that I've been focusing on with my schools. But I want to start off with what we call our curriculum blueprint. So it's not going to be a shocker to any of you on the line. The 2020 comprehensive health and phys ed standards and social studies standards kind of raised a few, I don't want to call them red flags, but you know, really started to get parents involved in the whole curriculum writing process, and started getting them questioning documents.


And that's where transparency has kind of, you know, raised to the top of the list for most administrators out there. We created the curriculum blueprint to address a lot of those concerns. It's a very limited view of curriculum documents across your entire district, and it just allows a parent and end user a board member, to come in via a public site.


And I'll show you what that looks like in just a second here to access it. As I said, a limited view of those documents. So the way this blueprint works is you can embed it right on your district's website. So you'll see right here that I have this as part of this menu on the left-hand side. And if I click on that blueprint, it just acts as an extension of my website here.


And what it allows me to do is instead of thinking about grade levels, so my grade one, grade two, and grade three, I'm looking more holistically at an entire subject area. So, for example, if I wanted to dive into science, and let's just pick on, uh, let's do grade six here. It's actually going to give me a quick little overview of what my kids should be learning in grade six science.


So at the top of the screen here I'm going to get a brief course overview that's just going to give me some of the highlights of what my kids will be learning over the course of the year. And as I scroll down a little bit you'll see just the names of each unit that my kids are going to move through.


Off on the right-hand side I can get a brief description of each of those units. And if you'd like to, you could even dive a little bit deeper and start to see what are some of the learning goals that are going to be addressed as part of this unit. But let me kind of pause here for a second because what I'd like to say to any of you on the line that are not working with us right now is this blueprint can really be kind of created and developed over time.


Think small with it to start. You could start briefly with just course overviews. So this is a great tool for all areas and those of you that are on the line that might just be an elementary school. Think of it as a subject area and grade level combination. So grade one math grade two English language arts.


It's just designed to kind of give a brief overview of what's going to be going on. You could do this as simply as just having kind of the unit names in a brief description and sharing that information out. Okay, so that's a step in the right direction as well without having kind of this view button here to be able to expand upon or you could dive deeper.


And like I said, actually take a look at what are the learning goals going to be for this particular unit that I'm looking at. And so this is going to be unit one, like matter. And when I talk about learning goals, I'm talking about our NJSLS, our understandings, essential questions, knowledge, skills, etc.


You'll see here I have that quick little description. standards off to the left that are being addressed. And this school in particular is using a backwards design approach. So I have things like my knowledge, my skills, etc.


But even thinking deeper now, I know there is no mandate around having this completely transparent yet, but incorporating other elements that QSAQ will require as well. Things like interdisciplinary standards, your content area practices, your career readiness and your computer science and design thinking.


And you also want to think about making those core resources visible as well. So the blueprint is a really excellent solution to kind of give you that one stop shop. Where you can choose how much information you'd like to make available to your parents and to your community. You can also start to dive in a little bit deeper.


And those of you who are sitting at an admin level right now, are there any elements that you'd like to highlight here? Things like your portrait of a graduate, or, you know, if you're focused on 21st-century skills or things like social-emotional learning competencies, you can actually create some kind of overarching pages here as well, just to deliver that information more effectively.


The same thing goes, guys, at the department level. If you have a philosophy, or supervisor information, or anything like that you'd like to put out to the general public, that is also a potential here. So, I will tell you that the first couple of schools to launch this curriculum blueprint were our New Jersey schools.


It really has been a focus for almost everybody on board at this point, to just get some level of transparency going into build on that over time. So I just wanted to kind of start and kick that off, and I'm happy to answer any questions on the blueprint kind of as we move along as well. But as we start to dive deeper into the software, I want you to think about how we build this blueprint?


What does that look like for an end user, for a teacher that might be coming in and actually developing curriculum? So we actually are going to start off with what we call Course Planner. So this is where I'm going to kind of start. set the stage, kind of create a shell of a course, but then I can start to add in some key components, things like my units and what are the goals going to be for that course.


