Taking Charge of Implementing New Curriculum District-Wide (Santa Clara Unified School District)

June 10, 2011
Audrey Stokes Associate Product Manager, Education
Common Sense Media
San Francisco, CA
CATEGORIES In the Classroom

How can you take charge to enact a change in curriculum across an entire school district? Kathie Kanaval, Coordinator of Instructional Technology for Santa Clara Unified school district has some great tips. Read on to discover how Kathie integrated Common Sense Media’s Digital Citizenship Curriculum in all middle schools and high schools in her district.


  1. Identify possible schedule opportunities: Trying to find space in your school’s academic schedule for additional curriculum can be difficult. Check if there is time already set aside for a technology-based curriculum that might need updating. Kathie found a time period set aside for Tech Literacy and used Common Sense Media’s Digital Citizenship curriculum to update and bolster the lessons that were already in place. Note: If your school doesn’t already have time set aside for a technology-based curriculum, consider teaching Common Sense’s lessons alongside other courses, such as Social Studies, Science, or even English. Many of the Common Sense lessons share themes with these subjects.
  2. Build excitement: When Kathie notified schools of the change in curriculum she made a point of mentioning the successes that surrounding districts had already experienced with Digital Citizenship.
  3. Share your vision: Kathie brought all of the teachers that would be teaching Digital Citizenship together to discuss the new materials and how to build them into the existing curriculum. This step helped build confidence with the new curriculum components and let teachers plan ahead.
  4. Practice makes perfect: To familiarize teachers with the new Digital Citizenship curriculum, Kathie organized a training day. Having a chance to practice integrating Digital Citizenship into material from the schools’ technology classes ensured a seamless transition in the classroom.
  5. Make sure someone is a “project overseer”: Delegating someone to monitor your curriculum integration plan is a must. This person is in charge of watching schedule and monitoring all integration-related communication. Kathie points out that a simple way to keep your project overseer in the loop is to “cc” that person on all integration-related emails. Then if issues arise or the schedule changes, you’re only one person away from enacting a solution.
  6. Show off your hard work: After you’ve integrated Digital Citizenship into your curriculum, make sure you take a little time to highlight the changes and show the community what’s been accomplished. Provide access to local media and other media outlets. Kathie even filmed student engagement and learning in some of her Tech Literacy classes.