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Developing Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategies March 6, 2012 Chad Colby, Director, Strategic Communications and Outreach Will Pinkston, Consultant, Achieve’s State Leadership Team

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Page 1: Developing Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategies March 6, 2012 Chad Colby, Director, Strategic Communications and Outreach Will Pinkston,

Developing Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategies

March 6, 2012

Chad Colby, Director, Strategic Communications and OutreachWill Pinkston, Consultant, Achieve’s State Leadership Team

Page 2: Developing Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategies March 6, 2012 Chad Colby, Director, Strategic Communications and Outreach Will Pinkston,

Overview

2

Messages That ResonateWhere to Start?Who Needs to Know What When?Opportunities for OutreachNext Steps

Page 3: Developing Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategies March 6, 2012 Chad Colby, Director, Strategic Communications and Outreach Will Pinkston,

Strong Support, Low Awareness: Public Perception of the Common Core State Standards

3

A Lot/SomeNot Much/

Nothing

60%Nothing

46% A Lot

13% Nothing

A Lot/SomeNot Much/

Nothing

Seen/Read/Heard About Common Core State Standards

http://www.achieve.org/PublicPerceptionCCSS

Page 4: Developing Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategies March 6, 2012 Chad Colby, Director, Strategic Communications and Outreach Will Pinkston,

Strong Support, Low Awareness: Public Perception of the Common Core State Standards

4

Voter Sub-Groups Strongly Favor

Male 45%

Female 42%

18-44 43%

45+ 44%

White 42%

African American 46%

Less Than College 43%

College + 44%

Republican 43%

Independent 39%

Democrat 51%

Parents 46%

Non-Parents 42%

CCSS States 44%

Non-CCSS States 39%

PARCC States 45%

Non-PARCC States 41%4

Favor

43% Strongly

47% Strongly

Oppose OpposeFavor

Among Voters Among Teachers

http://www.achieve.org/PublicPerceptionCCSS

Page 5: Developing Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategies March 6, 2012 Chad Colby, Director, Strategic Communications and Outreach Will Pinkston,

Why Core Messages Matter

• Should be the anchor for virtually every discussion• State officials, legislators and policymakers can use to

delve into more focused topics• Should be shared with partners• Build into communications documents• Use to help everyone remain consistently “on

message” • 3 is the magic number (2 is too few, 4 is too many)

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Page 6: Developing Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategies March 6, 2012 Chad Colby, Director, Strategic Communications and Outreach Will Pinkston,

Common Core Message Cards

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front

back

Page 7: Developing Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategies March 6, 2012 Chad Colby, Director, Strategic Communications and Outreach Will Pinkston,

New Assessments for the CCSS

Overview of Messages Tested

Participants were provided with description of the new tests for CCSS and asked whether they think the assessments are a

good idea or a bad idea.

7

Page 8: Developing Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategies March 6, 2012 Chad Colby, Director, Strategic Communications and Outreach Will Pinkston,

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General Assessment of Assessments

Overall, do you think these assessments are a good idea or a bad idea, and do you feel that way strongly, or not so strongly?

*Note: In Ohio, respondents read a summary of the four assessments and did not see the individual components. ^ Two teachers in MA groups did not mark an initial reaction.

MessagesTeacher Groups Parent Groups

TotalOH* AZ MA^ IN OH* AZ MA IN

Good Idea – Strongly 0 8 0 1 2 2 3 4 20

Good Idea –

Not-So-Strongly3 2 6 4 4 6 6 6 37

TOTAL Good Idea 3 10 6 5 6 8 9 10 57

TOTAL Bad Idea 5 0 2 3 4 2 0 0 16Bad Idea –

Not-So-Strongly4 0 2 3 3 1 0 0 13

Bad Idea – Strongly 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 3

Mixed reactions to idea of new tests.

Upon reading description, mostly positive.

BUT, note the lack of intensity. Only about one-third of 57 respondents who say tests are a good idea, feel this way “strongly.”

