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  • Writer's pictureMelanie Hood-Wilson

The Magic of Customization

I’ve spent this week working with a wonderful group of teachers. Their mission is to prepare 30 students a year to go off into the world prepared for employment. Their students are all over the age of 18 and under the age of 21. They all have special needs. Their students are not working towards high school diplomas; their students will complete public school with a certificate of attendance because their academic skill levels are not up to Maryland diploma standards.

I was recruited by their school system to design an office skills program for these students. The project started off as it typically would- research with the department of labor, local employers, a focus group of office professionals. I sat down to translate that information into a curriculum, a rich scope and sequence inclusive of essential office skills and computer skills utilizing the most common software suite used in business, Microsoft office. And then the magic happened.

I spent two days this week in meetings with this very knowledgeable group of teachers. We reviewed the scope and sequence. I received in-depth feedback from them about their students, their students’ abilities, and how they felt the curriculums would be received, could be implemented, and what exceeded reasonable expectations for their students. I made adjustments. I delivered sample lessons at their request. I walked them through the software and trained them in teaching it. I deleted some learning goals. I added some learning goals. I rethought how the students should enter their training in the software.

None of these tweaks, none of this retooling would have been possible without the communication and the collaboration that took place with this team of teachers. They are the customer, the client, but also my partners. This is what customization looks like.

When one hires a tailor to build a beautiful bespoke suit, that tailor has to take measurements. That client has to be present to be measured, present for fittings; it is a collaborative effort. In order for that suit to fit the way that it should, being built specifically for that client’s body, both parties have to be present and the tailor has to be open to making adjustments and even rethinking the suit so that the client will have the best fit possible.

This is the work of customizing curriculum. this is the work of Melanie Hood-Wilson and Associates, LLC.

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