Thursday, July 09, 2009

When It Suits Their Purposes

Boy, you have to love this district's chutzpah. I mean to blatantly say one thing one year and then say something else. The consistency in this district is how inconsistent they are.

Where to start? Let's start with Don Kennedy's repeated statements that there was a "hiring freeze" at the district headquarters. Nonsense. It's just in how you interpret it I guess. I mean they likely didn't fill any positions currently open so sure maybe that's the hiring freeze. But they just created a new position in the superintendent's office for an aide and, as we have been discussing, our new Broad resident . Wonder where he or she will put their MBA/MPA talents at? (And, still waiting for Mr. Kennedy to answer my e-mail on the hires, their salaries, their job descriptions, etc. but why wait? I'll just fire off my public disclosure request to Legal and skip the middle man.)

And that hiring freeze was only on the operations side because the capital side (facilities) hired themselves not one but two new people to oversee the BEX program.

Speaking of BEX, well, here's a new press release from Communications touting a joint agreement between the district and the Parks department for the play area around Hamilton. Here's an excerpt:

"A new design for the interface between the Wallingford playground and the Hamilton International Middle school has been created and will be constructed as part of the completion of the renovations of the Hamilton International Middle School building. Seattle Parks and Recreation in conjunction with Seattle Public Schools and the community joined together to create the design, resulting in a thoughtful redevelopment of the playground with many new facilities, greatly benefiting both community members and students."

Great, right? Joining with the City to create an area that melds together and has joint facilities? But oh yeah, that's right, even though South Shore (formerly New School) is joined like a Siamese twin to the Rainier Beach Community Center (the dividing line is right in the middle of a hallway), the district couldn't wait for any kind of co-design there. Nope, even though now, the South Shore building sprouts out of the community center like a giant space ship, even though the community center is a very integral part of that community, could the district wait for the City to get on-board with a joint redo? A redo that could have been "a thoughtful redevelopment" "greatly benefiting both community members and students"? Nah.

What is really infuriating is that the district said they couldn't wait for the City. Why? Because South Shore was one of the worst buildings in the district? No because it wasn't. Because the City wasn't going to get around to it for awhile? Well, I just found this at the Rainier Valley Post:

"Seattle Parks and Recreation invites the Rainier Beach community and swimmers to a kick-off meeting for the new Rainier Beach Community Center and Pool on Tues., June 9, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Rainier Beach Community Center (8825 Rainier Ave. S.). At this “hopes and dreams” meeting, residents will have an opportunity to describe their vision for the building and pool. Parks staff, A•R•C Architects and Counsilman Hunsker aquatic designers will discuss the project, answer questions and ask for community input. After conducting a building assessment in 2007 Parks determined that the current facility would be demolished and a new community center and pool constructed. The anticipated construction start is early 2011."

Also,

"Parks is currently negotiating to acquire a 42,000 sq. ft. land parcel, adjacent to the center, currently owned by the Seattle School District. The land addition would nearly double the property size, providing ample room for expansion and parking."

Oh, so the district COULD have waited and maybe saved some money for both the district and the City and had a unified look for that space.

It's appalling how often the district says one thing when it suits their purpose and then turns around and says another.

22 comments:

dan dempsey said...

They also said no coaches unless they were paid by grants specifically for that purpose. ... so how many coaches are there now?

speducator said...

Hiring freeze? What hiring freeze??
They now have TWO special ed directors!! I guess the hiring freeze only applies to union employees.

On the "Musical Chairs" post, a reader stated that the executive special ed director position was being advertised for $60K. Do you think Marni Campbell gave up a lucrative Principal's position for $60K? Was there some sort of backroom handshake?

The other question is, did this money come from the special ed stiumulus money that came to the district.

There are currently only 2 adaptive PE teachers in the district who are stretched beyond belief. The speech teachers are also overburdened. My concern is that the special ed students aren't getting their needs met, but they have managed to find money for two special ed directors.

Sahila said...

why dont we create a list of all the about-faces, all the back-sliding, all the lack of follow-through, all the failure to keep commitments and present that list, with a 'please explain' to the Board when it comes back from recess and through the formal complaint process?

I'm sure half of this stuff happens because they are comfortable in the belief that there's no-one holding them accountable....

