District goals and measures on Employee Engagement and other key drivers for being an excellent school district are created and approved by the superintendent and board. These goals and measures are then cascaded to every department and every school so that the action items by goal will drive overall district results. One step in the process includes school district leaders benchmarking their school district results with comparison districts on common measures. Below is an example associated with Employee Engagement.
District employees participate in an Employee Engagement survey and following each survey administration the leaders are offered “areas with most opportunity for improvement” based on the survey results and follow-up via an administration report. For example:
The May 2014 Employee Engagement Survey Results Report documented that [the District] had the most opportunity to improve the following major areas based on responses from the May 2014 survey administration:
- All leaders must be more transparent in communicating why particularly difficult decisions (financial) are being made
- Leaders must focus on two way communication with employees to provide opportunity for employee input
- Employees want more specific feedback concerning their performance
In the October 2014 administration, there were increases in the overall mean for both financial-related items (item 1 above):
My principal/supervisor makes the best use of available funds (Mean increase from 4.00 to 4.12)
The superintendent manages district finances effectively. (Mean increase from 3.19 to 3.49)
Although all survey items relate in some way to communication (items 2 and 3 above) and each item mean increased between the May 2014 and October 2014 administrations, increases in the following communication-related items are highlighted below:
My principal/supervisor provides feedback on my strengths as an employee. (Mean increase from 4.00 to 4.03)
My principal/supervisor recognizes good performance. (Mean increase from 4.06 to 4.10)
My principal/supervisor provides feedback concerning areas for improving my performance. (Mean increase from 3.91 to 4.02)
The superintendent uses a variety of methods to promote effective communication throughout the district. (Mean increase from 3.66 to 3.88)
In order to produce evidence-based results, school leaders build a District Scorecard which aligns organizational goals, behaviors, and processes to accelerate student achievement and hardwire effective practices, and that is transparent to all stakeholder groups. This is the importance of including surveys, like the Employee Engagement survey, which provide measurable results for goals and key indicators. The ultimate goal is to help school districts provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education.