Like most industries, the professional K-12 landscape has a wide range of consultants who bring fresh outside perspectives to many challenges. However, sometimes this perspective is just beyond your budget. So how can you access the value that outside perspectives bring, without paying for consultants?
To help our network members, The Broad Center’s Collaboration and Learning team developed the Emerging Practices Exchange (EPEx). These 2-3 day events bring together some of the most brilliant minds in K-12 public education to discuss solutions in areas such as operations and student supports, DE&I, talent and human capital, and community engagement. EPEx operates under the norm of confidentiality and commitment to action, or as one attendee put it “the words stay in the room, but the lessons come home with you.” This allows participants to be open about the struggle, citing specific areas for improvement and leveraging shared functional knowledge to cut straight to the heart of the problem and receive real, actionable advice from the people who know the work best. All participants are asked to present a current problem of practice for which The Broad Center team provides a set of suggested consultancy protocols to assist in drawing out the highest quality solutions. In the end, however, participants take ownership for their own feedback processes. Whatever feedback model works best for your situation is what you do at EPEx.
During the most recent Operations and Student Supports EPEx in Houston, the discussion ranged from talent management to organization structure to student recruitment. When the group tackled a challenge around student recruitment, attendees shared a multitude of actionable ideas, including digging deep into insights and asking not only why families choose schools, but why existing families elect to leave. Through the discussion, it became clear that understanding motivations by neighborhood is also useful, rather than a one-size-fits-all strategy. Once a school is established, net promoter parents are some of a school system’s strongest advocates. Utilizing the parent network for recruitment not only serves as a doorway into the surrounding community but empowers parents to advocate for families they would want their children to learn with. As you can see, the group contributed based on their unique experiences and as one attendee said, “It gave me insight on areas that I could take back and strengthen in my organization.”
Did I mention the typical 3-day EPEx includes round trip airfare, hotel, local ground transportation, 3 square meals per day, snacks galore, and all the knowledge you can take with you? EPEx is currently open to The Broad Center network members who can each bring a guest with them. Network members can check The Broad Center Community for upcoming events or reach out directly to firstname.lastname@example.org if interested in learning more. If you are passionate about transforming public education into an engine of excellence and equity, consider applying to The Broad Residency or The Broad Academy.