Communicating our plan for maintaining a quality staff

Published 11:36 am Saturday, December 16, 2017

By Rickie R. Harris

In my last editorial I shared our West Orange –Cove Strategic Plan’s Mission, Vision, Beliefs, and Goals. To recap, our Vision is “Empowering Lives Through Excellence Every Day!” Our Mission is “In partnership with our community, our mission is to transform lives through an exceptional educational experience.” At our core, we believe:

That families are an integral part of the education process.

In our tradition of excellence.

That diversity is valued.

That learning should be our highest priority.

That faith is the foundation of our community.

That teachers are foundational to student success.

Through our strategic goals, West Orange – Cove CISD will:

Promote a positive image.

Maintain a quality staff.

Provide opportunities to increase family involvement.

Upgrade technology throughout the system.

Enhance programs to meet individualized student needs.


Two weeks ago, I communicated our progress in the area of promoting a positive image. Today, I will report our progress associated with maintaining a quality staff.

Since the implementation of this plan almost two years ago, we have taken a number of actions. Most recently, we launched an Aspiring Administrators Leadership Academy. Individuals from within WOCCISD who plan to become administrators apply to participate in this district-led course. Our initial cohort meets monthly to discuss various education topics with experienced specialists. Our goal is to build the leadership capacity of our staff.

This year, we were extremely excited to present our first “Empowering Lives 2017” Professional Development Conference in August. Our curriculum leaders identified relevant topics, identified district staff able to lead topic conversations, and developed a 30-session conference for teachers and classroom aides. The event was specific to our needs and extremely successful. We continue to provide important professional development opportunities, including sessions for teachers in the hard-to-staff areas of English as a Second Language (ESL), special education, and dyslexia intervention.

It is also our pleasure to recognize outstanding staff through our Employee of the Month and Teacher of the Month program. These recognitions occur at our Board of Trustee Meetings. We have also shown our staff appreciation through retention and attendance incentives.

Additionally, our Human Resources department is extremely active in recruiting the best available staff at various job fairs throughout the state. We, in fact, also host an on-site Job Fair to recruit area candidates. The Job Fair and staff vacancies are communicated to the greatest extent possible. We advertise positions on our own website and through additional outlets. To support our new teachers, our teacher mentor program provides new-to-classroom and new-to-district staff support through pairings with veteran WOC staff.

Our future goals for maintaining a quality staff include developing an Aspiring Teacher Academy and a Grow Your Own Teachers Program; as well as continue to grant annual raises and incentive pay. Additionally, we plan to pay out extra duty stipends in a lump sums rather than over a 12-month period.

We believe in John Maxwell’s philosophy that “One is too small a number to achieve greatness.” I look forward to sharing our progress on another strategic goal in my next editorial. In the meantime, we are “Empowering Lives Through Excellence Every Day!”

Have a wonderful holiday; and, Go Mustangs!

Rickie R. Harris is the Superintendent at West Orange – Cove CISD