FCPS’ HR department undergoing redesign

Published 7:20 am Monday, January 24, 2022

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The Franklin City School Board heard details at its Thursday, Jan. 13, work session about the redesign of the school division’s Human Resources Department, the goal of which is to enable the department to work with the staff at each school in a more efficient manner. 

Dr. Dwana White, who is the assistant superintendent of human resources for Franklin City Public Schools, presented the redesign, noting that the department is putting in new procedures and protocol.

She said the department’s current model involves each human resources staff member being assigned to a different task, and that task is carried out across the division. 

“What we’re going to do now, our new model, we’re looking at each human resources staff member being assigned to a department or a school, and our thought process is that this will allow for immediate contact of human resources with the Franklin City Public Schools staff and teachers,” she said. “And so we think this will be a much more efficient way to communicate.”

She stated that another thing the department wants to do, as part of this redesign model, is establish a system for succession.

“(Ward 1 board member) Mr. (Robert) Holt and I talked about that a couple months ago, so in case someone leaves the district, we want everybody to be cross-trained, and so this model allows for a clear succession plan,” White said.

Holt said the board would like to consider the presentation on the redesign as a first reading so the board can come back and tweak a few things.

Jerry McCreary

Ward 6 board member Jerry McCreary asked White what the broad-scope duties of the HR Department are.

“The broad duties are retention, recruitment, licensure, onboarding, ensuring that all staff members have credentials and that the background checks come back appropriately,” she said. “We assist with the progressive discipline of staff. We ensure that the staff records and personal information are secure, and so broad duties, that’s basically day-to-day what the department does.”

McCreary said, “There’s been some discussion among board members that by spreading the model over to three schools, is that going to weaken our efforts for recruitment?”

White said that although the department is looking at redesigning, its staff is still going to continue to function as a team.

“So we will still support each other in recruitment and in retention, so we’re not thinking it’s going to have an impact on our recruitment,” she said.

She added that the department has a part-time employee who comes from a background in public school human resources and has a good track record in relationships with the local colleges and universities.

“So we’ve been utilizing him a lot for our recruitment, and we will continue to do that, because that is the area where he shines,” she said. “So although we are redesigning, we’re still going to work to our strengths within the department.”

Andrea Shelton

Ward 5 board member Dr. Andrea Shelton asked White what the thought process was in assigning a human resources staff member to a school.

“You’ve mentioned retention, recruitment and the other duties, so is a portion of that going to be retention, recruitment, or what would that look like in applying it on a day-to-day basis?”

White replied, “In application, the major part of it that will be impacted by having this redesign is that instead of S.P. Morton (Elementary School) trying to contact the Human Resources Department as a whole and not be able to reach out to someone, they will be in contact with, let’s say Dr. White, so I am their direct contact, and they know that if they have any questions or concerns that they can email me, so they’re not just sending blind emails to various people in the department.”

She said another change that will be implemented by the redesign is that an HR staff member will physically be at their assigned school one day per week to avail themselves to the staff there. For S.P. Morton, it will be every Tuesday; for Franklin High School, it will be every Wednesday; and for Joseph P. King Jr. Middle School, it will be every Thursday.

“And it’s going to be that same staff member every week so that the staff can get to know that human resources person personally,” White said.

“So it’s continuity — you’re building continuity,” Shelton said, and White replied, “Exactly.”