Report 2019-108 Recommendation 15 Responses

Report 2019-108: Sacramento City Unified School District: Because It Has Failed to Proactively Address Its Financial Challenges, It May Soon Face Insolvency (Release Date: December 2019)

Recommendation #15 To: Sacramento City Unified School District

To prevent a similar fiscal crisis in the future, Sacramento Unified should do the following by July 2020:

Develop effective employee orientation programs, including mentorship, to allow incoming leaders to better adapt to the organization's structure and culture.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From September 2023

The district implemented initiatives to support leaders in adapting to the organization's structure and culture. Key programs include individualized support based on the needs of leaders. Included but not limited to, are the following: 1:1 orientation for new leaders, continued Fall meetings leaders to discuss relevant needs, additionally the newly developed HR University has served as a bank of resources. HR University is a Google classroom that is a one-stop resource bank of commonly used resources for leaders. A highlight for administrators is the ongoing offering of office hours led by several departments, each department sets aside time weekly to host open drop-in sessions for leaders to come and ask questions and get support needed. Principal/Mentor pairings were implemented as a resource.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Fully Implemented

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2022

The District has established a mentoring support system, the system consists of mentor networks within our district and cohorts are organized by Instructional Assistant Superintendent areas of support. The newly formed People and Culture Talent Management Division of Human Resources' mission is to seek out and recruit the most qualified, talented, diverse people to not just "fill" the open positions, but to grow them and to grow those around them. Recruiting the right people, for the right position and placing them at the right position is paramount to building our inclusive, equitable, diverse, inviting, healthy culture that allows our employees to thrive.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Pending

The district has provided documentation showing that it has recently developed a formal mentorship program. We look forward to reviewing how it has implemented this program at our next annual follow-up.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2021

The Human Resources Department has updated orientation processes for new employees that includes electronic welcomes and introductions and awareness of resources. An exit process for all administrators, both at sites and in the central office, has been established.

Additionally, all sites and departments are instructed to submit an annual list of top priorities and projects for their teams, along with their department reporting structure. Each department will also work to create a department manual.

Further, the District has invested in staff to build employee recognition and retention efforts.

The department and staff responsible are Superintendent Aguilar and Chief Human Resources Officer Cancy McArn.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Pending

The activities that Sacramento Unified describes do not address the goal of the recommendation we made. For example, the documentation that Sacramento Unified provided did not include programs for mentoring new leaders. Our audit identified that Sacramento Unified had high turnover of key leadership positions and had not developed strategies to mitigate the impact of such turnover. To fully implement our recommendation, Sacramento Unified must develop an orientation program, including mentorship, for new leaders to help ensure they successfully integrate into the organization's culture.

1-Year Agency Response

The Human Resources Department has implemented a Transition Checklist for staff entering or leaving a new position. The department has also significantly updated its trainings for administration, engaged in school site and department check-in meetings, and continued efforts to enhance automated processes.

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Partially Implemented

Sacramento Unified provided a checklist for principals entering or leaving a position but not for other key management positions within the district. As we note in our report, it is important for the leaders of the organization to be introduced into the district's culture, particularly because it has experienced turnover in key management positions.

6-Month Agency Response

Successful implementation with two recently hired administrators. Due to COVID-19, HR has created an online New Employee Orientation system. HR has moved forward to create a virtual onboarding process, which was implemented 4/1/20. Administrator training will be implemented 7/1/20. New Administrator HR "meet and greets" was implemented 2/1/20.

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending

60-Day Agency Response

HR will conduct a search for effective new employee programs by reaching out to neighboring school districts as well as partner agencies (ACSA, Council of Great City Schools, Central Valley Personnel Study Group, etc.).

New Employee Orientations currently take place twice a month. This is mandatory for all administrators. Supporting documentation to follow.

Trainings for administrators are currently offered on a monthly basis.

New administrators will receive individualized meet-and-greet opportunities to assist in their transition to the District.

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending

While Sacramento Unified offers new employee orientation and training for managers, we look forward to seeing how the district will combine new employee orientation and manager training with mentorship opportunities to ensure that new managers to the organization adapt to its culture and can be retained.

All Recommendations in 2019-108

Agency responses received are posted verbatim.