Douglas County School District Climate Survey of Teachers and Staff 2014/2015 School Year

Previous to the Liz Fagen era (July 1, 2010 to present), DCSD superintendents conducted annual “culture and climate” surveys of their staff.

In 2011, after hearing increasing concerns from members about a negative culture and climate in DCSD, the Douglas County Federation contracted a third-party vendor to conduct a “climate and culture” survey of DCSD staff during the 2011-2012 school year. Those results showed a high level of dissatisfaction among staff working in DCSD.

After five years of waiting for another DCSD staff survey, it became apparent that Dr. Fagen has no intention of doing so. Therefore, the DCF decided to once again fund a third-party survey of DCSD staff and in February hired Strategies 360 (S360) to conduct an anonymous survey of teachers and staff.

According to S360, the sample size of respondents was robust enough to make well-informed assessments about attitudes across the district. S360 also reported that the survey attracted responses from across the spectrum in terms of length of employment in DCSD.

Strategies 360 (S360) conclusions from the survey:


  • By nearly any measure, morale has fallen across the board–even beyond the record lows measured in 2012 (page 3).
  • This deeply-rooted dissatisfaction with district administration and priorities is not sustainable (page 3).
  • One of the most salient findings in this data is the extent to which teachers loathe their own evaluation system (page 6).


  • These are not token sentiments; teachers report a greater likelihood and desire to leave the district than ever before (page 3).

Below are some of the results, please click here for the complete report.

I believe the district is moving in a positive direction

(page 4)

The highest priority of a school district should be the quality of education its students are receiving, therefore the following conclusion of the survey is very concerning:

Fewer than 10%

(page 3)

Turnover continues to be a problem in DCSD and the survey results indicate it will continue to be a problem. DCSD stands to lose veteran and new teachers.

How likely would you be to leave
(page 7)

leave education . . .

(page 8)

DCSD claims that their “market pay” system attracts and retains the best employees–however, their employees don’t agree.

Furthermore . . .

(page 7)

The working environment for teachers and staff is the students’ learning environment, which is what makes the following results very concerning.


(page 4)

Another initiative the district claims is attracting and retaining the best employees is the “Pay for Performance” plan. Survey results indicate the opposite.

pay for performance

(page 6)

Collaboration is one of the “4 Cs” that DCSD claims they value–however, according to these results, what they are putting into practice is not encouraging collaboration.

Additionally, the results of the survey indicate that only 3% of teachers find CITE, DCSD’s teacher evaluation system, to be a valid and reliable instrument to measure their effectiveness.

Climate statements

(page 6)

Finally, in response to a question about confidence in their Superintendent, DCSD employees have given a definitive response.

superintendent confidence
(page 5)

It appears, based on this data, that teachers and staff members who are working daily with students believe the reforms being imposed by Liz Fagen and the DCSD Board of Education are negatively impacting their students and the climate of DCSD.