Coming early in 2019: District to launch online community engagement platform

Early in the new year, the district will begin using an online platform to broaden community engagement on a variety of topics. The district is partnering with the company Thoughtexchange for this new approach.

The use of this online platform will allow people to share thoughts on important issues at their convenience, as well as learn more about the perspectives of others. It promises to give the district a better understanding of community sentiment to help inform decision-making.

Here’s how an “exchange” works:

  • The district will ask a question about a specific topic on the online platform.
  • Members of the school community will answer the question and have the opportunity to rate the answers of others using a star system (0 to 5).
  • The district, and the community, will be able to view the thoughts and ratings, which are anonymous.

Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra, Jr. said that part of the appeal of the system is that it provides for an exchange of information between members of the community, as well as the district. It comes at a time when people lead busy lives and the district is working to make progress on many different priorities.

“To keep moving forward, we know it’s critical that as many parents, residents, teachers, staff and students are part of the conversation,” Dr. Tangorra said. “We know people want to be involved and we believe this use of technology will help make that happen.”

The district expects to launch its first exchange on the topic of school safety in January 2019. Additional exchanges on topics such as capital project planning, school start times, and others will follow.

Dr. Tangorra said he didn’t expect the district to move away from longstanding methods of community engagement such as community forums and meetings. Thoughtexchange provides another valuable tool to listen to the community.

“We are interested in what people think, what is important to them, and the direction they would like to see our schools move,” Dr. Tangorra said. “I expect this to help us gain a well-defined depiction of community sentiment, and that’s a great thing.”

Please look for a link to our first “exchange” via School Messenger and the website in January.