During the December, 2017 WEA Building Rep Meeting concerns were brought up around the confidentiality of Surveys, in particular the school climate surveys.  On January 9, I met with Laura Davidson, Ben Hayes and Dawn Huckaby of WCSD to go over the issues brought up. The “highlights” of the meeting:

-The surveys are COMPLETELY CONFIDENTIAL.  The question around the number of years at a school site/what subjects/grades are taught is not shared with the school site administrators.  The question about role is used to branch staff into different versions of the survey. For example, teachers get a few extra questions about areas that only apply to them (maybe instructional collaboration and principals get a few extra questions about NVACs implementation). Only in the report for the whole district (all 3700 staff who complete the survey) is the data broken down by role (e.g. how all teachers in the district respond vs. how all counselors in the district respond) or by the number of years teachers have worked in the district (e.g. how all staff who have worked less than 3 years in the district feel about school climate vs. staff who have worked 20+ years in the district.).

-A request was made for the number of years in the district to be voluntary.  I was told: “All but one question on the survey is voluntary. Staff do have to list their school (or report “other”) so the outside survey vendor knows which school report to add their data to. Besides the question about what school they work at, staff can skip any question on the survey they do not want to answer.”

-The surveys go to an outside vendor who then compiles the data.  Individual schools do not show individual groups in the report.  Only the entire school population information goes to the principal.  Principals do NOT get a more a detailed staff climate report than those found on the WCSD website (found at https://www.washoeschools.net/Page/3501).   The expectation is for the school site administrator to be sharing the information with their staff and discussing the results.

-The email address used is for “tracking” purposes to help remind people to take the survey if they haven’t yet completed it. This helps ensure staff who complete the survey are not burdened with additional email reminders to complete it.

-We also discussed the open ended question which has been used in the past. To protect the identity of staff who choose to write open-ended responses, only a summary of major themes across all the comments about a school are provided to a Principal and/or Area Superintendent, and only if they ask for it. No direct quotes are ever shared with Principals or Area Superintendents. There is a discussion about setting up  the open responses differently due to this…on the one hand it is a place where people feel they can bring up worries and concerns; on the other hand the nature of the responses do not lend themselves to follow up questions/details needed to clear up the problem.

-There was a 10% drop in the number of surveys which were completed last year.  We discussed some of the reasons why (of which the confidentiality and the concerns around retaliation as well as other items were brought up).  The purpose of the Climate Survey is very important for the Central office and the site level leadership.  The majority of the school sites, for example, use the data in the needs assessment for their School Improvement Plan.

– Each of the school surveys can be found at: https://www.washoeschools.net/Page/3501. I would recommend checking out the information.

Please feel free to email with any questions/concerns/follow up.

Natha Anderson

WEA President