Price County Review: Improving workplace morale and building a positive presence in the community has been the aim of Phillips School District’s culture-climate project over the last three years.
The initiative, titled Creating Community Connections, was first introduced in August 2013 at the school’s in-service day. While formerly just for teachers and support staff, the in-service day now encompasses all staff, and has seen nearly 100 percent participation in all three years.
Numerous studies indicate that improving employee and community relations within a school district can actually improve the education offered to students. While other school districts in the state do engage in culture-climate improvement activities, the majority of these do not connect back to the local community as does the Phillips series of activities.
Phillips’ culture-climate improvement activities are designed to bring all staff together in varying projects, facilitating a forum for those who would not ordinarily meet or communicate in their normal workday. Understanding of the other jobs and who does them is encouraged to promote a greater communication and respect amongst all staff.
The first stage of the initiative brings all staff together on the first in-service day in August, where group activities take place. The second stage of the culture-climate activities continues throughout the school year, as staff members come up with activities to engage in. This stage is purely voluntary – employees may choose whether or not to participate. Participation rates have remained high, either at 100 percent or just below.
This year, many staff members will be spotted around the community participating in a variety of events. Staff planned and engaged in events ranging from ice fishing tournaments to baking contests.
The aim of this year’s activities? Improving communication.