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Survey gives school district tools for staff recruitment and retention – Aldergrove Star

Langley Advance Times offers this weekly feature, called “At Your Service.”

It’s another forum to ask our local politicians questions about key issues facing our community and its residents.

Using a basic question and answer format, elected officials will be asked one question at a time and given the opportunity to respond (up to a maximum of 250 words) on that topic.

Rotating between the chosen groups, Langley City and Langley Borough Councils, Langley School Board, Langley MLAs and Langley Parliamentarians have the opportunity to participate.

The responses provided will be posted in full online on Sundays.

MOST LATEST: AT YOUR SERVICE – Most advice content with current pothole repairs

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QUESTION

Each member of the school board was asked the same question: After a couple of stressful years, what does the district need to do to ensure it retains qualified and experienced staff?

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ANSWERS

Rod Ross Table Chair

A. 1. Teachers are learners because of their DNA. Therefore, creating creative learning opportunities is key to retention.

Ensuring that our professional development is engaging and meets the needs of our staff.

2. Hire within our district first. Staff need to see that opportunities are available or they will look outside the district to fulfill their career aspirations.

3. Hire the best new hires to inspire current staff. People want to be on a winning team with other winners.

4. Focus on being “world class.” Everyone wants to be in a team that pursues excellence.

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Trustee Shelley Coburn

A. This trustee did not respond to this inquiry by the due date.

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Trustee Charlie Fox

A. The topic of staff retention and recruitment is always a priority for our school district.

As a trustee, I am fully aware that staff are the backbone of a successful district and having the best staff is always the goal, regardless of their role and position in the district.

Retaining staff at any time is a very important aspect in a district as large and diverse as ours.

The district recently completed a comprehensive staff survey, which had an excellent response rate. The results of that survey are critically important as our senior staff plan and adapt to work conditions and needs as we move forward with or without COVID.

This opportunity is an important part of engaging, respecting, and retaining our staff.

One aspect of retaining our staff is the support you provide them in their role.

The Langley School District has a strong training program for its school staff. This is an important aspect of supporting staff and engaging them in their personal growth and commitment to the profession.

Staffing is again an issue of the utmost importance as we as trustees want the best of the best in whatever role they have in the system.

With many college education programs coming to an end, new graduates will be looking to get hired. I know that our district’s human resources team is recruiting and offering jobs to recent graduates.

Fortunately, Langley School District has an excellent reputation in education and recruiting becomes a very important aspect of not only meeting the needs based on retirements and vacancies, but also defining the future of our employment base. .

Our vision is: an innovative, inspiring and unified learning community, and the staff is at the core of that.

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Trustee Suzanne Perreault

A. It has certainly been a challenging journey that all of our school districts have been on.

In regards to supporting our own internal community, maintaining leadership support through our wellness program through our mental health literacy team, supporting them to evolve as learning and understanding is exposed to through equity best practices and ongoing commitments to survey staff needs.

Providing voice where we can is critical to staff satisfaction in a safe and equitable manner. Through this, building a workplace that continues towards an inclusive and diverse environment is central to all of our progress.

Equity in space and place is key.

A big point of celebration, perhaps a historic event, is that after five years of board work, our district is now part of the “Metro Branch” with the BC Association of School Trustees, allowing us to be competitive with some of our staff salaries within the Lower Continent, which is key when we look at the cost of living impact right now and staff retention.

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Trustee David Todd

A. This trustee did not respond to this inquiry by the due date.

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Trustee Tony Ward

A. Langley continues to attract the best candidates for career opportunities, many of whom find employment for life.

We need to make sure we maintain this excellence.

In addition to strong compensation packages, we need:

• Continue to build a vibrant and positive SD35 culture: appreciate what everyone offers, identify unique strengths, create an environment where staff can be nurtured to thrive where they feel their personal contributions to our district family are indispensable.

• Help employees find a balance between work and life. Flexibility can be the key to retaining employees.

• Help staff find mentors and cheerleaders who support them, love them, laugh/cry with them, and inspire them.

• Sometimes we just need to get out of the way; teachers (for example) who love to teach need support, not suffocation, so that they can flourish. We don’t want to dampen their enthusiasm for what they do and why they chose their profession in the first place. We don’t want our staff to burn out. As a teacher recently told me, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

• Ensure development opportunities are available. Promote from within if possible.

• Make sure employees not only feel valued, but that the work they do has the power to impact people throughout their lives.

• Develop an employee retention strategy. Additionally, we need to find out why employees are leaving and work to prevent it.

• We pride ourselves on pursuing excellence in all areas.

When we invest in our employees, we invest in our children and their future.

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Trustee Marnie Wilson

A. The Langley School District is one of Langley’s largest employers, so retaining staff is critical to its success.

As with any workplace, there are three main components to creating a good work environment: 1. Employees must feel valued.

2. Employees need to feel safe and supported.

3. Employees need a healthy balance between work and personal life.

Those three basics help productive employees stay with their employer and have better mental health overall.

I believe our district has room to improve in all three areas.

COVID has added additional stress to an already extremely strained education system. We know that educators are experiencing burnout at an alarming rate.

Last year, the district (for the first time) engaged its employees in an employee satisfaction survey. The results of this survey showed us where we need to improve and give us a baseline against which to measure improvement in future years.

It is crucial that the district recognize where the gaps are and work to implement strategies to increase employee satisfaction, which will lead to increases in recruitment and retention.

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UNTIL NEXT TIME

Next week, Langley MLAS will be asked: Should school districts like Langley, in which enrollment increased by more than 100 students after the start of the school year, receive a per-pupil funding supplement from the province?

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Watch for their responses online on Sunday.

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