Well, lets start getting our discussion topics on board meeting agendas and keep the pressure on to answer questions and to take action to get some transparency, commitment and congruence happening...

We can change this, people... its just going to take time and continual (public) pressure... squeeky wheel, water drips eroding rock etc...

If you want to help start the formal complaint campaign process, come to the meeting at my house on July 19th, noon - 2.30pm... email me for the address: metamind_universal@yahoo.com

just-a-mom said...

Few things:

1. Working with the city on a playground is a whole heck of a lot easier than a renovation of a building.

2. There is no money to rebuild the Rainier Beach Community Center. They just got planning money. There is no schedule on if it will actually be built.

3. In the time it needs to be designed, money found, and then built; it would have been nearly ten years after the Southshore building was put on the levy.

Surely you wouldn't argue that the Southshore building could have lasted an additional ten years? Or that the District should have waited when even now there is still no money to actually build a new community center?

TechyMom said...

Sahila,
Do you mean a list like the SPS Commitments thread on Harium's blog? If you scroll down to the end, it looks like district staff has this list and is planning to make some sort of response to it. The last comment is at the end of June.

Charlie, do you have any updated info on that?

Sahila said...

Harium Martin Morris will be attending the Sunday July 19 meeting at my house (Greenwood) to discuss Broad influence in the SPS District...

noon-2.30pm... children welcome, RSVPs appreciated...

If you want to come, email me for address: metamind_universal@yahoo.com

Melissa Westbrook said...

Just a Mom,
From the Parks department:

July 2009
Parks held the first community meeting on June 9, 2009. Sixty-eight (68) members of the public attended the meeting to offer their hopes and dreams for the new community center and pool. Please see notes below. Currently the Project Advisory Team is being assembled and additional outreach meetings with neighborhood groups are being held. ARC Architects is beginning work on the schematic design options based on the public input.

This project involves schematic design for a new community center with pool on the existing Rainier Beach Community Center site. The project was advertised in the Daily Journal of Commerce and Parks received twenty-seven (27) responses to the Request For Proposal. These responses were reviewed by a panel of Parks staff including representatives from recreation, shops and aquatics. Based on this review, the top five (5) firms were subject to in-person interviews. ARC Architects was selected to lead the schematic design process based on their submittal, team of sub-consultants and performance at the interview.
LOCATION
8825 Rainier Ave S, Seattle WA 98118
BUDGET
$25 Million for total project budget which includes planning, design and construciton.
$5 million is a combination of General Obligation Bonds, REET I and REET II.
SCHEDULE
Planning:Spring 2009 - Fall 2010
Design:Spring 2009 - Fall 2010
Construction:Winter 2010 - Spring 2012
Completion:Spring 2012

No, it's not just a playground. There is a schedule (see above) and no, it's not ten years.

The South Shore building could have lasted a lot longer - ask anyone now in a building over 50 years old in this district.

sped said...

Let's not stop the discussion with the 2 directors of special education. Let's add that up: At least $300,000 and maybe even $400,000. Plus double bennies. I bet if they listed the job with a salary of $300,000 to $400,000... they would have gotten a few nibbles. Do ya think?

Many of the so-called "consulting teachers" (who neither consult nor teach) have been promoted to "supervisor"... salary equivalent to principal... well into the 6 figures. The role of a consulting teacher is extremely suspicious... but, no worries, let's double dip that job grade with another layer, a more expensive layer: "supervising consulting teacher". They're all becoming "supervising consulting teacher". Some of these only manage 1 measly consultant. Most manage, let's all breath deep, 3 whole reports (3consulting teachers). Wow. That's a shallow reporting tree. And by the way, there's a bunch of "new supervisors", no hiring freeze there.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, it seems like a lot of the garden variety sped teacher jobs... well, those are just unfilled. "Don't worry, we can probably hire a sub for your kid." No Marni Campbells for hire there.

Ananda said...

There aren't two Sp Ed directors, there is an Exec Director and a Director, both of whom were already district employees. High School Principals are paid well (or at least paid to reflect that they work all of the time), so I doubt Ms. Campbell is going to make anymore than should would have anyway. Ms. Clifford was a Sp Ed supervisor, and she may get a step up, but it will not be the same salary as Ms. Campbell. My guess is that all in, it will be 160K for both of them, which is reasonable given what other districts pay for the same jobs. Personally, I think it is about time that the Sp Ed department gets more than lowly status.

speducator said...

