On March 13th, an email was sent out from OCPS school district regarding the current climate survey. We find their response unfortunate. While the email from the district is articulate, we were dismayed by their disparaging remarks and taken aback at the dismissal of your feedback as a teacher. We will give you the facts and let you decide. The specific contract language in question and the steps we took are outlined below.
As a third party hired by the CTA to conduct this climate survey, we have been thorough and meticulous in following the contract between OCPS and the CTA.
Article IV, Section C, Paragraph 4
The Superintendent or designee shall receive a copy of all materials/communications to be distributed district-wide, either through the courier or through email, at least one business day prior to distribution. The administrator shall receive a copy of all materials/communications to be distributed in the school.
According to the contract language, we would have had to notify the Superintendent or her “designee” had we used the courier or OCPS email. We chose to forgo those options and to deliver surveys straight to mailboxes with return postage paid through the US mail to ensure confidentiality and anonymity. We did however send a copy of the survey to all the administrators on Tuesday March 12th, since it was to be distributed in the schools from Tuesday the 12th through Wednesday the 20th. The CTA also forwarded a copy of the survey to the district as a courtesy on March 13th.
We echo the district’s sentiments regarding climate surveys and their use in the school improvement process. However there is no contract language that states a survey needs to be sanctioned by the district or the CBLT in order to be valid. We believe that any honest feedback from teachers, either positive or negative, is valid and important. Teachers are evaluated on a constant basis, and therefore should have a voice and be afforded the opportunity to do just the same.
There is no way that the survey can be traced back to you personally. If there is a fear of retaliation, we recommend that you take it home, fill it out, and mail it in from your home or drop it in a postal box. Your feedback is important, and rest assured your voice will be heard regardless.
We look forward to receiving your survey in the mail. Please feel free to pass this website (climatesurvey2013.org) on to fellow teachers and/or leave a comment below.
To: All Instructional Personnel
From: Scott Howat
Date: March 13, 2013
RE: Climate Survey from CTA
Yesterday, the Classroom Teachers Association (CTA) sent out a climate survey asking for your responses. Please be aware that this survey was not authorized by the District and is, in fact, considered to be a breach of the collaborative process between the Association and the District. The survey was not shared with Superintendent or her “designee” at least one business day prior to distribution as stated in our contractual agreement between the School Board of Orange County and the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association. Past practice has been to develop surveys for distribution through the Collaborative Bargaining Leadership Team (CBLT).
This particular survey has not been sanctioned by the District or the CBLT and therefore the results will not be recognized by the District.
Climate surveys are currently recommended as a best practice through the school improvement process, and surveys are sent to parents, students, teachers each year, throughout the school year. School Advisory Committees may use a valid and reliable survey written by District personnel or they may write their own.
- Krista Russell on behalf of Scott Howat