Monday, April 23, 2012

Banda Profile

The Times has a good profile of the work that superintendent finalist, Jose Banda, has done in Anaheim. 

Banda was born in Texas, the son of migrant farmworkers who had little formal education. His first language was Spanish.

When he was 2, the family moved to California, where he has stayed. His father began picking cotton at a ranch outside Bakersfield and eventually was promoted to supervisor. During breaks and summers, Banda and his six siblings worked in the fields, too.
 
"We really learned the hard work ethic," he said.

His parents also taught him the value of education.

"My opportunities came from having caring teachers," he said.

He has raised scores in a largely Latino community (although the district is less than half the size of SPS and serves only K-6 students).   He seems to be respected by parents and labor partners (although the teachers union rep declined to comment for the story). 

From the story:

Banda also has encouraged parents to become more engaged, in part by offering an eight-week course on how best to advocate for their children. More than 1,500 parents have gone through the program, designed by the Parent Institute for Quality Education.

The effort has led to more vocal parents. Before Banda arrived, School Board member Blumberg said, "At times I felt the district office had this big old bubble around it. The community didn't come in, stakeholders didn't come in."

Now, they do. And sometimes, they complain.

Banda has made it clear he's willing to listen. Last year, for example, scores of parents asked to expand a small Spanish/English immersion program.

"We as a board would probably have said there was no way," Blumberg said, noting budget constraints. "But he found a way." Mostly it was by juggling teachers and principals at key schools.

Considering the size of his district, that is a huge number of parents who stepped up to take the parent education course.  

His district passed a bond measure in 2010 and he managed to win the support of Disney (Anaheim is where Disneyland is located). 

Interesting, though, that he is in a conservative area and the articles says the local paper there barely covers the district.   Welcome to Seattle, we're different.


21 comments:

Charlie Mas said...

It occurs to me that Mr. Banda has been working in Orange County, that hotbed of radical Republicanism.

Think of all of the comments you have ever read on the Seattle Times web site that say things like:

"I'm not going to approve any more school levies! Not one more dime for those people until they stop wasting the money they already get!"

Now imagine that is the view of the majority of the voters in your district. And this guy got a school levy passed there.

That tells me that he probably runs a very lean organization. The district's budget looks like about 6% of total expenditure is on general administration.

The budget document is a whopper. Among the details I found that they didn't pay any employees to go away this year. It's a very strong positive sign for me. No severance was paid. Ah! If only Seattle could say the same.

Charlie Mas said...

The math textbooks used in Anaheim are enVision Math by Pearson. Lake Washington School District also uses it.

According to Pearson's web site:

"enVisionMATH California is built on a strong research base and authored by the nation's top math experts and educators.

enVisionMATH California is centered around interactive and visual learning and differentiated instruction to address the specific needs of all student populations whether they be on level, struggling or at-risk learners, the gifted and talented, those with learning disabilities, or the 25% of California's children who are English learners and challenged to master math and other subject content at the same time they are becoming proficient in English.
"

They don't come right out and say it (everyone is too smart for that these days), but enVision Math looks kinda fuzzy to me. It's very big on manipulatives and visuals, and not so big on equations. The awkward part of this is that they first make the work instinctive and then they ask kids "How do you know?", to which the answer is generally, "I just know" or "There it is".

I will say that the enVision Math offers a lot of specific support for ELL students which might make it a good choice for a majority bilingual district. Just because it was the right choice in Anaheim doesn't mean that it would be the right choice in Seattle.

Maureen said...

Does anyone know which schools the candidates are touring? Have the schools been notified in advance and will staff and family reps from those schools interact with the candidates?

Melissa Westbrook said...

I learned that Banda toured Beacon HIll, Mercer and Ballard. I don't know if that schedule will stay the same for the other two candidates.

I doubt that they told anyone but the principal and staff as they likely don't want a lot of people around who might ask questions and, to their mind, disrupt the process.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I learned that Banda toured Beacon HIll, Mercer and Ballard. I don't know if that schedule will stay the same for the other two candidates.

I doubt that they told anyone but the principal and staff as they likely don't want a lot of people around who might ask questions and, to their mind, disrupt the process.

Anonymous said...

