WordPress Training and Curriculum in High School

WordPress Training and Curriculum in High School

Throughout the spring semester, I have been training high school students in all things WordPress.  As a member of the WordPress Training Team, this was a great chance to test out the curriculum that we’ve been writing as a team.  I get so excited to see people go from novice to advanced and how this can benefit their interests and needs.  I love seeing students “get it” and asking great questions that keep the learning process moving forward.  When presented with the opportunity to step back into the classroom as a long-term substitute teacher, I jumped into action.

Why WordPress?

Within the WordPress community, this seems like an obvious answer.  But in the educational world, this is a much bigger question.  Public education will first look to the curriculum created for their program, which is exactly where I looked.

With a thorough review of each organization, it was easy to show how WordPress can address the specific standards that each organization has put forth.    The key was not to sell what I could offer based upon my skills in WordPress, but to present the curriculum I was proposing by how it could address the educational standards.  Primarily, the school expressed a need for career education related to website administration on the class website and the instructor that I am filling in for shared that any area I was interested in instructing that fell within the realm of Computer Information Systems would work.

My school is looking for a 2-3 month sub certified in "Business, Computers and Information Technology (K-12)". You get…

Posted by Chris Champion on Friday, January 8, 2016

From installing a content management system on each student’s own web server account to building plugins and child themes, this group of students has advanced in their website administration skills.

WordPress Curriculum

I knew I would have from January 25 – May 2, 2016 for 3 hours daily with my students.  I approached our rough curriculum roadmap based upon the time, abilities, prior knowledge, and existing training materials available.

WordPress Power User

  • WordPress.com vs self-hosted
    • Also what can be found on WordPress.org
  • How to install WordPress locally (using Desktop Server)
  • Administration Dashboard overview
  • Setting up your website
  • Finding a theme (default themes and themes from the WordPress Repository)
  • Posts and Pages (when to use each)
  • Managing Widgets
  • Managing Menus
  • Managing Media
  • Managing Comments
  • Adding Plugins (from WordPress Repository)
    • Contact form
    • SEO
    • Backups
    • Caching
    • Security
    • Social media sharing
  • Theme Customizer
  • Managing Theme, Plugin, and Core updates
  • Migrating from WordPress.com to self-hosted (students previously built portfolios on WordPres.com)
  • Managing Users

WordPress: Careers, Open Source, and News

  • Overview of all the WordPress teams and how they work
  • WordPress events
    • WordCamps, Meetups, and unofficial conferences
  • Places to learn more about WordPress
    • WordPress.tv content
    • WordPress current news
    • Podcasts about WordPress
    • Youtube shows and training videos
  • Types of careers related to WordPress
    • Front-End developer
    • Back-End developer
    • Full-Stack developer
    • Plugin developer
    • Theme developer
    • Customer support
    • Project manager
    • Technical writer
    • Community manager
    • Agency worker
    • Freelancer

Commercial Themes and Starter Theme Frameworks

After getting the basics of how to be a great user of WordPress, I wanted to expose students to the current landscape of what is possible.  The themes that I selected to show students:

  • Genesis theme, Magazine Theme Pro child theme – I wanted students to be familiar with one of the largest theme frameworks on the market today.  They were provided the same instructions that all customers receive, and went about configuring their site layout using widgets for styling.  I also had students install the Genesis Simple Hooks plugin and customize a few settings this way.
  • Headway Themes – the original drag/drop theme in WordPress.  Personally it is my favorite, but may not be for everyone.
  • Visual Composer – this one is on the future plans.  I haven’t reached this yet, but would like to show students one more option that seems to be fairly popular.
  • Underscores – this will be near the end of our time together, as building a theme from Underscores will take some advanced programming skills.

After students are exposed to all these options, I plan to have them create a child theme themselves, and then write a blog post clarifying which theme they preferred to work with and why.


With Plugins, I want students to understand both how to write their own beginner level plugins, as well as using several popular commercial plugins.


  • Creating a boilerplate
  • Create a plugin that cc’s an email when someone leaves a comment on the site
  • Create a plugin that customizes the welcome message new users receive
  • Create a plugin that displays a copyright notice on the screen
  • Create a plugin that displays a copyright notice on RSS feeds

These plugins are a combination of actions and filters.

Commercial Plugins

  • Gravity Forms
  • The Events Calendar Pro
  • Beaver Builder

Follow Along

Over the next few days and weeks, I’ll be posting the tools and companies that donated or offered our class discounts to make this possible. Stay tuned.

Do you see any glaring omissions in areas that are important when learning WordPress? Please, let me know in the comments below!

Seeking WordPress training employment

After May 2, 2016, I will likely be finished in the classroom.  The exact date will depend entirely upon the regular instructor‘s work release from his doctor.  Ideally, I’d like to find employment as a remote worker that would be ideal for WordPress training, content strategy, and customer support.  I have a decade of classroom instruction and curriculum writing, including community college and adult education, as well as additional experience as a public speaker.  I am familiar in most anything multimedia related, including livestreaming a 4 camera setup and podcast creation and production.  I have published a technical guide to LinkedIn.

Oh, and I have a baby on the way August 24th.  Ideally, remote working for an agency would be fantastic.  Should that not fit the plans, freelancing will be calling me back.

Interested? Know of a great connection or a place that is hiring?  Contact me.

By Courtney Engle Robertson

From high school business education to the WordPress Training team, Courtney helps people of all skill levels get their message out. She lives in south-central Pennsylvania, loves coffee, plays the mandolin, and has a very large vegetable garden.

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