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Idea Quest garners original ideas from staff to improve district

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Alternative Copy Story by Josh Framke

During the early part of November, staff have been invited to create and share suggestions via PONY Idea Quest, a website for sparking innovative ideas and helpful changes in schools districts.

Idea Quest is a big step up from the school districts’ last approach at making changes. This is the first year the school district is using this program and they are looking forward to using it again in the future.

Previously staff had to set up a large meeting to get ideas and feedback suggested, but Idea Quest is proving far more effective. With only a few clicks of a button, the whole school district can suggest new ideas  any time of day within the period of the submission process and vote for those at any time during the period of voting that follows. Because there are no time restrictions like there are in a set meeting, there is more flexibility and therefore more people can participate.

“This way reaches more people and it’s convenient because it can be at any time,” video teacher Debbie Drew said. “Before it had to be in a meeting and everyone hates meetings.”

Not only is this website more accessible, but it is also more efficient than meetings.  This is how it works: any staff member can submit recommendations which are then grouped into categories based on cost.  Once submitted, everyone in the school district can see and vote for their favorite ideas by comparing them between other ideas, one at a time, creating a ranking for committees to use when making decisions on what to change.  

“This way reaches more people and it’s convenient because it can be at any time.”

— Debbie Drew

“I found it really interesting to see the ideas, the scope of ideas, that came in,” technology and innovation coach Michael Teachout said. “We were very happy to see 53 ideas submitted and a significant number of district employees voting. Hopefully by following upon them, next year if we do this again we will see more buy in to the process.”

A staff member that has taken advantage of Idea Quest is science teacher Staci Bartlett. She submitted six ideas, her top three favorites being a time to explore other electives and classes, longer lunches and a therapy dog.

“I would like to have a school therapy dog because there is a lot of kids with stress and anxiety and depression, and petting dogs has been shown to release oxytocin,” Bartlett said.

Since this is the first time staff have used this approach, they are doing it only annually.  The deadline for submissions just passed; committees have yet to finalize any decisions on the issues given.  Teachout is hopeful the school district will be able to supply return on the diversity of ideas once all the hard work is finished.

“I think the school will be different depending on the ideas they choose to pursue,” Principal Rob Bach added.

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9 Comments

9 Responses to “Idea Quest garners original ideas from staff to improve district”

  1. Fotini Kloos on December 4th, 2017 12:39 pm

    I really like this article because its something different that’s not about students this time, its about teachers. It’s like giving an inside look of a teachers life at school and what they have to do. I love the idea for teachers and I guess that’s what pulled me in that teachers have a similar mind to students. I like the efficiency of getting right to the point and Susan approached that wonderfully. I also really love some of the stuff the staff said, it really gives good input on what is going on.

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  2. Madison Weispfenning on December 6th, 2017 8:30 am

    I like how this article shows what the schools in the district are trying to change. A few more facts about how Idea Quest has worked for others would be a good addition to the story. I also think that Oxytocin should be explained a little, only because some people may not know or understand what it does or what it is. Overall, this story was very informational and gives me high hopes for next year!

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  3. Paxton Watson on December 6th, 2017 9:47 am

    I really enjoyed that Susan got right to the point and didn’t add extra unwanted details. I also really liked that she wrote a story about the staff and teachers here because I feel like most of our stories are on the students here at the school. I also thought the quotes and fact paragraphs were really nicely written. Good Job!

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  4. Katherine Poor on December 6th, 2017 10:29 am

    I agree with Fotini, I like how its about the teachers and the community instead of just an issue with the students. I also like how organized this article and the alt. copy story was. Another thing was how many different thoughts and ideas there were that fit into one story. Good work on this!

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  5. Malaina Fragnito on December 12th, 2017 9:34 pm

    I liked that this story showed how the district is sill trying to improve. As a student we may feel stuck in the cycle of new students every year, get them to pass, move on to the next year. This article shows how teachers are trying to make sure the students get the most out of their time spent in school. I also like how it shows some insight on the staff because a lot of our stories revolve around the students.

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  6. Emma Lowey on December 14th, 2017 10:34 pm

    This article had a lot of information on the Idea Quest. The Alt-copy helped “round out” the information as well. Quotes were strong and so were the sources.

    [Reply]

  7. Joseph Blomquist on December 17th, 2017 2:06 pm

    I like how well the topic was covered, and for once this story is almost focused towards the teachers, rather than the students. The alt copy lso fit very well with the traditional.

    [Reply]

  8. Jesse Brown on December 17th, 2017 7:35 pm

    I like how in the nutgraph it explains that Idea Quest is a big step up, and I also like how the article generates ideas and explains the more convenient and effective ways. I see this article being very different from other articles because it is about teachers rather than students, but I think it is a good mix and it is definitely an interesting article.

    [Reply]

  9. William Gleason on December 17th, 2017 8:12 pm

    Great article! This article showed me that teachers’ are focused on more than just trying to finish a school year and have their students pass. It shows that they are constantly trying to improve our experience at SAHS and it opens up a whole new perspective. Great use of quotes and wording throughout the article, there weren’t any “filler” paragraphs.

    [Reply]

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Idea Quest garners original ideas from staff to improve district