Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Enfield Reverses Decision: Floe to Stay

From the Superintendent;

May 17, 2011

Dear Ingraham staff, students and families:

When I was appointed Interim Superintendent, it was with the clear charge to strengthen opportunities for all students to learn. You asked me to bring high levels of transparency and accountability to this effort. The decision I made last Tuesday about the leadership of Ingraham High School Principal Martin Floe reflects my efforts to realize these commitments.

However, I also know that a good leader listens. After extensive conversations with Ingraham High School staff and the community, I have decided to renew Mr. Floe’s contact for the 2011-12 school year, under the condition that he continue on a plan of improvement, which I, along with his Executive Director, will monitor throughout the year.

If Seattle Public Schools is truly to make gains for our students, we must hold all of our leaders to a high standard of performance.  The work my team completed over many months leading up to my initial decision not to renew Mr. Floe’s contract was, and is, solid. As I have explained, I am not able to share with you the details of Mr. Floe’s performance evaluations or the work done with him to address performance concerns. I assure you that I made this decision after a fair and rigorous process. 

Before a decision about terminating a principal’s contract is made, the evaluation process includes identifying areas of concern through a mid-year evaluation, building a clear and detailed performance improvement plan with the principal, numerous one-on-one performance meetings, coaching sessions, time in the school by my team, bi-weekly reports with feedback on progress and very clear guidance to the principal about performance expectations.  Only after this process had been completed and the principal had been offered support and opportunities to succeed would a decision be made to not renew a principal’s contract. A principal must demonstrate “unsatisfactory” performance on the performance improvement plan in order to be recommended for non-renewal.

We know high performance means not just high test scores but schools where every student has access to high-quality teaching in every classroom. That kind of performance depends on principals who work with their teachers day in and day out to improve the quality of their teaching practice. We rely on our principals for other things too, but this work with teachers—what I and others describe as “instructional leadership”— must be their top priority if we are to achieve what we say we all want for all children in Seattle.

We should all have very high standards for our leaders, and our strong team of Executive Directors of Schools will continue to work with all principals to ensure that our students achieve at high levels. I am mindful of the community input and the turmoil this situation has created for the school. I am not backing away from our high standards for performance or the work that led to my initial decision. However, I listened to the community input and I decided it is appropriate to provide Mr. Floe with an additional opportunity to succeed.

I had a chance to meet one-on-one with Mr. Floe on Monday, and I believe we can all work together to see improvement at Ingraham. I also want to thank the Ingraham staff and community for your obvious commitment to the school. Given today’s announcement, I am cancelling tonight’s community meeting at Ingraham. My hope is that now we can move forward as a community to ensure all of our students receive the very best we can give them.

End of message

 As I wrote to her earlier today:

Support him to be the principal you want.

As a long-time parent, I can tell you that finding someone who BOTH staff and parents trust is rare.    Floe saw the IB application process thru and now the district has a successful IB program.  He has reached out to APP parents for a new program that he didn't ask to come to his school.  Many of them picked Ingraham because of his steady leadership.  He endured BEX/BTA project year after year (only to see that his school - like RBHS and Sealth - will never get a total rebuild as all the other comprehensives have) AND waiting out the neighbors for the BEX addition.  That's a lot of patience and stress that he managed to handle. 

In the end, it's your own best judgment.  I only ask that you consider other voices. 

Bravo Dr. Enfield.  You are your own kind of leader and it's a brave and wise leader who admits a mistake (or says they will try again).  

84 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, Melissa. I agree it's a brave and wise leader who can change course and admit a mistake. It's one of the most important things to me in a leader, especially of a district of this size where first-hand knowledge is not always possible.

Moving Forward

Anonymous said...

I think this is very interesting. I hope there is someone in SPS at least telling the higher administration how their decisions might be received, so that they are not operating in a bubble down there, as it seems they might be.

I would imagine that exec director Bree D. has some 'splainin to do.

Signed,

Sort of impressed

Anonymous said...

I am truly impressed by this decision. I can't remember the last time, a leader in SPS had the courage to reverse a decision. I think she did a good job of framing this in a very face saving type of way but that in now way detracts from the bravery of reversing course.

I echo Mel, Bravo!!!

north seattle mom

Peon said...

I am impressed. Dr. Enfield is a big person, and brave, to reverse this decision! This move shows that she is listening, and does care.

Anonymous said...

Enfield is the incompetent one in this equation. I don't want her to support anyone's leadership if hers is any indication of what might result.

I wish I could think that she did this reversal for any other reason than to have less than a snowball's chance to become permanent, but her relentless criticism of Mr. Floe in the letter indicates otherwise.

Hail Mary Pass

montag said...

Since she renewed his "contact" I am wondering if it was the right one or the left one?

cdubs said...

I believe Dr. Enfield made the right choice with this decision, although, it took a lot of wonderful students, teachers, and parents to help swing the pendulum in favor of Mr. Floe. No one should have been in this position in the first place. Is the person who made this poor decision to FIRE Mr. Floe going to have to meet certain requirements to maintain their job, as Mr. Floe is?

mirmac1 said...

Hallelujah!?

I am encouraged. Please let it be the start of reconsideration of many wrong-headed decision in our district.

And please look closely at your Exec Director Bree Dusseault. And your expensive investment in that Communication Exec Dir. Both who make over $150K/year. For what!?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Montag, just got an update from Communications - they meant "contract" not "contact."

Good catch.

Anonymous said...

Good news, but not good enough. Dusseault must go.

-- Ivan Weiss

Anonymous said...

