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Employee engagement: How to position your school district as the best place to work, grow, and thrive

Student achievement, curriculum, and learning outcomes are the highest objectives for every school district. However, districts depend on satisfied and engaged staff to meet rigorous student success goals. As 54 percent of teachers consider leaving the profession in the next two years, it’s more critical than ever to add employee engagement and job satisfaction to the list of priorities.


Addressing this challenge is more than prioritizing employee retention — it’s about positioning your district as the best place for educators to work, grow, and thrive. Without consistently measuring employee engagement and taking action on those results, you risk losing even more talented, qualified educators.

But where do you start?

Get a baseline on your district’s employee engagement with surveys 

In our recent webinar “Beyond Retention: How to Position Your School District as the Best Place to Work, Grow, and Thrive,” K12 Insight’s Managed Research team shared key highlights from the Spring 2024 National Report on Customer Service in Schools. The webinar also featured leaders from East Maine School District 63 in Illinois who shared how they’re measuring employee engagement and the improvements they’ve experienced since measuring engagement.

Why is employee engagement important?

At its core, employee engagement encompasses an individual’s connection with their profession and current role. 

Like any organization, the heart of a school lies in its employees. From teachers to support staff to administrators, understanding the depth of this connection is crucial for the success of a school district and the community it serves.


Unfortunately, employee engagement in K-12 consistently ranks lower than the national average.





Recognizing this gap presents an opportunity for K-12 to prioritize what keeps its employees satisfied and engaged at work. By measuring levels of engagement and the factors that influence it, school districts can take a pivotal step toward boosting morale and reducing staff turnover. Additionally, when teachers and staff are engaged, students are more likely to be engaged, leading to improved student performance.


The power of consistently measuring employee engagement


Located in the suburbs north of Chicago, East Maine School District 63 serves over 3,700 pre-K through eighth grade students with more than 500 employees across seven schools and two district buildings. During the 2023-2024 school year, the district prioritized measuring employee engagement, partnering with K12 Insight to assess changes year-over-year and identify areas for celebration and improvement.


Employee engagement surveys empowered East Maine’s staff to voice their opinions, allowed the district to clear up misconceptions like salary discrepancy, and provide a new way to measure employee engagement within the district. Through these efforts, East Maine School District 63 saw a 3 percent increase in their highly engaged employees at the district level and a 16 percent increase at the individual site level after implementing their employee engagement survey with K12 Insight.


“Ultimately, these surveys have given us the insights and data needed to ensure we’re providing a place where educators want to work and advance their careers,” said Dr. Shawn Schleizer, Superintendent of Schools, East Maine School District 63.


How to measure employee engagement in your district


School districts that measure employee engagement observe a consistent increase in engagement levels year over year. Consider implementing these two survey tools for your employee engagement strategy:


Annual Employee Engagement Survey: Administered once a year in the spring, this survey collects perceptions on various aspects of the school environment and employee perceptions. From focus areas like work environment to relationships between colleagues and opportunities for career development, this survey provides a comprehensive dataset for improvement plans and strategic planning.


Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) Pulse Surveys: In addition to implementing an Annual Employee Engagement Survey, it’s also important to get a regular pulse check on employee engagement. eNPS Pulse Surveys are a great way to consistently measure employee engagement throughout the year and make real-time course corrections. By asking one key question, “How likely are you to recommend your school, your department, or your district to others as a place to work?” it quantifies employee satisfaction, leading to actionable data for monthly adjustments and promoting a culture of data-driven decision-making.


Together, the Annual Employee Engagement Survey and eNPS Pulse Surveys provide comprehensive data and year-over-year trends when measuring employee engagement. This approach allows for continuous monitoring of progress toward improving employee engagement.


Interested in learning more about these strategies for measuring and improving employee engagement in your district? Schedule your consult today.