Fall 2020 Hopes and Concerns Thoughtexchange Results
We asked students, parents/guardians, families, staff members and community what their hopes and concerns were for the 2020-2021 school year. More than 3,700 responded to share their thoughts or rate the ideas shared by others. The results are being used by district staff to help guide decision making as we examine the best path forward to meet the needs of students for the 2020-2021 school year.
The Thoughtexchange report will allow you to view all of the submitted thoughts as well as see which theme areas were the most active by the number of thoughts shared as well as by ranking.
Staff reviewed each of the more than 5,000 thoughts submitted to categorize them into the following theme areas. Under each theme area below you will find a listing of any significant subthemes staff identified in reviewing the thoughts.
Budget - Thoughts in this theme involved concerns about the district’s budget, including:
- Staff layoffs, furloughs and job security
- Reduction of support programs
Distance learning roadblocks - This theme includes specific roadblocks to successful distance learning, including:
- Increased workload/homework through distance learning (versus through traditional school)
- Challenges from use of multiple platforms
- Issues with technology and/or software
- Difficulties communicating with teachers
Distance learning quality - Thoughts in this theme involved concerns about the quality of learning through distance learning methods. Key sub-themes include:
- Lack of social interaction
- Lack of structure in school day
- Inability for hands-on learning
Equity/achievement gaps - This theme included concerns about equity and achievement gaps among student groups. Sub-themes include:
- Lack of parent support at home
- Digital divide
- Language barriers
Health and safety concerns - By far the largest theme in terms of the number of thoughts, health and safety concerns about returning to school campuses in the fall were top of mind for participants. Subthemes include:
- Returning to school campuses only when safe to do so to avoid the spread of COVID-19
- Availability and use of personal protective equipment (PPE), face coverings, soap/water and sanitizer upon reopening campuses
- Concerns about the cleanliness of facilities and restocking of cleaning supplies
- The need and importance of maintaining social distancing when returning to campus
- The need to update sick policies for both students and staff
Helping teachers be effective - Thoughts in this theme involved how to help teachers be more effective in their roles, both through distance learning and on campus. Key sub-themes include:
- Providing time for lesson planning and collaboration
- Providing professional learning if distance learning is to continue
- District providing guidelines and standards around distance learning, and roles of teachers if reopening campuses
- Involving teachers in any decision-making processes
Multiple format options - This theme consists of thoughts around providing multiple learning format options for the 2020-21 school year so that parents have a choice. Sub-themes include:
- Providing families with an option of either on-campus learning or distance learning
- Providing a hybrid model of certain days on-campus and certain days of distance learning
Planning and guidelines - Thoughts in this theme centered around the need for clear plans and guidelines for next school year, regardless of which direction is taken.
- Plans need to be detailed
- Ask of plans to be shared sooner rather than later so families can plan
Return to normal - This theme involves thoughts from participants that want next school year to return to normal. Participants express desires to return to the regular school format.
Scheduling concerns - Thoughts in this theme focus on concerns about next school year’s schedule, including:
- When to return to school (returning early or returning later than Aug. 13)
- What the school day will look like next school year (partial days vs. full-days)
- Concerns around changes in school schedules and how they affect working parents and childcare options
Social connection and mental health - This theme involves thoughts centered around the importance of social connection and need for mental health support for students and staff. Sub-themes include:
- Lack of social interaction through distance learning
- The desire of students to return to school to see friends
- The need for increased mental health and social emotional support for students and staff
Special education support - Thoughts following under this theme centered around the need of increased support for students receiving special education services.
- Concerns about students with an IEP falling behind
- Special education students not having access or resources to support services
Sports/electives/extracurricular activities - Thoughts in this theme involve the desire to resume outside of the classroom activities next school year, including:
- Elective classes (such as band, choir, etc.)
- Extracurricular activities (such as clubs, dances, field trips, etc.)
Other - This theme consists of thoughts that did not were unique or were not represented in large numbers.