A Date with Data
Stakeholders on Their Mind: Growing Lasting Relationships in Georgia
March 23, 2023
New relationships are great, sure, but what most of us strive for are long-lasting, meaningful connections. That’s the goal in Georgia anyway, where Part B data managers Dawn Kemp and Dominique Donaldson are keeping stakeholders on their mind as they implement strategies to improve and expand stakeholder engagement. In part one of this two-part A Date with Data, they share all with host Amy Bitterman, including their strategies for maintaining stakeholder feedback, evaluating progress toward targeted goals, and creating spaces for consequential partnerships. Join us to hear Georgia’s sweet song about building stakeholder connections that last.
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### Episode Transcript ###
00:00:01.52  >> You're listening to "A Date With Data," with your host, Amy Bitterman.

00:00:07.34  >> Hey, it's Amy, and I'm so excited to be hosting "A Date With Data." I'll be chatting with state and district special education staff who, just like you, are dealing with IDEA data every day.

00:00:19.50  >> "A Date With Data" is brought to you by the IDEA Data Center.

00:00:24.56  >> Thank you for listening to this episode of "A Date With Data." I am so happy to welcome Dawn Kemp and Dominique Donaldson, who are both Part B Data Managers with the Georgia Department of Education. And they are going to share with us some of the work they have been doing to continuously and meaningfully engage stakeholders in setting targets, but also going beyond that and analyzing data, developing improvement strategies and even more. And I want to just to start out by asking you each to say a little bit about yourselves and your role and your background. Dawn, do you want to start off?

00:01:02.78  >> Certainly, Amy. My name is Dawn Kemp, and as you've already stated, I'm one of the Part B Data Managers for Georgia. I have over 35 years of experience in public education. I have worked in a variety of capacities. I've worked as a classroom teacher. I've worked as a special ed lead in a school building. I have worked as a college and university instructor. I have worked with regular curriculum teachers in alternative preparation programs. Additionally, have worked as a special ed director in both Georgia and Alabama, and most recently, across the last 3 years, I have served as Part B Data Manager in the state of Georgia.

00:02:00.56  >> Thank you. And I didn't even know all that, and I've known you for a few years now, so that was good to hear. How about you, Dominique?

00:02:08.91  >> Hi, my name is Dominique Donaldson, and I am a Part B Data Manager for GaDOE. I work with Dawn Kemp, and I have had about 10 years of experience in education. Through my time, I've served as a special education teacher. I also served on the district level as a lead LEA facilitator as well as a school-based LEA facilitator and also as a program manager. And on the collegiate level, I also served as a university instructor.

00:02:44.65  >> Wow, sounds like you and Dawn actually have similar backgrounds. Well, thank you both. The first thing I wanted to ask about is, can you just tell us what your stakeholder engagement looked like in 2022 and kind of how did that all get started? I know you kind of were doing a lot of work in 2021 and kind of continuing and building off of that into 2022. So what has that looked like over the last couple of years?

00:03:11.46  >> Thank you so much, Amy, for the question. Examining the stakeholder engagement in '21 and '22, it has been a continuous process. And what I mean by that is, obviously, the stakeholder engagement in '21 was directed a lot by the guidance in the SPP/APR measurement template and the guidance from OSEP about the genuine and increased stakeholder engagement and feedback that was required.

00:03:51.36  >> Mm-hmm.

00:03:51.84  >> It obviously, from reading all the documents provided by OSEP, was highly clear that this was not a cursory level of engagement or checking a box. That you were genuinely, as a state agency, compelled to get meaningful feedback from your stakeholders. And across the last 2 years, that has looked somewhat different. In the first year, it was really like a tsunami of effort because prior to that, there had been stakeholder engagement predominantly limited to the State Advisory Panel, which is a very diverse and well-created panel. But it's not like getting feedback across the state from multiple regions, from ... and especially more from parents. So if you look at the charge that LE ... that state agencies were given with the SPP/APR 2020-2025 package, you realize that you had to really have some pretty strong scaffolds in place to make your stakeholders engaged partners. And I began that work in 2021 by taking the SPP/APR and really clustering or chunking the indicators into specific subsets of indicators, so as not to overwhelm participants. And I divided it into clusters such as group A was where your indicators were high school and life outcomes, and that include your Indicator 1, which was your graduation rate, your two, which was your dropout, 13, which was your transition type plans and 14, which was your post-school outcomes. So that was one group of indicators that had a commonality and that I felt could be explored by a group of stakeholders in a meaningful way, such that they would be able to actually dig into the data, understand what the data meant across multiple years, examine those trends and assist the state agency, that would be the Georgia Department of Education, in setting meaningful targets. So group A was just one of the clusters. There was also a group B, which was disproportionality, and that included Indicators 4, 9 and 10. Now, the majority of those indicators are compliance indicators, so you're not looking at targets, per se. But when you begin to discuss a topic like disproportionality with a group of stakeholders, they want to see the entire package, and that is why it included the entirety of those indicators. Group C examined environments for educational services for children that were school age and children that were younger, the preschool ...

00:07:48.50  >> Mm-hmm.

00:07:49.19  >> ... age. And it also looked at your timelines indicator. Again, a preponderance of ... or a number of those are actually compliance indicators that are set by OSEP, particularly for 11 and 12. But it ... You need the stakeholder engagement to determine methodologies or ways that you can make improvement. Then, group D examined preschool and parent involvement and legal outcomes. And then, group E was the assessment. It was only Indicator 3, and group E, the assessment, has become, by far, the most challenging in terms of attaining stakeholder feedback in ... Not engagement. The stakeholders have been highly engaged, but answering some fairly technical questions and looking at, as we'll discuss later, the target setting for Indicator 3. So when we began the process with those clusters of indicators, we took our State Advisory Panel, and we asked them in 2021 which of these indicator sets, which of these clusters do you have a personal interest in? In other words, would you like to do more intense and intentional work?

