Dr. Steve Kennedy on Boundaries, LCAP and Safety

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In our recent virtual event, Dr. Steve Kennedy shared what he’s learned about online community engagement for boundary changes, LCAP and school safety. Here are our top five thoughts from his talk. We hope you’ll find them helpful when working on similar issues in your district.

On the value of actionable data and community perspectives

“Anytime we have to make decisions that are particularly weighty...the public really wants to have a say in this day and age. Having something that really gets down to some actionable data is absolutely of critical importance. As a leader in a public school system, making sure that we’re responding in a manner that takes these perspectives into account is probably the secret to longevity in the positions.”

On using Thoughtexchange to inform a boundary change

“When it came time for the board to ratify a choice, it was crickets. We didn’t hear anything negative. We just kind of rolled along. It was the first time in my career I could say such a weighty decision was handled in such a manner that people felt heard. People felt we did the best thing we could possibly do for their children. It showed its weight and its value with that exchange.”

On humanizing the engagement process

“In the old paradigm, we would hire a company to basically go by street addresses and geocodes to make those kinds of decisions. With Thoughtexchange you take something that would be a cold, calculated process and you're bringing in that human element that I think is so vastly important.”

On getting beyond the loudest voices

“It’s easy to get pulled off track because of a minority perspective or a loud voice. Thoughtexchange, because it’s done in a manner that lets everybody’s thoughts be seen and shared by everybody, you have an opportunity to weigh in. And if somebody is saying something that you don’t agree with, you’re not going to give it five stars. Those loud voices begin to get stymied because they realized they’re not in the mainstream.”

On the value of learning from each other

We’re all about learning and we’re learning from each other through Thoughtexchange. It creates the notion of empathy. And in this day and age, I think, empathy is something we can use a lot more of.