Page 9: Developing Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategies March 6, 2012 Chad Colby, Director, Strategic Communications and Outreach Will Pinkston,

Early and mid-year tests for diagnostic purposes and to assess growth. Assessments that are viewed as student-centered (provide student support, usable for teachers – good data/alter instruction).

Four tests throughout the year; no longer an (unfair) one-day snapshot of student’s ability/performance. (Note this can be viewed as a positive or negative feature.)

Tests will be returned quickly, even for year-end assessments; results can be used to inform instruction.

Used for placement (but not admissions) in colleges/universities.

Tests will measure what matters -- applied knowledge and analytical skills (more innovative, open responses, showing work etc.).

Comparison across states/country.

Teachers involved in developing tests. (Note they assume teachers are current/active and teaching in the subject.)

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What They Liked

Page 10: Developing Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategies March 6, 2012 Chad Colby, Director, Strategic Communications and Outreach Will Pinkston,

What They Didn’t/Concerns

More of the same? Current tests disconnected (state and district tests don’t align; not student-centered; some see little difference from current tests.)

Need to see it to believe it; hard to imagine what tests look like and how students show work on a computer.

Already too much testing, this just means even more (four tests vs. one).

Will not eliminate “teaching to the test;” just require a new way.

Computer administration (access issues; skills required; how to show work; how can a computer grade subjective long-answer responses).

Confusion over “optional” tests (who decides if students take the test? Some want all four tests to be mandatory—especially if it means eliminating unaligned district tests).

What happens to schools/states that cannot keep up with new common standards/tests? (Tied to funding?)

Implementation/resources (Will students get the extra help they need? Will teachers get the training they need?)

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Page 11: Developing Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategies March 6, 2012 Chad Colby, Director, Strategic Communications and Outreach Will Pinkston,

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Teacher Specific Concerns

Will this mean more mandatory lesson pacing?

Some lament the lack of creativity and the human element in the system.

How is the test being developed and by whom? (Businesses/testing companies not in the classroom?)

How will it be used to measure teacher performance?

Some other issues are raised only or mostly by teachers:

Page 12: Developing Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategies March 6, 2012 Chad Colby, Director, Strategic Communications and Outreach Will Pinkston,

Messages

Tests alone cannot tell you everything you need to know about whether a student has all of the knowledge and skills they need to be successful. But these new assessments can be an important tool for parents, teachers and students to ensure students are on track. Tests are given early enough in the year so parents and teachers know where a student needs help. The tests are designed to assess learning and whether students can apply knowledge, not simple memorization or a students’ ability to take a test.

Messages that acknowledge reservations/limitations of current tests rise to the top.

The current testing system is not working. Instead of being able to focus on real learning in the classroom, students and teachers often spend more time and effort on how to take and pass standardized tests. And, while testing is always going to be part of measuring student progress, these new tests are designed to place more emphasis on real learning. They will evaluate student progress periodically throughout the year and assess real understanding of material, not just rote memorization and test-taking skills.

Pivot to how new tests are different and focus on diagnostic and mid-year assessment benefits.

12

Page 13: Developing Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategies March 6, 2012 Chad Colby, Director, Strategic Communications and Outreach Will Pinkston,

Messages

These new assessments are based on the Common Core State Standards which are aligned with the standards of the highest performing countries in the world so our students can graduate with the knowledge and skills that equip them in a demanding global economy. Life after high school or college is no longer about competing with people in the same town. Today, American students need to be able to compete with peers from all around the world.

The need for students to compete in a global economy resonates.

To be ready for college and careers, students need to master basic content like English and mathematics, but also need to be able to apply that knowledge and skills as colleges and employers expect in areas such as communications, teamwork, critical thinking, analytical writing and problem solving. These new assessments are designed to measure knowledge as well as the applied skills students will need upon graduation.

The need for students to have applied skills is also compelling.

13

Page 14: Developing Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategies March 6, 2012 Chad Colby, Director, Strategic Communications and Outreach Will Pinkston,

Messages

Creating common assessments grounded in common standards is the logical next step in making sure that students get the knowledge and skills they need so they are ready for college and careers. The tests will help identify students who are not on track so that those students can get the additional support they need. It’s important to set the bar higher, even if it’s tougher, so we are providing an honest picture of what students know and are able to do. This approach will help make sure students are ready for their future and likely to succeed after high school.