So I just created a brief little training course here to show you, and I wanted to keep it pretty empty so I could add things as we go through. But you'll see course planner is almost like a wizard approach. It's going to take you through a couple of key steps, defining kind of a brief overview here on the left.


You'll see that you have an area here to add in any units that might be a part of this course, as well as any goals. And if you are a curriculum supervisor on the line or a department chair, somebody of that nature, who may be managing a small team as they dive into writing, I want you to pay attention to this piece because there are some really cool tools here to help you out.


But here on the overview page, is really just where I'm setting the stage. So that overview that we saw on the curriculum blueprint right here is where we can add that in. It's as easy as jumping into the text box. And as I click out, it is automatically saving just like a Google Doc in that way.


You'll also see some basic information here on the left where I can edit things like my course name. I could define, you know, how long will this course take me? Is it a one semester? Um, for example. your subjects, your grade levels, and you're seeing how things are automatically updating as we go along.


The next step to this is starting to define, well, what are some of those units going to be that I'm going to teach over the course of the year? And I put a couple of samples in here just to show you, but it's really as easy as kind of clicking the add button here off to the right. I can say I'd like to create a new unit.


Let's just say it's going to be unit four. Let's do a conflict resolution. You can choose your subject area's template, and I'm going to dig into this in just a couple of minutes, there's some specifics that we can do in regards to your particular template.


You can add a quick description and just add it to the list, and it really is that simple. So when you start to think about kind of creating a scope and sequence, for lack of a better term, just what am I going to be teaching and what is it about briefly? This is a great area to get a holistic view of that.


And you could add additional items in like pacing or, you know, which weeks of the year you're going to be teaching it, etc. There are also kind of some different views that you can utilize here just based on your personal preferences. So here's one that has some graphics, etc.


So I could add in an image here instead of kind of this brief little avatar that you're seeing. And I'll tell you at the elementary level, folks tend to kind of appreciate this grid view versus the traditional table. And then kind of on our last page here is an area where you can add in any goals that you may have for the course.


Now, guys, I know that this might seem like a lot, but you know as New Jersey schools, you have a lot of things that you need to incorporate into your curriculum documents. So not only are you looking at content standards, but you're also looking at interdisciplinary standards, your content area practices, your career readiness, and your computer science design thinking standards.


You've got mandates, so there are quite a few items that you're having to include. And if you're doing this in Google Docs right now, you're probably chasing your tail a little bit, trying to figure out and make sure that that's happening across the board. And this is an area where, as I said, if you were a supervisor or department chair, you're going to have a lot more control over what's going on.


You can actually sit down with your team if you'd like, or you can do it solo, and you can define what are the standards that you would like a teacher to be able to choose from as part of this course. So why that's important is if I'm a high school science, let's say I'm biology, I have a lot of standards that I would be choosing from in high school science across the board, right?


I'm actually able to narrow that down. So in this particular instance, I'm focused on school counseling. So I'm just going to click on my career readiness and I'm doing grade six here. Here are all of my standards for NJSLS career readiness grade six. And I can choose the standards that are most applicable to this particular course.


I can also prioritize those right here. And as I click out, you see how it kind of just added it right to my list here. And it kind of repeated it below under career readiness. because of the nature of the beast. What else is important here is your interdisciplinary standards. I do want to mention, we already have the math and ELA 2023 standards already available in the system.


So if I were incorporating elements of math into this, right, I'm just totally making this up. I can go through and I can add in some of those standards as well. And you're seeing how it adds it right in. All right, so for those of you that, which is all of you on the line, I'm sure, are going to be focused on building out their 2023 standards and cross-walking what you have from 16 and beyond, this is definitely a helpful tool for you.


Everything's available in a dropdown menu, makes it very, very easy to select and add as you go along. And I'll talk more about these different sections as we kind of roll into a unit, but at a high level, again, what you're doing is you're actually limiting what folks can access as they roll into unit design.


