There is some weird stuff going on in Advanced Learning.
The programs are without a manager and have been for a couple months now. Aside from the management questions about who is giving the programs direction and supervision, how will the District account for the state grant money that is supposed to be spent on the program Manager's salary? The District has been very slack for years about accounting for this grant and how it is spent. I know that some of it supposedly goes to pay for a part of the program manager's salary, but there is no program manager, so how is that money being spent? This is categorical funding from the state; the District is prohibited from spending it on anything else. Despite repeated requests all year, the APP Advisory Committee has never seen a department budget. No one outside the District staff - including the Board - has any idea how the District is spending the grant.
From a supervisory perspective, the lack of a program manager isn't such a dire issue because the department has no workplan this year. Of course, that in itself is an issue.
We were anticipating a review of Advanced Learning programs this month, but that review has since been diminished to just APP. While that's news to the community, it is not news to the person contracted to conduct the review. She says that the review was always APP-only right from the start. So why did District staff tell the Board and the community that the review would cover all Advanced Learning programs while contracting for APP-only? Why are they now presenting the scope of the review as a change when that was the intended scope all along? Why do a review of APP only when it is part of a continuum of services?
There may not be much of a review anyway since the reviewer wants to interview teachers, students, and families next week, but no arrangements have been made to meet with any of them. It is unlikely that the teachers and students can be made available at this time of year on short notice. No members of the community have been contacted yet and the District has no means for contacting them except through the mail. The District does not maintain an email roster for any of the programs and, in fact, doesn't even know which or how many students are participating in ALOs. Will the reviewer receive data and input from central district staff only?
I continue to be troubled and puzzled by the strange "delay" of the decision to split middle school APP between Washington and Hamilton. The decision wasn't rescinded, it wasn't withdrawn, it wasn't changed, it was "delayed". I have no idea what that means. It appears to mean that the District staff intends to bring it back later without changes. If that's the case, then won't the Student Learning Committee's review of the decision pick up where it left off? The term of office of all three SLC members, Directors Butler-Wall, Flynn, and Soriano, expire this year. Will the review resume next year with three new Board members who were not present for the work done previously? Will the review have to start all over again from the begining? The decision was not doing well in the review. Is this an effort to start over with a new, friendlier, less informed committee?
The statement announcing the decision's delay included a reference to providing ample time to engage the community, but there has been no community engagement on this or any other topic since that announcement.
Communication with the APP Advisory Committee has been severed. In the absence of a program manager for Advanced Learning, no one from the District staff has responded to messages about the review, about the reconfiguration of APP, or about any other topic. Not that anyone was all that responsive before, but communication has dropped to flat bottom.
It is unclear to whom the APP Advisory Committee will report. The committee's annual report is due on June 30, but the new Superintendent takes office just nine days later. Which Superintendent will be bound by District Policy to respond to the report? Mr. Manhas, because he appointed the committee and was Superintendent when the report was presented, or Dr. Goodloe-Johnson, because she will be the Superintendent when the recommendations are implemented? Can Dr. Goodloe-Johnson be obligated to respond to the report if she didn't appoint the committee and wasn't the recipient of the report? How is that going to work?
All in all, this is all just weird. There may well be perfectly acceptable and legitimate answers to each of these concerns, but none of them are being addressed. Suspicion grows in the absence of information. Given the District's history of bad faith with this community, suspicion is warranted.