Approximately 200 Chamber members and educators packed the Hutton Hotel ballroom on March 24 to hear a panel of experts discuss issues around reforming human capital systems in public education. Mayor Karl Dean began the discussion by reviewing the recent progress of ASSET, the district’s multi-faceted approach to attracting, developing and rewarding teaching talent. Director of Schools Dr. Jesse Register then moderated an engaging panel discussion that included a number of questions from the audience.
Dr. Jerry Weast, superintendent for the Montgomery County School District in Maryland, talked about their 12-year reform journey that has resulted in higher graduation rates, improved SAT/ACT scores and a narrowed achievement gap on Advanced Placement exams. Dr. Weast formed a business advisory group composed of senior executives who pushed him to define the public school product. The district purchased a College Clearinghouse report that detailed how many of their graduates went on to higher education and earned a degree within six years. The district then built a pre-K through 12 value chain focused on producing college- and career-ready graduates. Private business helped his leadership team develop predictive analytics and an HR focus on defining how each position in the school system contributes to student success.
L-R: Panelists Julie Hopkins, Buena Vista Elementary; Dr. Jerry Weast, Montgomery County School District; Director of Metro Schools Dr. Jesse Register; HR executive Ranjit Nair; and Mark Marshall, VP of Lee Hecht Harrison. Photo courtesy Gary Layda.
Ranjit Nair, an HR executive who has advised the Austin (Texas) Independent School District for four years on its human capital reform and incentive pay system, talked about the “five essential conversations” that need to take place between managers and employees to create a culture of exceptional performance: goal setting; the reward structure for meeting goals; monitoring and discussion of performance throughout the year so the year-end evaluation is not a surprise; the performance rating or evaluation; and finally, the “'wow' conversation” of handing the employee a performance check. It takes time to build this organizational culture. School systems do not historically operate this way, and they must resist the temptation to distribute rewards to mediocre or poor performance, thus setting an “entitlement mentality” around the cash incentives.
HR executive Ranjit Nair discusses the model of human capital reform and incentive pay system that he helped implement in the Austin Independent School District as Dr. Jesse Register looks on. Photo courtesy Gary Layda.
Julie Hopkins, principal of Buena Vista Enhanced Option Elementary and an ASSET participant, talked about how the current application period for MNPS’ new Teacher Leadership Institute was already creating excitement among her nominated teachers. Mark Marshall, vice president with Lee Hecht Harrison, praised the local ASSET work, and cautioned against taking a copy-and-paste approach to human capital in a large, complex system with a variety of departments and functions.
The event was made possible through the Chamber’s partnership with the Committee for Economic Development and Altria.
Panelists addressed audience questions following the panel discussion. Photo courtesy Gary Layda.
To view more photos from this event, click here.