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FWCS online tool to help public input

Fort Wayne Community Schools will have a new tool for engaging with and tracking input from parents, the community and staff after board members approved a new contract with K12 Insight on Monday.

The computer program helps school administrators overcome obstacles that arise when parents, teachers and staff become or remain disengaged from public education's core issues by communicating with the public and inviting their input.

The district first contracted K12 Insight three years ago for a program to collect school data through targeted surveys.

“With this (second contract) we will be able to track input and feedback,” Superintendent Wendy Robinson said.

The program will interface with other social media such as Twitter and Facebook and will serve as a customer service base for the district, Robinson said. “We have already been surveying and now we will be adding the collection of additional input.”

Any type of communication with FWCS faculty including calls, emails or input through social media will be registered, tracked and responded to on a 24/7 Web channel, though Robinson warned it will take time to implement staff training.

“We won't start until we are really comfortable with this,” she said. “There are lots of components.”

Board member Glenna Jehl said she “was very excited” about the program.

Jehl said had seen and heard from parents who were frustrated when trying to communicate with schools or faculty and did not get a response, particularly in a “he said, she said” situation.

“This will take care of situations like that,” Robinson said.

The program has automatic notification to let parents know their input has been received and tracks where that information was sent, she said.

Total cost for the three-year contract is $125,000. Funding of the program will be paid with Teacher Incentive Funds. The TIF federal grants have historically been used to develop and implement performance-based compensation to teachers and administrators but was recently expanded to include programs such as K12 Insight, she said.