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Goal 6: Progress Updates

Personnel Recruitment, Retention & Development Progress Update

February 12, 2024 • Strategy 6 Update

The Strategy 6 committee has met twice since our last report, on December 7, 2023 and January 18, 2024. We have engaged the committee members in some fun trivia activities tied to strategy efforts at the beginning of each meeting and wanted to share the questions and answers with you. The idea behind starting our meetings with trivia questions is ensuring our committee members are recognizing the implementation of the committee’s action steps. We continually share that we see our committee member as ambassadors for the work being done and want to ensure they can help articulate the efforts and accomplishments.

Questions and answers have been connected to the following efforts:

  • Paid Parental Leave: So far this school year, we have had, or are aware of their upcoming arrival, 33 babies born to our employees. New this year is the addition of paid parental leave, which includes five days of paid parental leave in addition to the employees accrued paid time off. Upon their return from paid parental leave, each employee is also given a “future Panther” onesie and a Derby Schools branded rubber duck to help welcome them back.
  • Increased Leadership Visibility: We estimate that the number of director visits to buildings so far this school year, in response to employee engagement and satisfaction survey feedback regarding visibility, had been approximately 440 at the time of the December 7 meeting.
  • Health Insurance and Benefit Enhancements: Thanks to efforts of multiple groups, premiums took a drop for all plans and employee types. This year, we had 41 more employees sign up for health insurance through the district, as compared to last year.

During the December 7, 2023 meeting, the committee spent a significant amount of time working in small groups to revise and refine our exit interview questions, and began work on creating a draft of a sample stay interview. The committee split into smaller groups for in-depth discussion reviewing exit survey examples from two school districts. The groups provided recommendations on questions they found valuable, feedback on ideal length of a survey and placement of questions. On January 18, 2024, the exit interview questions were finalized. Human Resources began to utilize the new questions and format immediately. In addition to the questions and format of the survey, the committee discussed implementation strategies, including making the exit interviews part of the checkout process, collecting personal email addresses so that we can reach people after their district email is disabled, recommending that supervisors hand it out attached to the resignation form, and considering a postcard with a QR code or a self addressed stamped envelope, for those who prefer a paper copy. 

The committee has also begun reviewing and providing recommendations on Stay Surveys and One on One Interviews.

The Employee Engagement and Satisfaction survey was open from January 2- 17, 2024, with a final number of 791 employees completing the survey this year. We extended the survey window by one day, due to inclement weather and a school day cancellation within the original window. In reviewing the preliminary results, as compared to the baseline data collected during the 2023-2024 school year, improvement was made in all categories, except for the question regarding having training, materials and equipment to do a job well. The biggest gains were made in the areas of benefits and competitive pay. We still have work to do in those categories, however we are making gains in those areas. The committee debriefed on the implementation and agreed that it is important to designate time for employees to take the survey. While the initial baseline has been reviewed, the district will spend the next few months taking an in-depth look into the thousands of comments on the surveys to identify areas of focus for enhancements and/or improvement.

November 27, 2023 • Strategy 6 Update

The Strategy 6 committee met on October 17, 2023. We had strong representation and active participation during the meeting. We began with introductions and dove straight into a review of the Employee Engagement and Satisfaction Survey. Timeline and implementation were discussed with a consensus to open the survey on January 2-16, 2024 for a two week window, as has been done in the past. Similar to last year, it will be promoted and communicated to staff with multiple all-staff emails, paper copies at each building, prize drawings and time given at late start and other training events to complete. When sharing it out, we will be intentional about sharing actions taken based on last year’s survey results. The group reviewed the year two goals and completed a poll to identify the top five attributes of our community and our school district, in order to gain feedback from the group.

With regard to our community, for those present, the top five reasons to choose Derby as a place to live and work were education, parks and recreation, demographics, including our suburban feel, shopping, markets, banking facilities, and safety/crime rate. For those present, the top five reasons to choose Derby Public Schools as a place of employment were Paid Time Off, the acceptance of professional development points for salary placement, making a positive impact on students and the community, our facilities and our mission, vision and core values. The committee reviewed current exit interview questions and trends and made recommendations for revisions to the survey that is currently in use.

June 12, 2023 • Strategy 6 Update (Final Year 1 Report)

The Strategy 6 committee met as scheduled on March 9, 2023 and April 20, 2023 and continued work towards meeting the year one goals as outlined. A summary of the Engagement and Satisfaction Survey that was developed and administered early this school year will be shared with the Board on June 12, 2023. After defining competitive compensation, identifying desired improvements and priorities, and considering feedback from the Engagement and Satisfaction Survey, the group made a recommendation to add $1.00, after the percentage raise, to each cell on the Special Education hourly rate schedule. With regard to talent acquisition metrics, our current referral sources include the following: Commercial Job Board, District/School, Job Fair/Conference, Local Sources, None/Other, Referral/Word of Mouth, Search Engine/Internet Search, Social Media, State/Regional, University Posting, Open field for typing other answer. From the 1,281 applications received since July 1, 2022, the top referral sources are “Word of Mouth” and “District/School,” sometimes with specific people named. Next is “Internet Search” followed by internet-related items, like “Social Media” and specific websites, like Indeed, Facebook, etc.

March 6, 2023 • Strategy 6 Update

The Strategy 6 committee met as scheduled on December 1, 2022. Current practices with regard to staff recognition, celebrations and ways to share good news were reviewed and discussed. Next, the group reviewed the draft engagement and satisfaction survey and agreed on a recommended timeline to deploy the survey. Recommendations were offered regarding communication and promotion of the survey. It was determined that incentives would be offered and ideas about future administration of the survey were discussed. The survey launched on January 3 and was open through January 17. We had nearly 800 responses. The committee will be working to review the results of the information received and a report will be provided to the board by June 2023 as outlined in the strategic plan.

The Strategy 6 committee met again, for the fourth time this school year, on January 5, 2023. The team began work on defining competitive compensation, first reviewing our current pay and benefits for both classified and certified staff then moved to small group work and discussion with regard to both monetary and non-monetary compensation.

November 28, 2022 • Strategy 6 Update

The Strategy 6 committee has met once on November 2, 2022. We had wonderful representation and strong participation during the meeting. We began with introductions and dove straight into an overview of our Strategic Plan for 2022-2027. We went deeper with the Strategy 6 goals and action steps, outlining the work this committee will be tasked with completing over the next five years. The remainder of the time was spent working to develop an engagement and satisfaction survey that will be administered this spring, then annually at a time of year to be determined with a recommendation from this group. The group reviewed a survey that had been utilized previously in the district as well as several other examples, including different formats and types of survey questions. Time was spent gathering feedback regarding the information we are hoping to gain from the survey feedback and developing questions accordingly as well as options to consider to incentivize employees to complete the survey. Committee members worked in small groups and co-chairs facilitated some whole group discussion as well. The committee agreed that additional time and research was needed and committee members were encouraged to send feedback and ideas to the co-chairs. In addition, an optional sub-committee meeting was scheduled for November 17, 2022 with a goal of bringing a complete survey draft back to the whole group for the next meeting scheduled for December 1, 2022. As a note, meeting dates were changed from Wednesdays to Thursdays, moving forward.