And I know for a lot of curriculum writers, you're doing it over the summer. You're getting a couple of volunteer folks to come in and support you in that. So this can be a step in the right direction to really help folks out. And as they start to incorporate these goals into their unit design, you'll actually see this little kind of map pin off to the right light up orange and tell you exactly where that's happening.


So this can be some great oversight for you as a leader to kind of come in and say, Okay, well, these are the goals that I'm saying we're going to address as part of this course. What's been addressed and what hasn't so far. Okay. And this can look very different for everyone. But I will tell you that most of my New Jersey schools are kind of using this format at a high level.


And when you're done creating this course, you can export it very easily. You can also export it with all of the units as you continue to build those out, which can be very helpful to hand to a board member or a parent who might need a deeper look. And again, we can limit how much information is shown there as well.


At this point, though, we actually dive into the unit level. So I can click on these three dots here to the right, and I can open up any of these units. And I actually already have this one opened up just for the sake of time, and I was playing around with it. This is diving into what we call Unit Planner.


So this is, I'm Irish, I always say this is the meat and potatoes of the platform. This is where you're going to be spending most of your time as a curriculum writer, really developing those units. It's where you're going to find things like your assessments and your learning activities along the way.


So Unit Planner utilizes a backwards design approach in most cases to help you design your curriculum. And it's designed to really guide users through the curriculum writing process. So here in your overview phase, you're going to just kind of set the stage for your unit. You know, what's the subject area, the grade levels?


And most of this is already kind of completing itself since you already kind of created that course shell at a high level. But I can say, you know what, this unit on effective communication and conflict resolution is probably going to take me two weeks. I'm going to teach it in the first two weeks of the semester.


You've got your unit number, etc. And you can add that, again, that brief description of what this unit's going to be about. You're also seeing an area here at the bottom for any prior learning connections. So, am I making relationships or connections to a previous grade level or a previous unit if this was later on?


But the meat and potatoes really is going to come out here in our Stage 1 Learning Goals section, especially with, like I mentioned, all of the different elements that you need to consider as a New Jersey school. We try to make this as seamless, and easy as possible for you, really limiting what options you have as you start to develop a unit.


So one of the important things to talk about here is we actually will create for you as a New Jersey school a subject area template for each discipline you have across the district. And what that does is it really allows us to limit, again, your choices of what you would see for content standards or for interdisciplinary standards, etc., as you move along.


So if I want to go in and add content standards here to this particular unit, again, we already talked about how, as a supervisor, you can limit options. So I have a course filter here at the bottom as I go to add my standards from a drop-down menu. But if I flip that on, just those content standards that I chose for the course will be made available, and I can go through as a user and select what I'd like to incorporate as part of this.


But for purposes of today, I want to show you kind of how this works. So I'm going to select my Career Readiness Life Literacy's Key Skills. I'm going to look at grades 6 through 8 here. Here again are all of my standards in a drop-down menu. Now I can search for keywords like communication. And any standards that have those available, I can go ahead and check off.


Or I could search for conflict resolution, etc., and save my changes. And you'll see how it brings those standards right here into the unit. I can then prioritize accordingly, etc, as necessary. As I scroll down a bit more to kind of this interdisciplinary standards section that's going to highlight any standards other than career readiness.


So now I have kind of full options that I can pick from those 2023 standards. I can say grade six here, and I can choose any particular standards that may be highlighting communication and conflict resolution here. Save my changes, and good to go. And you're seeing again how it's kind of separating them into the different sections.


So when I'm done, I can actually collapse those. And again, it's just kind of less to look at as I move through. And as I do my design work kind of also checks the box as you move along. As you scroll through, you're going to see additional sections too. Things like our content area practices. Again, those career readiness computer science standards.


