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Staff engagement survey helps districts measure school climate

When Monroe School District Superintendent Cory Hirsbrunner was looking for a way to gather feedback from his staff about the District’s initiatives and culture, he turned to School Perceptions. The Wisconsin-based company was a known entity in the District, as they were already working together on a community survey. “We are committed to ensuring that all District employees have the opportunity to provide feedback and input,” Hirsbrunner shared. “We appreciate how the staff as a District are doing and the challenges they are experiencing that need to be addressed.”

The web-based School Staff Engagement Survey is designed to collect feedback on staff members’ feelings and perceptions about specific engagement drivers. “We know that there is a strong correlation between staff engagement and student engagement,” shares Bill Foster, founder and president of School Perceptions. “When students are engaged, performance increases.”

An engaged employee is one who is fully engaged and enthusiastic about his or her work and takes positive steps to further the reputation and success of his or her school. But are the workers happy? According to a 2014 report by the Conference Board, the New York-based nonprofit research group, 52.3% are unhappy at work. Are the teachers better? No. According to a MetLife survey published in 2013, teacher job satisfaction had plummeted to its lowest level in 25 years, from 62% in 2008 to 39% in 2012, a total of 23 points.

Research shows that employee engagement is a result of employees feeling connected and valued, as well as reporting a strong sense of balance in their lives. As a result, engaged employees are producers. They work hard, stay late and give their best day in and day out. When teachers are engaged, children learn.

The School Perceptions Staff Engagement Survey collects data on 12 employee engagement indices, including control over work environment, health and wellness, workload, assertiveness, collaboration and teamwork, confidence in building leadership, culture of educational excellence, tools and training, public and parent support. , confidence in District leadership, communications, and the planning and improvement process.

Score reports allow a district to break down index results by various employee groups, as well as compare itself to similar schools across the state. “Our goal is to create easy-to-use data that districts can use right away,” says Foster.

For Lancaster Community Schools, that data identified a need to change a school calendar policy and adjust staffing. Additionally, they were able to see how the staff felt about the District’s compensation structure. “We were pleased to learn that despite the negative climate for public employees over the past several years, our staff felt that the school board and the District had done everything possible to maintain a compensation structure that was fair to both staff and employees. taxpayers,” he shared. Board Chairman Bill Haskins.

In the Monroe School District, the District’s administrative team used the data to plan for the upcoming school year. “It was extremely valuable to now have the numbers and documentation to support what may have been assumptions in some areas,” Hirsbrunner explained. “The reports were extremely helpful and easy to read. The color coded reports gave a clear indication of what needs attention and where we are doing well.”

The survey takes an employee 10-15 minutes to complete. School Perceptions software tracks survey completion and sends reminders to employees who have not yet taken the survey. As a result, the Districts experience high participation rates, often close to 85% of all employees. “If you’re going to have usable and beneficial data, it’s important to ensure a high response rate and our software does that,” shared Foster.

Once closed, a school district can receive similar school analytics reports and indexes within a week.

Additionally, School Perceptions can provide districts with feedback analysis. Lancaster Community Schools board members were affirmed by the comments they read. “We were pleased to learn how many respondents expressed the District’s strengths and commitment not only to our students, but to the District as a whole,” said Haskins.

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