Charlotte-Meck Schools releases audits and employee survey

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has received the results of an all-employee engagement survey and three audits commissioned by Superintendent Heath Morrison as part of his 100-day entry plan. The employee engagement survey, conducted in October by the consulting firm K12 Insight, found that 76 percent of CMS employees were engaged or highly engaged.
“This survey highlights that the majority of our employees are fully committed to CMS and the work we must do together in service to children,” said Dr. Heath E. Morrison, superintendent. “But it also says that we have some significant work to do in reaching the remaining 24 percent. For CMS to fully succeed in serving children, every employee must be personally and professionally engaged. We are committed to advancing this work in partnership with our employees.” The survey was designed with input from nearly 200 CMS employees, and explored employee sentiment in seven areas: shared values, work environment, career growth and training, leadership, quality service, communication and feedback/recognition.
The three audits were also conducted by independent outside groups to inform future plans to strengthen the district. A district-wide organizational audit was performed by a team from the Council of the Great City Schools, a national organization representing America’s largest urban districts. The audit recommended restructuring CMS to create more efficient, streamlined workflow among departments, and offered several recommendations for specific realignment of executive departments.

“Reshaping the structure of CMS is a critical task in making the district more effective,” Dr. Morrison said. “We plan to begin the work with an initial reorganization, which will be followed by additional reshaping of our executive and senior staff during 2013. This is part of a cycle of continuous improvement that will keep us flexible and responsive to our students, families, schools and employees.”

A second audit, conducted by Drive West Communications, focused on CMS’ communications structure, procedures and performance district-wide. Audit recommendations included restructuring the communications department to enable more proactive and strategic communications planning, a greater emphasis on sharing positive news stories about CMS quickly and effectively, and an increased focus on making information about district-wide initiatives and decision-making more transparent both within CMS and externally.
“Transparency is essential in building public and employee trust,” Dr. Morrison said. “There are multiple ways in which we can do this better and we will begin this work immediately. Our district has many good things going on, and we want to do a better job of proactively sharing those stories as well as updates on district initiatives so the public as well as our employees know what’s going on.”

The third audit examined the district’s human resources department and was conducted by AronsConsulting LLC. That audit found that the existing HR structure does not serve schools well and made multiple recommendations to streamline the processes for identifying strong candidates, hiring them and retaining them. There were also recommendations about how to streamline the process for identifying and removing unsuccessful teachers and other employees, as well as suggestions for staffing teaching vacancies, especially hard-to-staff jobs, more efficiently with an early-contract process.

“Finding and keeping great teachers, principals and support staff is one of our most important responsibilities as a district,” Dr. Morrison said. “We need to be as streamlined and efficient as possible. We have a lot of work to do in this area, and we will make progress.”

The district will continue to use the findings from the three audits and the employee engagement survey to inform decisions in the coming months. More information on priorities and plans will be announced after Dr. Morrison’s 100th day at an event Nov. 26, and district work in areas identified as needing improvement will continue throughout the school year.