Or it seems like they want to be.
In the latest batch of public disclosure documents, it appears that Director DeBell did not, as he claims, sit around by himself during the holiday break in December writing up Policy 1620. He has said that Erinn Bennett, Board Office manager, and Holly Ferguson, SPS Governance, helped him shape it.
But he left out that he asked for guidance from both Don McAdams, consultant to the Board (going on 5 years now) and Karen Tollenaar Demorest, Vice President of Programs at the Alliance. Now why them and not say, other duly-elected Board members, is a question only he can answer.
It also seems the Alliance was not particularly happy about the superintendent search in an e-mail from the Alliance's Sara Morris to the "Our Schools" coalition on Feb 2, 2012:
Director DeBell shared some info yesterday. It does not exactly align with our expectations for a high quality search.
The OSC went on to share their thoughts with the Board a day later (partial) on their unhappiness with who will interview finalists:
In our view, this does not qualify as a list of "community representatives." The organizations listed below share the expectation and belief that the search process, as with all district business, be transparent and inclusive. The education ecosystem in SEattle is large and varied and it is impractical to think everyone can play a direct role. But the undersigned have collectively invested millions of dollars in SPS, directly served thousands of students, campaigned for levies and fought for policies with student interest at their heart. Given the long-standing partnerships these organizations have built with SPS, the omissions are bewildering. The Board imperils the success of the Superintendent search - and its own long-term success - by ignoring the perspective of teachers, direct service providers, advocacy groups, business leaders and philanthropists.
We will happily organize to collectively fill a mere one of those 20 slots. We look forward to your invitation.
So there. I see their point in some fashion. But there are many people who do not belong to any of these organizations who have, in their own small way, invested in schools, advocated and voted for levies, etc. Why does the dollar amount matter?
And, of course, it is quite amusing that they ask for just one seat because when the Alliance and LEV were told they could come and meet with the search consultants, well, Sara Morris and Jon Bridge went for the Alliance and as well, more than one LEV person showed up.
The Alliance seems to be the driving force in the Our Schools Coalition, continuing on from when they "started" it.
The OSC was developing its own list of superintendent candidates.
Also on their list of next steps was this one - "grassroots parent engagement." Look for that soon at a school near you.
After Dr. Enfield's State of the District speech on Nov. 16, 2011, they put out a sheet of their assessment of what was said. It included:
- staying consistent with your own motto - AGREE - "Attaching Gaps, Raising Expectations Everywhere (but look for that to go away when we have a new super)
- increase access to Spectrum and ensure consistency across the district. Spectrum (conceptually) is important to effectively prepare our students for college and life...but Spectrum does not exist in every school and even where it does exist, quality and rigor vary greatly. I wonder what drove that thought.
Last fall, we find - again - that the Alliance was not happy with the Board. This time it was the Board's choice of Survey Monkey to use for their survey last fall. Sara Morris said this:
I'm disappointed (and have expressed this to board members) they are utilizing a "Survey Monkey"-style online tool that is not statistically valid and will not produce objective research findings amongst a representative sample of public education stakeholders in Seattle.
I'm thinking she forgot that the Board had no money for a full-out poll.
In early January a number of OSC members wrote about having a work session. Included in the work was the following (partial):
- How to engage with the sup search (sic)?
- what are new/different ways to engage with School Board members?
- what/who are other groups/individuals we can genuinely engage in the coalition?
- should we set up an "Implementation status report" schedule that we ask the District to commit to? (or other formalized accountability mechanism(s)?
That last one is quite the head-scratcher. The rest of us get our "formalized accountability mechanism" through our votes for School Board members but I guess the OSC members feel they can ask the district to provide accountability to them on their terms. I guess it never hurts to ask.
The OSC is also are scheduling set-up of their own blog. Honestly - I can't wait.