I will say that the enVision Math offers a lot of specific support for ELL students which might make it a good choice for a majority bilingual district. Just because it was the right choice in Anaheim doesn't mean that it would be the right choice in Seattle.

Seattle doesn't need "a right choice". We have math books. The gadflies need to realize they don't run the district and can't second guess every decision.

-Woulda Coulda Shoulda

mirmac1 said...

Woulda Coulda Shoulda

Do you include Sara Morris, Liv Finne et al as gadflies? Are you telling me you a) agree with everything the district does for you kid and b) never try to influence what the district has done?

Didn't think so.

Anonymous said...

The "gadflys" are presently paying for math tutoring for their children outside the district to supplement the poor math curriculum chosen by the seattle school district. The "gadflys" would like to see this changed for the benefit of all students in the district.

-Gadfly

Patrick said...

Shoulda Woulda, the District administration needs to realize that they have jobs for the students, not for the administration or their best friends.

Patrick said...
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Patrick said...
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Po3 said...

Glaring to me is Mr. Banda's lack of 7-12 experience. He only has half the picture.

He would be a great addition to SPS, first by replacing two Education Directors and implementing his ELL expertise and then by helping get a new math curriculum district-wide.

But I just do not see him as the SPS super at this point in his career.

Anonymous said...

Seems like a nice, earnest guy and love the bilingual ability.

But, also looks like he is a little too nice to deal w/ Seattle's loud voices. Just a gut reaction. I guess this ties in w/ Noel Treat leaving too. As "Burb" posted in the comments after the Seattle Times story, who wants to deal w/ demanding emails like this one from Sara Morris/Alliance/Kormo/Our Schools Coalition. I mean cmon. People think this blog is annoying? Phhhht. If I were a superintendent or deputy super and saw how demanding and imperious these stakeholders are, I'd run. Fast. Just like Treat just did.

DistrictWatcher

Anonymous said...
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Disgusted said...

"The "gadflys" are presently paying for math tutoring for their children outside the district to supplement the poor math curriculum chosen by the seattle school district. The "gadflys" would like to see this changed for the benefit of all students in the district. "

Been there.

Anonymous said...

reposting for anon b/c it was unsigned
Anonymous said...
Actually, most of his experience prior to coming to Anaheim was secondary. Many folks in Anaheim thought he wasn't a good fit because of his lack of elementary experience. Now he has both and can use his expertise in elementary to set the foundation for future success for students pre-K though 12, and then college and beyond.

4/24/12 11:47 AM

-sps parent

Po3 said...

-sps parent-

I stand corrected; it was not clear to me that Banda has 9-12 experience

Personally I like everything I have read about Enoch so far. Which probably means that he won't get the job. (LOL)

anon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mirmac1 said...

Here is the Shadow School Board (gadflies) in my book:

Tim Burgess
Shannon Campion
Mary Jean Ryan
Chris Korsmo
Sara Morris
Holly Miller, and

Lizanne Lyons, consultant

The latter is a city bureaucrat cum consultant who feels free to shape the district into the (future) mayor's fiefdom.

We'll see about that.

Jan said...

Alas, Charlie my computer threw up and quit when I tried to download the enVision brochure -- so I am commenting "blind" here -- but I am wondering about your comment: "enVision Math looks kinda fuzzy to me. It's very big on manipulatives and visuals, and not so big on equations."

Not all math with manipulatives is fuzzy (in fact, Singapore uses a lot of manipulatives in its early years, or at least it did when I looked into it a decade or so ago)-- and it can be very effective with kids who are not ready to think in abstract symbols (also the reason some kids learn to read later). But there is a big difference between using manipulatives (and trying to get kids to articulate what they are doing) and fuzzy "figure it out for yourself, no algorhythm will ever pass our lips" math. While you certainly can use manipulatives in discovery math, not all "tangible" math is discovery based. In good manipulative systems, concepts are pursued to the point of mastery, and manipulatives are replaced eventually by increased reliance on written symbols (and standard algorhythms!) -- but in a K through 6 system -- you wouldn't necessarily see how all that might play out -- because you don't have all the upper grades.

I would be curious to know what Lake Washington thinks of the enVision materials (and what their kids then use for the upper grades).

Anonymous said...

We have a very privileged school board. I hope he's got the confidence and courage to stand up to it.

n...