What do you think about a CPSObsessed message board?

May 17, 2011 at 1:03 pm 38 comments

I’m backed up a bit on some posts, so will try to get those up this week, but that leads me to another topic that I’d like to get people’s opinion on.  I’ve been thinking of exanding to include a message board function on here.  I think there is a need for a central meeting place for CPS within the city – so people can connect on various topics that help generate interest/volunteers/input. 

Ideally, I’d still like to have the main blog page as sort of the “hot topic” area, with the message board as a link where people can post their own questions, notices, and discussion topics.   Also, there could be ongoing posts on specific schools, which is something that people have asked for here.

The one downside is that to post on the message board, people would probably need to sign up with a login name/password, unlike the easy anonymous posts you can make here.

So I’m just looking for some thoughts on whether it seems like it would work.  I’d hate for discussions to get so fragmented that we lose some of the great discussion we have.   Do you think there are any pros and cons I’m not thinking about?  If so, please share your thoughts!

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Meeting at Lake View High School tonight Rally for Education May 24th at 4pm downtown

38 Comments Add your own

  • 1. harderthanithought  |  May 17, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    I, for one, would LOVE this option! I feel like a lot of important threads kind of get lost as they get bumped down on the blog. Great to have a dynamic message board!

  • 2. Mom2  |  May 17, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    I think it is a wonderful idea as long as your login name could still be something anonymous/confidential and your email would not have to be shared with everyone. I say that because I feel some people may not be quite as honest about their opinions on hot topics if they knew that fellow parents/teachers/students might disagree with them. We all want to get along well with others at our schools or in our communities and sometimes that makes people say less than what they really feel.

  • 3. another mom  |  May 17, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    I would also love this option. I think it would be especially helpful to have posts for specific schools. Could you set it up so everyone has a number, or some other anonymous ID, but could use a name if they want, similar to NPN?

  • 4. KD  |  May 17, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    I’d like to try it. I’d like to see how the technology works to see how it could be used.

  • 5. RL Julia  |  May 17, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Don’t know much about this stuff or how it works but I wonder if it will distill the comments. It seems like you could populate an on-going discussion about SEES and SEHS – gossip and general anxiety about admissions almost year round at this point- but I don’t know about the other stuff- if anything I wonder if having a comment board would make the interesting random comment harder to intially find…. No harm in trying though.

  • 6. NCPDad  |  May 17, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    I think this would be a great option, and franlkly you could probably make a little money off this venture. Not boarding school money but maybe private school money 🙂 You might look at a site like http://www.vbulletin.com for their software. There would be an investment upfront, but given the number of unique visitors you get and the demographics you could easily sell ads to support it.

  • 7. citydweller  |  May 17, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    I think it’s a great idea. People obviously want to talk about this stuff. 😉 I moderate a message board that uses the vbulletin software and am fairly familiar with it, if you need help…

  • 8. Chicago Gawker-  |  May 17, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Please keep it FREE though or diversity of viewpoints will suffer and it will become like npn.

  • 9. cpsobsessed  |  May 17, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Oh, yeah – totally free. It’ll cost me a bit though so I’d either have some ads or consider it a community service.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 10. TwinMom  |  May 17, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    As long as we could still comment on “hot topics” as well, I’d be all for it! I’d even put up with the ads. 🙂

  • 11. Curious  |  May 17, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    Keep an eye on Westinghouse College Prep! As they are getting lots of attention from parents all over the city. They will be the next SEHS / Academic school that every kid will want to attend. http://www.newwestinghouse.org

  • 12. Jennifer  |  May 18, 2011 at 7:59 am

    I love the idea! Might I suggest starting with only a handful of sections/forums and then dividing them further only if necessary? And please don’t set up forums for sides of the city (official CPS designations or otherwise). I think that would hinder conversation.

  • 13. lsm  |  May 18, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Would love it. My kids won’t enter kindergarten until 2013 and I’m already addicted to this site. A message board would be great.

  • 14. dianeb  |  May 18, 2011 at 10:52 am

    I would love, love, love to see a message board.

  • 15. Grace  |  May 18, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Great idea, you might add a donate button!

  • 16. HSObsessed  |  May 18, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Re: a user name and password — That does discourage me from posting comments on many boards, but I am and I think most readers here are dedicated CPSobsessed readers who wouldn’t mind setting up an “account” in order to participate in the discussion. We do a “log in” already with our moniker and e-mail, anyway.

  • 17. HSObsessed  |  May 18, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Also, it would be great to have some kind of visual alert when a new post is added to an old thread. I still look at old threads and add on to them if there is news on the topic, but many people don’t. (tk, if you read this: go the Chicago Quest thread!)

  • 18. Mayfair Dad  |  May 18, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Sponsored by Chartwells, powered by Educational Networks and supported through a grant from the Gates Foundation to promote parent engagement as a key element to school reform.

  • 19. momof2  |  May 18, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Leave the anonymity please! People will be less apt to post their children’s scores and tiers for admissions if names have to be given. We get the in depth info we get on this webpage because of the anonymity.

  • 20. Christine  |  May 18, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    I think its a great idea! Do you have time to moderate a message board? And you should definitely add a donate jar. I’m sure people would be happy to contribute (I would anyway).

  • 21. BuenaParkMom  |  May 18, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    I think it could be interesting. By the way does anyone know anything about the End-of-Year Citywide Options Program?

  • 22. Grace  |  May 19, 2011 at 8:09 am

    BP Mom — no, sounds interesting. what is it?

  • 23. Kim C.  |  May 19, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Yes, would love it. Especially if there were threads with resources for parents, like after school programs, transportation, homework help, etc.

