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Community Input

Cross State High School Collaborative

Community Input into School Redesign

Students, parents, educators, partners and community members are all vital components to high school designs that will provide relevant, meaningful experiences and to contribute to the success of both the graduates and community. Community Input into School Redesign is designed to provide a variety of methods to support getting the community involved with input and planning for a high school redesign. 

An engaged community process may use a variety of approaches to better understand community desires, values, beliefs and gather input.

Whether you are embarking upon your redesign journey, designing a half-day session to review and organize input with stakeholders, or a multiple-day Charette to engage in school designs, we believe you will find the guides and tools below useful.

Design Charettes

A charrette is an intensive planning session where community members, designers and others collaborate on a vision for development. It provides a forum for ideas and offers the unique advantage of giving immediate feedback to the designers. More importantly, it allows everyone who participates to be a mutual author of the plan.

Charrettes 101: Dynamic Planning for Community Change this article describes the process of holding a charrette, a four- to seven-day planning event that assembles an interdisciplinary team of all stakeholders to design and plan a project together. During the course of the charrette, a team of planners, residents, business people, architects, environmental experts, policy makers, and others works together in brainstorming sessions and sketching workshops. Throughout the charrette, participants meet during scheduled sessions and work out specific planning problems. Around the clock, a head design team revises and updates the plans. The shortened time frame — a matter of days — creates pressure and energy. People passionately argue their points and generously share their knowledge and insights. By listening to participants debate the issues, everyone in the room learns more about the project’s complexity.
Download the Article (PDF)

Charrettes (Design Sketching): ½ Inspiration, ½ Buy-In by Kara Pernice outlines how design charrettes inspire design sketches and ideas, include more people in the design process, explore and expose goals and objectives of colleagues in multiple functional roles, and drive off designer’s block.
Read the Article Online

The Charrette Protocol is a two-page outline of the purpose of a charrette as well as the roles of the participants, how to use the protocol, the process, etc.
Download the Paper (PDF)

The Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council published a brochure of the entire charrette planning process.
Download the Brochure (PDF)

You can also watch this four-minute video and learn the process from the Salvadori Center in New York that takes 100 students through an all-day design challenge to redesign Time Square as a pedestrian mall with the help of professional engineers, architects, and designers.
Watch the Video Online



Conversation Cafe
  • Free online training materials and video for hosting public conversations. Free introductory in-person training for high school and university students and teachers.  Click here for all of these free resources!
  • The National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation offers over 180 tools and methods used for dialogue and deliberation. Visit their Website

Video: Suspended Futures: The School Discipline Debate 

This American Graduate video on school discipline produced by Nine Network features a town hall discussion with an audience of parents, teacher, students, and education experts about school discipline.



Resident-Driven Community Development

Practical, helpful, and easy-to-use guidance for  resident-driven and inclusive community development model developed by the Orton Family Foundation and tested in partnership with small cities and towns over a decade. Visit their Website.

The Community Heart and Soul Field Guide is one resource from the Orton Family Foundation site that provides a step by step process and kit of resources to equip teams to use the Heart and Soul method in their communities.
Download the Guide (PDF)







Quick Ways to Get Started
  1. As part of needs assessment process-construct a short, online survey for students, parents, and community members asking their views on the what they see as the value and purpose of high school.
  2. Adapt the data templates used by Boston Public Schools and Mayors Cabinet and use them a public forum to gather input from students, parents, and the community. Download the MS Word Templates