More Meaningful Stakeholder Engagement Under ESSA

This is a follow up to my post on Stakeholder Engagement at #NASBE16. First part of this post are notes from a NASBE webinar I participated in this summer; second part follows up on recent announcements from DESE. NEA noted in the Guide: "there's a big difference between engaging people and having a meeting. Stakeholder engagement, especially as far as implementing ESSA is concerned, should be something that has a positive impact on students".

 In an effort to engage stakeholders in a timely and meaningful way, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) created this Stakeholder Guide. The Guide outlines a 10-step process as a kind of toolkit for ensuring meaningful engagement. Within the Guide are examples of what some states are doing well and what their challenges are.

The Guide is in three parts, with each part addressing a number of engagement strategies; for each engagement strategy, a series of questions forms a strategy checklist. As strategies are employed, evidence is gathered. A screenshot of Part I, below:

Part I screenshot, CCSSO Guide
Along the way, Departments of Ed are encouraged to give up some of their "individual agency" in order to work collaboratively. Washington State, for example, spent several months last spring on a road show - holding face-to-face stakeholder meetings all across the state. The meetings, or forums, were held in the evenings so that folks could attend after most working hours. Forums were premised from the perspective of parents and structured around 3 key questions:
  1. What school characteristics are most important?
  2. How should we measure the quality or success of a school?
  3. How do we ensure all students are successful?
Kansas also hosted a listening tour in an effort to engage stakeholders. In fact, 26 states have engaged in listening tours on education.

In the Board's October Boardbook, the Commissioner informed that several Advisory Councils would be engaged as focus groups. I see that, as of this posting, the document hasn't been posted to the Board's October Docs page (behind Tab 9 in our Boardbook). The specific ACs selected as focus groups are:

DESE announced a series of ESSA Community Forums across the Commonwealth coming in November and December (flier at left - with links!)

The Department's ESSA Stakeholder Outreach Plan is HERE.

It remains to be seen which themes, aligned with ESSA components, emerge from the written and verbal comments from stakeholders, but possible vehicles to use to find out could include:
  • Social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.)
  • Websites
  • Webinars
  • In-person forums
  • Focus groups
  • Roundtable discussions
  • Newsletters
  • Surveys
  • Email listservs
  • Personalized emails
  • Text messages
  • Online chat
  • Conferences
  • Video conferences
  • Livestreaming (including periscope)
- - -
To date, additional indicators of school quality for ESSA accountability topics, as suggested by stakeholders in MA are HERE.

CCSSO - Stakeholder Guide: Let’s Get This Conversation Started: Strategies, Tools, Examples and Resources to Help States Engage with Stakeholders to Develop and Implement their ESSA Plans June 2016

Kansas Loops Stakeholders in on Conversation about K-12 Policy