Here are a few thoughts and questions I have had lately on various topics.
1. When is the Student Learning Committee going to meet? All of the other Board committees have meetings scheduled – Executive, Finance, and Operations – but there is no meeting yet scheduled for the Student Learning Committee.
2. The Board and Community Engagement. There were four action items on the agenda for the Board’s January 9 meeting. Community Engagement element is not included on one of them (Board Bylaws). On two others, the community engagement comes after the Board’s approval of the motion.
3. The Board and Community Engagement II. The Board (with the exception of Board President Chow) appeared to value community engagement at the Denny/Sealth work session, but their decisions on Denny/Sealth will be a truer reflection of how much they really value it.
4. Director Chow and Community Engagement. While I find Director Chow's candor about her disinterest and disregard of community engagement refreshing and honest, I cannot support it.
5. Southeast Initiative Accountability Measures missing. Where are the accountability measures for the Southeast Initiative? They were supposed to have been determined by September. What are they? According to the Framework adopted by the Board:
"To provide schools with clear objectives, the District (in consultation with each school in Summer 2007) will also establish a rigorous accountability process that will set school-specific program goals (for Fall 2010) in the following areas:
% of First Choice
Increased Academic Achievement
Student and Teacher Climate Survey Results
And what if a school meets 4 of the 5 benchmarks, or 3 of the 5 or 2 or 1? What then?
6. Planned Planning. There are a lot of plans floating around, but I've noticed that nearly all of the plans are not action plans, but plans for making plans. These include the Entry Plan, the Strategic Framework, the plan to use McKinsey & Company, the Strategic Framework they will write, the new Facilities Master Plan, the Southeast Initiative, the plan for writing a new Assignment Plan complete with a plan to do wholesale revision of program placement. None of these are, themselves, action plans. For all of this planning, I see very little action planning – let alone planned action.
7. Unplanned Action. Meanwhile, most of the action that I see the District doing is actually unplanned. These include the decision to surplus M L King (with no plan for the property), the decision to semi-merge Denny and Sealth (with no academic plan).
8. Planned Confusion. I can no longer keep track of all of the Superintendent's plans. Is she still moving forward with her Entry Plan or has it been scrapped? I think it has been scrapped. I think the plan to reconfigure APP has been scrapped, but how will it constrain the New Assignment Plan if APP can't be moved? Will the District continue to follow the Strategic Framework or has it been scrapped? The Superintendent praises it on her web page, but McKinsey and Company are going to help her replace it. Are all plans on hold until we hear from the McKinsey and Company consultants? When we have their plan will we stick to it? Do we still plan to change the Student Assignment Plan or will that plan be pushed out yet another year?
9. Construction confusion. I'm really confused by the pattern of construction work done at Sealth. Read the plan for the building in the BEX III project and compare that list of planned improvements to the work done – just three years ago – in BEX II. BEX III will re-do a number of elements that are less than five years old. Then compare them to the work that THIS BOARD just accepted as completed on December 19, 2007 under BTA II:
Re-roofing at main building
Add parking lot lights
Partial window system replacement
Partial window glazing replacement
Replace existing fire alarm system
Mechanical Systems refurbishment
Patch and repair concrete at exterior walls
Re-paint and re-seal main building exterior
Partial floor and ceiling replacement
Remodel science classrooms
Remodel Audio/Visual lab
Little Theater Improvements
Administrative offices remodel
Staff and student bathroom remodel
New security camera system
Again, a number of the elements to be replaced in BEX III are less than five years old. What is the sense in this? Where is the planning?