Sherry started off by explaining that Don McAdams, who is guiding the Board on governance issues, encouraged them to do overviews of all the departments. They just happened to start with HR.
Ann Chan, who is the new head of HR, started out by explaining HR's focus which is ensuring every classroom has a qualified teacher, supporting teachers and providing timely staffing and evaluation data and support to principals, executive directors and central office managers.
Michael pointed out that 40% of SPS employees were not in the classroom. He said the recent issues that "reflected badly" on the district occurred in Central office functions. He was following up on a comment Sherry made about "tracking and training" employees and said the employees need to be screened carefully. The Board all seemed to agree with Susan Enfield and Ann Chan that it needs to start with good teachers but that all positions are important.
Ann did say one unintentionally funny thing (at least to some of us in the audience). She said that most teachers don't hit their stride for 3-5 years. Maybe I'll send her an e-mail telling her to tell principals to keep that in mind when they are looking at TFA recruits.
There seems to be an issue about managers returning evaluations. Sherry ask how the completions were tracks and if they knew the names of the managers who hadn't returned their evaluations. She said, "Where I work you won't stay a manager if you don't get this done." Wow.
Ann followed up by saying she was new and there had been no consequences to getting these done but she would makes sure the end of the year evaluations did get completed. Sherry said it really wasn't Ann's job but leadership's job and Susan agreed. DeBell followed up saying that "the previous superintendent" (I guess we're going the Voldemort route with MGJ) promised data on performance measures and we are still waiting. Steve even kept making sure that Theresa, the Board manager, was tracking follow-ups.
Astonishing. Sherry asking if Chan specifically knew who hadn't done their evaluations and Michael complaining about the length of time for data. In public. Steve compiling a list of follow-ups. A new day in SPS.
- Betty pointed out (and I didn't know this) that there aren't enough subs and it's hard to find good substitutes. Teachers, is this right? Betty also hilariously suggested that TFA recruits could be used as subs. Susan said we don't have TFA right now and they could apply if they wanted to.
- There were several times when different directors questioned the SPS hiring timeline and that we don't compete early enough. There was never really a solid answer about changing that timeline but I know HR is aware of this issue.
- An HR org chart. Man, they have a lot of people. What I find interesting is that the TIF grant people are under HR which is not where I would expect them. What Chan said is that they are looking to reorganize HR and call the reorg a "School Service Center" so that principals don't have to go to multiple people for help/answers. This unfortunately means more hires for HR. She said that most of the current staff's jobs would be repurposed (but I don't know if that means they would have to reapply for their jobs).
- There seems there are also technical issues to HR involving SAP.
- Sherry, leaning on her Boeing background, asked about not seeing training, service delivery to core functions, HR investigations and team responsible for workforce planning and strategy (she's talking a couple of people). Peter brought up the issue of viewing down the road who might be leaving especially those with specific skills who would be hard to replace.
- Kay seems very interested in comparisons to other districts, both locally and nationally.
- Susan said that the district has been offered help for many departments and is looking for the "extra set of eyes" that could be useful here.
- Ann pointed out this is the busiest time of the year for HR with job fairs going on and hiring decisions starting.
- There was one place in the Powerpoint where there was a difference of opinion. Slide 10 on page 5 shows the HR budget ($5.9M). It says there are 45.2 employees (about 10.5 are grant funded). So on page 6, Slide 11, there is a chart of staff benchmarks from SPS and other districts both local/national. They took out the grant funded people so that brings it down to about 34. That would put SPS in the middle of the pack. Michael pointed out that HR is really 45 people and that would put SPS at the top. (He obviously wasn't buying that the grant funded people should be counted separately and I agree. Many times after the grant runs out, we keep staff.) Michael pointed out keeping transparent about the number of people working for the district is important.
- Kay asked several questions about other measures. She asked for some data on teachers around retiring teachers versus newly hired teachers. Here came the one and only time Harium spoke. And he said, "What is the point of that? What's the end game?" It struck me (and maybe it's just me) as a challenge. Kay pointed out that the Board continues to hear from schools trying to fill positions and maybe if we can get the timing down better, we might have a better pool of applicants. Harium said he thought that was being covered with HR changes. Steve, trying to be helpful, said it might be a question of strategy and that Kay's request should stand.
- Ann pointed out that when headquarters closed down recently for the electrical issue that they didn't have procedures in place to tell managers and union reps how the shortened workday issues would be addressed. Ann said many policies were either outdated or did not exist. Susan chimed in to say that as an example the principals' handbook was outdated and the principals had been asking for a new one for a long time.
- Slides 14-16 are especially interesting because it's major grant contracts. I have to get clarity on some of these for the "Superintendent's Initiative for Leadership Development." It's about $330k. Chan said something about a coach for each manager but it wasn't clear if that was what SPS is doing or if that was something that would be great to have.
- Steve and Michael said that results were what were important. Michael said we can't have an ineffective evaluation process where you check all the boxes and everyone is "satisfactory." He said it's results versus process. Good job, Michael.
I also want to point out that Dr. Goodloe-Johnson told the press, over and over, how this district had no "systems or procedures" when she came here. Well, 3+ years of her tenure sure didn't change much. She focused on what she wanted to focus on to the detriment of the operations of this district. That Susan Enfield and staff are so willing to pick up this heavy goal is admirable but it sure was time wasted.