I am very glad that Mr. Floe's termination was reversed. He sounds like a motivated, caring, and experienced principal, and willing to tackle difficult school issues such as the ones IHS had when he first arrived. However, from the tone of Ms. Enfield's statement, it sounds like he had been set up for this termination via a PIP a number of months ago ("A principal must demonstrate “unsatisfactory” performance on the performance improvement plan in order to be recommended for non-renewal.")

If I were a teacher or a principal in SPS, I would be highly concerned about this aspect. With his amazing success at turning around Ingraham, why would he have been targeted for fast-track termination in the first place? Assuming there were real problems that he could actually control(and I am by no means convinced there were), why was he not given the benefit of the doubt, given his stellar past record? Lord knows they've kept some real doozies on the payroll for years in this system. Were any OTHER principals or teachers set up like this? What is the bigger picture and goals here?

Glad He's Staying, But Still Want Answers

Against Ed Reformer that went to private school said...

Now we can see how hard it is to remove personal. I am not commenting on the quality of this principal's work, but this has been a spectacle or circus when trying to remove. The principal is now on notice and the interim supt looks weak. What if every time any teacher was dismissed, the community threw a fit? Do we not trust the processes that have been negotiated by PASS or SEA? Admins have to do their jobs. Principals are paid to evaluate teacher quality. What we get is inconsistency is the process and backtracking when the pressure hits. I think this retraction is a clear warning to Floe to get his act together. I think this event shows how out of touch his MGJ hired director is with this system.

Lee said...

Every employee deserves a chance to grow and improve. No employee should be judged based on an outside view of one action. Ms. Dusseault included.

1Doc1000 said...

Unfortunately, I can not sing praises for Dr. Enfield or view this as a sign of good leadership and hope that she may become a good match for the needs of the Seattle Public Schools.

The letter she has written has essentially admitted that she caved to public pressure; no other reason for the reversal was given. Whether or not Mr. Floe deserved to be terminated, Dr. Enfield states that the processes and systems as well as supervisory administrators all worked. She is providing him an opportunity to receive support (he may have been denied previously) and improve his performance to acceptable levels (something he may not have been allowed to do previously). Adding to her troubling pronouncement, she expresses complete confidence in the headquarters administration.

What are the qualifications of these directors? How are they being held accountable? What are the levels of performance expected of them? Are the documents and plans that they assist the principals in creating meaningful? Is there follow-up to measure their success in achieving their goals?

Forgive me, but having Dr. Enfield assure me all is well with district operations when I know firsthand that is far from reality leads me to have more concerns about our district. Demonstrate real leadership and call for a forensic audit of headquarters operations! Require all directors and administrators in headquarters to apply for their jobs with a real screening and hiring process applied to them. End personal contracts for all former administrators, send the retire/rehire folks into full retirement and no more full pay and full retirement benefits.

Steve said...

I agree with 1Doc1000. My read of the announcement is "we had good cause for dismissing Mr. Floe, and a known process was followed, etc. But, we're still keeping him for another year." Rather than just be transparent about the process followed, Dr. Enfield made it sound like they simply caved to public pressure (and probably "we'll get him next time"). If there is a process that is consistently applied across the district for all principals, and Mr. Floe didn't meet the requirement (assuming he was given time, assistance, etc.), why not just talk about this as a justification for the dismissal?

A passive aggressive message from the superintendent. Rather than be clear why the decision was reversed, she just muddied the water even more. (And yes, whomever they're paying to handle "communications" for the district should be shown the door!).

bj said...

Well, and whatever this evaluation process is, it should be open, in the sense that all of the public should know how the analysis will be done. Individual personnel decisions, well, those probably can't be public (though I have some sympathy for the idea that at least high school principals -- there aren't many) should be a public process.

Anonymous said...

I'm impressed that the school community rallied behind their principal in this way. I'm hoping that community can examine Ingraham's weak spots and help provide support to the students who are obviously not receiving an IB education.

I don't think this reflects badly on the ED or sup at all. There are things about Ingraham that are clearly not working, despite the glory of the IB/APP programs. The ED thought change was necessary, the sup did too, and the community has convinced her that Floe is not alone in this effort.

Maybe they can move Dusseaut down to the south end to whip some of those schools in shape. Or maybe all of this will get those administrators mobilized to do more than use their accelerated programs as show ponies.

Signed,
Finally Someone Had Cojones

Anonymous said...

Given today’s announcement, I am cancelling tonight’s community meeting at Ingraham. My hope is that now we can move forward as a community to ensure all of our students receive the very best we can give them.

Color me cynical, but something tells me this SI knows a losing PR battle when she sees one, and tonight would have been ugly.

But remember: Sometimes the battle is conceded to win the war. When the enemy attacks, evade.

Let's not forget a couple years ago when MGJ gave the teachers a 1 year contract to avoid a strike. Some were relieved, but all she did was use the following year to recruit all of her public supporters to bash the teachers union to soften them up to the point where they'd accept almost anything just to keep their jobs, while also getting the clear message that MGJ was the new Sheriff in town, with the BRT & LEV behind her.

Fortunately the union got the message, educated itself, rallied and pushed back against MGJ's "Serve" proposal, which wound up in the dumpster where it belonged.

So do your push-ups and sit-ups Ingraham. Your fight is far from over.

WSEADAWG

Anonymous said...

Against Ed Reformer that went to private school - I just now saw your post.

Exactly! I agree with you completely. It was a circus, but maybe it will end well if the community can rally to help the kids who aren't being taught at Ingraham. That means parents volunteering to help someone else's child. That means parents getting outraged that bad teachers are in the building, even if their own children have great teachers.