00:09:29.34  >> Mm-hmm.

00:09:29.85  >> And we actually allowed the stakeholders on the State Advisory Panel ... At that time, it had 37 parent members.

00:09:39.22  >> Wow.

00:09:39.28  >> And of course, there were additional members beside the parent members.

00:09:43.82  >> That's a lot.

00:09:44.26  >> And we allowed them to basically sign up to work with a particular cluster. We brought in specialists from the Department of Special Ed Services to facilitate each cluster.

00:10:03.38  >> Okay.

00:10:03.78  >> And they were able to share the data with these different cluster groups, assist in setting draft targets and examine practices that were taking place within Georgia. I think it is important to note that to make the work uniform, each cluster group had a presentation and a format of work that was designed and developed ... I developed it so that each group had the same layout in terms of understanding what baselines are, understanding what targets are, looking at the data within their specific area and then examining ways that they could set targets. So that was highly uniform for each of those groups.

00:11:07.93  >> Okay.

00:11:08.15  >> And so we met with that work in the year 2021, actually September of 2021. Now, we also expanded that work beyond the State Advisory Panel to include multiple other sessions that were conducted virtually that we solicited feedback from parent groups, from teacher groups, from people that were in regional technical assistance, state department level personnel. And we conducted additional webinars on these ... all of the indicators. So 2021 was an extremely busy year, and there were ...

00:11:59.86  >> How many of those did you do?

00:12:01.82  >> I think I ended up doing in excess of 20 meetings ...

00:12:06.99  >> Wow.

00:12:08.60  >> ... across all of the different groups. And we also generated feedback and engagement through the use of a survey that we sent to everybody that participated, to give us feedback on the targets. We hypothesized that some people might not be comfortable talking in a group.

00:12:34.20  >> Mm-hmm.

00:12:34.64  >> But they might be willing to give you a survey, an anonymous survey result.

00:12:41.38  >> Yeah, and also they might have needed time to kind of think it over and consider the discussion and then send you some feedback after. So that makes a lot of sense.

00:12:49.84  >> Absolutely. But we also kept ... We wanted to be sure that we were looking at representativeness.

00:12:56.53  >> Yeah.

00:12:56.63  >> So each of the surveys, we did ask the participant in the survey not to give a name or anything or to identify an LEA or anything of that nature.

00:13:10.38  >> Mm-hmm.

00:13:10.63  >> We did ask them for their race or ethnicity.

00:13:14.19  >> Mm-hmm.

00:13:14.58  >> And we did ask them for what their role was. Were they a parent? Were they a teacher? Were they a state level administrator? And we also allowed for them to capture more than one role because some people are parents of students with disabilities, but they also may work as a teacher in an LEA. They also ... So those types of things.

00:13:36.94  >> And how representative ... Did you get a pretty good mix of participants, would you say?

00:13:44.06  >> We did. Dominique, I believe you were going to speak a bit about the representativeness?

00:13:52.05  >> Right. It was pretty representative of our stakeholders, but we found that there was a little bit of underrepresentation in the Hispanic group.

00:14:03.01  >> Hmm.

00:14:04.54  >> And because of that, we did add additional stakeholder sessions with Spanish-speaking translators, and we also developed fliers to reach the unrepresented group to help bring those represented stakeholders into the conversation and give them more access.

00:14:25.45  >> Great. Was that successful? Were you able to increase ...

00:14:29.36  >> Well, we hope that ...

00:14:30.37  >> ... the families?

00:14:30.74  >> ... it's a little bit more successful in the upcoming year ...

00:14:33.00  >> Okay.

00:14:33.29  >> ... with more collaboration with Parent to Parent, other groups like that, to get the word out more. We didn't necessarily yield the result, but we definitely laid the foundation for increasing the stakeholder support for the upcoming year.

00:14:49.60  >> Awesome.

00:14:50.42  >> Dawn, how ... You kind of laid the foundation, I think, for 2021. How has it now evolved? What kind of happened last year in 2022?

00:15:00.80  >> We continued with ... Obviously, we laid the groundwork, so when we began in 2022, instead of having to go back through protracted discussions, we were able to just kind of pick up where we left off. And we did, in September of 2022, we reviewed that SPP/APR framework. We provided all available data on the indicators that we had. Obviously, some of the indicators, such as Indicator 3, were not available at that time. But if we had data, we began to provide that to the stakeholders, and we continued in our discussions with them about the data. And we also continued in our discussions with the stakeholders beyond the State Advisory Panel, and we conducted additional webinars, once again, to try to get additional feedback. In addition, we continued to have survey that was available for all participants. We tried to encourage, as Dominique mentioned, more of a collaboration with Parent to Parent and also with our parent mentor group at the Georgia Department of Education. One thing that I would say that has happened with our stakeholder engagement and our engagement that's markedly different in '22 than '21, is that the discussion with the State Advisory Panel has become extremely deep. There's a lot of depth in the conversation. They have an understanding of the indicators to such a degree that they ask questions about formulas for how you derived, particularly, the assessment indicators, discussions of that nature. And they also want to know more about instructional initiatives that are attached to making improvements in areas such as the assessment results of students with disabilities.

00:17:37.49  >> Thank you both so much, Dawn and Dominique. It was great to have you on and just hear so much about your story of stakeholder engagement, how it's evolved and how you're going to be making improvements and what it's going to look like in the future.

00:17:55.38  >> To access podcast resources, submit questions related to today's episode, or if you have ideas for future topics, we'd love to hear from you. The links are in the episode content, or connect with us via the podcast page on the IDC website at ideadata.org.