Below is information about the results of the Superintendent Survey from last week (after the CPPS survey). There ended up being about 180 people surveyed which is far less than the CPPS survey. However, this survey was only published here and in a shorter timeframe. Again, not scientifically valid but a bookend to the CPPS results. Here is a link to the survey with comments.
This Superintendent Performance Survey was produced by a group of Seattle community members who regularly interface with SPS District staff individually, through school groups and in business. Because of the sensitivity of their position in relation to positive or negative criticism for the superintendent, they chose to circulate the survey anonymously, with the hope of adding an additional discussion point during the current superintendent evaluation.
Some hard copy surveys circulated through the community. The same version of the survey was posted, again by anonymous request, via one location only: this blog. Due to a compressed timeline (superintendent evaluation will be completed during May) the survey was active for one week, May 11-17. This summary reflects only the responses submitted by the link on the blog. One-time response was requested. The survey was screened for same-person multiple responses. 178 responses were deemed valid.
Survey responses came from 27 area Zip codes. The top three responding Zip codes were 98115, 98103, 98117, 98118 and 98112. Approximately 78 percent identified as parents of current SPS students.
The survey was structured to follow the performance matrix Board members follow to evaluate the Superintendent. It allowed for multiple degrees of satisfaction/non-satisfaction with the superintendent’s performance in the following order: Strongly Agree, Agree, Neither Agree/Disagree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree. Each question allowed respondents the chance to comment. All comments are available for public review. No comments were edited. Only contact information was removed.
The ultimate question, whether to extend the Superintendent’s contract for another year, was offered two ways, “Yes I agree….” “No I do not agree…”, again with comments, to maximize the opportunity for a wide range of input. The reaction to the question, phrased two ways, was consistent: More than 80 percent of respondents do not wish the Board to renew the Superintendent’s contract.
A few of the comments:
"I have been to several of her meetings. She only takes pre-screened questions and doesn't give real answers. The meetings are a mere formality. Parents go away feeling like they haven't been heard. She makes her own decisions, not based on feedback or input that is gathered at meetings. The meetings feel like a formality so she can say that she "heard" the parents. I come away very very frustrated at her meetings."
On principal placement - "Dr. Goodloe-Johnson has certainly stirred things up, but as things settle, I don't see the differences making better outcomes for all students."
On the Budget - "Don Kennedy's communication is excellent."
"It is unbelievable that district staff do not have budget figures at board meetings and are allowed to repeatedly state, "I will get back to you on that."
On whether to renew her contract - "She has been a catalyst for change. Maybe too much. I am not sure we can sustain it all."
"Only extraordinary performance would warrant this."
Parent Comments - "I am embarrassed I have not come forward in voicing my concenrs previously. I thought if I kept my focus on my children his performance and joined PTA it was enough. I thought that school and school board leadership was aware and proactive at his school. I am disappointed with myself and with your performance. We have let our children down."
This can't be "new" news to the Board. I'd be willing to bet they hear some form of this daily, namely, why is the Superintendent so arms-length with parents and community? The question is not whether they hear this enough to affect their decision whether to renew her contract (versus let her finish the final 2 years of her current contract). The question is whether they are listening. They can certainly listen to the powers that be in this town who see the churn but not the waterfall. Is the noise of the churn enough to drown out the voices of parents and community?
The Board has a big decision to make and I hope they don't just go along to get along. I hope they look down the road and then say to the Superintendent, thank you for your vision, your ability to send a lot of initiatives into motion and your steadfast belief in SPS education. You've done the job we needed for your tenure but now we feel, in two years time when the new SAP has settled in as well as other initiatives, that we will need a new type of superintendent to lead us.
That's what I hope will happen. But it will take political courage. Whatever decision the Board makes, it will likely impact the four members who come up for re-election in November 2011 (should they all run again as I suspect they will).
The Board takes up the Superintendent Evaluation in an Executive Session next Wednesday.