It seemed like every post and letter published pro-Floe was "parent of an IB student." Well, great. So he's great with the IB kids - he's not principal of Lakeside. He's principal of an urban, diverse school. He'd better do more than just end gang battles or tell disadvantaged kids they can take honors.

Finally, Someone Has Cojones

Parent of rising 9th grader said...

I think Dr Enfiled's is NOW showing some smart and courageous leadership. She maintained commitment to her goal to improve student learning at Ingraham..and showed the savvy to adjust tactics when parent and community information suggested that firing Mr Floe with little explanation was NOT the best way to get there.

Now the responsibilities is on all us us -- Ingraham parents, students, teachers and district staff -- to work together to build on Mr Floe's success in building a warm, supportive community of parents and teachers AND channel that energy to improve learning for ALL students.

And for Dr Enfield to learn from this experience about transparency and udnerstandign the community before makign hiring and firing decisions.

--Parent of an incoming 9th grader

Anonymous said...

Right On Finally with Cajones,

What about Ingraham's special education students? Not 1 passed the HSPE. 0. What is Mr. Floe doing about that? Where is the parent letter supporting students with disabilities? Will Mr. Floe's "second chance" include doing something about the abysmal special education performance?

SPED parent

whitney said...

Oh my gosh, Melissa. Get a grip!

To be so complimentary and grateful to Dr. Enfield for this reversal of her initial decision, a person who very nearly a) ruined a man's career who has dedicated his life to public schools, b) disparaged the good work that Ingraham High School has accomplished, c) who basically had to make this decision or she'd be run out of town, and d) who admitted absolutely no culpability in her letter.

The letter said basically, "We made no mistakes, we stand by our process, but we listened. A good leader listens." The gumption of her to call herself a good leader. A good leader wouldn't have made this decision in the first place, so now we are to praise her for correcting a decision that nearly destroyed the Ingraham comunity? What a low standard we are setting.

Please don't abandon your critical thinking skills. This was a terrible, capricious, and inexperienced decision which very nearly was disastrous. It is only for the resiliency and force of the Ingraham community that this woman was stopped in her tracks. What's next?

Please stop with the praise of her leadership qualities.

mirmac1 said...

However wrote that lame-*ss letter(new Exec Dir of Communications?) oughta get her pink slip.

I know you have to save face but not while slapping everyone else's.

Hey, I like flexibility. Better than the crap we had to put up with Go-Lo-Jo.

Melissa Westbrook said...

You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Just like with kids, you have to give people praise when they do well just as much as when they do badly.

Don't forget, we're all in this together. Not me, not Charlie, not any group of parents can take over this district. We have to find ways to work together to collectively make this a better district.

I'm still somewhat jaded and cynical but I never give up hope.

Anonymous said...

You can also look foolish as a lap dog when it is sitting on Leona Helmsley's lap.

Get Real

Anonymous said...

The most telling action, for me, was that Enfield, PhD, cancelled the meeting with Ingraham community and staff/students.

Why would she not want to stay enganged with them? Is, as her letter seems to indicate, that the evaluative process will still remain outside the purview of the most valuable stakeholders, parents-teachers-students? It's still too thick with the Top-Down Ed Reform agenda to start congratulating anyone for their maturing leadership skills.

Is she more palatable than MGJ, Phd? Yes. Is she a more enlightened leader? Reread her letter: ...We should all have very high standards for our leaders, and our strong team of Executive Directors of Schools will continue to work with all principals to ensure that our students achieve at high levels...

I encourage everyone to do some research on Bree Dusseault's background and make your own determination if she meets those "...very high standards for our leaders..."

Good choice to reverse course, but what was the motivation for this 11:59am reversal before High Noon?

There has been a raging media firestorm! She's the "Interim Sup" and her goodwill with Board Members seeing "Deja-vu all over again" was evaporating faster than drops of water on a hot skillet.

ken berry

Anonymous said...

Late to this happy news, but I do agree that more can be done to help struggling kids (spec Ed, FRL, non-English speakers, etc.) in schools. Even in schools that are considered high performing, we have this gap. My kids'school has only 13% FRL. I have seen kids who are not referred by teachers (despite their claim of advocacy) for help with reading. It is not until the kids reaches 3rd grade, that the kids get referred (HSPE?). After working on phonics and fluency for nearly a year, some are finally reading at 1st-2nd grade level.

It is a disgrace. But it is crap like this that the district misses, because there are teachers and principals who say the right thing depending on the targeted audience (to reformers like Ms. Dusseault, Mr. Tolley, or parent groups) and get by with their BS.

I hope Dr. Enfield will demand more from her Executive directors and all her prinicpals. I know my kids succeed because of a few innovative and experienced teachers and a lot of re-teaching at home because of the poor curriculum and teachers who don't really know my kids (fly under the radar kids who do well and are not troublemakers) even after a year in their classrooms.

I hope Dr. Enfieldl will raise the bar and demand a degree of professionalism, strong work ethic, and evenhanded leadership of her administrators and staff . Our kids deserve that.

Welcome back Mr. Floe!

-encouraged parent

sixwrens said...

while there is a clamoring for "transparency", HR processes leading up to termination are known, but the products of these processes are confidential. Einfeld told us about the process and that is transparent as she is *legally allowed to be*.

to all those who what to criticize, get over it. Einfeld did what everyone seemed to think was sensible. she did listen. I think she's doing a wonderful job.

if you want someone who is going to make everyone happy, dream on! appreciate what we've got - a listener! - much much better than where we were in SPS a few months ago.

and goodness, why wouldn't we want someone who WANTS the job? silly to criticize her for that.

