School district gets mostly positive marks in employee survey

Published 12:53 am Wednesday, February 14, 2018


NATCHEZ — A recent study in employee satisfaction gave the Natchez-Adams School District primarily positive results, a hired consultant reported Tuesday at the school board’s regular monthly meeting.

In November, the district commissioned John Jordan of Core Learning LLC to conduct two survey projects: One in which employee satisfaction is measured and a second to compare salaries of Natchez school administration to other districts in the state.

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Jordan said he finalized the first project Friday, and the second should be ready for presentation by the next scheduled school board meeting in March.

“I really was taken aback a bit because I’ve done many of these before, and this is the most positive response … about how this administration is run that I’ve ever seen,” Jordan said.

The 25-question survey allowed each employee to rate their satisfaction with various aspects of the school district on a 1 to 5 scale.

Employees cited high confidence in their principals — with approximately 73 percent voting that their principals were effective or very effective — and high confidence in Superintendent Fred Butcher and Deputy Superintendent Zandra McDonald, with approximately 57 and 62 percent, respectively, that the administrator was very effective or effective.

And 65 percent of employees surveyed said they were totally satisfied or satisfied with their overall confidence in the district.

Despite the high reported confidence in leadership, Jordan said he identified three areas of interest on which administrators should focus.

The first, Jordan said, is student discipline.

In the question, “How do you rate the behavior (discipline) of students at your school?” only 4 percent of employees voted “very cooperative.”

Another 28 percent voted simply “cooperative,” but the result with the highest percentage of votes as “disruptive,” with 35 percent of the votes.

“There seems to be a belief – a general belief … that student behavior is not what it needs to be,” Jordan said. “But don’t be discouraged by that. That is something that is seen and reported on a common basis.”

Second, Jordan said the district needs to focus on professional development among employees.

When asked how much attention the district gives to professional growth for the individual employee, 41 percent of employees said a great deal or a lot, meaning approximately 59 percent of employees said they were unhappy or neutral with the amount of attention given to professional development.  “The teachers are crying for more professional development,” Jordan said. “That’s easy to solve as well. Unfortunately, that’s a budget item.”

The final focal point Jordan highlighted was based on one question.

In the question pertaining to ease of access for employees to get the resources they feel necessary to teach, only 13 percent of responders said very easy.

Butcher said, overall, he is pleased with the results of the study, though he did determine areas in which he would like to see improvement.

“That’s why we do these studies — you want to look in the mirror and see where you can improve,” he said.

Though happy with the overall confidence employees to have in administrative staff, Butcher said he was displeased in the lower percentage of people who said they felt comfortable coming to the superintendent’s office to voice complaints.

Forty-seven percent of responders said they felt comfortable or very comfortable with coming to the superintendent to discuss concerns, but Butcher said he would like that number to be higher.

“I preach an open-door policy, and 28 percent said they weren’t comfortable,” Butcher said. “I believe communication is key, so I want to fix that.”

Amos James, president of the school board, said he found the area most in need of improvement to be student discipline.

“I’m very pleased,” James said, “but there are areas we need to work on.”