An online forum provided by the Pittsburgh Public Schools is giving parents, community members and teachers a chance to offer their ideas on how to create high quality schools.
The Voices Ideas Vision Action (VIVA) Idea Exchange was created as part of the district's "envisioning" process that was announced in January, with a goal of creating a 21st century educational delivery model.
The idea exchange will host two conversations, one for teachers and one for parents and community members. It asks participants to share their ideas on how the district can "ensure high quality schools that prepare all students -- both academically and non-academically -- to succeed in all aspects of life."
The forum will offer 24-hour access for participants and a moderator will help facilitate the discussion, said Kim Bolton, national communications director for New Voices Strategies, which created the idea exchange.
Those who want to participate will have to create a login and provide an email address.
Comments posted in the parent and community forum Thursday included suggestions to hire people from all cultural backgrounds, provide sensitivity training for staff and place a good principal in each school. Two comments in the teachers' forum stressed the need for schools to be safe.
The first stage of the VIVA project will be an open forum that started Thursday and runs through the end of the month.
From the online forum, a small group of people will be selected to join an online writing collaborative that will turn the ideas into a set of recommendations that will be presented to the school board and administration sometime in September.
"We are in the midst of a planning process that is challenging district officials and the broader Pittsburgh community to think differently about how we deliver education and boost student achievement in light of continued enrollment decline, increased costs, flat revenue projections and strong state-level support for more choice," Pittsburgh Superintendent Linda Lane said in a news release.
Those who want to participate in the Pittsburgh forum can access it at http://vivapittsburgh.mysocialsphere.com.
New Voices Strategies has created online forums on educational topics since 2010, including one in 2011 for Chicago educators to discuss the best use of time during the school day that produced six recommendations, several of which were implemented, Ms. Bolton said.
Mary Niederberger: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1590. First Published August 1, 2013 11:30 AM