Rooster said...

Let's face facts here folks...Enfield HAD to rescind this foolish decision. She deserves little praise because this was an act of self preservation. Bree Dusseault, a totally inexperienced educrat and charter school zealot is at the root of this fiasco. Enfield should show she really understands this travesty and fire her. The fact that the two of them together almost destroyed Mr. Floe's career is an abomination.

Anonymous said...

at least pottergate was just good 'ol normal 'ol dipping in the till to take care of your buddies.

this bree-gate just highlights how downtown plays these perpetual games of passing the buck and passing the hot potato cuz whoever gets stuck with the buck or the spud gets burned.

it is kind of mathematically unlikely that they are ALL grossly incompetent at everything but covering their own asses - butt butt butt what a bunch of butts.

up thread someone speculates that the school board is probably freaking out and leaning on dr. entrails to pack up all the exposed guts up - sounds like the most plausible idea to me.

what do the exec directors do, other than act as hachet men for MGJ's random reformist crap? suck up the paychecks of lots of counselors?

was downtown for IHS & floe on super secret probation before ... they were against it? look at that diary of melissan's where someone pointed out that the in school bad boy rankings, the district's #1 = the fed's #5 - huh?

where are the PSAT results?

I wish they were just stealing the money to go to vegas and bet it on 42 - at least we'd be able to "understand" it?

butt butt butt

Manny said...

So ..... I guess we serve Enfield a bowl of honey for being a wise and brave leader while Mr Floe gets a snoot full of vinegar as his reputation is dragged through the mud....and not even a hint of an apology! Count me hopeful about the future when thoughtless Ed Reformers are gone.

Melissa Westbrook said...

BBB,that's DOUBLE secret probation. (But you still made me laugh. Not as hard as the idea I could be anyone's lapdog but still any line from Animal House makes me happy.)

An anonymous teacher said...

Who are these nasty, anonymous posters? Don't they at least have enough sense to put a pseudonym on it? Anyway....
HOORAY! THis makes Enfield look even stronger than before this happened. This is such a brilliant PR move on Enfield's part. Maybe she accidentally fell into this PR mess by trusting Bree and not being aware it woudl create this much negative publicity, but this is a brilliant move and I do believe she will be offered a permanent job as supt. and I'm glad.

Don't listen to the neg. posters on this thread, they really don't know what they are talking about in regards to this making Enfield look weak. Look at the editorials and take on it in teh paper tomorrow, I predict they will be quite positive.

Enfield is smart enough to realize that Floe with the full support of his staff is a strong principal (it is not just about the test scores) and strong enough as a leader to reverse her decision. By golly, this makes me almost want to vote for Sherry Carr.

Anyway, as an educator, I am now 100 percent behind Enfield. Hooray for Enfield!!!!

cdubs said...

@Anonymous Teacher.

I think people on this board know way more then you give them credit for. This situation was a disaster, from leadership standpoint, for Enfield. Until Enfield cleans up the mess @Garfield, closes down Rainier Beach,breaks up the good 'ol boy/girl network, and gets rid of the retire/rehire crowd, it's all status quo.

anon. teacher said...

Enfield inherited all of the problems you are describing in your post. What has Enfield done on her own....well, this, she reversed a very poor decision by listening to parent input. You as parents should appreciate that she actually listens to your input because I cannot remember the last time a sup.t did other than Manhas who listened to parent input and quit. I think the negative posters on this blog fail to see just how brilliant a move this is from a PR point of view. But don't take my word for it, wait until the morning papers announce what a great leader Enfield now is. And she is.

anon. teacher said...

But Bree has to go.

anonymous poster but not Kirsten Fogarty said...

Now, I wonder if Kirsten Fogarty-Bailey regrets that she posted her negative Floe comments and positive Bree comments under her real name. In fact, I wonder if it is Kirsten who is now posting as anonymous on this thread? I think Kirsten shoudl have waited until her boss was actually gone before she started criticizing him. And, she is the only one who didn't sign the petition to reinstate Floe, I would hate to work at a school where my boss knew I didn't support him. Ouch.

dan dempsey said...

"I think the negative posters on this blog fail to see just how brilliant a move this is from a PR point of view."

I think it is painfully obvious that most school supts. are experts at political infighting to climb the Ed Totem Admin Pole. It stands to reason that "Supes" most are PR adept. {Often it is nearly their only job qualification}

The brilliant move we look for is something in academic leadership ... this PR coup was not it.

Now we can look forward to the "Promotion policy" revision and the "Homework policy" revision..... Two fine examples of the continuing void in academic leadership.

cdubs said...

@Anonyomous. Anyone can attempt to spin this as positive PR for Enfield, but the people( and those are who matter) won't be having it. If Bree is at fault, then Enfield should FIRE her ASAP for such a lapse in judgement. Where's the accountability? You can't make a mess like this and spin your way out of it without either Enfield, or Bree taking full responsibility. Anything less is just an attempt to hoodwink the people.

Not all things bad come from the Board said...

No, you are wrong about the homework policy, it is far from a void. For the first time, the Board has allowed homework to be differentiated based on child's needs. Now, as a teacher, I can give the accelerated child who has a passion for learnign the hour long homework that I was not allwoed to give because 20 minutes was the limit but I also can give the Sped child a break and a rest with a 10 minute homework because he has burned out from the rigors of the school day. No, the homework policy is absolutely a step in teh right direction. Furthermore, it demands, for the first time, that homework be directly tied to the class' lessons and state standards. Please, re-think your statement about the new homework policy--it is a good mvoe.

