Project Seeks to Gather, Amplify and Implement Your Ideas and put the (Yo)u back in Union.
NEA-NH is using ground-breaking technology to put the (yo)u back in Union. “We want to build the union you want and need, said Scott McGilvray, NEA-NH President. “We can only do that if we work together.”
Tapping into the power of technology and your collective wisdom, the NEA-NH leadership team has created a new kind of partnership amongst members, and between members and their leaders, at the local and statewide level.
“Some call this ‘crowd-sourcing’,” said Phil Sherwood, Director of Policy, Advocacy and Organizing for NEA-NH. “We call it common sense for any professional association.”
This initiative uses a cutting edge web-based platform to gather, focus and amplify valuable input from classrooms and turn it into actionable solutions.
“NEA-NH wants to hear from its members about how we can better meet the needs of our members and engage more educators in the work of the union,” said Rick Trombly, NEA-NH Executive Director. “We want to know what issues our members care about and what we should focus on as a professional union.”
The VIVA Project is a nonprofit organization with a new approach to community engagement specifically designed for classroom and school-based educators. They use a structured, facilitated process to gather educator’s perspectives and actionable proposals. Their platform, the VIVA Idea Exchange™, is online and available 24/7.
“We chose the VIVA Idea Exchange because it saves members the hassle of getting to a meeting, and makes it possible for each and every member across New Hampshire to connect directly with each other,” said McGilvray. “The power of our members’ collective ideas are going to change the shape of our union.”
The project consists of three phases. “During phase 1, we invite educators to share their ideas on the discussion question using the web-based platform,” said Sherwood. “Then, in phase 2, a small group of thought leaders is invited to form a Writing Collaborative, which turns the larger group’s ideas into actionable recommendations. The Writing Collaborative delivers a report full of recommendations to education leaders in phase 3.”
The driving question the state’s largest public employee union is seeking to answer with member input is: “NEA-NH imagines a union that will be the one, best source for all of your professional needs. How would you expand NEA-NH’s current programs and activities to make that vision a reality for every teacher in the state? What support and leadership opportunities would you like your union to provide for teachers in the earliest stages of their career and to those with 20 or 30 years of professional wisdom under their belt?”
Once the online networking & problem-solving in done, The VIVA Project uses an algorithm to identify a small group of thought leaders to organize and summarize the ideas that come directly from members into a set of action steps that they will share during at least one in-person meeting with statewide union leaders.
NEA-NH will then work to enact those recommendations creating a true member-driven professional association, where the collective wisdom of the group drives the future of the organization.
The VIVA Project and NEA-NH both envision a world where teachers are the first and best partners for public officials, parents, guardians and community partners in creating policies that ensure every child has an opportunity to leave high school with the skills and knowledge for further educational and occupational success.
“The moderated web-based platform encourages members to overcome time, travel and trust hurdles and share their best suggestions for making education policy work for students,” said Sherwood.
“This is your chance to be a leader and shape the future of your profession. We want to be the organization that represents and serves you and your profession. Without you there is no (Yo)Union. Join the VIVA Idea Exchange today by clicking the link an spread the word,” said McGilvray.