Wayne County Public Schools officials want your thoughts on school facilities.
Starting this week, an online survey will provide an outlet for parent, student, employee and public input on the topic. The survey will remain live for the next two weeks.
During that time, participants will be able to share their thoughts, rate the posts of others and see some of the preliminary results, officials said.
The online effort is a partnership between the district and Thought Exchange, described on its website as “community intelligence software” that allows leaders to elicit “answers to open-ended questions in real-time.”
In this case, there is one question up for discussion: “What are some important issues to consider as we plan for how we maintain and improve our facilities in the years to come?”
All posts are anonymous, no login is required, and no personal information is collected or shared. The responses will be used as administrators plan to address future facilities needs, officials said.
“Whether they are working in our schools, attending classes, visiting or driving by them in a car, every one of our stakeholder groups looks at the facilities through a different lens,” said Michael Dunsmore, superintendent. “For my administration and the Board of Education, better understanding the perspectives of the various members of our school communities and what is important to them will be invaluable as we as a school district work together to best address aging buildings and other campus needs moving forward.”
Ken Derksen, WCPS communications and public relations officer, said the timing is right for the survey, especially in light of the school board’s recent efforts to develop a demographic study.
At recent meetings, the board adopted a proposal from Cropper GIS Consulting to provide rezoning consultation services. Prior to that, there had been a presentation from McKibben Demographics, where the recommendation was made to consider boundary adjustments in the district every 10 to 12 years to keep pace with the changing landscape and housing patterns around the county.
There have also been discussions about potential school bond money from the state and local government, which could affect construction and facilities.
“Certainly as you look at how the district can populate schools or better update or maintain them to be 21st century schools, the whole exchange is like a social survey,” Derksen said of the online survey. “You can review other people’s comments, you can rate them, and see what’s really important to our parents.”
The technology tool has been used previously by the district, primarily with staff and principals, and will be used again to allow the public more accessibility and input as the district considers future changes and things like its strategic plan, he added.
While the survey is live, anyone will have the ability to post and see the preliminary results. And when the survey is taken down, the Thought Exchange software and analytics team will develop themes and graphics to aid district administration in breaking down the data and responses that were collected.
Once the information has been compiled and results are available, it will be shared with the public through a custom website, officials said.
“In order to strategically and collaboratively address facilities over the next five to 10 years, it is vital that we have a meaningful process that allows for the input and support of our parents, staff and citizens,” Dunsmore said.
The survey can be accessed in English and Spanish through its link, Thought Exchange.
Participants can share as many thoughts as they like. There is a 300-character limit per thought.
The site is accessible on the district’s website, waynecountyschools.org, and its new mobile app, which is available on Apple iTunes and the Google Play Store.