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BOCES looking for your ideas on school reopening
BOCES looking for your ideas on school reopening
Tuesday, May 26, 2020

BOCES are using crowdsourcing to solicit ideas on school reopening 

 By Angela Marshall 

Public Relations Officer, Nassau BOCES What are your ideas on school reopening? The state’s 37 BOCES want to know. BOCES have launched an online conversation regarding how New Yorkers feel about returning to school in the fall or whenever it is possible. It consists of a single question: "What ideas and thoughts do you have as you think about a return to in-person schooling?" So far, more 27,000 participants have posted thoughts and ideas, such as:

  • "Having hand sanitizers in all classrooms and common areas."
  • "Provide funding. Businesses get help. Schools should not get cuts."
  • "In-person learning is critical to keeping kids engaged. It helps them share thoughts and ideas with classmates and teachers." 

The BOCES are using a virtual conversation tool called Thoughtexchange to crowdsource ideas. After participants share a thought, they are encouraged to rate at least 30 of the thoughts submitted by other participants. This way, the thoughts that resonate with the most participants rise to the top. More than 36,000 thoughts have been shared, resulting in more than 900,000 ratings. The exchange is on target to be one of the largest in the 11-year history of the Thoughtexchange platform. "This exchange will help us to understand the thoughts and concerns of our community members and staff regarding reopening our school buildings," said Robert R. Dillon, district superintendent of Nassau BOCES. "This is a crucial conversation. People want to be heard and we need to know what they are thinking if we are to build credible and realistic plans." BOCES have been asking school districts to encourage participation in the conversation about school reopening. To avoid overwhelming the system, BOCES have spread the word about the online conversation slowly, over a number of days. Each participant is asked to identify their BOCES so that the data can be sorted by region. To participate in the exchange, visit:

Editor’s Note: Gov. Andrew Cuomo has created the New York Reimagine Education Advisory Council, chaired by SUNY Empire State College President Jim Malatras, "to help districts reimagine schools as they prepare to reopen while protecting health and safety, how virtual learning can bridge the gap, and supplement face-to-face education when schools reopen." Also, Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa and Interim Education Commissioner Shannon Tahoe have announced that they will be holding regional sessions, virtually, to gain a greater understanding from the education community on the challenges school districts face regarding the opening of school this fall.