Two messages not as effective, but concepts have traction.A logical next step; diagnostic tests used to provide support.

These new assessments are designed to prepare students for college and careers by the end of high school. Current testing typically takes place too late in the year to do teachers or students any good. These new tests would be given throughout the year so teachers know where a student is struggling and they can provide intervention and support when it is needed.

14

Page 15: Developing Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategies March 6, 2012 Chad Colby, Director, Strategic Communications and Outreach Will Pinkston,

After learning more about the tests there is some modest positive movement.

The final results show that 60 out of 75 respondents rate the tests a “good idea” with an even split between those who feel that way “strongly” and “not-so-strongly.”

BUT, many are reluctant to offer full support until they see the tests.

Judgment will be heavily dependent on whether tests are perceived as student-centered.

Remember: Respondents did not hear from the opposition.Few participants came to this discussion with a favorable view of

testing.15

The Net Effect

Page 16: Developing Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategies March 6, 2012 Chad Colby, Director, Strategic Communications and Outreach Will Pinkston,

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T The Bottom Line

Do not (over-) sell these tests. It is unlikely that teachers and parents are going to reach a point where they have strongly positive feelings towards any new tests.

Focus on early diagnostic and mid-year tests, the opportunity to make adjustments and measure growth/progress. Early/mid-point assessments and their well-intentioned purposes are by far the most appealing elements of the new tests.

Create a coherent system around the new tests. Any new tests that are viewed as simply an “add on” to already overburdened classroom teachers will be met with resistance. Must have real discussion about what can be eliminated.

Page 17: Developing Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategies March 6, 2012 Chad Colby, Director, Strategic Communications and Outreach Will Pinkston,

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The Bottom Line

Communicate the human element: these tests are being designed with students in mind. The new tests are different in that progress is measured over time and there is room for personal adjustment that meets students’ needs.

Note the active teacher involvement in test development. Importantly, these teachers must be active educators, currently practicing in the relevant subject area.

Keep the end goal front and center: students prepared for life after high school. This over-riding aspirational goal helps maintain a broad philosophical approach in trying to improve the current system, thereby opening the door to the potential of new standards and tests.

Page 18: Developing Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategies March 6, 2012 Chad Colby, Director, Strategic Communications and Outreach Will Pinkston,

PARCC Message Cards

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front

back

Page 19: Developing Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategies March 6, 2012 Chad Colby, Director, Strategic Communications and Outreach Will Pinkston,

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How well has your state handled the communications related to the implementation of the Common Core and the transition to PARCC?

Page 20: Developing Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategies March 6, 2012 Chad Colby, Director, Strategic Communications and Outreach Will Pinkston,

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Few States Have Figured This OutEngageNY.org is a great public-facing resourceRI has a strong communications planCA has an app to enable teachers to search through the standards Chiefs around the country are tweeting, using Facebook and other social media tools to communicateAR Governor and Commissioner video on the CCSS: arkansased.orgThe Hunt Institute has created instructional videos:

http://www.youtube.com/user/TheHuntInstitute#p/aStudent Achievement Partners has posted resources: Achievethecore.orgPTA Common Core Parent Guides: http://www.pta.org/4446.htm

Page 21: Developing Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategies March 6, 2012 Chad Colby, Director, Strategic Communications and Outreach Will Pinkston,

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All States Need a Communications Strategy

• Common Core implementation is coming • The transition to PARCC is also coming• Focus has been on educator evaluation, school

accountability, closing achievement gaps…• Important to link all into a broader discussion about

preparing all students for success in college and careers

Page 22: Developing Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategies March 6, 2012 Chad Colby, Director, Strategic Communications and Outreach Will Pinkston,

There Are a Lot of Audiences to Consider

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Agency staffAgency staff

K12 EducatorsK12 EducatorsAssociationsAssociations

LegislatureLegislature

Business communityBusiness community

ParentsParents

UnionsUnions

Higher Ed FacultyHigher Ed Faculty

School CommitteesSchool Committees

MediaMedia

StudentsStudents

????

