Offering Anonymity: Possip’s Commitment to Amplifying Voices

Engagement, Feedback, For Schools, Public, Technology / /

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In the realm of education, Possip strives empower families, students, and staff by giving them a platform to express their thoughts and concerns. Ultimately, we aim to help schools not only acknowledge every stakeholder’s voice but also welcome those voices. We consider the input essential to leaders’ decision-making process.

Caroline Carrello, a Possip intern majoring in Human and Organization Development at Vanderbilt University, explores the advantages of offering anonymity in Possip Pulse Checks®

Our Pulse Check reports serve as a bridge, enabling schools to actively listen and respond to the diverse perspectives of their community members. It’s a proactive approach that ensures everyone’s thoughts and concerns are considered. This helps foster a collaborative and inclusive educational environment.

Why Offer Anonymity?

Possip provides a safe space to communicate by inviting families, staff, and students to respond anonymously to Pulse Checks if they wish. Stakeholders may choose to respond anonymously because they want to provide feedback without the desire for a follow-up. On the other hand, some prefer to remain anonymous as a means of feeling more at ease and honest in their expressions. Some people shy away from sharing their true opinions if they know their name will be attached to their thoughts. This might be the case even if you have attempted to cultivate a community that welcomes and values honest feedback. 

In the 2022-23 school year, 23% of family members and 48% of staff members selected to respond anonymously to Pulse Checks. If you do not offer the opportunity to remain anonymous, there’s a chance that you won’t hear the honest feedback of one-quarter of your families or even up to one-half of your staff members. Inviting people to provide anonymous feedback proves that you are willing to listen, even if the feedback is critical. This builds trust on a deep level. Plus, this article explains that “While anonymity may make it easy for people to act antagonistically, unprofessionally, or unethically, research has shown it can also make people unusually forthcoming and helpful.”

What To Expect

At the end of every Pulse Check, the last question is “Do you want to share your name with this?”. When asked this question, respondents have the option to say yes or no. Respondents who say yes will have their information tagged to their comments in Possip’s resorts. Respondents who say no will remain anonymous. Respondents can choose to be anonymous one week and share their identity the next if they wish to do so too.

When school leaders review their school or district reports, the comments either share the name of the respondent or state “Anonymous”. 

Ways to Address Anonymous Feedback

Anonymous responses can be great for hearing more vulnerable thoughts and perspectives. But they can also be a little frightening for school administrators. How can you effectively use this feedback when you’re not sure who feels this way? What do you do when you can’t follow up for more context or to directly tackle the problem?

Responding collectively can be a good way to think about “replying” to anonymous comments. Here are three ways to consider doing that:

  1. Use Your Possip 360 Script or an FAQ/Summary. Possip provides 360 scripts that summarize your Pulse Check Report findings. Communicating back to your families or staff using the script or other summaries, like an FAQ page close the feedback loop. This can be a great way to let people know they’re heard and address questions that have come up. Here’s part of a sample 360 script from our demo report:

2. Create a Follow-up Bonus Question. Asking a Bonus Question to your community can be a great way to better understand comments from a previous Pulse Check. For example, if a parent suggested a new after-school program, you could use a future Pulse Check to see if more parents would be interested.

3. Articulate Your Hopes Around Name Sharing. When you request or remind your community to participate in Pulse Checks or other opportunities to provide feedback, include a note about why sharing their name can be helpful for them and you.

Possip showcases our dedication to amplifying voices in education by providing an innovative platform that allows families, students, and staff a secure space to share their thoughts and concerns. Embracing anonymity, Possip enables school leaders to cultivate trust. If you need guidance and and practical ways to collectively respond to anonymous feedback, please reach out for support!