CLM said...

I see this as Enfield fully supporting Sundquist (note, he was quoted in the morning edition of Times) and the Board. THose who got out to the coffee talks (I was one--went to HMMs)did make a difference. Frankly, I'm stunned that we did, but we did. It worked. Power to the people.

Anonymous said...

The letter could be way better, but I'd say there's at least a HINT of "mea culpa" in "a leader listens." Even an implicit admission of a misstep is an improvement over recent history. I still mistrust Enfield as an Ed Reform/fuzzy math zombie, but thank Chaos for small favors.

@ An Anonymous Teacher: The policy of this blog is that commentors may, for convenience, use the anonymous button if they add a handle at the end of their post to help keep the discussion organized. That's no more anonymous than your post.

Scrawny Kayaker
word verification "humin." I'd like to think so!

Michael H said...

"I can't remember the last time, a leader in SPS had the courage to reverse a decision."

Didn't Raj Manhas reverse his school closure decision??

The Real Arnold said...

@whitney "Please don't abandon your critical thinking skills."

Apparently whitney has.

Anonymous said...

I am with Whitney and her comments all the way....Puh-leeze! J.Pierpont Patches

Seattle-Ed2010 said...

Well, if by "the morning papers" you mean the Seattle Times, anon, of course it will applaud Enfield, just like it applauded Goodloe-Johnson up until it really couldn't anymore.

I agree with those who say that Enfield and her exec director Dusseault created an actual and PR mess that was only getting messier.

Rescinding was about the only thing she could have done at this point. And it was the right thing to do.

I also agree with those who say Enfield has failed to truly acknowledge fault, or apologize for publicly intimating that Floe had done something wrong, without really making the case for this accusation. It was somewhat defamatory, really. I bet he would have had a case for appeal.

In her letter (probably written by her new hire from Strategies 360), she essentially says, 'I'm still right, I still won't tell you why, I'll give him a one-year reprieve (are principal contracts normally that short?), but he'd better watch out, because I'm going to have my Executive Director Bree watch his every move.' (Or something like that...)

I don't think this was a particularly "brave" decision; it was a strategic one.

The bravery came from the community who stood up to and spoke out against this arbitrary and capricious action by Enfield (& Dusseault?) against Floe.

But yes, the Times will call her "a brave leader" tomorrow. But this will also go on her resume of communal memory as 'the Enfield - Floe fiasco.'

--sp.

Anonymous said...

Whoa there on the HW policy - just because a kid is an accelerated learner does not mean they should get an hour of homework, when an age appropriate amount may actually be 20 min. I've found the 10 min x grade level to be a pretty good guideline.

Hover mom

Tami said...

SPed Parent - I know that many SPS parents are not happy with SPed services across the district. What do you think would improve SPed at Ingraham? Are there things for which the PTSA should be advocating? As an Ingraham parent, I'm thinking about how to honor the calls to volunteer at school.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bye, bye Bree said...

Bree has got to go. Can the Ingraham parents (not possible for staff, too risky) request that Enfield replace Bree with a more competent Ex. Director? If the North End community does not take advantage of the momentum, we could be stuck with Bree for years. Believe me, having met the woman several times at the district office, incompetent does not even begin to describe the woman. Bree needs to leave.

Anonymous said...

Test scores show that Special Education has been a complete disaster since MGJ took the helm ... math is also extremely sad.

This is a district wide problem not just an IHS difficulty.

So what is proposed to change this? Apparently less than ZERO. Check the complete absence of thought in the policy changes proposed by Holly F. for the School Board action. ... Interventions???

-----------

I disagree with the Enfield portrayal as a brave and wise leader. I am still looking for positive recommendations for academic improvement and subsequent results.

So far we have had lots of theater recently but little else.

-- Dan Dempsey

Charlie Mas said...

It's clear to me that there are only losers from this episode.

Dr. Enfield has been made to look like a fool, a liar, and a waffle. She has gained some fans by responding to the community and deferring the decision, but the net is still negative.

Mr. Floe has seen his reputation damaged and is on notice that he will be fired next year. He must be bolstered by the support he was shown, but still a net negative for him.

The Ingraham community might appear to have won, but they have only won a stay of execution for their principal. They have seen how little the District will consider them if they don't force the District to consider them.

The really big losers here, however are Bree Duesseault and Michael Tolley. They have been exposed as exceptionally poor administrators, leaders, and supervisors.

The idea that they will team up together to supervise the schools in Southeast Seattle makes me weep for those schools.

Anonymous said...

Tami, I'm not an Ingraham parent, so I don't know why it's in the state that it is. But I think your PTSA should reach out to the community of families with disabilities in your school. Daylighting the shockingly poor performance of that school in particular would be a great first step. It doesn't get worse than a 0 does it? When not a single student with a disability (any disability) at Ingraham is passing the HSPE, it is an understatement to say parents are "unhappy with special education services". I can't really imagine what all the rah-rah is about. What are all those services doing? Years and years of special education classes, with nothing to show for it? Special education families need to be well integrated into their schools and provided access to all school services, rather than isolated off somewhere.

SPED parent

Charlie Mas said...

A correction.

Although it has been claimed here that Ms Bailey-Fogarty wrote something negative about Mr. Floe's work, I don't believe that's the case.

On the contrary, I believe that Ms Bailey-Fogarty wrote in support of her friend, Ms Duesseault, but not anything negative about Mr. Floe.

