Client Spotlight: Pleasanton Unified School District

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By Carlye Norton

Ken Rocha, Director of Secondary Education at Pleasanton Unified School District in California, needed to select a new ELA curriculum that reflected 21st-century learning and district-wide priorities. In addition to making the right decision, he also needed to make sure the process was transparent and resulted in a group decision that reflected student, teacher, parent and community voices. Before working with KickUp, Ken would have gathered feedback using individual Google forms saying that, “We’d have to go through 1,000 comments to gather feedback. When you’re looking at a small scale, it’s not that difficult, but when you maximize the number of people taking that survey, it becomes difficult to analyze.”

 


Process

 

Ken started by having teachers evaluate 6 curricula to determine which 3 curricula to pilot in May of 2016. From August to December, teachers piloted the 3 curricula. Ken collected feedback from 35 pilot teachers and as well as 1600 pilot students throughout the process.

Pleasanton evaluated the curricula for assessment, cultural relevance, ease of access, rigor, and support for Common Core State Standards. KickUp broke down these categories to make sure students, teachers, parents and community members were asked questions differentiated by audience type. Breaking it out like this pushed participants to answer honestly and reflect on their individual experiences. Survey participants are asked to reflect on concrete strategic goals, so the focus is on evidence, rather than simply impressions.

In January of 2017, teachers and students reported their top choices and community members, staff, and site leaders also reported overall feedback through KickUp customized surveys. Pleasanton shared summary reports KickUp prepared with the teachers throughout the process to ensure transparency.

The curriculum committee then looked at the data and made their final selection. Naturally, the committee was also surveyed afterward to capture their experience–and 100% of teachers said they felt their voices were heard, even if their preference wasn’t the final choice.

“We’ve had decisions where we say we’re basing it on something. Now we can actually say that we’re basing it on this specific feedback we’ve gotten from you… and we’ll include a graph or picture so they can make their own determinations from it as well”.

Results

 

Ken intends to continue using KickUp as the new curriculum is implemented so he can measure the success of the rollout to see when and where additional supports are needed for his teachers.

Importantly, he intends to continue being transparent with his staff members and use KickUp data to make decisions clear and supported by data. Rocha stated, “Everyone warned us the ELA curriculum adoption would be a difficult task to get community buy-in. But the transparent process we’re using and the clear summaries KickUp provided made a hard task easier.”

 

“Teachers feel like we are listening. The information is clear, simple and easy to read, which adds a lot of credibility on our part. Districts often get complaints that they aren’t transparent and clear.  KickUp allows us to have conversations up front about the actual data, without teachers thinking there’s a hidden agenda to it."

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Ken Rocha

Director of Secondary Education

To learn more about Ken and Pleasanton Unified School District, visit pleasantonusd.net.

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