Washington school board approves culture assessment

By Xiomara Levsen, The JOURNAL


At the school board meeting Wednesday evening, the Washington School Board approved having a culture and impact assessment done to the staff.

Board president Eric Turner said a board goal for the year was having a cultural and impact assessment done, which was why it was on the agenda for that evening.

Washington superintendent Jeff Dicks reached out to Humanex Ventures of Lincoln, Nebraska, whom he previously dealt with in his last school district, he said. They offered to do a staff survey at $7,000 for three years.

?I would recommend you commit to the three years because then you could create a base line and you see growth,? Dicks said.

The things they would measure in the survey would be engagement of an employee and satisfaction.

?They build a rubric and they?ll report on that and show you by category whose highly engaged, who?s highly satisfied, highly engaged and not satisfied,? Dicks said.

They?ll come to a board meeting and do a feedback session, which Dicks said his previous district learned a lot from.

The company also offered to administer a student survey for three years and would give the district a discount if they chose to do both on the price for $11,000.

Dicks told the board they have done the staff survey with several other districts but are just starting the student survey aspect of their business.

Board member Troy Suchan said he was OK with having the staff survey but would like more information of what the student survey would look like.

?Is the content of the survey standard or do we have input?? board member Heidi Vittetoe asked Dicks.

?We have input,? he replied. ?You can customize [the survey].?

Board member Jason Hamilton had a question about the price of the surveys. He said there were plenty of services out there that the district could do themselves, like Surveymonkey, which the City of Washington is using currently.

?I quickly looked into that before I came here,? Hamilton said. ?It?s a $100 a year for unlimited surveys.?

They would have input on what is being asked in the surveys, he added. He asked Dicks why they weren?t looking into something like that.

?Excellent question,? Dicks said. ?The biggest thing I saw is it was a third party that can?t really manipulate the results. They report back, and brief and walk the staff through [the survey results].?

The debriefing without the building administrators would also help to open the dialogue between staff and district administrators, Dicks added.

Board member Stephanie Ellingson said she was fine with having the saff survey done but wanted to see how the process worked first before committing to doing it with the students. If the board and the staff liked how the survey was done, then they could help get the students engaged in doing the survey because it?s hard getting students to take surveys.

Ellingson also didn?t see a problem with paying for a survey to be done.

?Having written a lot of surveys myself, it?s a skill,? she said. ?I think you?re paying for the knowledge of writing the survey as well as facilitating the results.?

The board approved having the staff survey done unanimously. Board member Catherine Glinsmann was absent.

They asked Dicks to go back to the company for more information on how the process on administrating the student survey and asked him to negotiate the price with the company.