COVINGTON —The Georgia Association of School Personnel Administrators has awarded the Newton County School System Human Resources Department a Gold Award of Excellence for “Best in Class” in the area of Retention Practices/Recognition.
According to NCSS Human Resources Director Nyree Sanders, the award is the culmination of the department’s focused efforts to improve the retention rate of high-performing personnel as outlined in the school district’s 2018-2023 Strategic Plan.
“The Human Resources Department is extremely proud to accept the Gold Award of Excellence,” said Sanders. “Retaining highly qualified teachers is of utmost importance to our district and ultimately our students — so important that it is one of the goal areas in our Strategic Plan. In order to retain our teaching force, we need to learn from them what’s working and what we can do to make improvements in our district. To do this, we surveyed our teachers and utilized the data to enhance our retention efforts.”
During the 2018-19 school year, the NCSS HR Department utilized the Upbeat Teacher Survey, created by Teach Upbeat, to help school and district administrators understand strengths and weaknesses in the current professional environment as well as the overall professional engagement of faculty and staff.
The survey consists of 75 items in 21 categories, each tied to an aspect of teachers’ professional experiences shown by previous research to relate to teacher engagement and retention, such as principal leadership, teacher collaboration and school safety. The survey is administered confidentially to teachers, with results presented in the aggregate to school administrators via Upbeat’s interactive data dashboard.
“In October 2018 and again in May 2019, we surveyed the teachers and then individual conferences were conducted with each school leader to review the data and identify strengths and areas for growth that the principal could discuss with their staff and outline steps for improvement based on the feedback from teachers in the building,” explained Sanders. “We also provided professional learning to school administrators and district level staff on parent teacher communication and planning effective meetings during the district leadership professional learning communities. Overall, we had a great response from teachers as 85 percent, or 1,069 out of 1,256 teachers completed the survey in October 2018. Furthermore, 1,046 teachers or 83 percent completed the survey in May 2019 and the overall engagement score for the district increased.”
"Congratulations to our Human Resources Team," said Samantha Fuhrey, superintendent of Newton County Schools. "I am so proud their efforts. They have worked hard to address our strategic goal of ensuring a high-quality workforce."