Grand Island Public Schools (GIPS) administrators are harnessing technology not only for education, but to enable the exchange of opinions among parents, students, teachers, and the community at large, with a new forum that goes online Tuesday.
"We want to get some feedback on that issue. What are your thoughts? What are your ideas on that?" Jack Sheard, Marketing and Communications Director for GIPS asked aloud while explaining the new forum.
GIPS officials say the new "engageGIPS.com" online forum will enable feedback -- of all types -- on Grand Island public schools.
"We know we'll get some concerns. We know we'll get negative feedback. But if we don't accept it, if we don't take it in, then it seems like we're ignoring it. We don't want to ignore anybody," Sheard said.
Just as Facebook users can "like" an idea, engageGIPS users will be able to second an idea, or click a different button to offer a refinement of a proposal.
Users of southwest Omaha's Millard School District's "Engage Millard" system have had rational, if intense exchanges, according to school officials.
"Really we've found that this site has been incredibly respectful. And certainly people have had vibrant discussions. But it hasn't been anything that we felt the need that we need to get in the middle of. They're just very engaged discussions," said Millard School District Communications Coordinator Rebecca Kleeman.
Come Tuesday, anything school related could be up for discussion. GIPS officials say that, in moderating discussions, they'll aim for minimal interference.
"If it gets out of hand, we'll get in there and say, hey, please keep it positive, as far as constructive. I don't expect everything to be necessarily positive; I expect some negative feedback. That's fine," GIPS's Jack Sheard asserted.
The engageGIPS site will require a simple registration, including the user's name and e-mail address, before parents, teachers, students, or the general public can voice their opinions.