Monday, August 11, 2008

I like Apple or Cherry, but not this kind of turnover...

A certain amount of turnover, be it student, faculty, or administration, is not necessarily a bad thing. New teachers and staff bring new methods and new ways of looking at things, and it allows administrators more flexibility in improving a school. One would even expect a bit higher turnover rate with a new principal, even if they were a combination of Mother Teresa and St. Francis. However, too much turnover is bad, as it is in any workforce, as they may require additional supervision and time to get to know the system.

Holy Cross will be a different school this fall. There will be unprecedented levels of turnover at the student and staff level. The latest figure is that from last September, we will have had 22% turnover of the teachers and staff, which is a figure that should raise alarm even among the most ardent Jacono supporters.

22%, people! Now, I know some of them may or may not have been people’s favorite teachers, and some probably needed a nudge…but most were very good people, and good teachers or staff. In any case, they did not deserve to be treated…in some cases, being told in front of people to start looking for a new job….LAST SEPTEMBER. Now, this person was one of the better ones we lost and has gotten an excellent position elsewhere, so I am glad for them.

I hope the new teachers and members of the staff are treated well, and do well. Often when some types of bosses hire employees, they treat those who they hire better. Maybe Denise will feel better with more of “her” teachers and staff working for her, and she’ll feel less inclined to yell at them in staff meetings and in front of kids. Maybe she won’t refer to them as embarrassments to the school and the diocese as much…

And maybe we will not have almost a quarter of the teachers and staff leaving next year.


Anonymous said...

Over time, an institution will reflect its leader's philosophy. Unfortunately for Holy Cross, in the next few years, I suspect and predict that more teachers will leave (after all, no one teaches at a Catholic school for the pay, and if you're going to have a horrible work environment, youmight as well get compensated), and more parents will seek alternatives to what will likely be declining academic standards and the lack of a Christian environment.

Being a "Catholic" school carries with it a type of "brand"--high academic standards, dedicated faculty and a loving but structured teaching environment. Holy Cross has built its "barnd" over time, and through the hard work of previous administrators (two of whom had their own flaws, but nevertheless contributed to its success), pastors and--most importantly--parents. If Holy Cross fails to abide by this level of expectation, it will ultimately close or become a very different school than it is now.

The primary "public relations" ambassador for any private school is the parents who send their children to it. We received high recommendations from parents about HC before we sent our children to it. The days of simply sending your child to a "Catholic school" because it is labeled such are long over--and in some of the blogs I've read, this fundamental reality seems to be missed. Holy Cross must compete in order to survive--and "compete" means having an attractive and welcoming environment for its families who choose to trust their child in that environment.

The very existence of this "blog", and some comments that are in other websites like "Great Schools" and "Private Schools" reveals that there is something dreadfully wrong with the Holy Cross "brand."

It appears that the fundamental problem is the "leader"--or that there really is no true "leader" in the sense of someone who attempts to foster teamwork and build on the successes of the past. If the principal does not fundamentally change--or if Fr. continues to take a "hands off" approach and continues to turn a blind eye to her "style", then Holy Cross School will stop being an attractive school for parents--and it will ultimately become much smaller than it is now.

Anonymous said...

Right on. Good analysis of the situation at Holy Cross.

Anonymous said...

"It appears that the fundamental problem is the "leader"--or that there really is no true "leader" in the sense of someone who attempts to foster teamwork and build on the successes of the past."

Truer words were never spoken. The "leader" at HC works against the team and alienates key people that she should be working to get on her team. I have never witnessed such a brand of "leadership".