Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Scope and Sequence, Alignment and Walk-Thru, Oh My

I have been to many, many Work Sessions.   This current one, Teach and Learning: Part One of Curriculum and Instruction, takes the cake.

A dense, voluminous presentation with more edu-speak than you can shake an eraser at.  Department head Shauna Heath is a master of this verbage.  Right now, the directors are struggling to get this verbage understood.  At one point she said they still needed to define "curriculum."  She also said this:
"We are systemitizing our systems to compare apples to apples."

I have no idea what she means but it sounds very busy.

Staff also had a comparison of FTE for their department compared to other districts - nationally and regionally - and Director DeBell asked about Bellevue.  It turns out for that particular slide (21 but you won't find the numbering because they stopped numbering the slides after 20) staff only looked at websites and did not call the districts themselves.  So our staff was making an visual assessment of another district's org chart and deciding for themselves what was or was not an FTE.   (It was stated that they did call for the slides that followed.)

I'll listen to more of the discussion now but my heart is sinking.  It's a LOT of top-heavy work (and they complained about lack of money) but I don't see how/when it trickles down to the students.

Folks, you will be somewhat happy with what followed which was close questioning by the directors, particularly Carr and Peaslee.  Carr, with her Boeing background, honed in about the presentation not having the detail she needs to understand their department (which is the point of this Work Session).  Peaslee asked, twice, if teachers were being asked what they need and Ms. Heath avoided answering the question again and again.

More to come.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

wow - look at Charlie's diary from Monday with this woman's name front and center ... just

AnotherEmpireBuildingBureaucrat

mirmac1 said...

It was 1 hr 45 min of central T&L trying to justify their existence' except they don't quite know whether what they do has any relevance to our kids. and if it did how would one measure it?

Jon said...

Good to see the board asking tough questions. I hope they follow up later to force the staff to provide answers to those questions.

It's always been easy for the staff to walk into a board meeting, throw up a confusing and poorly done presentation, avoid questions or promise to answer them later, and then never have any followup from the board. I hope we are about to see a change to that.

mirmac1 said...

Jon, I'd love to see that too. The questions ranged from basic (but necessary like How do you define academic assurances?) to grilling (Who's in charge and who's accountable?). I'd say the board was unimpressed.

Anonymous said...

I remember Jessica de Barros at MAP trainings back in the day. It was pretty clear she'd learned or figured out how to use excel really well, and it was really clear that she hadn't bothered or wasn't interested in really figuring out how data is most effectively managed. She was a great fit for MGJ's Reign of Worthless Spreadsheets. They could count stuff and they could measure stuff, but they sure couldn't figure out what was valuable and how to (pardon the CONsultant speak) grow what was valuable.
Maybe de Barros has a job in the Renton PSED bureaucracy for Shauna Heath ??
After a year to define what a stake holder is and a year to define what curriculum is and ... today's 3rd graders will have kids in school for

TheNextMathCurriculum

KG said...

Lack of money, I believe Sherry Carr work for one of the teo largest abusers whom do not pay taxes to this state.Oh of course Harry Martin Morris also. They both know this but continue to pretend they care about school children. They cannot handle the truth.

Charlie Mas said...

It would be really, really easy to get distracted by everything that Ms Heath and Mr. Tolley did wrong at this work session. It's a long list. But first and foremost we need to stay focused on the most critical conclusion:

The meeting was about management oversight for the Board. With the presentation, Mr. Tolley's remarks, Ms Heath's remarks, and the answers to all of the questions only one conclusion is possible:

There is absolutely no evidence of management of any kind.

Ms Heath - in her roundabout way - acknowledged that there are no program reviews, acknowledged that she has no metrics or benchmarks - no objective measurements - for assessing the effectiveness of her department, their continuing programs, their initiatives, their personnel, or anything else. She just meets frequently with her direct reports and asks them about their progress. She has no Key Performance Indicators. She has set no objectively measurable targets based on outcomes. She has nothing.

That's not management. I don't know what it is, but it isn't management.

Now, to be fair, Ms Heath joined the District in December. She can hardly be held responsible for the fact that there hasn't been a review of the quality, consistency, or efficacy of Spectrum programs since... well, ever. But she could have and should have openly and plainly acknowledged that fact and committed herself to a timetable to conduct one. Instead, she dodged questions with the most infuriating obfuscating and off-topic responses that I have EVER heard. And I've been going to Board meetings for twelve years. In a single hour and a half she won the all-time prize for talking crap. How I wish that there were an audio recording of the meeting because she has to be heard to be believed.

Director Peaslee asked her a simple yes-or-no question "Have you consulted with the teachers about the kind of Professional Development they think they need?" Ms Heath responded with a gordian knot of language that will never be unraveled. Director Peaslee asked her again: "But have you asked the teachers what kind of professional development they need?" and again the response was another mobius strip of talk, a shining and glorious ouroboros of non-response. I think Director Peaslee wanted to ask the question again but didn't because it would shame Ms Heath too much.

By the way, the answer is "No".

I'm going to ask about an audio recording of the work session. I hope there is one.

Melissa Westbrook said...

It was quite the Work Session.

mirmac1 said...

By all means, parents, make plans to attend Part II the third week of May. Particularly if you think I might at times overstate these things.....

Charlie Mas said...

I regret that I will be unable to attend, but there won't be a repeat performance by Ms Heath. Her department management has been overseen already. The oversight in May will focus on ELL, SpEd, and REA.