Think of a school, any school, and who works there and the most obvious answer that pops into your mind is “teachers.”
Well, of course. But there’s a bunch of other people that keep our schools humming along.
There’s the support staff – the custodians, the office assistants (the equivalent of educational air traffic controllers), and the lunch staff – along with the paraprofessionals and aides. Each school really has people who are specialists in what they do and who keep things running smoothly.
This is why we believe all employees in a school should have the opportunity to participate in a staff engagement survey, and research shows that this inclusivity is important in building a cohesive and strong school culture.
The Association for Curriculum and Development notes that there are specific drivers of a positive school culture. Among them is a focus on investing in staff and building relationships, which makes people feel valued at work. That need to feel valued and appreciated is universal; it doesn’t matter what you do or your educational background, it simply validates that what you are is an important contributor.
The School Perceptions staff survey is specifically designed so that all staff members can participate, and while the individual responses remain confidential, the survey data can be disaggregated by job position. School districts find this option helpful, as it can show consistency or differences in specific staff areas.
Our surveys also provide an opportunity for staff members to leave comments, and this is where we have found that non-teacher staff members appreciate the opportunity to also share their opinions. In fact, we see some certain comment trends consistently pop up in our comment analyses.
Among them, support staff:
· Would like to be included in professional development, when the topics are appropriate, or given the opportunity to attend professional development in their respective work areas
· Find that they could use more training on technology
· Would like to provide more input on decisions that affect them
· Note that they would like to be included, even on an informational basis, when new initiatives are rolled out and would like information on how/if those initiatives are evaluated for effectiveness
· Often note that they’d like matters of student discipline handled more consistently, with teachers and administration on the same page
Support staff can also provide feedback on areas such as the actual school facilities, which may not be as high on the radar as a specific classroom is for a teacher. It’s not uncommon to see positive comments from support staff when schools/needed school equipment are properly maintained and they are given the resources to keep them that way.
Staff surveys are a great way to ensure a high level of engagement, which impacts how students learn and succeed. When an entire school has a high level of job satisfaction and everyone feels valued, it’s an even better learning environment for students.
If you’re thinking about implementing a staff survey for employees in your schools, give us a call to learn more about the School Perceptions staff survey at 262.644.4300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.