As this school year draws to a close, how and when schools can return is at the top of everyones’ minds.
Your staff, students, and their families have thoughts, questions, and good ideas that they want to share as you make plans for the coming school year. Launching a Thoughtexchange creates a space where all their voices can be heard.
This exchange template offers everything you need to start the conversation: a set of recommended questions based on situations you may be facing, sample introductory text, possible survey questions and more.
Iterative Exchange Question Strategy
Basic needs create the foundation for Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. By addressing those needs first a leader allows their participants to feel safe, which prompts a journey and transition to a more creative/problem solving mindset. Consider a phased approach that meets your participants where they are at mentally and emotionally, and then roll out a plan to build ownership of the process, and keep communication clear. For example:
Exchange 1 - Understand what’s on people’s minds (use the results of this exchange to create a proposal for back to school).
- What concerns, questions or ideas should we consider when planning to reopen schools?
Exchange 2 - Share draft proposal and run your next exchange to address outstanding questions and concerns and ease people back into school/lessen anxieties.
- What thoughts and questions do you have about our draft reopening plan?
Exchange 3 - Follow up exchange after first few weeks of rolling out the plan.
- What’s working well and what can we change to improve teaching in this new environment?
Additional Exchange Questions:
Asking questions tailored to the needs of an audience can give you valuable insights into the issues they are facing. These questions are tailored to help you dig deeper.
- If remote learning were to continue to be part of school next year, what changes could be made to make it a better experience for students and parents?
- What are some important things to consider as we develop a return to school strategy for staff?
- What kinds of professional development and/or resources do you feel are needed to better equip our teachers for distance/hybrid learning?
- What excites you and what makes you nervous about next school year?
You can click here to see other questions that education leaders are using to keep people together during COVID-19. You can also join one of our Master Classes or reach out to your Customer Success Manager to learn more.
Introduction and Invitation:
For tips on crafting your own introduction, click here. Consider including a video introduction to make it more personal.
This article includes examples of email invites to help encourage your community to participate in the exchange.
Survey questions give you the opportunity to enhance your exchange, and better understand what’s important to different groups in your community and help you tailor your communication to different stakeholders. Here are some examples you could choose to include.
Sample Survey Questions:
Based on the information you have now, how comfortable do you think you will be sending your child back to school if the health orders allow it.
- Extremely comfortable.
- Relatively comfortable.
- Hesitant and concerned
- Extremely uncomfortable
- I won't send my child to school until there is a vaccine and/or treatment
- I don't know how I feel.
If local health orders allow schools to open on <DATE> and you were given the choice of Online Distance Learning or Socially-Distanced In-Person Learning, which would you likely choose?
- Online Distance Learning
- Blended Learning (At home and at school)
What option best describes your role in the district?
- Community Member/Other
How satisfied are you with the current communication flow?
- Very unsatisfied
- Somewhat unsatisfied
- Somewhat satisfied
- Very satisfied
How comfortable are you teaching and communicating within the <platform>?
- Very uncomfortable
- Somewhat uncomfortable
- Somewhat comfortable
- Totally comfortable
Does your child receive special education/accommodation services?
I am within a high-risk group for COVID.
- Don’t know
I would like summer PD on strengthening my skills in distance learning and teaching.
Additional Exchange Features/Tools:
There are other tools to consider, such as video and attachments, multi-language, moderation, deadlines and sign up/log in required. Click here to get more information on setting up your exchange.