There has been a lot written in the past few days, I may have missed a few of the comments, and I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure about this.

Po3 said...

Two points:

Truly good leaders never need to tell you why what makes them good leaders.


This was a media diaster that needed to end so they could conduct tonights board meeting w/o protesters outside the building. (and remember that Levy coming up for vote).

Stu said...

Before a decision about terminating a principal’s contract is made, the evaluation process includes identifying areas of concern through a mid-year evaluation, building a clear and detailed performance improvement plan with the principal, numerous one-on-one performance meetings, coaching sessions, time in the school by my team, bi-weekly reports with feedback on progress and very clear guidance to the principal about performance expectations. Only after this process had been completed and the principal had been offered support and opportunities to succeed would a decision be made to not renew a principal’s contract. A principal must demonstrate “unsatisfactory” performance on the performance improvement plan in order to be recommended for non-renewal.

I don't know . . . I think this is such a nasty paragraph . . .

While I applaud Enfield for the "change of mind," I can't help be feel it's only 'cause she couldn't effectively defend the decision with the facts and knew that she would need time to gather quantifiable evidence. Perhaps she felt that Floe could argue that no one gave him a detailed performance improvement plan but we'll never know the truth.

Meanwhile, this paragraph is such a slap in the face to everyone. Take a closer look:

1. we have a comprehensive evaluation process that your guy failed;

2. we identified all the problem areas, built a "clear and detailed performance improvement plan," met with him time after time, had reports every other week, coaching sessions, and my team was always there showing him what to do, and he still was a horrible failure;

3. not only did he fail each individual item on our list, but the final performance review was unsatisfactory.

4. therefore, your guy is a miserable failure on every single level and our decision was 100% correct!

Enfield isn't offering even a hint of support for Floe, she's not changing her mind. In fact, even though she "can't say anything specific" about the firing, this paragraph is incredibly specific and damning. She has told us that he is "unsatisfactory" on every level and that, even with all their love, support, intervention, coaching, he couldn't possibly improve.

Prediction? Floe will be gone by mid-year next year, if he even makes it that long.

stu

Stu said...

Oh, one other thing . . .

This is not rhetorical, I actually would love to know this . . . how many principals over the past, let's say, 10- years, have been outright "dismissed" and not moved to another school or something like that?

I don't remember that many being just "fired" and, in fact, based on all the conversations we've had on these blogs, it's always seemed really hard to get rid of a principal, even ones who are in "failing" schools.

Lastly, again not trying to be funny . . . what the hell did Floe do that was so bad he was fired when the principal at Garfield made it through the whole sports/spanish fiasco unscathed?

stu

Dorothy Neville said...

@Charlie, thanks for setting the record straight on KBF not dissing Floe, because she didn't publicly do so.

@Stu, funny you should ask about principals being axed, because I think Enfield was actually under pressure to axe one. Michael DeBell recently pointed out with Enfield present (I cannot remember when this was, I think it was executive committee when HR came up in discussion about the stinkiness of their oversight workshop presentation) that in all his years following the district he has *never* seen a principal dismissed. And at other times he has told me that one reason HQ is so bad is that is has been the dumping ground of bad principals -- instead of being fired they are simply promoted out of a school.

Seems Enfield's choice of principals was not thought through. I suspect there are any number of principals that if fired would not have resulted in such a parent and staff reaction.

As for this PIP and the careful scrutiny, I was hearing rumors months ago that Bree was out for Floe and the PIP seems to corroborate that. Surely there are places he could improve, but it sure seems like a poorly handled performance improvement plan if management really wants improvement and not simply a CYA on the way to dismissal. I see this as a place where Bree's lack of experience in the classroom or as a principal most likely is the cause for such an unprofessional situation.

Can Floe (or anyone in his position) request a team of more qualified folks helping to create and monitor his PIP in the future?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Po3 makes a couple of good points. If 70 people came to Sherry's meeting (I wish I could have seen that), how many would have packed the Board meeting tonight? It would not have been pretty (but hey, those on the waitlist might make the speakers list).

"...even with all their love, support, intervention, coaching, he couldn't possibly improve."

Ah, but I would have loved to see the hearing examiner turn the laser focus on the district staff and say, "What DID you do to support this principal and his staff if you knew their scores were in decline?" I would have loved to see a line of current and former ed directors (Ammon McWashington, now gone, Phil Brockman, Michael Tolley and now Bree Dusseault) quizzed on what they did and how they followed thru.

I would also love to hear from other schools in Ms. Dussault's region. I'd bet they feel the same way (except maybe Hale as I think Jill Hudson would like alignment).

Another issue about the ex directors is that there needs to be uniformity in what they do. Yes, they all have different schools but Ms. Dusseault's region may call foul if it appears she is a lot harder on her schools than other ex directors.

This act by Dr. Enfield may enbolden other schools to speak up.

I agree with Charlie, Michael Tolley and Bree Dusseault would be a damaging duo for the SE.

cdubs said...

I would like to hear from the supporters of Bree, as well as Dr. Enfield as to why they should retain their jobs after creating such a mess. What we witnessed was extreme unprofessionalism on the part of administration, and yet, you still have people that support that, with a Ed reform ideology I would suspect. Ahh, you know, just my opinion, but hearing the other side would be interesting to say the least.

Maureen said...

I expect that Enfield has felt some pressure to fire someone at the principal level.

I wonder if Floe was targeted because Dusseult was the one Ex Director who could be counted on to plow through all the work involved to get rid of him. The other Directors may not be as on board with the process or may just not be thought to be as capable of (driven to?) do that sort of work (some of them may be spending more time trying to help their weaker principals improve.)

