Mo Wants to Know Campaign Highlights


Purpose

“Mo Wants to Know,” a district-wide campaign designed to democratize GCS’ strategic planning process, was formally launched on October 1, 2008 with a charge to all stakeholders to help the district dream big by providing input to Superintendent Maurice “Mo” Green. The campaign augments the superintendent’s “Listening and Learning Tour,” which garnered input from hundreds of GCS parents, students, teachers, principals and community members at town hall forums and other meetings.

Process

The campaign began internally with an email to all employees explaining the goals and soliciting their involvement. The internal campaign also included the distribution of a toolkit to principals describing the campaign as well as sample letters and Connect-Ed messages to parents and other members of the school community. All principals and senior supervisors were directed to display the campaign flyers prominently in their buildings and to encourage participation.

The district rolled out the external portion of the campaign at a mid-morning media briefing later that day. The briefing generated story placements in daily newspapers, a weekly, all the television stations and several radio outlets. Many of these news organizations placed “Mo Wants to Know” links on their Web sites. District officials also distributed campaign flyers throughout the community, at community meetings, churches and businesses. Campaign materials were also distributed through the PTA Council and the district’s database.

All the comments were anonymous. A button was placed on the district’s website that took respondents directly to the page where they could comment. Respondents also had the option of depositing their suggestions in comment boxes at any GCS school and at many of the district’s administrative buildings.

Results

A total of 3,596 individuals responded or shared comments as part of the online campaign. Of these, 52.5 percent were employees, 38.24 percent were parents and 4.7 percent were students. Slightly less than 5 percent of the respondents identified themselves as community members.
Responses clustered in several major areas, including but not limited to: Accountability and Research, Budget/Finance, Curriculum/Instruction, District Relations, Human Resources and Operations. Other categories were Professional Development, Special Services, Student Achievement and Academic Affairs, Student Services, Technology and Other.

Nearly a quarter of the responses, or 23.47 percent, were in the “Other” category. Curriculum and Instruction attracted the second largest number of responses with 18.1 percent followed by Student Achievement/Academic Affairs with 9.12 percent.  District Relations and Technology received the lowest number of responses, with 3.17 and 3.98 percent respectively.

There also was a high frequency of responses calling for reductions in class sizes and testing. A high number of respondents asked that laptops be provided for all teachers and students to ensure integration of technology into the classroom and more principal stability at the schools. High frequency responses also included suggestions that GCS provide equitable funding to all schools and that the district take steps to ensure positive, respectful exchanges among principals, school staff, parents and students.

The following responses appeared in multiple categories: a call for a reduced emphasis on testing; an increase in arts funding; smaller class sizes; principal stability; increased parental involvement; a re-examination of the Advanced Learning (AL) program; and, an equitable system for supplies and equipment among the schools. 

Some of the other high frequency responses included:

BUDGET AND FINANCE - Provide funding to reduce classroom size; increase funding for the arts; increase funding for classroom supplies and offer competitive teacher salaries.

CURRICULUM - Provide training and assistance with disciplinary problems; increase teacher qualifications; create more vocational educational opportunities.

DISTRICT RELATIONS – Build trusting relationships among central office, schools, parents and the Board; develop positive relationships among parents, teachers and students; develop strategic partnerships with businesses that could possibly include student internships; create an extended community outreach program from the schools into the local neighborhoods; provide more opportunities for input and feedback.

HUMAN RESOURCES – Ensure that highly qualified licensed administrators are hired; ensure that highly qualified licensed teachers are hired; hire more teacher assistants; and create more parent involvement.

OPERATIONS – Ensure quality heating and cooling systems are in the schools; assess the schools for the need for updating (fences, fixtures, flooring, etc); provide more opportunity for discussion about re-districting; provide more resources for maintenance to stay ahead of any repairs.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT – Provide additional support for teachers seeking and maintaining their National Board-Certified Teacher (NBCT) certificate; provide and protect teacher planning time; provide training for teachers in parent communication and parent involvement.

SPECIAL SERVICES – Reduce class size; increase the supplies, materials and resources and equipment for special services; provide additional teacher assistants; expand the AL program.

STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT – Create more Spanish/language immersion opportunities; increase parent involvement; provide and protect teacher planning time; increase the focus on the arts; provide regular classroom teachers with more Exceptional Children (special education) training.

OTHER – Examine busing and re-districting; share ABC bonuses with classified and certified support staff; and create more community outreach from the schools.