Ananda,
I think I can speak for most of us on this post, that we are fully aware that there is a new executive director of special education, as well as a director of special education.

The point is, we've never had an executive director and a director. In the letter I received from Fred Rowe, there is no delineation in duties from the executive special ed director and the special ed director.

Furthermore, a public statement was issued stating that there was a hiring freeze. One of these positions is an additional position from last year's staffing.

The hypocrisy of the District is unconscionable. The need is greatest in the special education classroom. The District's plan is to implement inclusion into schools in which there will be fewer teachers because of RIFs.
Gen ed teachers will begin having special ed students in their classrooms with less staff and resources.

As for your estimate of $160,000, in my opinion that would be extremely low. Principals in High Schools currently make well over 100K, and my guess is that Becky Clifford was already making at least 60K in her previous position.

I would personally like to see a breakdown of the salaries of everyone at JSCEE.

I also guess I don't understand how this move changes the "lowly status" of special education in the district.

Charlie Mas said...

The last I heard about the SPS Commitments list, Harium didn't get it to them promptly, but they do have it. I know that it has been parsed out and folks in various departments have been asked to respond with the status of the District's fulfillment. True to style, it is like a weasel stampede as they all explain how the commitment wasn't really a commitment or how it didn't really mean what it obviously means or that the situation has changed and the commitment is obsolete or the commitment was made by their predecesor and the obligation did not transfer to them or some other feeble excuse. Harium really should have all of the excuses back by now.

sped said...

Ananda, look again. Supervising consulting teachers make about one hundred thousand, or even more after a little "overtime". No joke . Add a step up to that... well you're now at mid 100 thousands level, and that's for the Jr. Director... No, I can't imagine a new "executive director" not wanting a salary comensurate with other garden variety directors. So, no way. I call bs on your guess. It would never pass an EveryDay Math estimation problem. Maybe $160K each... but not together. Let's not mention the double bennies, you know, the double retirements etc. Those aren't cheap either. Why are we creating new positions, new layers, new "supervisors"... when lots of our kids don't even have teachers? Especially if we're really filling those spots with people who had no qualifications. Sure, it's great to have a sympathetic administrator. But that wasn't in the job description. And if we were going to hire just anybody... we could have interviewed lots and lots of more qualified candidates.

sped said...

Ananda, let's not be so naive about this administrative salary stuff. Nobody's making $60K. (which is why the original job post for "director" was so ludicrous... it was less than the teachers... Of course nobody would apply for it!!!! ). Here's a data base... 2 years old, in the Olympian. Look up your favorite consulting teacher. My personal favorites were all making around $100K... two years ago!!! And that was before all the good raises. 2 years ago, Marni Campbell was making $113K. You can bet your bottom dollar it's a lot more now... and that there's another raise associated with a promotion.

sped said...

And one more thing Ananda... if you did mean $160K each, for a total of a $320K combined salary... I'm actually totally cool with that. Like you say, why not pay well. BUT, why not advertise the position with a salary of $320K????? Had SPS done that (and clearly they were willing to pay that) they most assuredly would have had people interviewing from all over the country. They would have had an actual pool from which to choose. That is what we actually wanted, and what we deserved.

And if the only qualification was "you were a principal for a couple years and had a good program in your building"... well, we would have had thousands of applicants with that qualification too.

Instead of doing this the right way, we got the absolute most expensive option, and no competitive bidding. Zero.

Even though it wasn't our best chance, it may still work out.

Another reader said...

Bottom line: where are the plans for technical assistance to the classroooms, what is the division of labor between the two new special ed leaders, when will our children have teachers, and what exactly do supervisors do?

Sahila said...

PART ONE

It would be most helpful if I could co-ordinate pulling Broad information together for next Sunday's meeting with some other people... I have my hands full with job hunting - need to manifest some cash and sustainable ongoing income urgently, as in NOW! - and a six year old home on summer holidays...

