ThoughtExchange gives insight into Reed City schools’ climate

Superintendent: ‘We had good participation’

REED CITY — During a recent meeting, the Reed City Area Public Schools board of education members got a review of the district’s use of a new virtual feedback platform.

Superintendent Mike Sweet discussed data from a survey created using ThoughtExchange, a platform first introduced to the board in October.

According to the company’s website, the platform works by having administrators choose an open-ended question that best aligns with their goals.

A dedicated question expert can help develop a series of custom questions that will ensure the best data from a given group, or users can select one from recommendations.

An ‘exchange’ can be shared with any sized group using a link that participants can access on any device. Participants confidentially share their answers and rate each other’ answers — in any language.

Sweet said the goal of the surveys sent to staff was to identify new areas to address in the district.

“I asked teachers to take a look around their classroom, check in and see what's on top of their mind as we roll into '23 as they survey classrooms, buildings or the district,” Sweet said. “We had good participation which was nice to see.”

According to Sweet, there were 141 participants across the district, 147 thoughts were written, and had 6,177 ratings. Forty-seven percent of answers came from G.T. Norman, 32% came from middle school, and 25% from the high school. 

Sweet said the top three ranked thoughts concerned student discipline, custodial staffing and classroom aid.

“(One) comment says students need to have consequences when they break the rules," Sweet said. "A talking to or lunch in the office doesn't really curb behaviors,” Sweet said. “Custodial staff being spread too thin, that was a big one. Buildings aren’t cleaned well each night. Then having periods in the classes with more increased time helping students, as well as more phonics training.” 

Sweet said he spent time reviewing the responses and categorizing them to help identify concerns to address.

The district has five licenses it can use within the district and each building administrator will have one, according to Sweet.

The ultimate goal would be to utilize the platform to regularly collect the school community’s feedback on topics or areas to address within the district.

“It'll be a tool that you can use with staff and it’s a tool you can use with students even so you can ask their opinion,” Sweet said. “This trial was really just a question for me to get started to check in. We'll be carefully reflecting and prioritizing what we learn as we plan and share for future actions.”

The next scheduled board of education meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Feb. 13 at Suite A at 225 West Church Avenue, in Reed City.

For more information on the RCAPS board of education visit