Friday, December 17, 2010

What Other Districts are Doing (And Look for the Common Theme)

I started this to go over my notes from the Work Session but got lost in this slide about what other districts we would like to emulate are doing. I took the time to look these districts up because I want to know what it is that that they do that the Superintendent thinks we should be doing. It's a mixed bag without further input from her.

There was a slide (#6) from the Work Session handout referencing other districts making changes but no discussion about it. So let's review them:
  • Gwinnett County, GA - right on their home page - winner of the 2010 $1M Broad prize. (It goes to the urban school district that has the strongest student achievement and improvement narrowing of the achievement gap. The money goes for high school seniors for college scholarships.) That said, a pretty impressive district. They have some mighty small high school class sizes. Good for them but how do they do it? This district has about 161,000 students.
  • Boston - what's interesting here is their focus on closing/merging schools to save money and streamlining their central office. Also, I'm being to understand that "innovation" school to many district is some kind of charter hybrid ("in-district charters") where the school gets more flexibility and autonomy with staffing, scheduling and budgeting. Boston won the 2006 Broad Prize. This district is about 56K students and their superintendent is a Broad Academy Fellow.
  • Long Beach - both Long Beach and Boston were cited in a new McKinsey report as 2 of the top 20 school districts in the world in terms of sustained and significant improvements. I haven't read this report yet but it sounds interesting. (That list also includes one charter system, Aspire.) This district has about 90,000 students and their superintendent is a Broad Academy Fellow.
Here's an excerpt from the press release at the Long Beach district website that I just had to show you:

During the live webinar, Long Beach also was praised by study author Mona Mourshed for “tremendous gains in math.”

The math gains in Long Beach began when a highly effective math teacher, inspired by an aunt who taught in Singapore, began sharing his approach with other teachers. With full support from Long Beach’s central office, that teacher’s successful methods have now been replicated in elementary schools districtwide. The result is that math scores have improved between 20 percent and 75 percent in second through fifth grades from 2004 to 2009, according to the study.

“When teachers register impressive student gains, LBUSD is proactive in noting and understanding their practices,” the study states. “It identifies the best delivery methods from pilot data and then rolls out the program.”

Long Beach also has a wallet guide for employees about commitment and ethics.

  • Denver has about 76,000 students and is nearly 75% minority (54% Hispanic). Denver has the teacher pay system, ProComp, and a principal compensation award system. They hae expanded their early childhood program by 40%. Denver's strategic plan sounds a lot like ours but with a lot more specific detail. Denver has received nearly $7M from Broad since about 2008. Denver has 7 current or former Broad residents working for them. Their superintendent is a Broad academy alumni.
  • Garden Grove, CA - a 2004 Broad prize winner with nearly 48,000 students. I couldn't find a lot here that made them stand out. Their superintendent is a 2010 Broad Faculty advisor.
So not to go all conspiracy theory on you but clearly a common thread.

25 comments:

seattle citizen said...

Is it just me, or do the various recent threads on this blog all reflect some good discussion about what's happening in the community, in schools, around the nation...

Maybe I'm getting into the holiday spirit or something (my heart has grown three sizes!), but it just seems like there's some positive stuff here the last couple of days. A holiday wish is that this discussion leaves this screen and becomes alive, actionable, and face-to-face. The threads here (good work in other districts, what is RTI doing, what about community support...) all point to positive things. Can we marshall that somehow?

As an early new years resolution, and celebration of the holiday spirit here in Whoville, I resolve to be more open-minded. I welcome all those I've pilloried so knee-jerkedly, and will attempt to listen with an open mind.

Oh, come all ye supporters of education! LEV, PAA, Gates, Ravitch! Come Green Dot, come AS#1, come back Summit!

Bring ideas, FTE, volunteer hours....money...Bring your hearts, your brains and your willingness to sweat!

Where can we have the first meeting?

Sahila said...

SC - I cant see what you're seeing...

All I see is the gradual uncovering and confirmation of what is really going on...

And, if you check out other resources, you will find that all the glowing improvements being "innovated" by the reformers are actually a case of smoke and mirrors and data manipulation, as are our stats here in Broad-run Seattle...

I think we're just now getting to the really messy details and there's no more pretending/denying...

Sorry to rain on your parade...

Sahila said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sahila said...

No more pretending that Seattle is not a Broad district, I mean...

And, in my book, that's not something to be happy about...

Hmmm. said...

This is not an accurate post. I'm certain that the Boston and LBUSD Superintendents are not from the Broad program. You are misrepresenting your case.

double checking said...

Ahh, the CAO of Boston and the Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Instruction of LBUSD are Broad fellows. Not the Superintendents, but not shabby placements either.

Sahila said...

