Feedback Labs | August 31, 2023
The MyVillage Project, based in Jacksonville, FL, is a collaboration of Black grassroots organizations working to create the most autonomous and scalable community education ecosystem for students of color. The MyVillage Project uses technology and an extensive network to administer education and develop projects that enhance student learning through collaborative programming and strategic investments. They collaborate with grassroots and Black-led organizations to help them manage resources and establish long-term educational solutions for students of color, while also adopting shared governance models with local education stakeholders to coordinate programming and student learning.
Part of the MyVillage Project is helping K-12 educators improve attendance and student outcomes. In the last two years, the MyVillage Project has supported at least five schools by partnering with organizations and going into schools on a rotating basis to celebrate the students and parents for perfect attendance. Regular attendance fosters a classroom community between teachers and children, and students who attend school are more likely to succeed academically. The MyVillage Project desires to receive regular and continuous feedback from its organizational partners, community stakeholders, students, and parents. They would like to go beyond surveying and move closer to receiving instant feedback from these stakeholders on how they can improve their project to increase average daily attendance.
How can MyVillage Project best receive continuous feedback from parents and educators regarding what motivates their children to succeed academically?
To ensure transparency regarding the intended use of feedback, focus feedback collection efforts on areas within the organization’s capacity to influence and modify. Below is a concise Tools Repository that can provide valuable assistance to individuals visiting the Feedback Labs website: https://feedbacklabs.org/tools/
MyVillage Project receives a lot of informal feedback from educators, teachers, and parents, but what are strategies to solicit more formal feedback?
To enhance the formal feedback collection efforts at the MyVillage Project, several strategies were proposed. These strategies include having volunteers log their observations after visits, conducting electronic surveys on a quarterly basis, and promoting them through social media and text blasts. For engaging students, utilizing social media groups such as WhatsApp and Discord is recommended. Additionally, creating targeted surveys with specific questions rather than open-ended queries is advised. Incorporating mural boards at in-person events and utilizing resources like Storycenter.org for a listening booth can also facilitate feedback gathering. Appointing someone to take notes during interactions with families, and setting aside time for comparison after each event, are practical approaches. Lastly, initiating phone calls with smaller organizations, akin to small grant-giving foundations, can be an effective means of soliciting valuable feedback.
If MyVillage Project is going to get feedback from the parents of students who are chronically absent, what feedback method should we use?
To effectively gather feedback from the parents of chronically absent students at MyVillage Project, a multifaceted approach was recommended. Consider conducting A/B testing on feedback methods, such as calls and texts, to determine what resonates best with your specific context and resources. Simplify the process by initially seeking basic feedback, perhaps using up/down emojis for quick responses, while offering the opportunity for elaboration. Emphasize the importance of feedback by demonstrating how it directly informs and improves the organization’s actions.
Leverage tools like Otter.ai to ease the transcription of feedback calls and revisit the question of what constitutes “better feedback.” Define this more clearly, focusing on representativeness and actionable insights. Structured learning processes, like formal A/B testing, can help identify the most effective approaches. Additionally, explore whether proactive support, such as before-school programs or community carpool options, could enhance attendance.
Address broader community needs that may impact attendance and parent engagement, such as mental health, transportation, or community violence. In the interim, consider proxies like Attendance Buddies or McKinney Vento staff. Explore virtual participation options and homework delivery to maintain contact with parents. By implementing these strategies, MyVillage Project can enhance its feedback collection efforts and improve outcomes for chronically absent students.
How can MyVillage Project use grant funds to solicit feedback?
For groups interested in participatory methods, the following resources were recommended: The Participatory Grantmaking Community maintains an active listserv where you can seek advice and pose questions regarding participatory grantmaking. Meanwhile, the Coproduction Collective offers an expansive and continually expanding database featuring co-produced projects and initiatives. Additionally, they organize monthly peer meetups for networking and collaboration opportunities. A noteworthy strategy for organizations is to allocate grant funds for the employment of community members to both design and implement feedback processes, thereby fostering genuine community involvement and empowerment.
As the event wrapped up, MyVillage Projects took a moment to contemplate significant insights. These insights underscored the significance of resources, community engagement, and inclusive approaches when engaging in participatory methods within grantmaking and co-production initiatives.
Learn More About LabStorms
LabStorms are collaborative problem-solving sessions designed to help organizations tackle feedback-related challenges or share what’s working well in their practice.
Presenters leave the experience with honest, actionable feedback and suggestions to improve their feedback processes and tools.
To learn more about participating in a virtual LabStorm, please visit feedbacklabs.org/labstorms.