  • 24. cpsobsessed  |  May 19, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Ok, an interesting option has come up. These poor people have been emailing me for months and I haven’t had time to process what they offer. They run message boards for schools in NYC and San Fran and have one for Chicago that is basically ready to go live. It’s basically the same as what I’d probably do, but it’s all set up already.

    If you have a minute, take a look and see what you think and feel free to post questions or comments. (Be honest – I think constructive input is important.)

    Possible Chicago board (can be tweaked to meet the local needs.)http://www.theschoolboards.com/forumdisplay.php/710-Chicago

    Existing boards:http://www.theschoolboards.com/forumdisplay.php/663-New-York-Metro

    http://www.theschoolboards.com/forumdisplay.php/2-San-Francisco-Marin

    I asked about the “business model” and like my blog there doesn’t seem to be one. 🙂 Like me, these are people who feel that communication between parents, communities, teachers, etc can only help us make progress in our local schools. At some point there might be some ads, as hosting the message board has some costs involved, but I don’t foresee anything crazy/annoying.

  • 25. Jennifer  |  May 19, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    I think a wiki type area where people could post their knowledge on various schools would be a good start.

  • 26. cpsobsessed  |  May 19, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Oh yeah… Wiki – that could be cool!

  • 27. Ravenswood Mom  |  May 19, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    @18 Mayfair Dad – you crack me up – thanks for keepin’ it real!
    @ cpsobsessed – message board would be GREAT.

  • 28. Patty  |  May 19, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Go for it! I will be willing to sign in to participate in the discussions.

  • 29. HSObsessed  |  May 20, 2011 at 7:49 am

    I think theschoolboards sites are obviously very visually attractive, and I could get used to the format with time/use. However, one thing I’ve always liked about CPSO is the name CPS in it, and so it truly feels like, and IS, a local board. The TSB site is nationwide and “Chicagoland” would be just one aspect of it. I also see that it covers private schools and suburban districts as well (if people post on those subjects) which I understand some/many people have an interest in, but again, it might dilute and de-intensify the overall focus.

  • 30. Jennifer  |  May 20, 2011 at 8:04 am

    CPSObsessed, would you still have an admin or moderator hand in that Schoolboards site? I feel you bring a sense of fairness and order that would be missed if you weren’t officially “in charge.”

  • 31. RL Julia  |  May 20, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Ditto 29. I thought it looked confusing – and it seemed like the posts were sort of gossipy – I look to the 299 blog for that sort of rancor.

  • 32. cpsobsessed  |  May 22, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    @31 RL Julia: did you mean the posts on the Chicago board seemed gossipy? Or the other cities? I think the moderator is just posting local news stories for now, since there aren’t really readers/posters quite yet.
    They’ve told me that I can be the moderator (yay!) and that I/we can decide how the categories should be laid out to make sense for Chicago. Also, it can be for city-only (which is how the NY and CA sites are.)

    I will take another look, but compared to some other message board templates I’ve seen, these look really good (visually.) I think the key is getting the right categories set up.

    I think it would be helpful as a “holding place” for info on specific schools and also a way for people to build support for up and coming schools – such as Lake View High school or other high schools, etc.

    So I’ll look so more, but their willingness to let me customize it to fit the needs of CPS/Chicago are very appealing.

    I sort of envision this as the place to post topical stuff, then people can refer people to the message board if there is a deep tangent/topic that can be discussed. I think it seems worth a try….

    Thanks for all the input! It has been really really helpful.

  • 33. Grace  |  May 27, 2011 at 12:38 am

    I echo #29 and 30. I’d like to ask if you alone would be the moderator and decide what gets put on the message board, or if the folks behind Schoolboards would also get to post items they think are worthwhile.

    Who exactly are the people behind the message boards? After the May 22 article in the NY Times about how Bill Gates has given money to everyone under the sun in education to influence the debate on charters — and that includes district 299 — I’m curious.

  • 34. Grace  |  May 27, 2011 at 12:39 am

    I echo #29 and 30. I’d like to ask if you alone would be the moderator and decide what gets put on the message board, or if the folks behind Schoolboards would also get to post items they think are worthwhile?

    Btw,who exactly are the people behind the message boards? After the May 22 article in the NY Times about how Bill Gates has given money to everyone under the sun to influence the debate on charters — and that includes district 299 — I’m curious.

  • 35. Grace  |  May 27, 2011 at 12:40 am

    Actually, cpsobsessed, I think you have an eventual money maker here, and I wouldn’t be quick to share it just yet.

  • 36. Another Rogers Park Mama!  |  May 27, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    If you don’t do it, I will… Lol! Remember my husband is willing to build it pro-Bono!!! 😉

  • 37. cps mom  |  May 28, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    yes, yes and yes! Great Idea and fun too. I love learning about other schools

  • 38. cpsobsessed  |  May 30, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Thanks guys, more great feedback. I will get more info on the people who run the message board. They have said I can moderate, but my goal would be that anyone can post new topics (I would have the power to delete, I believe.)

    I feel that based on my schedule (and my personal interests within CPS) I feel like I’m often a bottleneck to good topics getting posted. Ideally, I’d be scanning the local papers, NYTimes, etc for good, relevant articles or research for us to discuss, but as it is I barely have time to do laundry in a given week.

    I do wonder about the money-making aspect, but I feel like the CPS-interested audience is always going to be fairly limited, unlike a web site with national interests. I’m sure some local companies (tutoring, etc) could find it useful to advertise, just not sure how much it would generate beyond paying for the hosting.

    I’ll check in with the message board people with some of the questions….

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