Environment, Community, Opportunity (ECO) Charter School, Camden, New Jersey
Our community includes key education stakeholders across a variety of demographic groups. Camden, New Jersey, sits directly across the Delaware River from Philadelphia. The city has seen its share of economic struggles; in 2005, the city’s school system was taken over by the state. 2009 NCLB results for the Camden City School District indicates that the district as “Needs Improvement” status.
Antoinette Dendtler, Ph.D., wanted a new solution for Camden students. In 2005, she founded the Environment, Community, Opportunity (ECO) Charter School. Her school provides instruction for grades K-5.
One challenge faced by all school administrators is teacher retention, and Dr. Dendtler’s charter school was no exception. When teachers left, they took all of their institutional knowledge with them. Her school needed a content repository to ensure stability in instruction during the transitions.
ECO teachers used Curriki to create a “living repository” of the school’s curricula. It enabled new teachers to see exemplary work posted by experienced teachers in past years, and provided a continuity of learning for the students if a staff member moves on.
In addition to sharing classroom resources between teachers, the school could share the repository with parents and school stakeholders from a single, easy-to-access source.
After participating in a Curriki-led professional development session, teachers used their Curriki group to upload, share and organize their content. They loved the convenience and access it gave them in their school. Said one 1st grade science teacher, “It also allowed me to look over my colleagues plans to see if we could work together on topics.” A kindergarten teacher made this comment: “I like that we are able to keep a virtual copy of all of our lesson plans and are able to access other teachers’ plans in order to help with our teaching.”
By adding their content to the website, the Camden teachers instantly gained access to Curriki’s global community of educators. They could take advantage of the Curriki Review System to gain feedback from the staff of expert subject reviewers, and they could use the contributed resources they found on the site to extend their own material.
In their first year using Curriki, ECO teachers contributed nearly 1000 content resources!