The EdExplore Community Partnership conducted an EdExplore Provider Survey marking EdExploreSRQ’s fourth birthday. EdExploreSRQ.com, the online platform connecting teachers to curriculum-aligned community learning experiences, includes 34 organizations and 30 teaching artists with 250 choices for the 2014-15 school year!
After reviewing the survey results, Sarasota County Schools Superintendent Lori White wrote to the experience providers.
“The number of students that continue to be touched by these experiences is gratifying," White said. "I was thrilled to see that every school participated in at least seven EdExplore experiences this past school year. Most did far more.”
She applauded the school district EdExplore partnership.
“None of this would be possible without your active participation in this process," she said. "Your willingness to partner with us has allowed students to receive high-quality educational experiences that are aligned with their curriculum expectations. I greatly appreciate your partnership in this endeavor.”
What did we learn and what’s the follow up?
(1) 27 organizations reported 104,000 student explorations annually
(2) Every Sarasota public and charter school had AT LEAST 7 providers -- Title I Schools and South County schools were among highest users of explorations. There were no career technical explorations. What's next? Based on Superintendent Lori White's strong interest in improving student career connections and the potential for EdExplore as a viable platform, career-oriented explorations are being developed.
(3) Better curriculum alignment is happening. The providers also said more teachers need to know about EdExplore. The Sarasota District Curriculum Department included links to explorations as part of the teacher resource platform Blackboard Learn. Posted providers were given logins to Blackboard Learn to better understand Florida Standards and gaps where experiential learning resources are needed. An October 21 workshop explained this alignment tool to providers.
(4) You recommended better communications and marketing every provider. EdExplore marketing materials are available for providers. Contact Amanda Heisey (firstname.lastname@example.org) of the Arts and Cultural Alliance who is handling distribution. Marketing materials include posters, brochures and “I’m an EdExplorer” stickers. A communications and marketing plan is under final review by the Community Partnership. We need every provider to make EdExploreSRQ part of their story.
(5) You told us grants were important. The Education Foundation of Sarasota County provided three years of grants that incentivized more teachers to incorporate explorations. The new Community Foundation of Sarasota County (CFSC) rolling exploration grant is gaining momentum and applications are growing. The endowment match has also seen good donor support. These grants are just one source of exploration funding in addition to student fees, provider funding, and other grants. The Community Foundation of Sarasota County recently updated its GIVING PARTNER pages to more prominently feature EdExplore providers.
(6) Almost all organizations do evaluations and teacher surveys following explorations. They should structure provider conversations that share findings and observations to learn from each other what teachers want and value most.
(7) You had some specific ideas for changes to the website that make it easier to find provider offerings as well as post materials. These changes are underway.
(8) It was recommended that if we intend to conduct regular provider surveys that we should come up with a common format for collecting data about schools/students. We will be following up on this recommendation.
Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.
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