School Outreach and Research, Kiddom
Obsessed with talking to schools and districts to find out what they need. Former professional tennis coach/guru. Takes all things related to the University of Michigan and the Detroit Red Wings WAY too seriously.
The level of stress placed on professionals in K-12 education has become a major issue. Technology is supposed to help, but because school employees don’t have a voice in how tools are made, the tech they’re provided often just adds more frustration. We want to give them that voice. You can read more about our mission below, or click here to schedule a 10-15 minute interview with us and help educators everywhere.
Visit any public school near dismissal and you’ll see something that should be deeply concerning: adults looking beat up, overworked, and stressed out because they’re expected to be superhumans for young people.
61% of teachers claim their work days are “always” or “often” stressful. And school administrators aren’t far behind. Both teachers and leaders are subject to unrealistic expectations and impossible workloads, which coupled with low salaries inevitably leads to poor mental health and professional burnout.
What I’ve learned so far from those conversations is that there is a disconnect between curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
My name is Ross and for the majority of my life, I’ve seen and/or experienced first-hand what educators must endure on a day to day basis. I’m deeply concerned about the compassion fatigue plaguing our classrooms. And my concern is rooted both personally and professionally.
I come from a family of public school teachers. My grandmother was a teacher and my mother is about to retire from teaching. Their service inspired me to pursue my own path to teaching, which I did by teaching tennis and life skills in schools and sports clubs for fourteen years. Oh and by the way, I’m engaged to an ELA teacher.
Recently, I left teaching tennis to join Kiddom, a growing education technology organization that builds easy-to-use tools to help teachers save time. At Kiddom, educator input is in our design DNA. We speak to as many teachers and admins as possible to learn what they think will make a measurable impact on their work-life balance and quality of life.
What I’ve learned so far from those conversations is that there is a disconnect between curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Curriculum comes from inconsistent places; publishers, free providers, and custom curriculum created by schools/districts are all common. And then how it’s actually stored varies greatly. Maybe it lives in a “curriculum management” product, or a Google or Microsoft shared drive, and sometimes even in physical binders that get looked at once or twice a year.
Because none of those options are connected to the gradebooks or other tools teachers use on a day to day basis, measuring the efficacy of curriculum, instruction, and assessment as a whole becomes a daunting task. It requires pulling information from many different sources for each teacher and each class.
But it’s also a hugely important thing to be able to do if you’re trying to improve learning outcomes. So what happens? Admins spend countless hours trying to gather all that information and eventually get burnt out. Or worse, teachers are asked to enter information in multiple sources and become part of that 61% who are stressed out. It’s simply not sustainable.
So, how can we help? By actually talking to those who see it and live it every day. No two schools are the same, they all have unique challenges. By giving them a voice, we can build tools that improve their quality of life today and as their needs grow and change.
I love talking to people who work in schools. So if what I just said resonated with you, here’s a link to schedule a 15 min chat. At Kiddom, we believe well-designed curriculum affords teachers the opportunity to help students meaningfully connect with the subject matter and engage in deeper learning. Help us help your teachers by being our teacher advocate.
Thank you for your service to young people, and talk to you soon!
P.S. Passionate people are busy. So if our schedules don’t align, but you want to help: here’s a survey.
Kiddom Academy picks up where the LMS leaves off, offering an operating system for K-12 schools and districts to measure and act on classroom intelligence. We define a K-12 operating system as a set of interconnected tools to enable schools to operate more productively, increase student outcomes, and improve upon their respective instructional models.
What People Are Saying
“Kiddom is great for assessing data and then assigning appropriate work based on individual student performance. I love that it’s very easy to attach standards and rubric to every assignment.”
Jackie Curts, Middle School Teacher
“Using Kiddom has made me stop and ask ‘Am I just letting this student repeat what they already know or am I really challenging them?’”
Ann Leghorn, High School Literacy Specialist
“I can see where my class and any student is at any moment in their educational journey. This way I can take action to assist them to work towards mastery.”
Mr. Albrecht, High School Teacher
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Responding to a recent shift from curriculum analysis to culture change, author Geoffrey Schmidt argues that the two cannot be separated.