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Madison Metropolitan School District

Lake view Community School Research lab

by Lauren Morris

The Situation

In an effort to improve the presence and engagement of Lake View Community School families of color, school resource staff set forth to increase consistent parent participation in school based activities and decision making that further the goals of the Community School Coordination Plan, which was based on needs assessment and asset mapping done by our school community during the prior school year. To do so, they enlisted the help of the ROCKiT innovation team to further investigate the current Lake View ecosystem, strong suits and pain points in order to determine potential opportunities for impact and improvement. ROCKiT Innovation Strategist, Lauren Morris, met with the Lake View school resource staff multiple times to scope the research lab, preliminary context and determine who to include on the research team, consult with, inform and interview.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
- Margaret Mead

Research for Discovery

Unfortunately, the timing wasn’t right to get as deep into the research as desired. There were some key staff changes, district needs that took priority and difficulty recruiting teaching staff and a parent to the research team, which was essential. Because the team was unable to kickoff the lab in a timely manner,  the project came to a halt. Having the correct voices at the table are essential to effective innovation work. ROCKiT refused to continue a project for the purpose of improving parent involvement without the inclusion of parent voice at the onset.  That said, the Community School Resource Coordinator  strongly agreed and expressed excitement for the progress that was made in the short time we collaborated.

"Parents are teachers and home is a child's first and most important classroom."
- Hillary Clinton

The Outcome

One important aspect of agile innovation is the ability for ROCKiT to effectively pivot, pause, and stop on projects when the timing and availability isn’t right. These shifts are not failures unless we don’t learn from them. Despite having to stop the official research lab, the Community School Resource Coordinator  reported that the early insights established through the ROCKiT scoping canvas provided some revelations and mindshifts that had already improved parent engagement at the school. They’ve seen “increase in parent attendance at recent Community School Committee meetings now that [they] have split into smaller teams that are more focused on specific topics, so [they] are seeing some early success with more family involvement in [their] community school work already.”

What it Took

From the Lake View Team:

  • 2 participants - 1 Parent Liaison and 1 Resource Coordinator

  • 3 dedicated hours - Over 3 planning and scoping sessions

From ROCKiT:

  • 1 Innovation Strategist - to plan, facilitate, and guide the team through the process

  • 18 hours - spanning 2 months
    Approx. 18 total hours of prep, facilitation and debriefing over 8 weeks