01/06/2014 – Human Resources Report

Dr. Tekshia Ward-Smith (Chief Human Resources Officer)
The HR Report for January 2014 includes
* New contracted employees
* New non-contracted employees
* Resignations and terminations
There is also a monthly update relative to the vacancy report along with resignations and comparisons to other districts. (Note: This document is not posted).  We are strategically and aggressively continuing to hire personnel.  We have 22 early childhood vacancies.  The district held a student teacher job fair on December 17th.  We had about 65 participants.  Most elementary vacancies should be removed shortly.
In addition to the Spanish vacancies, we are in contact with the Latin American Association.  We are trying to get permits and assist those trying to become educators to meet the needs of the district.
We are attacking the vacancies to ensure there is high quality and highly qualified teacher in front of all students.
Marshall Orson
We are all concerned about the relatively high vacancies compared to other systems.  Can you get back to us with a 6 month plan to address this?
My role is to ensure we have quality teachers in front of all students.  However, retention is something we are all on.  Part of the strategic planning process, one of our initiatives is retention.  Please note that the open positions are not necessarily the same.  We fill them and then others come.
I analyzed why educators left the district since November 1, 2013.  Essentially, a majority is retirement.  There were some illnesses and other personal reasons.  We are aggressively recruiting, but until our salary structure and some other things are in place, it may be somewhat difficult for educators to see the benefits of staying in DeKalb.
This comparison to other districts is helpful.  Can we get an analysis of the reason of these other district’s vacancies?
I contacted the state to get that info.  Our reason codes don’t necessarily match the reason codes in other districts.
Would it make any sense to get together with colleagues from other districts and develop a centralized database?  We’re all in the same market.  Maybe we should all agree on some of these things.
Mr Orson, that’s taken very well.  But, we need to look at what’s going on in DeKalb.  What are we doing and not doing.  You’re dealing with retention any time you’re dealing with people.  Every organization has retention issues.  You’re going to have retention things that are going on.
When you look at retirement, retirement is an ongoing situation.  That’s not something that you can control.  So we have to be careful not to belabor and utilizing our staff and administration to continuously looking at what’s going on elsewhere, but looking at what’s going on at home.  What are we doing?  What are we not doing?  What can we do better in order to improve what’s taken place here.
Be well recognized, Mr. Orson, that as an educator, most educators do know what’s going on in other systems.  So, when there are vacancies in one, they gonna know there is a vacancy in another.  That’s because of the fact, they are looking to go to other places.
We have to also begin to look at what are we paying people to be on the front line of working with our children.  What are we paying people to say that they’re appreciated?  What are we paying people to say that all your education is really counting?
I think at some point, again as I said before, it’s a mindset.  Until our nation, until our localities change their mindsets about education, you’re gonna have vacancies.  There are going to be people who are just going to leave and some are going to look at opportunities elsewhere or they’re leaving education all together.  So, I think that we would be best served if we spent our time looking at what’s happening in DeKalb, what are people saying why are we not doing … or what can be done?  We might already be doing it, but can we control when people want to leave.
So, I would like to not see us take and waste a lot of time looking at everybody else.  Because, when you’re looking at a smaller system compared to DeKalb, who has gotten a lot from the Atlanta city when the projects was closed down, and we look at the different languages, that doesn’t compare to most of the other districts around.  So, I think that we would be better served just sometimes just looking at what’s going on in our own house and stop trying to fix and look at what’s going on in everybody else’s house.