School of Business Affairs - October -2017

14 OCTOBER 2017 | SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS asbointl.org food-handling methods with the general workers. The supervisors’ training includes having critical conversa- tions and improving their supervisory skills. We also work to create a sense of team. When the nutrition department employees indicated that they didn’t feel like a team and were uncomfortable with the many new and unfamiliar foods they had to prepare the first weeks of school, we provided the targeted training they needed. They attended the Iowa State Fair, did a scavenger hunt, and then had lunch together. When they returned, they prepared some of the new food items that they would be serving in the upcoming school year. I lead a monthly professional learning community with all of the building secretaries—a group that is rather isolated but that can benefit from monthly meetings. In operations, the director meets with his craft and trades employees once a month. He does a five-minute safety talk, which he documents for training purposes. The employees have time to discuss current projects and see whether anyone needs any help. The custodial super- visors meet with their building custodians regularly for safety meetings and a question-and-answer session. I lead a monthly professional learning community with all of the building secretaries—a group that is rather iso- lated but that can benefit from monthly meetings. We did the book study together and talk about topics of their choosing, building sessions around their needs. These folks are direct links to the business office, so these meetings provide an opportunity for those relation- ships to deepen as well. Time is set aside during every meeting for them to share and learn from one another, which they appreciate. Since they’ve built relationships with one another, they now feel more comfortable calling each other to problem-solve. I replicated this professional learning community with the business office staff as well. In addition, we did the book study together, and I share articles and encourage them to attend Iowa ASBO conferences and seek other learning opportunities. We meet once a month after the first board meeting to discuss what was on the agenda, bring everyone up to speed, give them time to ask ques- tions, and see whether anyone has projects that they need help on. There is always room for growth. Keys to Success How does a school business official cultivate an environ- ment of trust, collaboration, and accountability? • Transparency: Share the same information that you share with the board with the administrators, direc- tors, and business office staff. • Collaboration: Bring department directors together so they can learn, share, and help one another create a better work environment. • Accountability : Provide time for employees to hear what is going on in the district and give them time to ask questions so they feel more connected to the dis- trict’s work. • Communication: Ensure that information is timely, accurate, and delivered in multiple ways. When you invest in the employees, they see that you value them and that you support them in their role in the district. Why spend time and money on professional develop- ment for noneducational staff members? I don’t see a better way to build trust and accountability and engage in collaboration. When you invest in the employees, they see that you value them and that you support them in their role in the district. That investment leads to great job satisfaction and reduces turnover. We are a school district, therefore a learning organization. Everyone should be a lifelong learner. Lora Appenzeller Miller is chief financial officer for Waukee Community Schools, Waukee, Iowa. Email: lappenzellermiller@ waukeeschools.org Index of Advertisers American Fidelity Assurance Company . . . . . . back cover AXA Equitable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 21 BMO Harris Bank N.A.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 1 DecisionInsite, LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 10 Horace Mann Insurance Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 5 Johnson Controls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . inside back cover Office Depot, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 15 SchoolDude . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . `page 3

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