District 65 has launched its first ThoughtExchange, an engagement opportunity available to all residents of the District 65 community. ThoughtExchange, a commonly used crowdsourcing tool, will collect feedback from community members as the district seeks to address its current financial challenges while continuing to prepare each of its students to achieve academically and grow socially. The insights and perspectives gathered from the ThoughtExchange will inform equitable decision making as part of the district’s budget planning process.

From January 4-13, participants can join the ThoughtExchange using their web browser, smart phone, or tablet device. For residents to access and participate in the ThoughtExchange, they can visit the following link on their desktop or mobile device. Additionally, participants can also download the ThoughtExchange app from the app store and enter the code 193-281-336 to engage or text the code 193-281-336 to the phone number 728-55 to receive a link to participate.  

The ThoughtExchange platform was utilized in response to the district’s current financial status, which will result in budget reductions, upwards of $1 million, for the 2021-2022 school year and more reductions in years to come. “This is an extremely difficult but necessary step forward in addressing the structural deficit that has plagued the District for years,” said District 65 Superintendent Dr. Devon Horton. “The District 65 Administration and School Board are committed to bringing all voices to the table, including those who have historically been underrepresented in these conversations. We hope [our community] will take the time to participate in our first in a series of engagements about ways we can move forward together.”

ThoughtExchange operates as a three-phased process in the span of a condensed period. Once interested participants have joined the Thought Exchange, they can share their thoughts to open-ended questions, rate the ideas of others, and discover the top thoughts in real-time and what themes are emerging. Once the ThoughtExchange closes on January 13, a report of the top thoughts will be generated and a link to the full results will be shared with the community after January 20. The district’s entire community is encouraged to participate, regardless of their language spoken, as the platform uses Google Translate to allow for real-time engagement across multiple languages. 

District 65 community members are encouraged to visit the exchange multiple times to fully engage in the discussion, respond to ideas from others and discover how their ideas compare.