Monday, March 24, 2014

Community Engagement Efforts - How to Track and Report

In a previous blog, we outlined the areas for which districts have a responsibility to report results.  To recap, these include:
  • Fine arts
  • Wellness and physical education
  • Community and parental involvement
  • 21st Century Workforce Development program
  • Second language acquisition program
  • Digital learning environment
  • Dropout prevention strategies
  • Educational programs for gifted and talented students
The ratings for these eight elements must be submitted by August 8 of each year, effective this year.  So there is little time to decide how your district is going to proceed.  The first decision relates to forming the committee that will be tasked with defining the key metrics for each area.  Will you set up a separate committee, or will you use the resources of an existing committee such as your district advisory committee?  The reality is that most districts will find it necessary (and appropriate) to use an existing committee or subset of an existing committee.
So once you name the members of the committee, what next?  The committee should meet with the administration (with board involvement) to begin to define what metrics are most import to committee members and to the community for each of the above.  There are no guidelines on how many metrics should be defined for each element, but don’t make it so onerous that you cannot adequately evaluate the key measurements.
Probably the best resources for defining potential metrics come from:
  • Trustees in other districts;
  • Your Education Service Center; or
  • TASB
TASB (and we assume most education service centers) has developed a spreadsheet for tracking results; the key metrics are likely already defined and the process is as simple as entering results into a spreadsheet, yielding ratings by campus and for the district.  You can certainly choose to go it alone, but there simply may not be enough time between now and August 8.  So why not tap the resources that have already done extensive work, and defined their perspectives on how to address the obligations and opportunities created by HB 5.
We welcome input from trustees around the state on what worked well for you.  What were some of the key metrics you have adopted?  How did you form a committee and how did you set the criteria for each element?  And what did you use for a tool to compile and ultimately report your results?  Remember, local control gives you the latitude, and creates the obligation, to act in a manner most appropriate for your district.

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