She got the motto from her former boss, Vicki Phillips of Portland Public Schools, but I like it anyway. I'm going to use it also. That's going to be my modus operandi as well. Going forward I will be in front of the Board and the District leadership at every opportunity and I will be in their email inboxes relentlessly applying gentle pressure. It will be grueling, but I think it has the potential to be as wearing on them as it is sure to be on me.
And what will I be pressuring them about? I have a long list. Perhaps some of you can add to it.
1. The District needs to fulfill the transparency commitment made in the Strategic Plan. See the last three paragraphs of the Plan as adopted:
Each strategy will be developed with a detailed timeline that will include milestones and performance measurements so that we can assess our success.2. The District needs to fulfill the community engagement protocols of the Strategic Plan. The Community Engagement Protocols have been removed from the District web site and the District now denies their existence. There remains, however, a reference to them from an October 2008 Board meeting.
We will schedule regular School Board reviews of our progress.
To honor our commitment to transparency, all materials will be posted on the SPS Web site.
The protocol serves as a guarantee for how the district will communicate and engage with key stakeholders for each major project of the strategic plan:3. The Board needs to fulfill its governance duty of enforcing policy. Step One: develop a process for policy enforcement (they have none).
Post project information on the SPS website (“Get Involved”section)
4. The superintendent needs to make the Program Placement process transparent, honest, and compliant with the Board Policy.
5. The District needs to consider non-geographic communities in the capacity management process.
6. The District needs to correct the erroneous data on the School Reports as they promised to do in December 2010.
7. The District needs to explain how the WSS allocation for non-traditional schools was determined.
8. The District needs to explain how they determine which schools are traditional schools and which schools are non-traditional schools.
9. The District needs to fulfill their hundreds of unmet commitments to students and families.
10. The Board needs to devise some sort of effective community engagement.
11. The Board needs to respond to members of the public who give testimony at Board meetings.
12. The District needs to measure and confirm the quality and efficacy of academic programs (ALO, Spectrum, APP, ELL, Special Ed, language immersion, Montessori, alternative ed, Middle College, Interagency, etc.) and publish reports of those measurements.
13. The District needs to adequately staff and train for students with IEPs.
14. The District needs to assure early and effective interventions for students working below grade level.
15. The District needs to assure meaningful and appropriate challenge for students working beyond grade level.
16. The District needs to allow mid-year mobility for students choosing to change high schools at the semester break.
17. The District needs to de-certify ineffective advanced learning programs.
18. The District needs to enforce the Spectrum delivery model.
Added to the original list:
19. The District needs to explain why the enrollment projections for budgeting are different from the enrollment projections for capacity management.
20. The District needs to be transparent about their budget development process. They told us they were doing it one way, but the RSBDP story revealed that they were doing it a very different way.
The Board and the District staff can expect weekly emails encouraging them to make progress on all of these issues and any more that folks may recommend to me. I will confront them on each of these issues every time I see them until the issues are resolved. I encourage each of you to do the same. We'll see how much the superintendent enjoys gentle pressure relentlessly applied.