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Kansas City district improves with parent app

Parents can pitch ideas through website and mobile devices

Kansas City Public Schools in Missouri lost accreditation in January 2012. As part of the effort to improve schools, district leaders asked MindMixer to create an engagement platform, the KCPS Forum. Parents can access the forum through a web browser or app on their phone and pitch ideas for improving the district.

Andre Riley, public relations manager for the district, says the platform can do much more than a simple Facebook page can. “We wanted a message board format that allowed for a comprehensive two-way conversation,” he says. “Facebook facilitates one person making a short statement and someone else making another short statement back.”

The platform was designed to look like the district’s other websites, and costs $200 a month for the district of 17,100 students, Riley says. “You want your forum to look similar to your other communication platforms. You want parents to feel like they’re still talking to the district and not a third party,” Riley adds.

Parents used the platform’s discussion feature to tell the district about classes that were needed. “When we surveyed parents on foreign language, we assumed most parents were going to say they wanted their child to learn Spanish,” he says. “However, many parents responded that they wanted Japanese to be offered. We wouldn’t have learned that without KCPS Forum.”