Tips for Succeeding in Your School’s Curriculum Search

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In a marketplace saturated with options, the search for curriculum and other instructional resources can be a difficult process for educators. All K-12 stakeholders from curriculum directors to classroom teachers should know the methods districts employ to discover and evaluate the resources that make it to students. In “7 Ways to Conquer a Curriculum Search,” Mindy Sinyak, VP of Customer Success, Noodle Markets, reviewed essential tips schools and districts can use to succeed in their search for curriculum and instructional resources.

student raising handLead Time
Outreach to suppliers is key, whether it is for textbooks, supplements, or apps–paid or free. The first step towards success in a curriculum search is to give vendors enough lead time to get you the information you need. Not only will this ensure a response to your request, but it will also provide vendors with enough time to respond with the best possible resources. According to Mindy, schools should give at least a three-week lead time. This also leaves time to loop in all the stakeholders at the school as responses and new information are coming in.

Assessment Components and Standards
Next, if you are interested in an assessment component that comes with the curriculum, make sure to state specifics of what you need, such as which types of questions, how periodically they are administered, etc. You may already know which assessments work best with the curriculum based on your state’s tests. Make sure to be clear on whether or not you need an assessment component with your curriculum, as it can greatly affect cost.

While standards alignment can be flexible, it is not always this way. If your school has a strict set of standards it adheres to, look at curriculum products that are aligned to those standards. Most vendors will advertise the standards they are aligned to, while some vendors may even be willing to do additional standards alignment for a cost.

Tech Specifications
Also important is to be clear about the details of your school’s technology. Indicate things in your request like your network’s operating system, if you’re a 1:1 school, and if you have WiFi capabilities. Some vendors may even be able to integrate with a product you’re already using, making for a huge cost savings.

Flexibilitystudent & teacher high five
To be as efficient as possible, Mindy says to look for opportunities to combine requests. If you are looking for different products for grades 6–8 as well as K–3, combine the requests so vendors who can provide an all inclusive package can respond with information on deals on services or licenses, since you are going to be buying more from that one vendor. As another option, schools can advertise in their request that vendors can respond to whatever components they can provide. Also, let the vendors know if your school is flexible. “One of the most common reasons we hear from vendors who do not respond is that they cannot meet a certain part of this request,” said Mindy. To avoid this, be sure to note what are must haves and what are “nice to haves.”

Details, details, details
Last, but most important, is to put together a complete and accurate request to get the best responses for what you need. Vendors might not respond without details like number of students or implementation dates. Even include a budget or estimated budget. While schools may feel reluctant to do this, vendors know they need to give a fair price to stay competitive. This also saves schools time because vendors will not send a quote for something they know is too far out of a budget. Schools and districts no longer have to be intimidated by the purchasing process. By following these tips, they can succeed in getting new products into the classroom and into the hands of teachers and students.

This broadcast was hosted by and sponsored by Noodle Markets.

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This article was modified and published by eSchool News.

About the Presenter

Mindy Sinyak, VP of Customer Success, Noodle Markets, is responsible for ongoing support of districts, vendors, independent, and charter schools at Noodle Markets. Specifically, she ensures that clients successfully use the Noodle Markets platform from onboarding and training to customer support. Mindy establishes, documents, and facilitates efficient and effective business processes and tools to support platform initiation and adoption. She has 13+ years of experience in the K-12 education industry. Prior to joining Noodle Markets, Mindy was the director of implementation services for the Schoolnet product at Pearson. She worked with the top 125 school districts and state agencies from discovery to implementation and training on Schoolnet’s curriculum and assessment platform. Mindy started her career as a business process consultant with Price Waterhouse Coopers. She has a Bachelors of Science in systems engineering from Washington University in St. Louis and an MBA from George Washington University. Mindy enjoys taking ski trips with her husband and two little boys.

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