Friday, March 25, 2011

Dr. Enfield's Priorities for the Next Three Months

We now have a document from Dr. Enfield, Earning Public Confidence in Seattle Public Schools: Every Student Known, Challenged, Cared For, that lays out her priorities for the rest of the school year and her plan for restoring trust.

In this document she writes: "I know public confidence is earned through strong leadership". In that case she knows something I don't. I know that public confidence is earned through telling the truth and fulfilling commitments. She does go on - quite a bit - about transparency, openness, and collaboration. I appreciate the words, but I won't believe them until I see it happen. I won't dis-believe them - I'll just remain neutral.

One thing I really, really like about this document is right up front, her top priority:
1. Focusing on our core mission: providing every student with an excellent education

• Continuing our commitment to Excellence for All, our five-year strategic plan, with an eye to making adjustments in light of budget constraints.

• Supporting struggling students by involving principals and teachers in creating a comprehensive plan for increasing student achievement through high-quality instruction and interventions.

• Moving towards becoming a standards-based system that ensures high expectations and common outcomes for all students.
I can't tell you how refreshing it is to see someone at the district level talk about supporting struggling students. In addition, I like the talk about ensuring high expectations for all students. That should be the district's job - providing a quality assurance check on the schools.

I'm not that crazy about her commitment to MAP, but she seems to want it to be a useful tool for teachers rather than a revenue stream for NWEA.

I'm curious about her reference to "Building partnerships between central office and school staff to better meet the needs of all students." I'm not sure what she envisions. Perhaps more "consulting teacher" or "teacher coach" type work, perhaps not.

She writes about a "culture of transparency and accountability" and she provides a couple examples but I don't think that either of them actually speak to transparency or accountability. Certainly not accountability.

Her Listening and Engagement Plan says: "As Interim Superintendent, I vow to be honest and transparent with our budget, our policies and our programs." She "vows"? That's probably not a good idea. She shouldn't raise the stakes like that because she's not going to keep that vow. Maybe should should just "hope" to be honest or "intend" to be transparent with the programs. It would be a shame for her to break a vow when she didn't really mean it. Maybe I just take that word too seriously.

I can't help thinking that she is going to regret this document when she isn't able to live up to the high ideals expressed here.

8 comments:

David said...

Certainly words in the right direction. Here is hoping we see them followed with action.

seattle citizen said...

Here is the Seattle Times article on Supt. Enfield's priorities, if anyone wants their view or would like to comment on that forum.

SP said...

Did you notice that we now have a new one liner for our banners. Instead of "Every student achieving, everyone accountable", in bold on the cover page is, "Every Student Known, Challenged, Cared For."
Is that really our goal now to "know" and "care for" every student? Every student "challenged" I understand, but "knowing & caring for" seems to be too wide and fuzzy.

Another note, on the outreach to parents, family and community section there are two main bullets, one of which encourages people to sign up for "Thursday Office Hours" and gives all the contact information on how to schedule time with Enfield. It's too bad it didn't include the notice from last week that Enfield is already booked up through June! Why would they extend an invitation knowing it wasn't a possibility?

Noah said...

Thank you Charlie.

Anonymous said...

I suppose it's better than Every student ignored, shat upon.

grumpy

peonypower said...

sounds like more of the same- bummer.

chunga said...

The commitment to MAP and the Strategic Plan is disappointing. She owes giving both of these a more thorough review with more significant teacher input.

I also didn't hear anything about how the administrative budget would get trimmed - perhaps this wasn't the right context.

Salander said...

We can't she just say, :I vow to cut out all the crap that has been going on around her." Now that would give me hope. As it is her statements just sound like more of the same.