Story Map rallies Texas community to pass public compulsory schooling


A community group used the Kids First Allen Story Map Journal as part of a campaign to encourage the passage of a $ 272 million compulsory education measure for the Allen Independent School District (AISD) in the Dallas suburb of Allen, Texas.

Created using Esri Story Map Journal app, the Kids First Allen Story Map Journal has been integrated into the website of the Kids First Allen organization. He helped educate voters on why a school bond was needed, plans for building schools, and potential tax implications. The Story Map Journal was also used for nearly 40 live presentations at various meetings across the district and was part of a direct marketing campaign to get the vote.

The school obligation measure was passed by an overwhelming majority on November 3, 2015, with the approval of 75.7% of voters.

Esri Partner Data History Consulting created the Story Map at the request of David Hicks, owner of David Hicks Company, a commercial real estate brokerage and development services firm in Allen. Hicks is a strong supporter of the Allen School System and a member of Kids First Allen, a community organization that campaigned for the Measurement of Bonds.

“Creating a Story Map has allowed us to share a lot of information with a huge number of people and to rally the community around their local schools,” Hicks said.

Interactive story maps showed, for example, where a new science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) center would be built at Allen High School and the general location of a future elementary school. Short videos have also been incorporated into the Story Map Journal. A video gave voters a glimpse of the rapid growth in student enrollment in the school district over the past 20 years and promised no tax rate increases to fund the new obligations. The other video explained the meaning of STEM education and how it emphasizes skills such as problem solving, communication, research, critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity.

Hicks credits the Story Map Journal with helping make clear to voters the importance of passing the bond measure, which, at $ 272 million, was the largest bond to date in the district. “Our Story Map made the information easier to understand, especially for such a complex link,” Hicks said. “We were able to help organize ideas and tell a rich story. “

AISD will use the bond money to expand facilities and improve programs in a growing field. The number of students enrolled, which has doubled since 1989, is currently 20,780 and is expected to increase by 2.25% over the next five years. This is three times the national average. The link will help AISD grow to meet this demand and help children prepare for college and 21st century careers by building a STEM center that will serve up to 2,000 students every day.

The power of story maps

Esri Story Map apps, including Story Map Journal, Story Map Tour, Story Map Series, help organize complex ideas in meaningful and engaging ways, as Story Maps provide interactive access to data through the lens of a map. Kids First Allen Story Map viewers can scroll through and see on a map exactly what’s on offer for the school district and where.

The number of families living in Allen, Texas will increase by nearly 3,000 over the next five years.

Hicks chose the Story Map Journal format because it is easy to navigate for everyone and allows viewers to browse through the information in a logical fashion. As viewers read the news, they can click on the hyperlinked text for more detail while still maintaining the context of the larger story. For example, viewers can better understand why a new primary school is needed when they see on a map that the fastest growing areas of the district are currently running out of schools.

The bond measure will finance the construction of a new primary school.
The bond measure will finance the construction of a new primary school.

The Kids First Allen Story Map Journal maps the location of facilities where construction is planned, such as the Lowery Freshman Center, Allen High School, and a new elementary school. Pop-ups on the maps list exactly what type of work will be done at each location. For example, Allen High School will obtain an addition of 11,000 square feet for use by orchestra, band and percussion groups.

The Kids First Allen Story Map Journal provided important facts to the community. It is important to inform citizens, especially as communities are making plans for the future and seeking citizen participation in the development and approval of those plans.

Listen to a podcast with Hicks discussing the Kids First Allen Project with Karen Jagoda on DigitalPoliticsRadio.com.

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