You've got your career ready practices, your New Jersey mandates, etc. So in any of these areas, again, you're getting drop-down menus. You're getting a streamlined experience to help you design this curriculum much faster and more efficiently and give you the thought time to think about how do I create the best learning experiences for my kids.


You know, we always talk about with our schools, as you come on board, half the battle is formatting, half the battle is making sure that you are from a compliance mindset, checking all the boxes. We don't want that to be what curriculum writing is. We want this to be an engaging experience where, you know, you have the ability to really transform education for your kids.


If you have the time to do it, to put your energy into that versus the formatting and the clicking, right? So really, just streamlining that is very important to us. I do want to talk about this New Jersey mandate section here. I think that's very important as well. What we did was take all of the mandates that are available.


So Asian American, LGBTQ, our instruction on diversity, inclusion, etc, made those all available and drop down menus as well, so that you can really align to what you're focusing on as part of this unit. The reason that's so important is I can then run a report as an administrator to see where these mandates are not occurring.


Are we adequately representing these across the board? That's something that you just can't get with Google Docs or Microsoft Word. It's something that's very important. And since you're supposed to be kind of aligning these to those key activities and where is that really happening, our software is really going to make that a breeze for you.


And I'm going to show you that in just a couple of minutes here. I also encourage you to think about any additional goals that you might have for your district. Things like your profile of a graduate and incorporating those key elements so that it's not just another initiative that's hanging out there.


Making it something that's meaningful because we're embedding it into the curriculum. And then you'll really start to get to kind of the root of this unit here. What are some of the understandings or essential questions? Maybe knowledge or skills. If you're a school that's not utilizing the Understanding by Design framework like this particular school, that is perfectly okay.


You may see student learning targets here, or you might see some level of, you know, knowledge, skills, essential questions, and that is perfectly okay as well. To add a goal in any of these areas, it's so simple. You can click add, go ahead and type in your goal, save your changes, and and you're good to go.


You can also create drop-down menus within these sections as well. If you're kind of coming back to a consistent essential question or a consistent skill, and you'd like to see how that's developed over time. So on the whole, this learning goal section, again, is really helping to drive some of the needs of those New Jersey schools.


And from a QSAC perspective, then you can get a quick PDF of this. Or I have schools that, you know, actually walk through this with a state representative. Because it's sectioned off, it gives them a very clear view of how they are incorporating these key elements.


Now as I move along, kind of past that goal section, you're getting into just the root of curriculum writing. Now I'm into my assessment evidence, and then I'm going to kind of gravitate into my learning plan here in a minute. But as far as assessment evidence goes, you know, this is pretty basic. Now you do have, as part of New Jersey, a couple of different types of assessments that you're required to do.


We make it very, very easy to define what is the assessment type across the board. Now you'll kind of see here, I created a brief assessment on conflict resolution skills. I've got my objective, my materials, and brief instructions as to what I should be doing as part of this assessment.


You can also see how we have a section here that's going to ask you for your evaluative criteria. So really challenge you to think about, do I have a rubric created or what am I looking for? 


Now I can add in any resources here, URLs, upload files from my computer, etc., that are going to be meaningful. But what I really want to talk about here is the alignment section on the left-hand side. So you'll see that now, once I've created this assessment, I could actually click into that little pencil on the left, and I can choose what are the standards that I'm focusing on as part of this assessment.


What are some of the mandates that I might be addressing? What are the understandings or the essential questions, etc. And you'll see how it kind of lays that out and aligns here to the left. But at a high level, I can then kind of come up to the top of my screen to our little lollipop, map pin, turkey baster, I've heard them all.


And on the left-hand side here you've got what we call our unit alignment check. So this is going to show you all of the goals that you've said you want to achieve with this particular unit. And now as I look across, I'm able to see, do I have an assessment that is meeting the needs of those goals?


And do I have a learning activity here in stage three? And again, this is a school that's using the understanding-by-design framework. So this might look slightly different for you, but ultimately as I'm doing my curriculum writing, I'm able to come in here and see for each goal I have, let's just use communication skills and responsible behavior in addition to education experience, etc. 


