CMSD will set up a new digital communication platform

Giving feedback on Columbus Municipal School District events just got a little easier for community stakeholders.

Parents, faculty and staff, ratepayers and students will be able to give the district insight to help with strategic planning, parental and community engagement and more through an online platform called InnovateK12. The CMSD board of directors unanimously approved the purchase of the software as part of the consent agenda on Monday evening.

The program is an online platform that allows people to share their thoughts, suggestions and concerns with the district. Stakeholders can view posts and provide feedback on the topic.

The InnovateK12 website has an example of a community member expressing their wishes for a music and dance program for students with disabilities. The post contains comments from other community stakeholders offering suggestions on how to move forward as well as their support for a program like this.

Superintendent Cherie Labat discovered the software at a technology summit in San Diego and thought it would benefit the district.

“The most important aspect (of InnovateK12) is having the ability to leverage the voice and gather wisdom from the various Columbus stakeholders,” Labat said. “InnovateK12 will help the district and the city to collaborate more constructively with our stakeholders, namely parents, families, future employees and community partners. We are only as good as our ideas, our innovation and our collective intelligence, and that InnovateK12 will allow us to harvest this collective wisdom by helping us cultivate true collaborative teaching.

InnovateK12, which includes the software, will be advisoryvices and technology support, costs the district $5,000 for a one-year contract running from July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023. Per the annual subscription agreement, consulting services include “developing and confirmation of objectives and objectives, identify intelligence gaps/needs/objectives, develop challenge questions, define challenge participants (stakeholder group(s)) and define the timeline for your initiative. The result is a one-year phased plan in which initiatives provide data and insights that drive more informed, iterative initiatives.

The platform will first be available to students and staff as an app on their school laptops, according to CMSD Public Information Officer Mary Pollitz. The technology department is working to make it widely available to the general public on the CMSD website, and the district is working with InnovateK12 on the logistics of how the public can interact with the platform. It will be available for the 2022-23 school year.

Under the InnovateK12 agreement, six to eight CMSD employees will have real-time access to a data dashboard and compiled data reports.

Labat said the various school administrators will be first on the platform, and she looks forward to the information this will allow the district to see. Some of the first data CMSD aims to collect before school starts is community feedback on COVID-19. Labat said the first discussion will be about wearing masks when school resumes in August.

“Our board and directors are very enthusiastic,” Labat said. “Our administrators will be the first members of the platform, and they will discuss the subject of masks. It will be open to all of our stakeholders to get feedback in some way. One thing I love about InnovateK12 is that they take the most used words, organize them and structure them. They do analyses, they draw graphs (the data). They give the information so that we can be informed and make informed decisions.

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