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Mockingbird Education


Mockingbird Education


When commercial curriculum does not fit an organization’s needs, a custom-developed curriculum is the best solution.  A customized curriculum increases the impact of learning when it targets specific learner needs and incorporates a program’s organizational principles, vocabulary, and educational philosophy. 

Mockingbird Education engages research-based instructional strategies for instruction and contextualizes content according to client needs and industry standards.  Curriculum development is a specialized and technical field of expertise.  As such, we work closely with clients and stakeholders during the curriculum development process to help clients make informed and practical curriculum decisions.

Custom Curriculum Questions

We develop a wide range of  Humanistic curriculum.  Curriculum ranges from individual courses to entire programs. We specifically write curriculum to meet the needs of vulnerable learners.

 Vulnerable learners are learners who are emotionally, socially, and/or developmentally susceptible to harm and whose existing range of options are severely limited by  barriers present in their lives.  Some of these barriers include academic deficiency, poverty, incarceration, trauma, substance abuse, homelessness, instability, gang involvement, and second language acquisition. 

Additional barriers include employability challenges such as unemployment, dislocated workers, job skill training, and certificate attainment in adult basic education.   These vulnerabilities and limitations impact success in a classroom.  Mockingbird Education designs specialized curriculum to successfully guide vulnerable learners through classroom and instructional experiences.

A Humanistic curricula focuses on the learner experience. It is also called person-centered education and is centered on the work of humanistic psychologists, most notable Abraham Maslow (search Maslow's heirarchy of needs). Empathy, caring about learners, and a genuineness on the role of the educator are key traits of the most effective Humanstic Curriculum.  The Humanistic approach seeks to engage the 'whole' learner including intellect, emotion, and social capacities that are important for growth and development.


A humanistic framework  contains five elements of design.  These elements are participation, variation, integration, self, and relevancy. 

 We have developed a wide range of curricula for a wide variety of clients.  We have written curricula that serves only a few learners and for classes that only last a couple of hours.  We have also written curricula for schools that serve hundreds of learners and is implemented over the course of months or even years.

Some of our recent projects include:


I am an Entrepreneur!

  • Curriculum is a youth entrepreneur curriculum that helps young adults establish their first entrepreneurial business.  Curriculum is being translated to Swahali and is currently serving vulnerable youth in 3 African countries with plans for expansion to additional countries.
  • Client: International, based in United States.


Ready to Launch!

  • Curriculum Micro-lending Entrepreneurship Curriculum that helps young entrepreneurial adults create a business plan for a developed  business idea and pitch this idea to potential investors.Curriculum is being translated to Swahili and is currently serving vulnerable youth in 3 Africa countries.
  • Client: International, based in United States

I am READY!*

  • Curriculum is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) curriculum for gang involved youth and other vulnerable learners in Central America. Curriculum is being translated to Spanish, and will serve youth in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.  
  • Client: International, based in El Salvador


College Ready!

  • Curriculum is mentorship curriculum for high school learners who are interested in attending college.   Curriculum pairs high school students with adult mentors.  Curriculum is used in high schools throughout the United States.
  • Client: national, based in New York


Mental Toughness 2

  • Curriculum is college readiness curriculum for vulnerable learners interested in attending college.  Curriculum is implemented in a national network of vocational and alternative education programs in the US
  • Client: national, based in Boston

*I am READY! is a variation of Mockingbird Education’s  I am Ready!  Methodology curriculum.

Organizations and programs that serve vulnerable learners often need customized curriculum solutions because vulnerable learners have unique learning needs.  Vulnerable learners often struggle with content but they also struggle with the psychological aspects of learning such as motivation, esteem, and confidence. 

Mockingbird writes curriculum that meets the both content and psychological needs of learners. Curriculum is developed from the core principles of the Mockingbird Methodology to ensure that psychological needs are met in addition to the curriculum's content needs.


Mockingbird doesn't always have the content expertise for a specific curriculum request. 

When content topics are outside of Mockingbird's expertise, we find the content experts (or work with yours) to  translate the information into a learner friendly curriculum for vulnerable learners.  Our expertise is in the creation of curriculum for vulnerable learners.  We work with clients to secure the most appropriate content expertise needed when we do not already have the content expertise  within Mockingbird Education.

Curriculum Development Questions

Mockingbird works collaboratively with stakeholders to design and develop a specialized curriculum that  uniquely contextualizes  content and instruction.  Mockingbird designs and develops curriculum with a humanistic and dual design approach.  Additionally, Mockingbird spirals curriculum and engages forward, backward, and central design processes.  Most importantly, curriculum is developed and designed to be active and accessible to even the most reluctant learners.  Humanistic curriculum design, dual design, spiraling, and active learning are research-based strategies and approaches that have been demonstrated to be effective for vulnerable learner populations.

Development includes many areas including:

  • Strategy and creation
  • Standardization
  • Scalability
  • Assessment
  • Adherence with state, federal, and/or industry standards and competencies

Mockingbird curriculum development is a three stage process.  We call these stages Hatch, Fledge, and Fly.

Curriculum development begins with a two day HATCH Design Studio workshop.  During HATCH Design Studio, a trained curriculum designer guides clients and stakeholders through curriculum analysis to find solutions to address the unique needs of  the proposed curriculum.  A Curriculum designer helps clients make critical decisions regarding standards, competencies, scope and sequence, content contextualization, assessment, scalability, organizational branding (and more).  These decisions become the blueprint for curriculum development and serve as a framework for the development phase. 

Design Studio Outcomes:


  • Which standards/benchmarks are applicable?
  • What are the curriculum’s learning outcomes, results, objectives (Backward Design)?
  • What are the content essential questions, key concepts, critical learning goals? (Forward Design)?
  • What organizational contexts (ex: teacher skill variance), or instructional dimensions (ex: limited planning time) require integration(Organizational Context Design)?
  • What organizational values, philosophies, expectations, competencies or standards need design creation and/or integration(Brand/Identity Design)?




Mockingbird Education develops curriculum according to the blueprint designed within the Design Studio.  Depending upon curriculum outcomes and expectations,  Mockingbird instructional designers can utilize up to four 4 dimensions of curriculum development.  During the development phase, curriculum is written and curriculum products are produced. The following curriculum products are common curriculum products and deliverables:

•Curriculum Scope and Sequence Maps
•Curriculum Overview Map
•Reproducible Facilitation Guide for each unit
•Reproducible Learner Guide  for each unit
•All supporting resources, posters, and materials
•Train-the-Trainer (TOT) Instructional Guide

During FLEDGE, Mockingbird instructional designers schedule and organize response and feedback sessions with clients and stakeholders.  These sessions serve as  checkpoints and evaluation sessions and ensure curriculum develops according to client expectations and needs.


Mockingbird Education provides a FLY Train the Trainer workshop after curriculum is complete.   During FLY,  Mockingbird facilitators teach trainers how to deliver the curriculum and  how to use curriculum products such as scope and sequence maps, facilitator guides, learner guides, resources, etc. 

During the curriculum pilot, the client implements the curriculum for the first time.  Our instructional designers collaborate with and provide support to client facilitators or project managers throughout pilot implementation.  Additionally, Mockingbird may make adaptations to curriculum according to  feedback, assessments, and evaluations provided by clients and stakeholders. These modifications and adaptations are typically completed after pilot implementation.



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