Nearly 3,000 stakeholders participate in District’s first ThoughtExchange

Posted on 12/10/2021

The Francis Howell School District launched its first community-wide ThoughtExchange in mid-October. The tool helps to uncover different perspectives – including those from the often-silent majority. It also helps organizations gain insights that help inform decisions and find common ground that can help strengthen communities. 

We asked, “What are some topics you would like to us gather input on through this tool?” Nearly 3,000 stakeholders shared and rated thoughts in response to the ThoughtExchange.

Top thoughts centered around staff morale and retention, specifically in the form of pay raises. Many participants acknowledged the need for a successful tax levy and shared thoughts around curriculum and student learning.


The ThoughtExchange platform allows us to identify polarizing thoughts (those rated high by one side and low by the other) and then find common ground between those two groups. In the case of masks – which is unsurprisingly a polarizing topic – here are some things both sides agreed on and rated highly:

  • We need courses that prepare students for college and/or trades.
  • We need to ensure our curriculum remains competitive and continues to challenge students.
  • Parents want notification about any lockdowns in schools – they want to know what’s going on with their kids. 
  • Teachers who are heard, well-paid, and valued will give their best to their students.
  • More focus on career education so students know their college and career options and how to prepare for life after high school.
  • Everyone deserves to be treated with respect.
  • Large class sizes do not provide the best learning environment and appropriate instructional help.


The ThoughtExchange helped us understand the topics that are top of mind for District stakeholders. This information will help us establish priorities for future Exchanges.


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