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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pasco school district's staff survey raises questions



Even before taking office a year ago, Pasco schools superintendent Kurt Browning declared the need to reduce employee stress and improve morale within the district. Soon after, he began exploring complaints at schools, including the use of a 43-question climate survey aimed at learning what teachers and staff thought about their schools.

The responses led to action at several schools. Now the district is in the midst of collecting another round of views with another survey.

But unlike the first questionnaire, this latest one asks just 17 questions, many of which are different than the original set.

Last year, teachers were asked to rate whether their ideas were listened to and considered, whether administrators foster a collaborative work environment, and whether their schools were headed in the right direction, among other things.

This time, the district asks whether the teachers feel their opinions count, if they have a best friend at work, and if they would recommend their worksite as a place to work. There are few overlaps for comparison from year to year, and some of the issues that teachers have raised such as a lack of paid planning time are not addressed.

These differences have led some in the district, including the teachers union, to wonder what's the point.

"They ask all kinds of questions, except for the ones that matter," USEP president Lynne Webb said, noting also that the survey offers no space for written responses. She suggested the union might conduct its own surveys at some schools, as it has done in the past, if needed.

District officials have said they are using questions aimed at getting to issues affecting the whole person, and not just isolated workplace concerns. They are using a survey created by Gallup and implemented across the country, to make national comparisons, while also adding five local questions.

The final day to respond is Friday. The results are expected in January. Stay tuned.

[Last modified: Thursday, November 21, 2013 10:33am]


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