What did you do in practice?
We enlisted The Mentoring Partnership of Pittsburgh to conduct six focus groups. Their work in connecting with students, parents and teachers was more meaningful than what our district had tried to date. A teacher focus group was conducted separate from the parent group. We sent out six different dates, three being virtual, and provided food and babysitting for the kids. The TMP facilitators used human centered design strategies to gather information from the participants and aggregated the data for us.
Why did you do this implementation trial?
As noted by the school co-lead, “Even being asked if they [parents] were interested in joining the focus group had an impact. No one had asked before.” We had challenged ourselves as a team, “How do we capture real concerns in a way that people feel safe sharing. And in ways that they would know we would do something about them.” Our use of a third party sent the message that we really, really want to know what you think. Participants had the opportunity to speak freely.