Monday, June 10, 2013

Board Evaluation Work Session

I am going to attempt to do some live blogging from the Board's Work Session to evaluate their work.

I had wonder how this might go and I already see some unfamiliar faces sitting in the Board waiting area (they look like consultants) and the facilitiator, Bob Ness, that the Alliance likes to use.

Quite by coincidence (I'm sure), the Alliance released some study they did on "effective" school boards.   I only read the executive summary but didn't see anything particularly new or striking in the work.

The meeting starts in a few minutes so let's see how this goes.

The consultants are from a firm on Mercer Island called Mercer Island Group.

Everyone is quite jovial.

But that seems to be changing when they see the scores they gave themselves on their self-evaluation.

On a scale of 1-4, with 2.55 being average, they come in about 2.7.

Worst one?  Is the Board working together effectively?  1.3.  And boy, they certainly don't believe someone else on the Board is doing what is expected in terms of building trust, focusing on policy, place the interests of children above all else, etc.

None came in at "exceeds expectations" or "outstanding."

Then there are the 8 cabinet members input.  Basically, they give the Board credit for effort, time, and passion as well as doing their homework.  But they find the Board dysfunctional and there are divisions.  They would like the Board to define "the role of the Board."

Both cabinet and Board feel there are trust issues within the Board.  Suggestions: "demonstrate accountability, start fresh, identify a unified purpose and work to understand and relate to each other."

But cabinet feels there are trust issues with Board and cabinet members.  Past indiscretions/problems make relationships difficult.

"Staff feels threatened by the Board."

Cabinet does not want to be surprised and wants the Board to speak with one voice.

There was overlap in both strengths and opportunities by both Board and cabinet.  One opportunity for the Board: find a balance between Regional advocacy & Big Picture Focus.

The cabinet and the Board both see and believe there are problems around morale and reputation (on both sides).

Enough Board members believe that some members of the Board and their actions hurt the work of the Superintendent.

The cabinet input shows staff feels threatened by the Board either through work load or even loss of job.  (I will say here that some of the comments by staff seem somewhat exaggerated for effect.  I think some of them know this would be public and may have thought it might help their cause.)

Luckily, everyone in kind of on the same page about how to go forward - work together, build trust and address division and find a unified purpose.

The Board member comments were that they appreciated the process this consultant group used.

5 comments:

mirmac1 said...

Question 1: who paid for the consultants?

seattle citizen said...

Gates.

Jon said...

This all sounds like whining to me. The staff doesn't want to be held accountable (for actions like closing schools in 2009 and then running out of capacity starting the next year). The staff feels threatened. They should. Central administration is not an employment program. The only purpose that bureaucracy serves is to help children by making it easier for teachers and principals to do their job. Staff only exists to help others. The moment they stop doing that, they should fear for their jobs.

Jon said...

Let me add that the standard evaluation for any staff member in district administration should be whether the salary would be better spent on another teacher. Is the work this person is doing having a better impact than having another teacher? No? Then that person is doing more harm than good.

Central administration is not a job program. Any salaried position in administration should be held to a high standard and, when they do not meet that standard, the budget reallocated to teaching.

Ed said...

Jon:

I agree but....are you kidding??

Shoulda, woulda, coulda......take at look at headquaters. Filled with cronies and "gravy train surfers". And below them (and virtually all of HR) are some really fine folks trying to make public education really work.

I agree with you and lets start today! Oh yeah.....they arent evaluated so we won't know who to start with. And 'old friends' are real comprehensive at evaluation time.

They are too busy undermining 'new' board members.