Boston Public Schools has its chief academic officer enrolled in Broad this year,

February 2, 2010

BOSTON – Boston Public Schools (BPS) High School Academic Superintendent Irvin Scott has been selected to participate in the 2010 Broad Superintendents Academy.

and according to Broad's own website, Boston has four Broad alums in its senior management:
Craig Chin, Bill Horwath,
Shamil Mohammed and Ann Waterman Roy

Boston Super Carol Johnson is listed as a guest speaker to the Broad Academy Super programme

As for Long Beach - former superintendent Carl Cohn has been a Broad faculty advisor ...

From the Broad website: JILL A. BAKER The Broad Superintendents Academy Class of 2005, Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education Long Beach Unified School District, Calif.

Another senior management position is held by Broadie ROBERT TAGORDA

The Broad Residency Class of 2006-2008
Current Organization: Long Beach Unified School District, Calif.

Robert Garcia Tagorda is the Assistant to the Superintendent at the Long Beach Unified School District. In this capacity, he leads major strategic initiatives in both the academic and operational areas, including a district-wide reform effort to increase college and career readiness, the development of a technology master plan, and an innovative partnership with Fresno Unified School District. He also spearheaded the establishment of the “Long Beach College Promise,” a collaboration with Long Beach City College and California State University, Long Beach, to expand postsecondary opportunities. In the broader educational field, he serves as a Fellow for the Executive Instructional Leadership Program at the National Center for Urban School Transformation.

Broadie Toadies wherever you look these days...

dan dempsey said...

One thing I am happy about is that Dr. Eric M. Anderson is in SPS REA.

He has been a stand-up guy. His memo, analyzing the NTN schools provided to him, was reasonably well balanced (although it had a few errors).

The NTN schools provided to him had been cherry-picked and all believed these were NTN STEM schools, when in fact several were not.

Anyway his memo was accurate enough that MGJ pretended to use it in constructing the 3-12-2010 NTN Action Report but did not. She used and submitted a different version to the court. I have no idea where MGJ obtained this different version.

What I do know for sure is that the only memo sent to the School Board of Anderson's memo was sent on Feb 2, 2010 by Susan Enfield to the Board and this original memo was dated January 29, 2010..... same date as the different version that MJG used to construct the 3-12-2010 Action Report. This different version is what was submitted to the court not the original memo. (More fraud)

This is Forgery and class C felony, in case anyone cares. MGJ used this forged Action Report in getting the Board to approve an $800,000 contract.

Joy Anderson et. al. dropped their appeal of the NTN contract so that it would no longer be in litigation and the Attorney General could investigate the Superintendent, but it appears the Board has no interest in having the Superintendent investigated.

Soon I will post the additional evidence I obtained today (FOIA) to The Math Underground.

This is slam dunk fraud case.

Dr. Anderson also put out a really nice report "The Correlates of High Achieving Schools: Learning from Top Performing Inner City Public Schools" it covers some practices recommended for Math like explicit instruction and direct instruction, which Seattle still refuses to implement by their choices of instructional materials. Since MGJ named Long Beach USD, why does she refuse to do what Long Beach show works? Numerous practices that have been shown to work are continually ignored by the SPS central administration.

So I am pleased that stand-up guy Eric Anderson is with us. He is also our Gates Data Fellow, so thanks to the Gates Foundation for anything it had to do with Eric being in Seattle...... and to all a good night.

=========================

Oh yes the other slam dunk case that goes with it is......

drum roll please ....

dat .. dat .. dat

Intentional violation of oath of office by school directors that refuse to act on known illegal acts committed by the Superintendent.

That is a slam dunk to pass the sufficiency test, when recall petitions are filed against board members who choose not to act in disciplining the Superintendent.

What am I expecting?

#1 MGJ fired with cause.

#2 MGJ investigated

#3 MGJ charged

#4 MGJ found guilty

#5 MGJ finally held accountable.

So what are the Directors expecting?

Eric B said...

Is the Broad link a chicken or an egg? In other words, are there so many Broad-affiliated superintendents that a random selection of larger school districts would find all or mostly Broad alumni? Another explanation that is less conspiracy-minded is that the Broad alumni keep in touch with one another, so they are more likely to know about successful Broad districts rather than successful non-Broad districts.

I'm not trying to slam or defend Broad here, I'm just not sure which way Occam's Razor cuts in this situation.

Sahila said...

Eric B -

Eli Broad has an agenda for privatising and corporatising public education he has been working on for more than a decade... he says so himself in his 2009 Annual report.. and the Broad website is quite open about how successful they have been in placing (fellows and supers) around the country...

The problem comes when school board directors dont tell their communities upfront that they are moving the district into the Broad model... that they are marching to the Broad drum and not that of the communities they serve...

But I guess since this country fails to fund public education adequately, moneybags with agendas can come along with cash, pay the piper and call the tune...


And its kinda a conflict of interest when McKinsey reports on school district "achievements" when those school districts are using Strategic Plans written by McKinsey, as we are - the super just brought with her to Seattle the plan she implemented in Charleston, which was written by McKinsey...

Melissa Westbrook said...

Eric, I don't think it's chicken or egg at all. I think it is a concerted effort by the Broad Foundation to get their philosophy in every major urban district in the country. It's not people keeping in touch because if that were true, why would Dr. G-J put these forward as good districts if all she could point to were other Broad fellows/residents as her friends?

