Click on a commitment or strategy for detailed information.
Research suggests that teachers matter more than anything else when it comes to student academic success. As such, our district's ability to attract and retain highquality teachers, and excellent administrators and support staff – who facilitate the work of teachers – is critical to the success of our students and overall academic achievement.
Challenging the district in its recruitment and retention efforts is the fact that Spring ISD is located in a highly competitive job market. We compete annually with surrounding districts for the best and brightest teachers because Houston is an area where teachers can switch easily from one district to another without packing up and moving to another town, county or state.
That's precisely why we must change our current recruitment and retention processes – improving our systems and structures that support the hiring, onboarding and performance management of our staff. When we recruit the best, help new employees quickly feel a part of the Spring ISD team, and provide regular performance feedback, we will significantly increase our ability to retain quality teachers and maximize student achievement.
We are committed to building excellent systems and frameworks for recruitment and retention by focusing on the following strategies:
A comprehensive recruitment plan will be implemented in 2015-16 for selecting competent, high-quality staff members that care about students, recognize their talents, challenge their intellect and cultivate their social and moral development. Beginning with expanded recruitment opportunities, the plan will use data metrics to track the best sources of human capital. Additionally, principals and department heads will be trained to use a guided framework to help them serve effectively as hiring managers for their campuses and departments. The framework will use quantifiable, dynamic talent-selection methods while ensuring necessary state and federal compliance.
Candidates for employment, especially those who live in the Houston metro area, have options available that include the location and culture of the school districts they consider. Once they are hired, they continue to make choices throughout their employment. Creating a culture of engagement at the outset of employment that supports employees at the highest levels regarding their job responsibilities, possibilities and expectations is essential. The district will build an efficient, comprehensive on-boarding process that ensures all employees understand and support the mission, vision, guiding principles, Springway core values and structures that support student learning and development.
The district is responsible for developing all employees to their fullest potential to ensure goals that support student achievement are met. Owning that responsibility, the district will implement the following processes:
- Conduct targeted training for all staff on evaluation instruments so that all employees experience the value of development through annual appraisals with targeted feedback and support.
- Implement and maintain a performance management system that provides the platform for coaching, development and feedback while addressing the unique needs of all personnel in all job classifications.
- Implement the comprehensive state evaluation system for all teachers and administrators.
- Develop a comprehensive evaluation plan for all other staff that aligns with district priorities.
Although the district launched a new Workforce Development department as part of the Human Resources Division in the fall of 2014 and made good strides this school year, there is still much work that needs to be done. The goal of this department is to build systems and structures that facilitate improved learning and performance, establish pathways for employee professional growth, and nurture in-house talent pipelines.
As part of the strategic plan, workforce development efforts will continue to be reinforced, placing an emphasis on job-embedded training, where training outcomes are closely connected to an employee's actual day-to-day work assignments.
It is our hope that by creating a supportive culture where staff members see clear pathways for professional growth and training to help them reach their full potential, the district will improve both staff retention rates and academic achievement.
We are well aware of the urgent need to move quickly and effectively in this area and are committed to implementing the following strategies:
For Spring ISD to build a culture of excellence, we must establish a rich talent pool through our partnerships with local colleges and universities. Spring ISD College Connections will afford employees at every level with opportunities to further their education. Members include Houston Baptist University, Sam Houston State University, University of Houston Clear Lake and Lamar University. By developing and implementing a strategic plan to leverage the talents of our employees, we will equip them to fill leadership positions throughout the organization. Building quality performance in our workforce will enable us to generate succession plans for preventing talent gaps in our organization.
To implement the district vision and mission we must effectively develop and engage the skills of all employees. This work begins with the identification of competencies and characteristics needed for quality performance. Guidelines will be established that allow leaders to recommend pathways for continued growth based on observation of a person's knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors.
Staff hired in Spring ISD will participate in a well-organized, strategically planned induction program designed to set the tone for quality performance and the expectation for continuous learning. Every employee will be provided opportunities to learn and grow through ongoing, relevant professional development. Through this training and coaching model, employees will be able to implement the district's vision and meet required outcomes, resulting in more-effective departmental support and an increase in student achievement.
Numerous studies show that recognition is a powerful way to positively reinforce behaviors and leads to improved performance.
Over the years, the district has used traditional methods for recognizing high performance of employees at regular district events, including board meetings, principal meetings and the annual employee recognition banquet. Although these recognitions are appreciated and will continue, the district needs to move beyond the status quo and establish a culture of recognition and reward that permeates the entire district – a culture where recognition is everyone's job and high performance is rewarded by the organization.
This shift in thinking will be an outgrowth of the district's core values "we win as a team" and "we strive for excellence in all we do." When we function as a team, embracing the responsibility of recognizing each other's achievements will be a natural next step. When we strive for excellence, we must measure our progress frequently and reward team members who take difficult-to-staff positions or who contribute significantly to the district's vision.
The following strategies will be used to nurture a culture of high performance:
To establish a culture where acknowledging achievement is mutual across the district, we will introduce a peer-to-peer, on-the-spot recognition plan for campuses and departments using social media. The plan will focus on daily recognition of behaviors that align with our core values and support the district's vision and mission. This plan will lend itself to the daily celebrations of incremental improvements as well as high-level achievements.
In addition to the well-established Distinguished Service Graduate program that currently serves high school students, a biannual service award will be presented to both students and employees who demonstrate their commitment to service by making contributions and volunteering their time and talents to the community.
Another new initiative – the distinguished student and staff leadership award – will be reserved for a student and staff member who have shown exceptional performance well above the normal scope of a position. This annual award will celebrate excellence while honoring those who have made exceptional contributions to their school or the district – contributions that are significant because of their positive and lasting impact.
- % of school-based vacancies filled by the 1st day of school
- % of students taught by accomplished or highly qualified teachers
- % of employees who agree that “training offered by Spring ISD helps me to be effective in my job”
- The retention rate of principals and teachers rated distinguished and accomplished on the performance-based principal and teacher evaluation systems
- % of employees who agree “I am hopeful of my professional growth and long-term career opportunities in Spring ISD.”