LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Results from a pilot survey of Jefferson County Public Schools employees at six schools and the district’s central office are expected to be released in early July.

The survey – called an “employee engagement study” – was administered at Indian Trail Elementary, Greathouse–Shryock Elementary, Meyzeek Middle, Johnson Middle, Central High, Fern Creek High and to central office employees from April 25 through May 7. It was funded by the Jefferson County Public Education Foundation.

Employees were asked questions about culture and environment in their departments and schools, and at the district level. They also were asked how the district’s leadership impacts culture, said Sam Corbett, executive director of the foundation, which picked up the survey’s $38,000 tab.

The survey was conducted by Kenexa, an IBM company. According to its website, Kenexa enables organizations to “explore virtually any workforce data by simply typing in questions to help understand and predict the impact of talent decisions.”

Corbett says Humana Inc., has used Kenexa’s employee survey for years and has had “great success with it.” He added that JCPS is the first elementary/secondary organization that Kenexa has worked with.

“JCPS has conducted its own comprehensive survey, but many employees have indicated they don’t feel comfortable participating because they feel they can be identified,” Corbett said, adding that this engagement survey is a joint initiative between JCPS and the Jefferson County Teachers Association.

The number of schools surveyed represents a fraction of the district’s 155 schools.

Results of the engagement survey were shared with Superintendent Donna Hargens and her top-level staff and the principals at the six schools last week but won’t be shared publicly until next month in order to “give the schools and the central office time to distribute and digest the information,” Corbett said.

In addition, each school and the district is working to create an action plan based on the survey responses, said Allison Martin, a JCPS spokeswoman.

Although he said he couldn’t discuss the results, Corbett said they “mirror” the results in the district’s 2016 Comprehensive Survey, which were released Friday.

That survey shows a sharp drop in JCPS employees’ opinions of Hargens’ leadership this year compared with previous years. It also shows a decline in the percentage of those who are confident in the district’s ability to manage money efficiently.

Brent McKim, president of JCTA, said one key difference between the two surveys is the timing – the comprehensive survey was conducted in March – one month before proposed changes to the student code of conduct and talk surfaced about potentially freezing salaries of some of the district's employees.

“The employee engagement survey was conducted afterwards,” McKim said.

Turmoil over those two issues prompted walk-ins at 140 of the district’s schools and came to a head last month, when more than a thousand teachers, students and parents nearly shut down Newburg Road outside JCPS headquarters before the May 10 board meeting.

“I think the survey has the potential to improve the atmosphere and thereby the effectiveness of schools to be able to help kids be successful and reduce teacher turnover,” McKim said.

In all, 740 people were eligible to take the survey and about 71 percent – approximately 520 people – participated, Corbett said.

The $38,000 for the survey was provided to JCPEF through a grant from the C, E & S Foundation, the $72 million philanthropic foundation started by David A. Jones, the co-founder of Humana and father of JCPS school board member David Jones Jr.

Jones Jr. could not reached for comment on Tuesday to say whether he had seen the results of the engagement survey.

Reporter Antoinette Konz can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

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