Another factor is that many of the weak principals have been moved around so much that they might not have a long enough record at their current school to use against them.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Stu and Charlie. I read this entire letter as a long-term set up. I listened, we did everything possible to help Floe, he still failed. When he's fired again at some point next year it's going to be a huge case of "I was right all along, now please stop interfering."

Having been watched co-workers go through the "supportive" process and read some of their goals, I have nothing but scorn for the entire process. I don't know what it looks like for principals, but for teachers it is nothing but hours more work, and "experts" who don't necessarily know anything about the population they are trying to help serve. The process is nothing but a shill game to sell curriculum and burn out already struggling teachers.

former teacher

hschinske said...

he has *never* seen a principal dismissed.

What about Alex Coberly?

Helen Schinske

Maureen said...

And then there is the 'need' to find 25 spots for TfA Corps members.

Do we know who is replacing Dr. Gary at RBHS? (This old thread says he's going to Interagency. It seems to me that that could put Kaaren Andrews back in the mix?)

Son of a Labor Law Expert said...

Make no mistake, this decision was made because of one or more of three possible reasons:

1) The PR fiasco and the need for damage control.

If you want to call effective damage control a sign of good leadership, I would counter that not creating the PR Fiasco in the first place is a sign of BETTER leadership.

2) The Board was getting nervous and may have leaned on her.

As we all know, the gang of four are up for re-election. Each director got in the neighborhood of 150 letters from outraged community members. This fiasco has raised the profile of candidates in two of the districts, and has district 1 mobilized to find a candidate. Nothing pisses off the board more than when their subordinate makes their life harder...

3) The decision was going to get creamed on appeal.

The fix was in on this firing--clearly Enfield was part of that fix. No hearing examiner worth his salt was going to buy the line that it was a long and carefully considered process when Floe was "blindsided" by the unsatisfactory evaluation on Monday and the Interim Supt. announced to the whole world that he was fired on Tuesday. 99.9% chance of a very embarassing reversal...possibly even a summary judgement of the hearing examiner at the pre-hearing conference.

This reversal was damage control...pure and simple.

The only silver lining for Floe is that Ms. Dusseault won't be his supervisor next year and that maybe he can start fresh with a new person who won't be out for his head from day one.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Helen, you know Coberly was fired for cause, not performance. I meant for performance.

I agree, Labor Law, the hearing would have been a dangerous thing for the district especially if Floe had asked for an open hearing (as he could have).

Anonymous said...

The brilliant film "The Constant Gardener" comes to mind when I envision what's in store for the SE under Dusseault and Tolley.

That film reveals the dirty secrets about how Big Pharma uses the poorest populations in Africa, often refugees, as test subjects for their latest clinical drug trials.

Closely observing the Ed Reform movement for almost a decade, I see many parallels, along with the same honorably-intended rationalizations: "But we're trying to help these people...." So, what? Anything you do is above reproach and free of scrutiny?

Would a drug company dare to try this in a wealthy suburb in the U.S. or Europe? Hell no.

And so it goes with Ed Reform. Some will be helped, while many will be tossed aside, like say, about one third of all students attending Charter Schools who will be kicked out, or fail out, only to return to their local public schools, if any, with what's left of their self esteem destroyed.

Meanwhile the idealists won't realize they've mortgaged their souls to the ideologues until it's too late, being further collateral damage in the wake of Ed Reformers.

It's gone on for over a decade elsewhere, and for Seattle, the reformers continue to increase their foothold in the community.

I believe Ingraham was targeted because it was perceived as weak after so many parents in North Ballard were upset about being assigned there under the NSAP. Combined with the new APP program slated for Ingraham, the time was ripe to insert a "company man/woman" who'd tow the Ed Reform line, with a fig leaf of "new beginning" and "change is hard" political coverage.

Well, they were wrong. Way, way wrong. Kudos to all who supported Ingraham in this fight.

While maintaining my healthy skepticism of downtown's motives, I am incredibly proud of the Ingraham community along with the entire SPS community of parents and families who rallied around the Ingraham cause and turned back this assault on our community.

When they came for Ingraham, WE STOOD UP! Next year, when they come for Rainier Beach, WE'D BETTER STAND UP FOR THEM TOO!

(Those who advocate for closing RBHS, btw, give me a break. What if it were your community school and most of its problems were caused by a criminal lack of support from downtown? We, as a city and community, own RBHS and they deserve our support as much as any other school. Let's help them, and not let the district experiment upon them.)

The new Sheriff in Town? She works for US; not the other way around. We pay for the schools and we have a right to have the schools WE want, not the ones Arne Duncan, Bill Gates, or Eli Broad wants.

Board? SI? You'd better be listening and paying attention. You woke up a sleeping Giant.

Giant: Stay Awake!

WSEADAWG

Dorothy Neville said...

Of course Helen knows Coberly was fired for his extracurricular performance.

Anyone remember Geri Hamai? While this says she was popular and beloved, that may have been true for a subset of the parents, not for all by any means.

Chris S. said...

Seattle-Ed nailed it: "In her letter (probably written by her new hire from Strategies 360), she essentially says, 'I'm still right, I still won't tell you why..."

That would explain why it was such a blast-from-the-[recent]past. Different leader, same speechwriters.

Po3 said...

Dr. Gary has been given a newly created position working alongside Ms. Andrews, so she is not being reassigned.

Anonymous said...

