Our Human Resources Department is deeply engaged in work related to elevating employee voice in Albemarle County Public Schools. We are grateful for all the ways that we can learn from our employees! We heard during our recent Stay Interviews that it is important to employees across the school division to have their voice heard. In this article, we’d like to share some of the ways that is happening now, as well as what we do with the input received through these structures.
Employees take a variety of surveys over the course of a school year. At the division level, surveys are related to school year calendar development, the budget, and other matters. Coming up are two surveys related to general working conditions:
- One is a survey provided by the Commonwealth of Virginia related to climate and working conditions. This data is used by the state to inform the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and legislature, and it’s shared with the school division.
- ACPS also conducts the Gallup Q12 Engagement Survey. Last year was our first year administering this survey and working with the data. Over the summer of 2022, administrators and leaders worked on developing goals in school and department improvement plans related to opportunities for growth revealed by the Gallup data. Specific Gallup indicators are analyzed by the Executive Leadership Team at their monthly meetings. You have likely seen some of these outcomes in action in your school or department. This year’s survey will be conducted in March, with the goals of evaluating our organization’s progress regarding employee engagement and using that information to guide our continued efforts to improve the work experience of all employees. We are aiming for the highest level of participation possible in order to get the most accurate data reflecting current employee engagement. That data will then inform school and department plans for the 2023-24 school year.
Also, this summer, our Benefits team will do a market analysis related to benefits and develop a survey around changes to benefits to inform budget initiatives for Fiscal Year 2025 and possibly the 2024 calendar year health insurance plan. We will share this information with the Employee Voice and Action Committee (see below) for recommendations around our benefits program.
Teacher Advisory Committee
The Teacher Advisory Committee (TAC) meets three times per year to discuss specific topics and provide feedback to the division. This year, the fall TAC meeting focused on the Fiscal Year 2024 budget and shared information related to the Employee Voice and Action Committee that was forming. The winter meeting focused on organizational communication and invited input around areas where teachers felt their voices weren’t being heard and mechanisms that would improve that. Feedback gathered during TAC meetings is shared with the superintendent and the division’s public affairs and strategic communications officer.
Classified Employee Advisory Committee
Human Resources is planning for the relaunch of the Classified Employee Advisory Committee (CEAC) in order to provide feedback opportunities related to issues and initiatives that impact teacher assistants; EDEP staff; nurses; Child Nutrition, Transportation, and Building Services team members; office associates; and other classified staff who support student learning. Staff who have volunteered will receive additional information related to the committee’s activities.
The Human Resources Department conducted Stay Interviews in December 2022 and heard from 137 employees (5% of our workforce). That data has been “coded” by topic discussed, and we are developing the results into a presentation that we will share with school division leadership. We plan to post the data and associated action steps on our Human Resources SharePoint site in the coming weeks so you will be able to review what we have learned and what actions we plan to take at the school and division levels.
Employee Voice and Action Committee
Our new Employee Voice and Action Committee (EVAAC) met for the first time on January 23, 2023. EVAAC exists to discuss issues related to working conditions across the school division. We are building a SharePoint site where documents related to EVAAC will be housed and can be accessed by all employees. We will also share meeting minutes and materials on that site. During our first meeting, the team engaged in training related to communication, understanding perspectives, and setting norms for our work, and we agreed on a method for decision-making. A team member requested that there be additional meetings this year so the team can tackle specific topics related to working conditions before the school year finishes. Upcoming meetings will solicit input related to the division’s Leave Policy and how we can improve that program for employees. We will also be developing a form that can be used by EVAAC members to solicit topics from any employee in the division.
Albemarle Education Association Exchange Meetings
Once each month, the Albemarle Education Association (AEA) president and Blue Ridge UniServ director meet with the superintendent, the Superintendent’s Cabinet, and Human Resources. They bring forward any issues and questions the membership has raised, and staff respond and provide insight. Staff also present any upcoming initiatives at the meeting for feedback from AEA.
The Office of Community Engagement hosts Employee Forums three times per year focused on specific topics to gather insights from employees who attend. This school year, the meetings focused on Gallup indicators and data from the 2022 employee engagement survey, and staff provided feedback on effective recognition as well as professional development, specifically topics for future professional learning and the ways they prefer to receive professional development. The next forum will be held in March.
How to Get Involved
We encourage you to reach out to the Human Resources team at HR@k12albemarle.org if you have any questions about the ways you can make your voice heard in ACPS.