The District's program placement practice used to be something of a mystery. A committee, the Program Placement Committee, used to meet, discuss the program placement proposals, and make recommendations to the superintendent. Then the superintendent would decide which proposals to accept, which to reject, and which to amend. We didn't know who was on the committee, when they met, or what they discussed. I once requested committee meeting minutes as a public document and they stopped keeping minutes after that. In short, the entire process was secretive, corrupt, and political.
In 2007 the district wanted to split middle school APP. The decision, however, was a clear violation of the Highly Capable Student Program policy D12.00. The policy prohibits the creation of additional sites. The Board gave the policy an interpretation that was VERY sympathetic to the district administration and determined that the split could go forward after Board review. The Board delegated the Student Learning Committee (now call Curriculum and Instruction Policy Committee) to do the review. It was supposed to be a quick rubber-stamp approval of the decision. But that's not how it went.
The district staff could not produce a single scrap of data to support their decision to split the program. Not only couldn't the staff justify the split, it was clear that they never considered any alternative solutions to their pretend problem, including a few really obvious ones that would have been much less disruptive. The board, upon seeing the political and arbitrary way that the district staff made program placement decisions, drafted and adopted the program placement policy, C56.00. It was one of the final acts of the Bass/Butler-Wall board.
The staff hates this policy and they have never followed it. The policy only requires two things: transparency and performance reporting. Dr. Goodloe-Johnson refused to describe her process for making program placement decisions and so has Dr. Enfield. And by "refused" I mean exactly that. The conversation went like this:
"How did you make your program placement decisions?"
"I'm not telling."
"Policy requires you to describe your process."
"Yes, I know that, but I'm not telling."
I have made a couple more public document requests. One was for a copy of all of the program placement proposals made last year. I made this request months ago, but the District has been unable to produce them. The other was for correspondence regarding the creation of an ALO at Madrona. I just received that. The total of that correspondence boils down to an email in January from Dr. Vaughan to Dr. Enfield saying that 5 Level 1 schools got A.L.O.s in the previous year and that this year the other 5 Level 1 schools were supposed get them as part of the district's "academic assurances". This was followed in March by a letter from Dr. Enfield to the principals at those five schools telling them that they would have A.L.O. programs the following year. That's it. That's the entirety of the discussion. There was an email from Dr. Libros to the Madrona principal, Farah Thaxton, advising her that the district might place a program at the school to stabilize enrollment. The principal was grateful for the heads up and asked what else the district might decide to do with her school. It's clear that she was not a participant in the discussion. The only information she had was rumors from her school families.
So maybe we shouldn't feel so bad that Dr. Enfield won't tell the public her super-secret program placement process since she doesn't even tell the principals until they get a program placed in their building.
What a champion for transparency.
The schools and the district are playing a weird sort of game in which they refuse to cooperate with each other. The district drops decisions on the schools without any discussion. For example: Starting next year you will have an A.L.O. Then the schools respond by simply doing nothing. Madrona takes no action in response to the edict. There is no description of the Madrona K-8 ALO on the advanced learning web page. There is no mention of the Madrona K-8 ALO on the Madrona school web site. Seriously, it isn't even mentioned on the pages that describe the programs at the school or academics. It isn't mentioned anywhere in the school's CSIP. There is absolutely no reason to believe that there is an ALO at Madrona or that the school is doing anything differently this year because it has an ALO than it did last year when it did not have an ALO. The District knows this and doesn't care. While the District claims and exercises the authority to place the program there and to say that it is there, they do not claim or exercise any authority to actually insist that the program actually be there. The school waits passively to be told what programs they will have and then, equally passively, neglects to actually create them. This is a seriously dysfunctional system.