Exit interviews give administrators a better idea of D161’s strengths, weaknesses

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Exit interviews give administrators a better idea of D161’s strengths, weaknesses

September 30, 2021 - 21:25
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Exit interviews recently conducted by Flossmoor School District 161 highlighted what ex-employees see as the positives and negatives of their time working for the school system.

Eric Melnyczenko, District 161’s director of human resources, compiled recent responses in a report delivered Monday, Sept. 27, to the board of education.

“There wasn’t anything like, ‘Oh my goodness, what is this person talking about,’ where we had to really delve in to investigate,” Melnyczenko said. “Some people, as you may well know, have an axe to grind and they grinded it when they had the anonymity … behind a survey. Overall, we did get some good feedback.”

Melnyczenko said District 161 has been gathering information from employees leaving the district for a few years but put a more defined process into place over the last year. When employees separate from the district, they get a link at both work and personal emails to take an exit survey.

“It’s a short survey,” Melnyczenko said. “We ask some good questions.”

Over the past year, that survey has been sent to 24 individuals, Melnyczenko said. Nine (or 37.5%) have responded, he said.

Among the strengths cited by ex-employees were the district providing social work services to all students, not just those with Individualized Education Programs; leadership; a community, family atmosphere among staff; and great students. Communication, areas of growth for teachers and better mentor pairing were cited as areas for improvement.

Melnyczenko said the information collected is being shared with principals to help with any needed changes. Melnyczenko added he is delving into responses further and will follow up on other areas of concern as needed.

Board Vice President Cameron Nelson asked what the district could do to get more people to respond to the exit interviews in the future. He pitched the idea of coupling the online survey with in-person interview opportunities to capture responses from people who might be more likely to respond in that setting.

Other business:

● The school board voted 6-0 to approve its consent agenda, which included the purchase of a preschool playground at Flossmoor Hills Elementary School at a cost of $308,238. The project is to be funded fully by a Preschool For All Grant, according to a report by Jackie Janicke, the district’s director of special education. Board Member David Linnear was absent at the time of the vote but present later in the meeting.

● The consent agenda also included the approval of a contact tracer position in the district to help the nursing department navigate possible COVID-19 cases during in-person learning. The cost is expected to be roughly $30,000 for salary and benefits, according to a report from Melnyczenko.

● The consent agenda also included approval of a contract with Precision HR to help fully staff the custodial department. The district is to pay a total of $24.50 per hour for staff through the staffing agency.

● Melnyczenko pitched the idea of increasing guest teacher rates by $5 to attract more substitutes to District 161 over offers from other districts in the area. The current rates, which range from $110-120 per day based on the number of days guests work for the district, would increase to $115-125 if approved. The proposal was presented Sept. 27 only for discussion.