H.1.
    Superintendent’s Report
    February 21, 2018
    To:
    Board of Trustees
    From:
    C. Lewis, Superintendent of Schools
    Subject:
    2017-2018 Thoughtexchange Process
    Originator:
    K. Shipka, Assistant Superintendent - Learning Services
    Resource Person:
    C. Aschenmeier, Supervisor Learning Services
    RECOMMENDATION
    That the Board of Trustees receive a report regarding the 2017 - 2018 Thoughtexchange
    process for the current school year, as information.
    REPORT
    Background:
    Grande Yellowhead Public School Division recognizes that the thoughts and ideas of
    stakeholders are important as we move forward in providing our students with meaningful,
    supportive, and inclusive learning environments.
    Context of the Recommendation:
    Thoughtexchange is a proven process that encourages dialogue and includes the community in
    both defining problems and searching for solutions. By embracing the most effective aspects of
    group intelligence and collaborative negotiation, Thoughtexchange removes the barriers to
    engagement and enables GYPSD to be responsive and accountable to a wide range of
    stakeholders, building trust and confidence in the process.
    Thoughtexchange enables all stakeholders to communicate issues that matter to them through
    the following open-ended questions:
    1. Question 1: “What do you think could be improved about your child’s education?”
    2. Question 2: “What are some positive things about your child’s education?”
    3. Questions 3: “Share an example of a time when you felt that your child (or a child you
    know of) was successful at school?”

    Participants may then choose to dialogue with others by identifying the thoughts that they feel
    are most important by assigning stars (ratings) to particular thoughts throughout the survey
    period.
    In turn, schools and GYPSD as a whole, can strategically plan to address the areas for needed
    improvement and continue with strategies that are creating successful, positive, and all-inclusive
    learning environments. GYPSD has been utilizing this process for three consecutive years and
    we can now view a year to year comparison.
    C
    onclusion:
    GYPSD school staff and parents had the opportunity to participate in the Thoughtexchange
    email process from Monday, November 20 - Friday, December 1, 2017. The link to the survey
    was also provided directly on the GYPSD website and all of our school’s websites. As a result,
    there were 439 participants, 1254 thoughts shared, and 10 030 stars (ratings) provided. Of the
    participants, they identified themselves as 290 parents/guardians (64 per cent), 160 staff (35 per
    cent), and three community members <1 per cent). All participants of the Thoughtexchange
    process will be sent an automated email, in March to receive access to the detailed results
    reports through a shared link. This link will also be located on both the GYPSD website and
    schools’ websites.

    Question 1: Top three identified areas for improvement:
    Class size - participants
    expressed an interest in
    having smaller class sizes
    to optimize learning for all
    students.
    *Classroom Supports -
    participants indicated they
    would like to see more
    classroom supports ie EA's
    in the classroom.
    Student Support and
    Engagement - participants
    indicated they would like to
    see more one-on-one
    support for students to
    ensure all needs are being
    met and students are able
    to excel at their level.
    *Note - Classroom supports decreased this year, although still a conversation for the
    participants.
    Question 2: Top three identified areas of appreciation regarding students’ education:
    *
    Teachers and Staff -
    participants expressed
    appreciation for the caring
    and dedicated teachers
    and staff.
    Options and Electives -
    participants indicated they
    enjoy the wide variety of
    options and electives such
    as French Immersion,
    Distance Learning, music,
    and CTF.
    Extracurricular activities -
    Participants expressed
    appreciation of the wide
    variety of extracurricular
    opportunities, i.e.
    after-school activities,
    board game club, chess
    club, technology club, and
    athletics.
    *
    Note - This remained the top theme across all three exchanges (2015 - 2017) by a significant
    margin.
    Question 3: Top three identified areas where participants feel their students are successful:
    Student Support and
    Development - participants
    expressed that that
    students felt successful at
    school when they received
    awards, shared their
    success stories at home,
    and used their skills
    beyond classroom
    instruction.
    Curriculum and Programs -
    participants expressed that
    students felt successful in
    reading programs and
    extracurricular events such
    as team sports.
    Academic Support -
    participants expressed that
    students felt successful
    when they used supports
    to overcome obstacles.

    Top three identified areas with observed improvement from the previous year:
    Classroom Supports
    Life and Study Skills -
    participants expressed that
    students need to be
    resilient, organized, utilize
    their time effectively and
    learn how to study.
    Curriculum
    How will GYPSD utilize this information?
    ● To provide a context of what is on the minds of the school community
    ● To enhance engagement of the staff and parents
    ● As part of the information to be considered for communication and action decisions
    ○ Survey data is essential to determine the directions needed for schools in their
    planning of the School’s Continuous Improvement Plan (SCIP)
    Note: See the attached template which principals utilize during their school’s data analysis.
    Collaboration will occur with school staffs, to understand their sites and plan specific short-term
    and long term goals and monitor progress.
    ● As part of the information to be analyzed and considered when working with School
    Councils.

    Appendix 1:
    Thoughtexchange - Analysis Template
    Principals will look through the division/school data that identifies comment origins and contributors and
    complete
    Step 1
    independently FIRST for a quick overview of their results.
    Steps 1-4
    are then completed
    collaboratively with the principal and their staff, to determine specifics for their sites
    School’s Continuous
    Improvement Plan (SCIP)
    .
    Guiding Principles:
    ● Seeking to understand and determine meaning is an important first step.
    ● Like any assessments, results are a snapshot in time and you can expect that perspectives may
    change. However, in the moment, all thoughts are important for that individual and hold true for
    that individual and those who starred the thought.
    ● Reading the top prioritized thoughts will provide a clear picture of what participants are thinking
    and feeling.
    Step 1: A first look into the thoughts of your community
    Read the top thoughts (appreciates and concerns) for each of your questions and summarize what you
    found in the table below. Some guiding questions to assist in this initial look are:
    1. What surprises you?
    2. What worries you?
    3. Where do you see potential inconsistencies with perceptions?
    Summarize: What did you learn from this first look in to the results?
    Step 2: Celebrate the Good and Sustain Your Strengths
    List the things you can celebrate (especially the thoughts from Question 2 and 3).
    What can you celebrate?
    Who will you celebrate with and how?

    Step 3: The Top Concerns
    List the top concerns (many will come from Question 1, but are not limited to that) and representative
    thoughts.
    Top Concerns:
    A Thought that Best Represents the
    Concern
    Step 4: Mitigating Strategies
    Identify the more important/urgent concerns and list the strategies that will be employed to mitigate them.
    Track their progression.
    Part A: Urgent Short Term Goals
    Most important/urgent
    Strategies
    Progress
    Part B: Important Long Term Goals
    Important Long Term Goals Strategies
    Progress

    Back to top