When a teacher leaves the district to take a job elsewhere or retire, they are provided an exit survey Google form. The only district officials with access to survey responses are Superintendent Zach Templeton and his assistant, Bethany Collins.

The Mexico School District No. 59 Board of Education was provided with a copy of the survey questions so they could discuss possible amendments. They also worked to explore ways to further engage with faculty while they are with the district.

“We’d like to get some feedback if this is a sufficient form, if we need to change the form, if you want to change our process because we are in that season where we begin to put these out there,” Templeton said regarding the survey.

Board President Dustin Pascoe wondered whether there was a way to conduct face-to-face interviews with teachers leaving the district as a supplement to the survey. “It would provide useful information if they spoke to an actual person.”

If a staff member was to go to a central person to conduct the interview, it couldn’t be their direct supervisor, said Heather DeMint, board vice president. This once again brought up the option of adding a human resources support staff position. As of now, human resources responsibilities fall to Assistant Superintendent Larry Nelson, district bookkeeper Amber Henderson and Collins.

“A human resources person, in general, doesn’t have direct supervision over any one particular teachers, staff,” DeMint said.

Retention is one of the board’s goals over the next few years, board member Kelli Teel said. The board needs to know what is driving people different directions. “I would like to think we respect the employee enough to sit them down and say, ‘What were your greatest experiences and what were your worst,’” she said.

Response data from surveys is still a tool to evaluate teacher satisfaction and to notate discrepancies in responses, DeMint said. Survey responses are compiled into an aggregate so the district can look at areas of concerns teachers leaving the district may have and their reasons for leaving, Templeton said.

“How many people said dissatisfaction with my assigned duties? How many people said I am moving to a different job? How many people said I am relocating because of my spouse, or I am relocating because I want to get close back to home? All those questions we ask them,” he said.

The district then looks for trends in the commentary.

Board member Brian Rowe suggested adding a sub-question relating to administration. There is a question about satisfaction with building-level administrators, and Rowe would like to see district-level administration added to the question. The district receives negative and positive responses on surveys, including an answer if a teacher would recommend working for the district, Templeton said.

DeMint asked if the district could send a similar survey to teachers who have renewed their contracts. This way, the board and the district can find out what teachers do like about the district, she said, adding that survey would have to remain completely anonymous.

“(Just) kind of letting them know we’re happy they decided to stay with the district and what are we doing right, like, ‘What kind of things you enjoy, what would you like to see different?’” she said.

The Missouri School Board Association conducts a climate culture survey as part of the association’s board evaluation process, Templeton said. “There is no shortage of available resources, people who will conduct surveys for you, if you want to outsource it,” he said.

Patron Insight of Stilwell, Kansas, worked ahead of the bond process, and they could build a sampling survey, Templeton said.

The exit survey still has good questions, DeMint said.

“So, do we want to expand it to something to include people who are not leaving?” Pasoce asked.

It would definitely be a way to show overall appreciation for the teachers who remain, DeMint said.