Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Oversight Work Session: Teaching and Learning

Tomorrow evening the School Board will conduct an oversight work session to review the operation of the District's Teaching and Learning. Finally. This will be the Board's first review of Teaching and Learning EVER.



This is one of the final direct consequences of the mismanagement of the District under the Sundquist Board and Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson. It has been a long time coming.

After the State Auditor's Office took the District leadership to task for their horrendous performance. In particular, the SAO called out the Board for their total failure to fulfill their statutory duties to oversee management and to enforce policy. The Board members had, until then, specifically denied that they had these duties.

In response, the Board stepped up their effort to revise policy and, in particular, the Board's duties. This led to the development of Board Policy 1005 Responsibilities & Authority of the Board, and Board Policy 1010, Board Oversight of Management.

The latter of these policies calls for Board review of district operations with a review of each department at least every three years (originally every two years). This policy was originally adopted on June 1, 2011, but was amended in February of this year to change the review frequency from every two years to every three years.


Per the policy, the oversight areas that shall report to the Board through oversight work sessions are:

  • Teaching & Learning
  • Finance (will report annually)
  • Human Resources (will report annually)
  • Athletics
  • Nutrition Services
  • Coordinated Health, Safety & Security
  • Transportation
  • Facilities
  • Capital Programs & Planning
  • Distribution Services
  • Technology Services
  • Enrollment & Planning
  • Internal Audit
  • Strategic Partnerships & Communications
  • Legal
  • Risk Management
Since June 2011, this is the first oversight work session for Teaching and Learning. You remember Teaching and Learning - the core mission of the District. I'm glad that the Board finally remembered Teaching and Learning.

Per the policy, each oversight presentation shall at a minimum address (I have emphasized a few):
  • The functions of the department or program area and relationship to academic outcomes
  • Organizational structure, names and qualifications of key personnel
  • Budget and staffing overview
  • Evidence of key internal controls
  • Department goals & objectives and major initiatives in process and linkage to strategic plan goals
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) with the latest data available
  • Department performance in meeting its goals and objectives
  • Major information technology systems necessary to this function
  • Key risks and opportunities associated with this function
  • List of major outside service contracts, with brief description of each
  • Response to Board questions submitted in advance
In particular, I'm looking forward to some discussion of the assessment of performance of Teaching and Learning in math, literacy, science, ELL, Special Education, Advanced Learning, international education, and alternative education.

Let's see how the Board exercises their duty to oversee management.

12 comments:

Melissa Westbrook said...

So I checked and the agenda is there for this Work Session but not the presentation. I abhor staff's giving the Board the presentation the day or (or the first minute of) the Work Session. They need time to read it thru, ponder it and draw up questions and to do it every - single - time on the fly is not good.

I also note that the agenda has two places (2!) to describe "stakeholders." It looks like a long presentation for an hour and half and maybe there just won't be time for many Board questions. Funny how that works out.

The Strategic Plan Work Session, also scheduled for tomorrow, does not have a presentation attached to the agenda.

Anonymous said...

Melissa

These slippages in good practice are occuring more, recently, not less. Don't you agree? It seems like everybody is very disorganized. What would Mr. Banda say to this, I wonder.

Parent

Charlie Mas said...

I'm reviewing the presentation and some things are jumping out at me.

First, all of the objectives are in the future. It's all about what they are going to do. They have no past or current objectives? They can't describe anything they have done?

How is it that the tutoring companies don't appear as part of their major contracts?

Why are Advanced Learning and Native American Education under one department while ELL and Special Ed are under another, international education is in a third, and no one has authority over alternative education?

The slide called "Our Successes" is a testament to failure.

On the whole, the entire thing smells like bullshit.

Anonymous said...

No special ed key performance indicators? These people ought to get out more! This is the most important topic of any for families!

Parent

Charlie Mas said...

I'm not sure what it means, but the Presentation title says "Part 1".

Perhaps ELL, special ed, Advanced learning, and all of that stuff that's missing will be in Part 2.

Charlie Mas said...

I notice that the Alliance for Education is listed as a key external stakeholder.

Why?

What qualifies someone as a key external stakeholder and what does it get for them?

Charlie Mas said...

Here are the Department Objectives as listed in the presentation:

Implementation of Common Core State Standards
Development of Teaching and Learning Framework
Race to the Top: Road Map Project
Development of Equitable Access Framework: Phase 1
Bringing Teacher and Principal Professional Growth & Evaluation to Scale
Expansion of Skills Center
Implementation of IB @ Rainer Beach

Some of these I recognize as Board priorities, such as the equitable access framework (not just phase I), the PGE, and the Common Core. Others a mystery. Where is implementation of MTSS? How is that not here? How did IB at Rainier Beach become a priority? Isn't that just a curricular focus at a school? What the hell is a Teaching and Learning Framework? If we need one, then how could we not already have one?

mirmac1 said...

With the exception of the seventh objective, I'd say that sounds like the A4E agenda, because our superintendent is so spineless, he will abandon his experience and know-how to the monied $$$ in this town.

My bad for thinking anything otherwise.

Nevertheless, these "external stakeholders" who seem to (think they) carry more weight than those of us who actually have skin in the game, they will continue their ham-handed, cliquish ways.

What a waste of 2.75 years. Isn't that the average tenure of a big-city superintendent with no gumption or vision?

Melissa Westbrook said...

"What qualifies someone as a key external stakeholder and what does it get for them?"

Money.

Rick Burke said...

Thanks for the scoop on this one.

But, can somebody explain this to me:
Slide 7 - Org chart: shows ~90 FTEs for Teaching and Learning, including Exec directors.
Slide 8 - Budget/Staffing: Shows a total of 634.49 FTEs, with MOST of these FTEs lumped into the "Other T&L Departments" bucket of 496.52 FTEs. The footnote for this bucket shows that it includes Exec Directors and other folks on the org-chart. Big discrepancy there...

Really, what's the ACTUAL staff-loaded org chart, how many FTE's are under each director? How many FTE's don't report to anybody?

Also something to be concerned about: Of the $43M budget allocated to this aggregate "Other" line item, it shows only 3% of the budget remains. But wait, if you run the actual calculation, it's more like 5% remaining. Perhaps this was a calculator-based math error? Regardless, is the biggest portion of this budget already overspent?

Hopefully, this will be explained tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Melissa - Looking at the oversight policy (1010), it says that the presentation materials have to go to the board not less than 2 weeks prior to the meeting, so it looks like the Board is getting it with enough review time, just not the public....

Board wins again

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'm with Rick - not very clear.

And, why isn't Bob Vaughan mentioned for AL? And how/why did AL's budget go down by nearly a $1M from last year?

This presentation is incredibly dense for an hour and a half. I predict that either the Board won't get thru the whole thing OR the Board won't get to ask very many questions.