Time For A ‘Tweak’
County School Surveys Get Preliminary Look Before Going To Employees
Posted: October 9, 2012
HARRISONBURG — The timeline for a survey of Rockingham County Schools employees has been altered, but school officials still expect to finish the process in the next two months, they said Monday.
The survey, initiated in May after a 3-2 vote by the Rockingham County School Board, is almost ready to be disseminated to employees, according to Superintendent Carol Fenn.
Before that happens, however, a group of 15 employees will provide feedback on the questions that have been created.
“Our initial plan did not have a time for a sample group,” said Doug Alderfer, assistant superintendent of administration and one of the people on a four-member committee that helped create the survey. “We decided after reviewing [the survey] that we liked it, but we just wanted to be sure that some teachers and other folks [looked at it].”
Fenn said the initial survey takers would answer questions about “what could be tweaked, what could be fixed [and] what’s user-friendly. I anticipate that the survey will be distributed to employees at the end of October.”
The survey process is being conducted at a cost of $20,000 by the Mechanicsville-based Knowledge Advisory Group, which provides evaluation and support services for nonprofits, foundations, small businesses and government.
The whole process should be finished in December or January, according to Alderfer. That’s when the advisory group will recommend next steps to the board based on the data collected.
Along with Alderfer, survey committee members include School Board members Anthony Slater and Lowell Fulk, and Tammy Shearer, assistant principal at John C. Myers Elementary School. According to Fenn, employees and other board members also had input as to what the survey should include.
Areas of focus include job satisfaction, professionalism, trust and respect, communication, conflict resolution, evaluation and job security.
Fulk, joined by board members Dan Breeden and Bob May, voted in favor of the survey, while Slater and John Myers cast the two dissenting votes.
Both Slater and Myers said that they thought results of an $875 survey commissioned in fall 2011 accurately indicated areas the division needed to work on: class sizes, compensation and communication with central office staff.
Pushing through this newest survey makes good on campaign promises from Breeden, May and Fulk. When running for the board — during which time the first survey was approved and completed — all three expressed interest in a third-party survey to determine what, if any, morale problems existed in the division.
A survey into working conditions in Rockingham County Schools was first asked for by parents of Mountain View Elementary School students, concerned over what they said was an intimidating and hostile work environment at the school just west of Harrisonburg.
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