I would like to present a document that has an outline of Broad mission strategies, critique of the Broad and the philosophy of corporate influencers generally (and the books the Board has been given to read, which support Broad philosophy), the experience of other school districts with Broad, who are the Broad people in the District, their track record elsewhere and what they cost the District(us) - and provide references and links to that information.

I see the agenda for this meeting being:
1: Welcome and Introduction
2: Introduction of Broad - its mission, Broad people in the District and their positions
3: Harium presents his perspective
4: Introduction of Broad history elsewhere and counter-Broad views
5: Questions/Answers - have some questions ready for Harium?
6: Discussion/decision on whether to take this further within the District and if so, what, when, where, who action steps
7: Those who need to go, do so
8: Those who wish to stay, begin complaint filing campaign
9: End

Please note, I dont know if Harium will stay for the whole meeting - in my invite, I asked him for 30 minutes of his time, which is why I thought he ought to be given the chance to speak first... I am toying with the idea of swapping the order of items 3 & 4, but I dont want him to feel he's being set up/attacked and that he needs to be on the defensive, either in his own perspective or as a representative of the Board...

Input on this welcome...

So - who can help pull a Broad info document together? There is lots of info available on the web and many people have submitted info and links to the SPS Blog - including owlhouse, gavroche, seattle citizen, myself.... If any blog contributors have kept personal copies of their contributions and the references on which they relied for the information and can forward them to me, that would be an amazing start....

I also think its important that we come up with some other ideas about the direction for SPS and how to get there - it doesnt help just whinging and then not having anything useful to offer as an alternative...

Some of us have talked about forging co-operative links with the other (lobby) groups working in SPS - ESP Vision, CPPS, PTSA, SEA etc - to influence the direction in which the District is going.

It seems we need to reach a critical mass of involvement and action to make any difference. We thought that maybe we could begin an outreach campaign, and come up with a fundamental position/need/desire/focus on which we all agree - a real core - such as 'the best interests of our children' , or 'the need for transparency', or 'the need for District direction and action to be determined by community mandate'...

We might have differences on many levels, but surely there is some basic tenet on which we can all agree, on which we can unite sufficiently cohesively to give us a critical mass of influence? And once we have that, then we can negotiate our differences, keeping in mind always that our primary concern is the welfare of the children for whom we say we want the best possible educative experience possible.

Thank you
Namaste
Sahila

PS - it would be most helpful if I could have RSVPs of people who ARE attending next Sunday's meeting... I have an alternate (central) venue lined up if the numbers are so big that my home will not cope. I will put out a notice on Wednesday 15 July confirming location. Meeting date: July 19th; meeting time: noon - 2.30pm; meeting location: email metamind_universal@yahoo.com or call 206 297 7511

Sahila said...

PART TWO - official 'party' line on Broad, I guess, from Marie Goodloe Johnson via Sherry Carr

From: Carr, Sherry L
Subject: Broad Foundation Information
To: metamind_universal@yahoo.com
Cc: "Martin-Morris, Harium"
Date: Saturday, July 11, 2009, 9:11 AM

Sahila,

I wanted to pass on to you all the information I received from the Superintendent regarding the practice of hiring Broad Foundation residents at SPS. It may be more information than you want but I wanted to pass on all that I had to offer you (copy/pasted in blue font below). Please note that included down towards the bottom is a hyperlink to a document that provides some additional information that is not cited in the body of this email.

In response to a question that Director Carr asked:

There have been many questions regarding Broad and the relationship with the district. Our response is below.

I would first like to emphasize that Residents were hired to make quick progress on implementing the Strategic Plan. This is possible because of Residents' demonstrated management skills. A key selection criterion for the Residency is a strong passion for public education and closing the achievement gap as I don't think this is widely known. The organizational benefit to having Broad Residents' includes, talent at half the cost for two years, professional development and support for the residents free of charge from Broad, additional capacity to execute strategic work. The residents all have brought management and business skills that most urban systems traditionally don't have. I have also include a link at the end of the explanation regarding the press release (I am on the board) and many other informational links contained in the body of the press release that may be helpful.



How the Broad Residency Works

· Potential Residents apply to The Broad Center for two-year Residency positions and identify preferred districts.

