Why Choose CSA?
We approach projects the “CSA Way,” which is built on respect, collaboration, and quality. We strive to build long-term relationships with our clients by providing the best service level possible. We have built the CSA Way based on the following best practices:
CSA strongly emphasizes project planning before our work begins. This ensures that the entire team is on the same page, and it increases efficiency throughout the project lifecycle.
CSA works with the client to determine a communication plan: how status is reported, how updates are communicated, how feedback is given, the types and frequency of team meetings, and the format and frequency of email communications. We believe that ongoing transparency and open discussion are key to a successful project.
Live Sample Calibration
CSA believes in “getting it right” in the first round so that revisions in later rounds are minimal. The best way to do this is to write a live sample and follow the proposed project workflow. Feedback on this sample is shared with the team and applied to the full project development plan. The live sample calibration gives CSA and the client a chance to work together to resolve issues and strengthen the guidelines, prototypes, and templates.
Project Team Training
CSA provides training for project team members at the beginning of a project. It is most effective when CSA and the client provide this training together so that all team members understand the purpose, goals, and vision of the program.
CSA believes in reviewing our products and services at the highest levels. We believe that our oversight and ownership of our work is the cornerstone to the level of quality and consistency we offer.
CSA Education staffs projects with internal Content, Alignment, Project Management, Editorial Services, and Design/Production leads providing oversight and direction. To provide the most experienced and capable project teams to our clients, CSA engages independent contractors as needed to provide subject-matter expertise, stability, reliability, and scalability. With a database of over 2,000 contractors, we are able to maintain scalable project teams of up to 50+ qualified contractors to meet project deadlines and maintain quality.
Project staffing is an integral part of our planning process to ensure we have the appropriate resources on every project. We continuously recruit and vet the industry’s top talent and resources. Our dedicated Resource & Training Specialist works with our Curriculum teams to identify, qualify, and train the best resources available.
We take each client’s need for confidentiality seriously. CSA understands that protection of confidential information is critical to ongoing success. We ensure that our employees, vendors, freelancers, and independent contractors understand and protect trade secrets, intellectual property, and client information. CSA requires all contractors to sign a contract that includes a non-disclosure agreement.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
CSA Education is committed to creating educational materials that reflect the diverse students who use them and that align with the principles of culturally responsive education (CRE). Our efforts are focused on perspectives, representation, and empathy in order to help create safe, supportive, and impactful classrooms. All students should see themselves in the educational materials they use. At CSA, it is essential that both content and images address learning needs in ways that are equitable, promote inclusion, and show people and groups the way they want to be represented. It is vital that materials include a diversity of perspectives to ensure accurate information and provide context for learners. Our approach also includes leveraging aspects of social and emotional learning, such as social awareness and relationship skills, to support learning environments where all students and teachers are valued and appreciated.
Quality Assurance Practices
In order to ensure that CSA delivers reliably high-quality work to clients, Project Managers (PM) and Content Leads (CL) follow the best practices outlined below.
- Exercise good judgment in assigning SMEs to projects. A SME should have demonstrated and/or documented competency in the relevant subject area(s) and an understanding of grade level and/or learner expectations.
- Provide the content team with all supporting materials required by the project (samples, templates, guidelines, checklists, etc.). Checklists must highlight critical information.
- Respond to content team questions and concerns in a timely manner, referring questions to the client representative when needed.
- Create an internal schedule that allows time for staff to perform QA checks on work delivered and to give feedback on the work as needed. Rolling deliveries will be scheduled whenever possible.
- Request samples of work in progress from all untested contractors and provide feedback as needed.
- Document quality of work and any performance issues in contractor database records.
It is CSA policy to:
- Create a project-specific QA process adapted from CSA’s established general QA process at the start of each project
- Provide the project QA process to all project team members
- Create and turn in checklists on all projects for each key step in the workflow to ensure project team members (internal and external) understand the project’s expectations and complete all tasks required to meet those expectations and ensure consistency throughout the project
- Update checklists as changes or concerns are raised for each project
At CSA, we take security very seriously and foster a culture of information security awareness. We leverage access management tools to ensure that only the necessary internal and external project team members have access to files and resources under our control, including employing multi-factor authentication company-wide.
File Formats & Software
At the onset of each project, file formats and software versions are selected and adhered to throughout the project. If not specified, we run the current versions of software. If proprietary or workflow software is needed, CSA will work with the client to ensure that we implement the software correctly into the process and that our entire team is trained to utilize the software correctly.
Designers and compositors will work in the live files to make changes. If following PDF markup, we will copy/paste from PDF markup versus hand keying as much as possible to avoid errors. Each time any modifications are made to files (including global changes), the corrections will be reviewed for accuracy.
Typically, we overwrite InDesign files and maintain only one set of layout files. If alternate layouts or designs are needed, these are maintained as multipage documents containing all the design options. This ensures that an old file is never accidentally picked up for use. For PDF proofs and art files, versions are maintained and organized by using specific file-naming conventions.
CSA will license and maintain all font software as needed for client and internal projects. We are careful to adhere to font developer guidelines and ensure that all our fonts are used in a legal and responsible manner. We do not distribute any font software unless the licensing has specific allowance to do so.
CSA maintains backup copies of files during a project and can provide archival services as requested.