Open Practice: Community Progress Monitoring

After this first experience, the thought stirred in others and me - what if we could do this better? It wasn't a new idea at all - school conversations about performance are old hat.  But there was something different about this in an era of common data systems, district wide choice and transparent conversations about school performance. Ideas for improvement percolated. What about even more family friendly documents? What about even more prioritized support from the central office? Better coordination around external advocacy partners. The result could be a whole new dynamic between families and our schools. We could be establishing a new beachhead in engagement system - the regular and clear public accountability commitment of schools and their leaders to the community. 

The power also seemed electric from a social change perspective. You could imagine thousands of parents, all across the city during the same window in time having conversations with other parents about performance: an open network of parents exercising their right to know. Powerful.  

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3 Truths & Unwinding Our Definition of "Community"

If we are going to build the open system, then we must be grounded in the complexity and challenges of defining community. We need to know how to be open, to whom we should be open, and to be aware of the perils of labeling community as “the other” in hopes of engaging them.

The reality is simply this - if you're an Opener charged with opening some part of a system, you're gonna have to wrestle with these truths and definitional dynamics.  All Openers need to reconcile the system's need for feedback, the dynamic nature of community itself and the imperfections of any process designed to "talk to the community."

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