Page 23: Developing Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategies March 6, 2012 Chad Colby, Director, Strategic Communications and Outreach Will Pinkston,

Some Audiences Need Attention NOW

23

Agency staffAgency staff K12 EducatorsK12 Educators

AssociationsAssociations

LegislatureLegislature

Business communityBusiness community

Parents and StudentsParents and Students

ImmediateImmediate

LaterLater

UnionsUnions

Advocacy groupsAdvocacy groups

Higher Ed FacultyHigher Ed Faculty

School CommitteesSchool Committees MediaMedia

Yesterday

Summer

Late Fall

Page 24: Developing Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategies March 6, 2012 Chad Colby, Director, Strategic Communications and Outreach Will Pinkston,

Consider What Your Audiences Need

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Internal staffInternal staff

District leadersDistrict leaders

AssociationsAssociations

UnionsUnions

LegislatureLegislature

ParentsParents MediaMedia

DetailsDetailsSome DetailsSome DetailsJust the factsJust the facts

StudentsStudents

Advocacy groupsAdvocacy groups

K12 EducatorsK12 Educators

Higher Ed facultyHigher Ed facultyBusiness community

Business community

Page 25: Developing Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategies March 6, 2012 Chad Colby, Director, Strategic Communications and Outreach Will Pinkston,

Other Opportunities to Create and Leverage

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EducatorsProfessional developmentEducator surveysSEA will reach teachers directlyReach out by email directly to teachers? principals? (with advance notice to supts)Partner with unionsWebinarsSkype meetingsvideos

EducatorsProfessional developmentEducator surveysSEA will reach teachers directlyReach out by email directly to teachers? principals? (with advance notice to supts)Partner with unionsWebinarsSkype meetingsvideos

PhilanthropyInform, use to help relay messageHost meetingsResourcesProvide messaging kit with talking points and details

PhilanthropyInform, use to help relay messageHost meetingsResourcesProvide messaging kit with talking points and details

AdvocacyInform, use to help relay messageCivil RightsHost meetingsWork with legislatorsProvide messaging kit with talking points and details

AdvocacyInform, use to help relay messageCivil RightsHost meetingsWork with legislatorsProvide messaging kit with talking points and details

Agency StaffAchieve trainingFollow up to connect to everyone’s workAll staff meetingsRoundtable meetingsCheat sheet Cultural changeNew messaging from leadership “what it means.” tying core work together

Agency StaffAchieve trainingFollow up to connect to everyone’s workAll staff meetingsRoundtable meetingsCheat sheet Cultural changeNew messaging from leadership “what it means.” tying core work together

BusinessSpeak at Chamber rotary meetings, etc. State Business Roundtable

BusinessSpeak at Chamber rotary meetings, etc. State Business Roundtable

General PublicWebsiteFuture ReadyPSA (local cable, public television)Post webinarsTagging for digital resourcesVideos (think of who should deliver the message?)Insert info in Parent/Guardian report cards

General PublicWebsiteFuture ReadyPSA (local cable, public television)Post webinarsTagging for digital resourcesVideos (think of who should deliver the message?)Insert info in Parent/Guardian report cards

PolicymakersFrequent briefingsStaff briefingsPut together district-specific package of materials to go to every legislator Working with new legislatorsWork with School CommitteesMass Municipal Association

PolicymakersFrequent briefingsStaff briefingsPut together district-specific package of materials to go to every legislator Working with new legislatorsWork with School CommitteesMass Municipal Association

MediaBriefingsPress releasesOff-the-recordExamples within schoolsEducator interviews

MediaBriefingsPress releasesOff-the-recordExamples within schoolsEducator interviews

Page 26: Developing Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Strategies March 6, 2012 Chad Colby, Director, Strategic Communications and Outreach Will Pinkston,

Next Steps

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Decide who is going to own this work Finalize and refine key messages Share with a select group of outside partners for

feedback Work together: Form communications leadership and

advisory groups Identify additional opportunities for outreach Utilize new and existing communications vehicles Engage supportive partners Leverage the launch of the other projects