May 18, 2016 - Anchorage AK – Signalled by President Obama's signing of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law in December 2015, states across the nation are now embarking on an ambitious effort to bring decision-making for education back into the hands of local educators, parents and communities while keeping the focus on students most in need.
But how does a state realize this objective in the midst of a budget crisis?
On the heels of a more than 4 billion dollar state deficit, travel and hiring freezes the Alaska Department of Education turned to a unique virtual process for stakeholder engagement powered by Powernoodle, allowing board leadership and staff to use modern cloud-based technology to engage a large number of stakeholders; allowing voices representing Alaska's vast 685,000 square mile geography, 54 school districts and culturally-rich population to be heard.
"We really wanted to hear the voices of our stakeholders and have meaningful consultation," says Bernie Sorenson, lead facilitator of Alaska's ESSA initiative. "Priority one for the Department of Education was to turn control as much as possible surrounding implementation of ESSA to local school districts. How better to do that but to use the Powernoodle platform to make them part of the design and implementation process?"
Powernoodle marries Stakeholder Intelligence™ with traditional business intelligence to provide organizations with the full picture to make better decisions. According to The Reputation Institute, stakeholder engagement is predicted to become increasingly more important over the next five years, with the number of stakeholders expanding and their roles increasing in strength.
"As a facilitator, the opportunity to be part of developing the State of Alaska's ESSA strategy out of the gate is exciting but also, quite daunting. Powernoodle is giving us the ability to efficiently appreciate the perspective of key stakeholders while diving deeply into insights and options.", remarked Ms. Sorenson.
While the ESSA implementation deadline is still some distance away, the Alaska State Board of Education wanted to gain a head start on its implementation process, using the remainder of the 2016 school year to listen and gather key input from stakeholders. This vital early input will be used to help shape first draft policy. "We anticipate using Powernoodle at every step in this ongoing process to uphold the spirit of authenticity and offer engagement at the richest level" says Bernie Sorenson.
Ms. Sorenson notes that the virtual approach offered by Powernoodle has actually improved the stakeholder engagement process, allowing the state to gather better input at a lower cost, from a much larger demographic and geographic representation, and with "smart" anonymity. The Board has experienced a 440% financial return-on-investment (ROI) in the first five-week engagement delivering over 3,000 ESSA ideas, insights and evaluations and with up to a 95% weekly participation rate across the 40 person cross-state advisory council.
"Powernoodle brought safety and candor to the ESSA stakeholder engagement process. It ensured all voices were heard, from students, to principals, to parents, to superintendents. It also allowed participants in the process to break free of the hierarchies that often govern discussions and candidly speak truth to power. Everyone was able to bring forward ideas and thoughts they cared about," says Ms. Sorenson.
"The collaboration was powerful. Knowing there were other individuals out ‘there' who shared my same thoughts, frustrations and wishes was validating," noted one participating stakeholder.
"An efficient and authentic stakeholder engagement process is vitally important to states such as Alaska as they seek to implement ESSA and other state programs, and we are honored to be working with the Board to deliver on this inclusive process," says Deb Krizmanich, CEO of Powernoodle. "We are actively in discussion with many states and school districts who have similar challenges. How does one cost-effectively and authentically engage stakeholders and gather the necessary intelligence to ensure policies and programs meet constituent need? We believe we have the answer."
Powernoodle leverages the cloud to help everyone access the power of Stakeholder Intelligence™ to make and execute better decisions. Visit us on the web at www.powernoodle.com or follow us on Twitter.
For more information:
Deb Krizmanich CEO and Chief Stakeholder Specialist Phone: 226-333-9001 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
On Behalf of the Alaska Department of Education
Bernie Sorenson NWCC Education Specialist, SERRC Alaska's Educational Resource Center Southeast Regional Resource Center (SERRC) Phone: (907) 321-2598 Email: email@example.com