Geri Hamai was extremely divisive. So yes, some liked her & some didn't. However, her contract was not renewed in the first two years of her principalship. That was during the 'trial period' for principals at that time. Not sure if that constitutes firing or not.

Parent in that school

Bird said...

As much as Enfield's letter leaves Floe's future undetermined, it leaves her own the same.

Knowing that the school may be in the exact same position a year from now as long as Enfield is around, she will face some hefty opposition to her appointment to a permanent position now.

And, of course, the whole episode makes it easier to turn over the school board seats up for re-election.

Her only gains seems to be that she avoided some seriously ugly scenes at the meeting at Ingraham and the upcoming Board meeting, and she avoided the very real possibility of losing the appeal to the firing.

She's as politically damaged as ever, however.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

Maureen said:
And then there is the 'need' to find 25 spots for TfA Corps members.

I agree that TFA could have been a factor. Perhaps FLoe was resistant to hiring TFA teachers for his underperforming population.

Po3 said...

Off topic but somewhat revelant:

RIFs are out. Can we start a thread for parents to report how their school was impacted - would like to know how where the RIFs were made to start to get an idea where TFAers could appear. Especially interested in any RIFs at Garfield and Ingraham.

Peon said...

"(except maybe Hale as I think Jill Hudson would like alignment)."

Melissa, what makes you think that Jill Hudson wants alignment? I'm not saying it's not so, I just haven't heard that before??

Peon said...

"And then there is the 'need' to find 25 spots for TfA Corps members."

I don't want TFA here any more than the next person, but lets keep the facts straight. We are not under contract to hire 25 TFA recruits. We are not even under contract to hire 1 TFA recruit. That TFA says they are hopeful that they place 25 recruits here (because 25 of their recruits have expressed an interest in coming to Seattle) does not mean that it will happen.

Maureen said...

Peon , you're right, SPS is not under contract to hire 25 Corps Members.

But:

Wendy Kopp was very very certain that 25 CMs would be placed in Seattle in her KUOW interview. There is no Tier 1 or 2 hiring for high needs schools. The new head of recruitment for SPS came directly from TfA (his company website in his LinkedIn profile is still TfA even though his listed employer is SPS).

That's why I put quotes around need.

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

Again, that Wendy Kopp says she is hopeful that TFA places 25 recruits here does not mean that it will happen. It's great to have lofty goals, but a goal is all it is. No contract to back it up.

Further, hiring a TFA recruit over a professionally trained teacher would not make a principal very popular amongst his building staff and parents (and we see what effect a good relationship with building staff and parents has had in the case of Floe). My guess is a principal would take a lot of heat in his building for hiring a TFA recruit over a more qualified candidate.

And lets not forget that SPS can only hire recruits whose placement fees are paid for by the STEM/Gates grant. I believe those recruits have to hold a science/math degree. That may limit the pool.

There may be a push to hire TFA recruits at the district level (I'm not sure about that??), but there is a huge push back against hiring them at the building level (parents, teachers). Further, if and when SPS did get a recruit hired they wouldn't be able to quietly slip them in under the radar anymore. The spotlight is shining on TFA right now.

Will SPS hire 25 TFA recruits? Who knows? Maybe, maybe not. We'll have to wait and see. When is the hiring deadline for this year? It must be coming up very soon. Lets keep an eye on this and see how this all plays out.

mirmac1 said...

Because TFA interns will require conditional certificates, the School Board will have to CERTIFY that this individual is uniquely qualified to perform their function and is so totally awesome who wouldn't want a whiff of their essence.

The meeting the Board votes on one of these conditional cert applications will be VERY interesting.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, we all know what the TFA contract says but...

Peon, your naivete is almost charming. Apparently you don't get TFA and their mission. And you think Gates won't pony up the money for the non-math/science TFAs? C'mon.

It IS going to happen and the fix is in. I'll guarantee you right now that we'll have at least 15-20 TFA in our district by fall.

Lori said...

What's the TFA contract with Federal Way like? Anyone know if they have guaranteed spots to TFA?

I ask because I do know someone graduating this year who has accepted a position with TFA to teach "in Seattle" and she is simply waiting to learn to which school she will be assigned. This is of course a much different version of events than what we have been lead to believe. So I'm curious whether TFA considers "Seattle" to just mean the larger Puget Sound area, and perhaps she'll be teaching in Federal Way as opposed to an SPS school.

I really can't and won't say much more about this situation. The family is excited and the graduate is a lovely young woman. Although I remain convinced that we don't need TFA in Seattle, at the same time, I sincerely hope that teachers and parents will treat any TFA teachers as individuals and separate these idealistic young people from the larger organization.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, Federal Way guaranteed spots (but I don't know if Linda Shaw's article said how many).

"Although I remain convinced that we don't need TFA in Seattle, at the same time, I sincerely hope that teachers and parents will treat any TFA teachers as individuals and separate these idealistic young people from the larger organization."

A civil and nice sentiment. It would be nice if ex-TFAers became people who cared as much about other people and their concerns for their children's education as they do for TFA.

I am posting a couple of TFA stories soon that might cast some light on how welcome the TFA recruits will be.

StopTFA said...

"someone graduating this year who has accepted a position with TFA to teach "in Seattle" and she is simply waiting to learn to which school she will be assigned. "

Huh?! How the hell does a building hiring team select a "qualified candidate" if people are freakin' assigned?!

So now principals are not only supposed to accept these minimally trained sweet nice people but you don't even know who the hell you're going to get?! How's a qualified certificated experienced teacher supposed to compete with a cypher?

Sorry, hyperventilating here.