. The Broad Center reaches out to every urban district in the country to determine if there is interest in hiring Resident(s) to work on strategic management projects.

· Potential Residents undergo a rigorous selection process starting with resume and cover letter review, a phone interview, a day-long group interview with other candidates, and multiple in-person interviews with Broad Center staff and school district leadership.

· The Broad Center determines whether candidates are accepted into the Residency, then accepted Residents interview with their district(s) of interest. Districts ultimately make the final decision to offer or not offer a Resident a position.

. The Broad Center pays for half of Residents' salaries during the two-year Residency.

How SPS Broad Residents Were Hired

· There was initial interest in hiring a Broad Resident among past SPS leadership (Superintendent Raj Manhas, COO Mark Green and CFO Steve Nielsen), and SPS applied for a Resident for Fall 2006. They saw the Residency as a good opportunity to recruit management talent.

· Since both SPS and the first Resident had had a positive experience after two years, and Broad Residents' strategic management skills were a good fit for the work needed to implement the Strategic Plan which had just been approved by the School Board in 2008, SPS applied for 3 additional Broad Residents for Fall 2008, to work in Academics, Operations and Human Resources. SPS interviewed multiple candidates and hired 2 Residents who currently work in Academics and Operations.

Sahila said...

PART THREE (Final) SHERRY CARR - BROAD INFORMATION CONTINUED:

Detailed Resident Hiring Processes & Work Accomplished

Brad Bernatek
· Brad Bernatek applied to Seattle and Denver Public Schools and interviewed in both places. At SPS, he interviewed with Raj Manhas, Mark Green, Steve Nielsen and Holly Ferguson. Seattle was ultimately the best fit for him and SPS offered him a position beginning in Fall 2006. Brad initially reported to COO Mark Green.

· Brad's Residency work focused on a data and financial analysis, including a cost analysis of bus transportation times, analysis of the West Seattle HS schedule, and development of milestones for the Strategic Plan.

· During his second year of the Residency, Brad transitioned to report to CAO Carla Santorno.

· At the end of his Residency, Brad was appointed Interim Director of Research, Evaluation & Assessment due to an immediate vacancy and his demonstrated skills in this area through the work described above.

· After 8-9 months, he was named Director of the department by the Superintendent.

Jessica de Barros
· Jessica de Barros applied only to Seattle Public Schools. She interviewed with Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson, CAO Carla Santorno, CFOO Don Kennedy, Executive Director of Strategic Planning Carol Rava Treat, and High Schools Director Michael Tolley. SPS offered her a position beginning in Fall 2008 reporting to Carla Santorno.

· Jessica's work has focused on developing assessment tools to consistently track student progress, using data to drive improvements in the classroom, and developing a performance management system - key priorities of the Strategic Plan and needs expressed by stakeholders in the input gathered to develop the Plan. In her first year, she has reached out to stakeholders within SPS to identify priorities of assessment, researched best practices in assessment, managed a pilot of the Measures of Academic Progress student assessment, and led a project team to select a common benchmark assessment for SPS. This work has significantly advanced the district's Strategic Plan goals.

Cordell Carter
· Cordell Carter was first accepted into the Broad Residency in 2007 and deferred for one year. In 2008, he interviewed with SPS and was offered a position. He interviewed with Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson, CFOO Don Kennedy, CAO Carla Santorno, and Interim HR Director Gary Ikeda. SPS offered him a position beginning in Fall 2008 reporting to Don Kennedy.

· Cordell's work has focused on promoting efficiency and accountability with SPS by: leading balanced scorecards across operations departments, special education, and support/prevention/intervention; leading business process redesign methodology training to over 300 staffers and facilitating several process redesign teams; and leading the creation of a Technology Roadmap for the district's SAP human resources system. These projects support the Strategic Plan goals of building an infrastructure that works well and monitoring progress at all levels.

www.broadacademy.org/asset/417-tbc%20board%20announcement.pdf

www.broadacademy.org/asset/417-tbc%2520board%2520announcement.pdf>

I can confirm independently from Dr. Goodloe-Johnson that the practice of hiring Broad residents pre-dates her tenure. I know Raj initiated the practice when I was the SCPTSA President. I hope this provides you and others some food for thought and discussion. Do keep me posted regarding a meeting time.