No, it's a campaign.

As I said, there looks like good things going on in these districts but the underlying foundation is the same.

emeraldkity said...

Good for them but how do they do it? This district has about 161,000 students.

I don't think they require belonging to the union to teach in the district.
At least they have laid off experienced teachers ( in order to save money apparently)
However- the non renewal of veteran teachers impinges their ability to be hired in other districts.

now I don't know if their reasons were legitimate or not- but still

emeraldkity said...

Speaking of other districts- since Seattle seems to have more in common with San Francisco than any other local district- not very many kids- hills- tech companies- cost of living- hills- etc
I thought I would see what they are doing-
well looks like they don't have a superintendent
so does SF have more than one district?

They also just redrew boundaries
his week’s vote marks the first time since the early 1980s that attendance areas for elementary schools have been redrawn. The district has since closed and moved some schools, and several schools did not have attendance areas before this new set was approved.

seattle citizen said...

Ha, Sahila, you're right. These are Broad districts highlighted in this thread. That's what I get for seeing, "what other districts are doing," seeing a couple lead sentences that looked promising, and assuming it was about great stuff going on in other districts.


I wrote before I read. I had some weird holiday hope, Thorton Wilder's hope that "thre dreaming soul of the human race hopes that everything works out right."

But you're right, it's broadies to the left of us, broadies to the right: Into the valley of Reform road the 600 Fighters-against-high-stakes-tests-and-charters...

Well, I stand by my welcome of any and all to the table, any ol' SUPPORTER of students, as long as ALL voices are heard and it ain't just Reform-capital-R crammed down our throats.

But I fear there will be no round table - Reform favorers seem not to want to talk to all sorts of people, they just want to talk amongst themselves, to their power bases, and to the money men (well, mainly men...there MIGHT be a money woman among 'em, haven't seen her....)

Ach, I'm backsliding already, my spirit of open-ness diluted by thoughts of the Reform Network. Alas.

dan dempsey said...

Here is what other Districts are doing:

The study produced by Gates Data Fellow Eric M. Anderson PhD. : "Correlates of High Achieving Schools: Learning from Top Performing Inner City Public Schools" produced in March 2010.

You can get it HERE at the bottom of the linked page.

Sahila said...

`Dan. dont know if its me only, but your link doesnt work... and have you checked out whether or not they are Broad districts?

I know you set a great deal of store by your Mr Anderson, but I am reserving judgment on his allegiance, and therefore the validity of his figures...

Eric B said...

SC Your reference only works if we blundered being activists. One of my friends just asked me the other day if we make any difference at all when we challenge the management of the District. And the simple truth is that we do. We might lose more than we win, but each of those wins benefits students across the district.

Leaving you with that good thought, now I'm off to tilt at windmills.

Dorothy Neville said...

Alas, all is not well in Boston. (H/T Dora)

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thanks for that, Dorothy. I'll have to write a thread about that.

seattle citizen said...

Yikes: In Boston I guess, if even 83% of your school's students, (with a large ELL demographic) pass the state test you can be closed and leased out to a charter school.
From Dorothy's link:
"Parents say they are fearful because of rumors that some schools may be closed so that charter schools can be moved into their buildings. For example, the Agassiz School in Jamaica Plain serves a large population of ELL students and has been making significant progress as a turnaround school, yet is proposed for closure. Eighty-three percent of their students passed the MCAS math and English tests last year. Jacquelyn Driscoll, a teacher at Agassiz, said to the School Committee last week, “The MATCH International Charter School application, with letters of support from a Deputy Superintendent and a School Committee member, is looking to move into a leased school building in Jamaica Plain. Do you know of any other school buildings closing in J.P.? Well, our school may be closed.”

Maybe some one can google this MATCH charter organization? I'm off to other tasks.

Kathy said...

Dorothy,

Thanks for the article.

Why does this resonate???
-The Boston Municipal Research Bureau and The Boston Globe have played a destructive role in this crisis.

Also, I couldn't help but notice the Superintendent gave 24 hour notice of school closures. Why does this resonate, too???

Noticing a pattern???

Kathy said...

Well, Bill Gates had to be involved with Boston's charter take
over:

http://www.publiccharters.org/JUNE302010

Boston Superintendent has selected Unlocking Potentential Inc.

Q: Guess who the Deputy Director of Unlocing Potential is?

A: Bill Gates

Kathy said...

One more:

http://intsse.com/content/six-more-boston-public-schools-threatened-closure

dan dempsey said...

Sahila,

This link should work for you.

If not, let me know.

"The Correlates of High Achieving Schools: Learning from Top Performing Inner City Public Schools"

Maureen said...

Kathy, I think you mean that someone from the Gates Foundation (i.e., Stacey Childress)is the Deputy Director of Education at Unlocking Potential.

I expect Bill Gates is well beyond being Deputy anything by now!