This resource supports leaders in getting public input on Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) plans, identifying and assessing fund allocation, and ensuring funds are going to the people, programs, and processes that need them the most.
ThoughtExchange is a quick and efficient way to gather, work with, and get feedback from your staff, students, and their families. The pandemic continues to impact how districts operate in an ever-changing environment. And it’s more important than ever to make sure the funds are equitably enhancing stakeholders’ wellbeing and safety.
The templated Exchanges outlined below will provide key touchpoints for your community to stay aligned with the important work you’re doing.
There are three types of Exchanges to support you in this work:
- Community-wide stakeholder feedback on planning
- Staff engagement
- Student voice
The templates offer everything you need to successfully run each Exchange: a set of recommended questions, sample introductory text, possible survey questions, and more. Features such as Multi-Language support the requirements to offer stakeholder engagement to participants in various languages.
Identifying your goals at the beginning of the process gives you guidance as you design your Exchange and discover your results. You can then quickly use your results to identify the most impactful themes and inform the reporting process.
ESSER legislation stipulates that all districts solicit feedback from their entire community on their plan for spending the ESSER funds. Once you have begun implementing the plan, you’ll want to continue gathering efficacy and equity input, and identify emerging issues as the situation evolves.
Engage your community of parents, staff and students to hear feedback on district plans:
- What are your thoughts on how we use ESSER funds to support students this year?
- We may receive $_____ of ESSER funds allocated across the district. How do you think we should spend these funds to address unfinished learning as a result of the pandemic?
- What are the most important academic, social-emotional, and/or mental health supports for schools to provide to serve all students (i.e., general education students, students with disabilities, English language learners, and others)?
- What are the immediate needs of [district/school name] students and staff that could be alleviated with the help of ESSER funding?
- What programs, resources, and systems should be priorities for the district over the next few years that can be funded by ESSER to improve equity, academics, social-emotional supports and safety operations in the district?
Engage staff using targeted questions:
- Given the influx of ESSER funds, what sustainable and inclusive innovations could we use to accelerate student learning and engagement?
- If we gave each school a specific amount of ESSER money to address unfinished learning, what program(s) would you implement or products/services would you purchase to have the biggest impact on student learning in your building?
- What thoughts do you have on how we should utilize the federal stimulus funds allocated to the district?
- Which parts of our proposed ESSER plan most strongly support teaching and learning, and/or what are we missing?
Engage students about equitable programming and additional supports needed
- What are some ways the district can better support your academic, social, emotional and mental health needs during the pandemic?
- What programs or supports could we put in place to have the most positive impact on students’ learning and well-being during the pandemic?
Check out tips on crafting your own introduction. Consider including a video introduction to make it more personal.
Dear <Parents/Guardians, Students, and Staff>,
We want to hear more about how we can create more inclusive and equitable opportunities for our disadvantaged students and ensure the success, safety, and well-being of all our students. This information will help inform our plan for how we spend ESSER federal stimulus funds, as required by the legislation.
Our district is focused on the following priorities and welcomes your input about how we are doing in these particular areas:
<Insert ESSER plan or a summary of key areas of fund allocation>
Thank you for your contribution. Your input is a critical part of our focus on the programs and supports we provide our students.
This Exchange will close on <date and time>.
- This Exchange is confidential. Your thoughts will be shared, but not your identity.
- Please be polite and respectful as you share and rate thoughts.
- If you see a thought that is rude, hurtful or identifies a person or group, you can report it by clicking in the upper right corner of the thought.
- You do not need to rate all thoughts in this Exchange. However, we recommend rating around 30 over the time the Exchange is open.
Optional Survey Questions
Survey questions can give you a better understanding of what’s important to different groups in your community and help you better understand participants’ priorities. Here are example survey questions other district leaders have used in their ESSER related Exchanges. (Copy and paste them into your Exchange if applicable.)
- If you belong to more than one of the following groups, please select the one which best describes your involvement with us:
- District employee
- Community Member
- ESSER legislation requires that our district seek feedback from students/families and the community who represent or work with the following groups. Please select the groups you identify as being a part of.
- Students with disabilities or disability rights organizations
- English language learners
- Students experiencing or who have experienced homelessness
- Students in foster care
- Migratory students
- Incarcerated students
- Civil rights organizations
- Tribal (Native American) organizations
- None of the above
- Which of the following do you feel are the top three priorities for how the district should spend ESSER funds, given this list of 15 allowable allocations for this funding?
- Supporting Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), Adult Education & Family Literacy Act, or Career and Technical Education Act
- Coordinating Preparedness and Response efforts
- Implementing activities to address the needs of low-income students (including disabilities, English language learners (ELL), minority, homeless, and foster care)
- Developing and implementing procedures to improve school district preparedness and response efforts
- Training for district staff on sanitation and minimizing the spread of diseases
- Purchasing sanitization and cleaning supplies
- Coordinating future long-term school closures
- Investing in educational technology for students
- Implementing mental health services and supports for students
- Conducting summer learning and afterschool programs
- Addressing learning loss among students (including low income, disabilities, ELL, minorities, homeless and foster care)
- Investing in school facility repairs and improvements to reduce the risk of virus transmission
- Improving indoor air quality in schools
- Implementing public health protocols for student and staff health and safety
- Supporting activities to ensure service continuity and operation
- Does your household have the technology needed to successfully learn/teach from home?
- Not at all
- We can make do short term
- I’m not sure
- We have most of what we need
- We have what we need
*You may also want to include survey questions that help you to show you have engaged different groups within your district, such as program participation and ethnicity.
Participation Groups allows you to break a potentially large conversation into demographic-specific groups. Learn more about participation groups. If you would like to use Participation Groups, get in touch with us and we will get you set up.
Deciding how to moderate depends on your district and community’s specific needs. Options include community moderation and machine moderation. If you’d like more details about moderation, read this help article.
Discover Your Results
The Discover Dashboard offers several tools to help you dig into your results, create reports and take action.
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