Beyond Textbooks

At the turn of the century, the Vail Unified School District was considered average by the state of Arizona. Thanks to a program called Beyond Textbooks, however, the district has become one of the state’s top performers.

Beyond Textbooks, or BT, has completely changed the way the district does business. It is a digital curriculum designed to create efficiencies and collaboration among teachers.  But it’s not just a matter of going paperless.

It includes the BT Website (the digital version of curriculum); specific materials (intentionally selected resources); curriculum calendars (when is teach it and for how long); unwrapped documents (what mastery looks like); essential standards (what students must learn); common formatives (quick check to see if students are learning); and reteach and enrich (a mandatory and school-wide response to formative data).

By digitizing the curriculum, making changes is easier and more efficient. BT allows teachers to do the things that matter — developing differentiated instruction, re-teaching ideas, and building connections with students and parents — instead of dealing with piles of paper stuffed in binders.

BT has grown well beyond Vail’s borders. Since 2010, staff has provided more than 1,765 trainings across Arizona and other states. Over 44,000 educators have been trained in those trainings. Further, BT’s annual Super Conferences draws more than 600 attendees from 60 plus organizations.