As part of ESSA, DC needed to create a new State Report Card that would, for the first time, give apples to apples comparisons for traditional and public charter schools for families. In order to choose the right school for their child, parents need in-depth information that is easily accessible. PAVE worked with OSSE to host focus groups and surveyed over 500 parents across the District to find out what parents wanted to see on the school report card. Then, in the next phase of the report card development, they repeated this process with the language used on the report to make sure it was accessible for all families.
Helping this new report card be a truly useful tool for families is the first step to highlighting great schools and helping strengthen school choice for parents all across the District. There were some complications in terms of the limitations of the report card regarding what data would be made available, as well as controversy over the District's chosen school rating system. It was important for PAVE to make those concerns feel heard and bring them back to OSSE as part of the feedback report. While those concerns may not be addressed immediately, parent feedback will continuously drive the future iterations of the report card and help to improve the information available for families.
Policy / Coalition Partners
Key Lessons Learned
Start early. There should always be multiple phases of feedback, and be thinking about how you can continue the feedback loop to show how previous feedback has been incorporated. Focus groups and broad canvassing are a great way to get both breadth and depth in your feedback, but need to be strategic and meaningful.
Set clear guidelines for what specific feedback you are looking for and the best way to aggregate it from the beginning that aligns with your partners on the project.
ResourcesESSA Task Force report
ContactKerry Savage, Policy Analyst
Parents Amplifying Voices in Education