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Keep 'climate survey,' Pinellas School Board members insist

The Pinellas County School District's annual climate survey is back on again.

Several weeks ago, superintendent Julie Janssen told School Board members she didn't plan to do the survey, which gives district employees a chance to give their opinions about principals, schools and the administration. But during the last few moments of a workshop Tuesday, a majority of board members indicated they weren't comfortable skipping the process altogether.

"I really feel strongly that we need to do a climate survey every year," said Terry Krassner, adding that officials need to have "broad shoulders" and let people just "get it out."

"You have to give people a voice, whether it's positive or negative. We need to do it," said Janet Clark.

"Some teachers will never go to their principal, they'd never go out in public," said Robin Wikle. "But they'll write their thoughts down."

Board members directed Janssen to make it happen, as they did last year when nearly the same thing happened.

Janssen said she hadn't planned to do the survey because she feels the existing one doesn't do an adequate job. She said it isn't specific enough or tailored for different employees.

"It doesn't get, in my opinion, to what we really need," Janssen said. "I believe in feedback. … Negative comments have nothing to do with it. I just want it to be meaningful."

Janssen said she would direct staffers to look into making changes to the survey, but that because of the time frame, they may end up using the same survey to allow people time to respond.

Linda Lerner said it should be a priority to create a better survey, but in the meantime, "I absolutely think we need to go with what we have." Lerner insisted that if changes are made, there still should be room for people to make written comments.

Keep 'climate survey,' Pinellas School Board members insist 04/23/11 [Last modified: Saturday, April 23, 2011 5:31am]

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