GCA Services Group to Rochester School Leaders: We Will Improve

"We appreciate the hard work and recognize there's more work to do," School Board President Jennifer Berwick told a representative of the custodian management company this week.

Rochester Board of Education members listened this week to representatives of GCA Services Group as they detailed first-month report cards and future plans for the custodial services company.

Last spring leaders of Rochester Schools approved the outsourcing of custodian and partial ground services to save the disctrict money. The school district's contract with GCA Services is for three years and is estimated to save the district $7 million.

Monthly report cards

Each school principal is asked to fill out a nine-point evaluation of GCA services, GCA senior regional manager Patrick McDonough explained Monday night. The evaluation takes place monthly.  The evaluation includes cleanliness of all areas of the school including the exterior and trash removal, as well as customer service and overall happiness with service.

GCA Services scored an aggregate average of 84.43 percent for their first month of service in September. Rochester High School received the lowest rating with 75 percent. University Hills Elementary received the highest with 96.11 percent.

One Rochester High School parent addressed the board to say during curriculum night at the school the floors were wet from mopping but caution signs had not been put out. She also said, " A janitor interrupted my student's sixth hour class during curriculum night to ask about recycling." She continued that the teacher then took valuable parent time to answer him.

(For a full listing of schools and their ratings, read: "Rochester Schools Rate Custodians: See How Your School Compares")

McDonough said the company goal is a district average of 95 percent by February 2013. Constant support from the regional standpoint to mentor and work with managment and employees would be key in reaching that goal, he said, as well as communication.

Background checks

As part of the presentation, McDonough explained GCA's background process:

  • GCA Services Group is fully compliant with Public Act 131 of 2005, which requires all Local School Districts, Intermediate School Districts, Public School Academies, Nonpublic Schools, Employment Agencies or Contractors to be fingerprinted and conduct a federal criminal history record search and be identified as a Michigan School Employee.
  • Once an employee is fingerprinted the fingerprint is stored electronically by the Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Center. If an employee has an additional offense, the Michigan State Police are required by law to notify the Michigan Department of Education, which is required to notify the employer of an offense. 

Training and turnover

In the three-month period of July 1-Oct. 1, GCA Services had 33 out of the 104 Rochester employees leave the company. The largest percent, 46 percent, cited "personal reasons," another 39 percent were categorized as no call/no show, 12 percent took new jobs and the remaining 3 percent left due to company policies.

"Our national turnover rate after 90 days is 12.5 percent," McDonough said, "We get employees that want to try it but find out it's not their cup of tea."

GCA Services training includes a four-hour seminar that covers safety regulations, human resources and do's and don'ts of the job. 

"The seminar is also part evaluation to gain insight to employees' attitudes," McDonough said.

Employees then move on to a large environment, usually a high school, where they shadow an experienced worker. Training includes two more days of taking on more responsibilities as the training progresses.

"I know this has been a very large undertaking," Board President Jennifer Berwick said. "We appreciate the hard work and recognize there is more work to do."

Truth October 24, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Why stop at just the employee groups? We could assess the entire societal structure. What is the quality of the raw materials (students) schools receive? What is the supportive structure (parental/household) of the materials received? What is the work ethic of the materials (students) schools receive? Then, we would have a more accurate assessment of all the components which go into a student's education. It really is not just the employees!
a worker October 25, 2012 at 03:54 AM
Does anyone out there seriously believe that the company GCA is doing a quality job? If so you are seriously mistaken. Yes maybe the hallways look clean and shiny. However there are many more facets to custodial work then just shiney hallways. If Utica Community schools ever presents their report card for GCA I would love to see it. I can only imagine how the grading of those report cards would go. Everyone of them would have to be approved by the superintendent. After all the idea to bring those clowns in was her idea. She would crucify the first person that gave that company an F. Heaven forbid she be made to look bad. That would not look good on her resume. company
Daryl Patrishkoff October 25, 2012 at 09:56 AM
Truth, A great teacher assesses their students on all of the factors you listed above to find a way to connect and teach each individual. I have seen it with the teachers I talk with on how they handle the diverse group of students that learn differently and have very different environments. Again, this is a sign of a great teacher! Part of my career has been teaching at the college and business level to experienced people in their industry. When I get a business course to teach I receive all the resumes of my students, discuss the group dynamics with their management and design an approach to meet the goals of the training session. We put together metrics to measure beginning knowledge and then the final outcome of ending knowledge. If we did not move the needle on those metrics we did not do our job. We also measure the impact in the workplace to ensure things did improve over time, if not; the training event was a waste of time. Metrics count! Any training event can be measured, people are afraid of measurements. Metrics are a way to continually improve and any organization that has the mentality of continuous improvement will excel in their field and make a difference. Embrace the metrics!
Truth October 25, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Please point to where anyone is afraid of metrics. I certainly did not state that in my reply. I believe that there is much more that contributes to a child's (not a college student) education than just a teacher. Unlike a college student who is usually an adult, a younger student is not developmentally, emotionally, mentally or physically prepared to change their life situtation. They are dependent upon the adults and community to meet their basic needs.
Truth October 25, 2012 at 09:52 PM
It really does depend upon who is measuring them, when they are measuring them, where they are measuring them, how they are measuring them, and what they are measuring. Not to mention, who receives the information and manipulates the data to create the graphs. I am not sure if RCS has received feedback from enough stakeholders to make claims concerning the service that GCA is providing to the district.


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