Enjoy our beautiful weather!
Sherry Carr

Melissa Westbrook said...

I could care less if the Broad residents pre-date the Superintendent.

Is this what we need now? More top management who DON'T have education backgrounds but oh boy, business backgrounds.

It's just what a I thought; a good way for the Broad Foundation to get a foothold everywhere on the premise that they pay half (but I'll bet not half of the benefits) for "top" talent. And has the district signed on to what the Broad Foundation says is good urban district planning?

And what of Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's need for a senior aide when the State Auditor says the headquarters has too much staff?

dan dempsey said...

Important Study from Geary at University of Missouri gives origins of the "Constructivist" trend in education that gave us "Reform Math" and "Whole Language". He explains the difference between biologically primary knowledge and biologically secondary knowledge.
This distinction nicely shows why reform math and whole language never produced positive results.
More here:
http://mathunderground.blogspot.com/2009/07/biologically-secondary-knowledge-takes.html

dan dempsey said...

Thanks for the words from MG-J once again the words are not well-aligned with reality.

I would first like to emphasize that Residents were hired to make quick progress on implementing the Strategic Plan.

This explains why the Strategic Plan spoke of aligning k-8 math to state standards by the start of the 2008-2009 school year. This work was just completed only one school year late. Good Job Broad residents without you it might never have happened ... ever.

A key selection criterion for the Residency is a strong passion for public education and closing the achievement gap as I don't think this is widely known.


Math achievement gap ..... good intentions are not enough .... clearly the SPS must be the hotbed of strong misdirected passion.

Closing the Achievement gap in math is a no brainer. It starts by doing what works in k-4 math. Dump "Reform Math".

Clear knowledge of what works was available in April 2007 as well as what did not work. Broad resident Brad B. assisted CAO Carla Santorno in unilaterally pushing a defective "Reform Math" program by cherry-picking data to present to the board.

For someone who is often praised as a Superintendent with a classroom background by Cheryl Chow, there is little to praise in her math program direction. MG-J was a supporter of IMP until the board rejected it with lots of questions at a Spring 2008 work session. She voiced her opinion that it was simply politically derailed, never acknowledging it was a horrible selection. The UW's Cleveland IMP inspired program 2006-2009 has been a total disaster.

Data driven decision making I've yet to see anything presented but cherry-picked data at any math adoption..... it sure works wonders to mislead the gullible board members.


The Broad Center reaches out to every urban district in the country to determine if there is interest in hiring Resident(s) to work on strategic management projects.


How are strategic plan management projects worked on?

Explain to me the part about closing the math achievement gap once again.

Because I see:
#1 ... discriminatory definition of math all about exploration and inquiry

#2 ... Rigged HS math adoption committee

#3 ... No use of National Math Advisory Panel's final report by adoption committees.... perhaps a resident could have run the copy machine.

#4 ... No use of SBE contracted two independent mathematicians' reports showing "Discovering" as mathematically unsound ... perhaps a resident could have run multiple copies of both reports.

#5 ... Cleveland data from Spring 2007 and Spring 2008 WASL Math... not used.

#6 So what is happening with students struggling to learn math now that a text book with little "Explicit Instruction" has been selected. ???

Oh geezie Lowe-easy, what am I thinking ....
It does not matter what materials are used as long as the faculty and the kids are engaged and tons of dollars are thrown at this .... 'cause Central Admin says so .....

......except the data says otherwise
and at least Michael DeBell is not buying this nonsense any longer.
-------------------

I just fail to see how Broad residents with ZERO knowledge of effective educational practices in math can help a central administration that has ZERO knowledge of effective educational practices in math ..... but thinks they do.

In fact the Central Admin are so sure of themselves they have gone to great extremes to be sure their defective plans stay on track.

anony said...

Cordell's work has focused on promoting efficiency and accountability with SPS by: leading balanced scorecards across operations departments, special education, and support/prevention/intervention;

Cordell's "job" seems most questionable. And now... he's actually on the payroll. There are NO "balanced scorecards across special education and support-prevention-intervention. What the heck is Sherry Carr talking about? ??? And there's not one ounce of "efficiencey or accountability" either. If that was this guy's job, he didn't do it.