The rise in custom curriculum publishing gives schools more flexibility as they work to prepare students for college or a career, advocates say.

In a new trend made possible by advancements in digital publishing, a number of K-12 schools and colleges are working with textbook publishers to create customized curriculum content that meets their own unique needs.

The rise in custom curriculum publishing gives schools more flexibility as they work to prepare students for college or a career, advocates say.

The Sweetwater Union High School District of Southern California, for example, has partnered with education publisher Pearson on a project to boost the college and workforce readiness of its graduates. Together, they created a custom program to support the district’s seventh through 12th graders in meeting their literature goals.

Pearson collaborated with literacy leaders in the district to develop affordable, customized texts that enabled students to interact with relevant, real-world readings in the core curriculum.

“Sweetwater wanted to make sure students could make the connection between content and their lives, so we created tailored content that included literature, newspapers, ads, editorial content, short stories, workplace documents, poems, and more,” says Don Kilburn, CEO of Pearson Learning Solutions. “They didn’t want just a traditional approach, with literature and novels. They wanted to be involved in a very contemporary and new set of materials.”

Creating their own courses by finding the newspapers, magazines, and other contemporary content would have been expensive and time-consuming, Kilburn says. By working with Pearson to create a custom publishing solution, the district was able to “improve the relevance of texts to our students’ interests and needs,” says Jennifer Currie, a teacher for Sweetwater’s academic support team.