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"Listening Sessions" for Building Trust and Open Communication

A monthly community forum hosted by central office staff on Facebook Live


When the COVID-19 pandemic began and their schools closed for in-person learning, Colorado Springs School District 11 sought to communicate with students, teachers, families, and community members to update them on the ever-changing status of school closures and mechanisms for remote learning. To help bridge the gap for communication, the Superintendent and supporting central office staff began to host weekly community forums, which then evolved to monthly forums as remote and hybrid learning became more familiar and concrete.

"Our superintendent was doing Friday night videos to connect with the community and say, ‘We still see you out there, we're still engaged with you.’" - Nicole Ottmer, Personalized Learning Systems Coordinator


To reach a broader community, the district hosted these forum meetings, called “Beyond the Mask” on Facebook Live. In advance of the forum, parents and other community members were given the opportunity to submit questions, which the district used to inform the topic of each live session. Based on interest and need, participants were featured in the forum and the topics addressed would change as the district sought to answer the questions that were posed.

This strategy is a part of TLA's Hop, Skip, Leapfrog release, which explores the concrete ways in which schools and systems pursued student-centered innovation during COVID-19. Explore the full guide to find additional strategies, insights, and resources.