Culture Initiative

Jim Bays will propose for discussion an item that he has titled "Culture initiative"


Culture Initiative  

Narrative #2, by Jim Bays                                                                 

February, 2015

We have heard recently that our staff is afraid to report wrong doing at school, and we must find out why.  What do they fear?  How widespread is the problem?  Do they choose not to report because they think it will go nowhere?  Are they willing to report on colleagues as well as supervisors?  What is the difference between a legitimate concern and whining?  Is there something about the way Woodland does it that makes it different than other districts?  I believe learning the answers to these and similar questions are the important first step in the process of addressing this issue.       

I propose an anonymous electronic survey to all staff, (i.e. Survey Monkey, etc).  I feel that this initial fact finding phase should be Board led and directed.  If the Board requests, ESD 112 has agreed to assist in writing the questions, administering the survey and compiling results.  The Board needs to brainstorm questions, with the involvement of Administration, Staff and Community.  This effort needs to be absolutely fair in tone to all concerned.  It needs to be clear that our intent is to make things better moving forward, and should not be used as a forum to address past or recent personnel issues.  The survey results should be totally public & transparent.  Based on concerns that the Board has heard, I feel strongly that the anonymity of a survey is important.  The Board may wish to consider additional methods to gather data as well. 

After we have results, I propose that we validate them; ask staff if they seem realistic, if we “heard them.”   This could be done through various means such staff meetings, focus groups, electronically, etc. 

To get this all started, we must act.  The Board must show that this issue is a priority and time is of the essence.  My hope that the Board will adopt a direction at tonight’s meeting.  If not this one, then another; but let’s get going.  The ESD is ready and willing to work with us at our convenience. In my mind, these are the next steps to follow: 

  • Formally request the assistance of ESD112. 
  • Inform staff of our intentions and request their participation;
  • The Board must brainstorm questions with the involvement of ESD,  Administration, Staff and Community; 
  • Offer to take input in writing for any who would rather use that avenue;
  • ESD takes information, drafts questions and compiles survey;
  • Board reviews survey to insure it’s what we want & make any final revisions;
  • Determine methods to validate survey results; 
  • Survey is sent to staff;
  • ESD compiles results; 
  • Distribute results to staff;
  • Validate results;
  • Release to public.

An important consideration along the way is to plan the next steps so that the Initiative can continue efficiently.  The Board must have those discussions early to prevent a break in the process.

It is important at all times to keep our goal in mind:  policies, procedures and processes that are more defined and less threatening for staff;  enabling Administration to address them more efficiently and effectively.