Policy

Alaska ED Adopts Stakeholder Intelligence System

The Alaska Department of Education has implemented a cloud-based stakeholder intelligence system to help gather insight into the opinions and priorities of a large number of stakeholders across the state's vast geography, 54 school districts and culturally diverse population.

Alaska adopted the system to get a head start on its implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which President Obama signed into law in December 2015. Under the law, states are required to implement ESSA policies in the 2016-17 school year. In order to meet this deadline, Alaska needs to update its policies, a process which requires input from stakeholders from across the state. Alaska is coping with a state deficit of more than 4 billion dollars, along with travel and hiring freezes, so the Department of Education needed to find a virtual process for engaging its geographically diverse stakeholders.

"We really wanted to hear the voices of our stakeholders and have meaningful consultation," said Bernie Sorenson, lead facilitator of Alaska's ESSA initiative, in a news release. "Priority one for the Department of Education was to turn control as much as possible surrounding implementation of ESSA to local school districts."

The state implemented Powernoodle, a cloud-based system that combines stakeholder intelligence with traditional business intelligence to support organizations in the decision-making process. "As a facilitator, the opportunity to be part of developing the State of Alaska's ESSA strategy out of the gate is exciting but also, quite daunting," added Sorenson. "Powernoodle is giving us the ability to efficiently appreciate the perspective of key stakeholders while diving deeply into insights and options."

The Alaska State Board of Education will use the rest of the 2016 school year to gather input from its stakeholders with the help of Powernoodle before it begins the policy-drafting process. In its first five weeks using the system, the board has experienced a 440 percent financial return on investment, according to a news release from Powernoodle. During that same time period, the board gathered more than 3,000 ESSA ideas, insights and evaluations and saw a weekly participation rate of up to 95 percent across its 40-person cross-state advisory council.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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