I'm assessing my kids on this, whether or not they know it, but I've never taught it to them. So how do I think they're going to do on that assessment? Or if this were vice versa, right? So using intensive pronouns, if I were teaching to it, but I had a gap here, a red box, that tells me I'm teaching it to my kids, but I'm never assessing them for it.


So how do I know that they know that? This can be a great check and balance for you as a writer, as a leader, as you move through to see where you might have some potential gaps and where you might need to go back and do some further writing.


And the same thing can happen here in your Stage 3 learning plan. And I have schools that use this all across the board, anywhere from kind of a daily lesson planner to just kind of a resource library. What are some well-aligned activities that I could use with my students? Here's a conflict resolution role-playing game I've created.


You'll see a brief description of that learning activity up above. And at the bottom, any extensions or modifications. So, what are some ways that I can extend this learning opportunity for kids that are moving along a little bit quicker? What are some ways I can modify it to meet the needs of the students in my classroom?


But the same thing goes guys; over on that left-hand side, I can go in, and I can align to those standards and goals as you see fit, as well as any assessments here.


And kind of the last phase here is any core resources that you may have. Now this is important again because if we went back to that curriculum blueprint, you saw how we were actually pulling through core resources for each of those units. And that is something that, you know, if this is mandated, if transparency becomes mandated, you'll be required to kind of highlight those resources.


So this gives you a nice little area here at the end to put in any resources that every child will be experiencing. Meanwhile, you can also kind of house some resources more internally here in kind of stage two and stage three. So you will have noticed on the Curriculum Blueprint that the only thing that's coming through when I click on that view button are my learning goals here and my core resources.


So everything that lives in my assessments and learning plan is kept behind the curtain. That is for, you know, school use, and you determine as far as how much you decide to share with parents. But as far as that blueprint goes, we're really only highlighting the learning goals here.


So again, just an opportunity for you to kind of think about what are your core resources and any overarching comments. I mean, this is a workspace just for teachers and leaders to be able to collaborate and make sure that you're being effective in your curriculum design. We challenge you to kind of add comments as you're moving through, ask questions of each other and kind of work together to build out these units of study.


One of the beautiful parts about Eduplanet is when I'm done with this, I can definitely go ahead and export this, and have this as a PDF if I'd like to, but you can actually control how much information goes out to the Curriculum Blueprint. So everything that I was just doing as I was kind of clicking through, that's all behind the scenes.


Nobody sees that until a district administrator kind of comes back to that course and says, yep, we're ready to let me go ahead and publish that to my Curriculum Blueprint. That way, everything kind of becomes visible across the board. So again, I kind of went through most of our key modules as far as how you might build up to this transparent curriculum, but as far as implementing those 2023 standards again, for the schools that have been with us, we were actually able to crosswalk their current documents with the 2016 standards, and we were able to do a massive find and replace for them. Which was super, super helpful for the schools that have been on board.


As far as moving forward those standards are already available in dropdown menus for very easy selection. We have all grade levels available and ready to go, and you're able to hop right into Unit Planner and start developing those units using those 2023 standards at any point in time.


So again, I really enjoy working with my New Jersey districts. This is one of my most challenging states to work with, just because of the amount of different components that you are required to incorporate it. Just wanted to take a moment and give you some tips and tricks and things to think about as you dive into your upcoming curriculum writing.


So, Jeff, I'll hand it back over to you. 


Jeff Colosimo: Great. Well, thanks, Kelsey. Great job. Great overview of the platform, as usual. If anyone has any interest or follow-up questions regarding Eduplanet, please just reach out directly to us.


You can find us on our website,, or from the information from the webinar, you can respond when we send you the recording and so forth. So again, everybody, have a great day. Thanks for attending, and we look forward to talking with you soon. 


Kelsey Jaskot: Take care, everybody.

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