Please provide a job description for information for the new climate specialist position including how this work is different from the work directors do in schools. What are the intended tangible outcomes for the position?

Question#: 52


The Board of Education, the superintendent of schools, and the employee associations have committed

to creating and sustaining a culture of respect throughout Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS).  This also is a priority for the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) based on the Maryland School Survey that will be administered in spring 2020 to hold every school district accountable by measuring four domains: safety, environment, engagement, and relationships. (Attachment A.)

Annually, MCPS administers a staff climate survey and a parent engagement survey to gather feedback on staff and parent perceptions of the school environment. These data are analyzed centrally and at individual schools to determine areas of strength and need and to take the appropriate action to resolve areas in need of improvement.  These current tools are not as comprehensive as necessary to accurately assess and improve the overall climate and culture in MCPS. 

The vision for the priority work of the climate and culture specialist or a consultant would focus on designing a framework comprised of structures, processes, tools, and data sources to accurately and objectively assess the current climate and culture at the district and school-levels.  The data would drive the collaborative development of a systemic comprehensive plan to reach our desired state. A draft job description; knowledge, skills, and abilities; and duties and responsibilities follow.

Draft Job Description

Under the direction of the deputy superintendent in the Office of School Support and Instruction (OSSI), the climate and culture specialist collaborates with school-based and non-school based employees and leaders of the employee associations to build, improve, or sustain an organizational culture of respect
and civility between staff, students, families, and community partners; design a framework comprised of structures, processes, tools and data sources to accurately and objectively assess the current and desired state of climate and culture at the district and school-levels; facilitate the active engagement of stakeholders to identify challenges that impede or obstruct respect, trust, communication and collaboration;
and implement solutions to improve these areas.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • In-depth understanding of and experience in project management
  • A repertoire of problem solving and stakeholder engagement strategies
  • Facilitation and organization of multiple and diverse stakeholder groups with competing interests and needs and divergent perspectives
  • Experience creating, administering, organizing and analyzing data from multiple data sources and stakeholders
  • Strong data analysis skills and the ability to synthesize information for action-planning
    at the district and school levels
  • Knowledge and use of data management systems, computer software, and other technology skills
  • Ability to effectively multi-task and meet challenging timelines
  • Outstanding active listening and human relations skills and that yields positive interpersonal relationships
  • History of being respectful, collaborative, trustworthy, and innovative
  • Willing to push back/play devil’s advocate, when necessary, to ensure multiple perspectives are heard and respected
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills

Examples of Duties and Responsibilities

  • Design a framework comprised of structures, processes, tools and data sources
    to accurately and objectively assess the current and desired states of climate and culture
    at the district and school-levels
  • Collect and analyze quantitative and qualitative data to identify key priorities to inform research-based solutions designed to resolve challenges that impede or obstruct a positive school, office or district climate
  • Create a data-driven plan to resolve challenges through professional development, trainings, workshops and other research-based strategies and tools
  • Create a communication plan to share framework, action plan, goals, and updates
    on progress and results
  • Monitor and report action plan progress 
  • Triage and/or respond to parental concerns in an efficient and consistent manner
  • Maintain a database on all information related to climate and culture complaints
    and the responses
  • Analyze data related to culture and climate concerns to determine trends/patterns
    and facilitate the development of action plans
  • Manage office-generated system-wide projects to support data-driven and needs-based support to schools, clusters, and school system
  • Coordinate response to public and school employees’ concerns to ensure they are aligned with action plan decisions
  • documents and monitors progress toward
  • Solicit input and feedback from stakeholders that inform professional learning for staff, trainings and workshops for families
  • Identify other targeted research-based supports or interventions for improvement

The Board recommended climate and culture specialist position be a consultant to the school system.  It currently is reflected in the budget memorandum as such based on this recommendation. 

A priority of the Office of School Support and Improvement (OSSI) is to provide direct service and support to school-based administrators, staff, and the school communities we serve, while simultaneously responding to an increasingly high volume of requests, inquiries, and concerns of diverse stakeholders that are shared in person, by telephone, and through written communication.

Directors of leadership, administration, and achievement (DLAAs) serve as instructional coaches and supervisors of principals, and work with school-based leaders on instructional leadership, effective teaching and learning, and the school improvement planning process, including analyzing student data and monitoring and impacting performance of schools and school clusters. In their supervisory capacity, DLAAs use the MCPS System Professional Growth System and Professional Standards for Educational Leaders and work collaboratively with other central office leaders to support, coach and evaluate principals.  DLAAs conduct formal and informal school visits aligned to student achievement, effective school operations, and strategic goals; attend school-based meetings and events to foster a culture of engagement and accountability among staff, parents, and community; foster vertical articulation; and collaborate with district leadership to provide targeted and differentiated system resources that address the needs of schools.  The job description for this position is provided as Attachment B.