I now have the spreadsheet which was used as the basis to report, on the District Dashboard, that 82% of Strategic Plan projects are on schedule. I will need time to thoroughly review it, but even at a glance I can see that it is full of thin deceptions.
So I was just thinking about the progress on the Strategic Plan. I know I shouldn't. It only serves to upset and frustrate me. Nevertheless...
Focusing just on the primary themes and elements of the Plan, it still doesn't look good.
1. Ensuring Excellence in Every Classroom
1A. Adopt an aligned curriculum in math and science
They haven't done this. They're nowhere with regard to science; I don't think they've even gotten started. They're not much further along with math. They have standardized the textbooks (for the most part), and they have posted pacing guides, but there's no evidence that they have aligned the curriculum. In fact, it doesn't appear that they have any ability to align the curriculum, that they even know how to align curriculum, or that they know what aligned curriculum would look like. After making bold statements on PowerPoints and paying millions to vendors, they appear to be completely adrift.
1B. Develop districtwide assessments in math and reading
This is a reference to the MAP, but it isn't districtwide yet and teachers either don't know how to use the results or simply aren't choosing to use them. There were supposed to be a lot of other common assessments, but there's no evidence to suggest that they are either in use or useful. Mostly this was an excuse to funnel millions to a vendor for a data warehouse which isn't ready yet and will be of questionable utility when it is ready.
1C. Develop a school performance framework
This isn't done yet either. There was also a vendor who made hundreds of thousands of dollars on this as well. This is also a project of questionable utility. The school scorecard design remains unfinished. Some arbirtrary measure of school quality will stick a label on every school but it won't result in any useful response and families won't be able to use those ratings to make any enrollment decisions that they wouldn't have made anyway. By the way, this is WAY overdue.
2. Strengthen Leaders System-Wide
2A. Improve our hiring process
Not done. Not even close. In fact, with the further deferral of school budgets into the early summer, our hiring process has actually gotten worse.
2B. Expand mentoring programs for new teachers and principals
Not done. Not even started.
2C. Develop a comprehensive evaluation system
Not done. Should have been negotiated last year, but the District deferred it into this year. They may defer it for yet another year since they are still unprepared to made an authentic proposal and they are unprepared to perform or pay for any of the support it would require.
3. Build an Infrastructure That Works Well
3A. Update District technology
3B. Develop a budget process to ensure that resources meet goals
Ha! Not done. The District's budget process continues to put pet projects ahead of students. Why in the world would we be spending millions on performance management while we RIF teachers?
I can't help noticing that there are no facilities goals among the infrastructure theme. Curious.
4. Improve Our Systems
I'm not sure how this is different from theme 3A.
5. Engage Stakeholders
The common themes here are:
Big, important-sounding statements about goals that are ill-defined, unachievable, and unaffordable.
Millions spent on vendors or central staff, but nothing spent on students.
A failure to address reality.
A failure to fulfill on the promised timeline.
A failure to acknowledge failure.