How Education Leaders are Achieving Their Goals: School Culture
Accessing student voice for better learning outcomes and school culture
Dr. Marie Wiles, Superintendent at Guilderland CSD, has seen her students become more engaged with their learning and take on advocacy projects that have had a significant impact on her district. She attributes their increased involvement to the consistent use of student voice Exchanges. “ThoughtExchange has helped us change the culture of how our students think about their experience of school," Dr. Wiles shares.
Promoting student voice boosts learning outcomes, contributes to leader success, and improves culture. With ThoughtExchange, you can engage your students, get their insights, and build your community’s trust and support.
U-46 students shape curriculum
Anonymity, anti-bias, and moderation features create a scaled conversation
ThoughtExchange allows anonymous sharing and randomized peer-to-peer rating, helping participants avoid bias and encouraging honesty—even with sensitive topics. Use the Moderation feature to remove hurtful comments, identifiers, off-topic answers, and duplicate thoughts.
Lance appreciated that these features allowed students to share without fear of judgment. She said, “What I love about ThoughtExchange is that there’s this opportunity for ideas to be put out anonymously, and then a coalescing around ideas—and that’s what I was looking for.”
Increasing school safety with community input
An international study revealed that 1 in 3 students don’t feel safe in school, and that students feel safer when they have healthy, caring relationships with their teachers.
As an education leader, you can help—but you’ll need your community’s support. Listen to your students to establish trust and transparency. Get your community’s input on school safety initiatives. As a leader, you don't have all the answers, but by including your community in the conversation and asking the right questions, you'll have access to a bounty of innovative ideas and solutions.
Brighton Central School District improves school safety
Brighton Central School District’s Superintendent, Dr. Kevin McGowan, understood that transparent, two-way communication was key to his district’s safety initiative.
That’s why he used ThoughtExchange to gather insights about law enforcement in schools. While a survey would have amplified the loudest voices, acting like a vote on his initial strategy, an Exchange surfaced marginalized voices he may have otherwise missed.
Understanding his community’s feelings helped McGowan make better, more inclusive decisions about school safety initiatives.
Differences feature identifies common ground
ThoughtExchange’s Differences feature identifies common ground by revealing where participants agree and disagree in real time to help discover strategies everyone agrees on.
While having law enforcement in schools remained contentious, McGowan used Differences to find common ground on other initiatives like crossing guards, social workers, and outdoor lighting.
Enhancing staff retention and recruitment
Lebanon High School seeks community input in new principal search
With ThoughtExchange, they asked:
What are the most important strengths and opportunities for growth of Lebanon High School that our new principal should be made aware of in order to be successful?
Here’s one of the top-rated thoughts:
Ability to connect kids to career pathways outside of college.
College isn't for everyone, and parents and kids need help with learning about other career pathways.
With this insight, Lebanon High School chose a candidate who had previously served as a Career Center Director.
Understanding what your district really needs helps new leaders succeed in their job, whether that’s improving a district strategic plan or financial efficiency.
Ratings feature reveals priorities
Building school culture with ThoughtExchange
If your district works to empower student voice, increase safety, and improve staffing, you’ll want to hear from those affected. With anonymous sharing to eliminate bias, Differences to identify common ground, and Ratings to prioritize ideas, ThoughtExchange helps education leaders improve school culture by bringing the community into the conversation and empowering them to be part of the journey to student success.
Positive school culture paves the way for student achievements, and your community cares about its students. Culture is based on shared ideas, actions, and achievements—so give people an inclusive, anti-biased space to share their real experiences with each other. Invite your district into the discussion, and watch your students thrive.