Dawn Bergerson, Pine River-Backus Education Association (PRBEA) president, on Monday, Nov. 18, presented the Pine River-Backus School Board with a “climate” survey conducted among school employees.
The climate survey asked employees to rate their level of agreement to statements such as, “The support staff at PR-B is treated well by the administration at a district level” and “A clear set of goals has been established by the superintendent.”
Three choices were given for strong agreement, strong disagreement and neutrality. The survey was anonymous.
Anonymous comments in the survey show mixed feelings. Some comments showed dissatisfaction with pay. Some expressed mistrust between staff and administration. Other comments disagreed.
One anonymous comment read, “I believe that morale among teachers is low because we do not feel that the superintendent/school board value what we do at PR-B. Everyone else except teachers are getting a raise this year. That is demoralizing.”
Another comment read, “Any staff morale issues are derived by those who choose to disagree with most everything. Our superintendent does treat staff with genuine concern and respect. Our principal is transparent and communicates well. I enjoy the weekly redacted notes from the superintendent. Most districts often do not share the same amount of information with their staff. Too many teaching staff members bring down morale.”
Many comments compliment the PR-B principals.
The survey showed many strengths, including: a perception that the support staff enjoys working at PR-B and is treated well by administration; more than 80 percent of employees feel supported by PR-B principals; and more than 80 percent of employees feel trusted to do their job.
Low points in the survey included: perception by more than 50 percent of employees that the superintendent could use more transparent decision-making processes; approximately 70 percent of employees feel they could get in trouble for disagreeing with the superintendent; and about 70 percent of employees do not feel supported by the school board.
The survey showed more neutrality concerning communication between staff and the superintendent, whether school policies harbor a positive environment for students, and the effectiveness and speed with which the superintendent makes decisions.
The survey was distributed to teaching and instructional support staff at the high school and elementary by Pine River-Backus Education Minnesota. Of the surveys distributed, 67 were returned with 82 percent being completed by licensed teaching staff and 18 percent by support staff.
Similar surveys are commonly used at other area schools. Bergerson said data from the survey could be useful in helping board members and administration to recognize the views of school employees.