If I ruled the world (or at least Seattle Schools), my vision for Seattle Public Schools would be :
Quality schools with high expectations and equitable distribution of resources and opportunities, educating all students to become passionate, lifelong learners, respecting themselves and others.
The top strategies for achieving that vision (in my 2 year-plan) would include:
1) Pooled PTSA funding with a percentage split (60/40? 70/30?) where the school raising the money gets to keep the majority, but then the rest is shared with other schools that lack the same kind of fundraising potential.
2) A revamp of the principal assignment process, and some intensive leadership development for principals.
3) Clear, constant messaging (and supporting policies and funding) inspiring/requiring schools to "teach to the highest" with one-on-one or small group tutoring for anyone who is falling behind.
4) Clear, constant messaging (and supporting policies and funding) inspiring/requiring schools to focus on delivering high quality instruction that does not focus on WASL scores, but instead focuses on inspiring a love of learning that students can carry with them throughout their lives. It must be made clear to all schools that different ways of knowing and learning needed to be supported and celebrated, and that means including art, music, gym as important parts of the school curriculum.
I mailed these ideas to Raj, Carla and the School Board yesterday, and got this nice reply from Carla.
"Beth, thank you for your good ideas...Please come to the community meeting on Wed or Thursday this week. I've attempted to create that vision you are talking about with clear targets and steps to get there. I would love to get your feedback."
I am now officially impressed with Carla Santorno. I think this is the first time I've gotten a quick, positive response to an e-mail message from a district staff person.