The morning session was focused on relationship and trust. The afternoon session was focused on setting the Board's priorities for the coming school year. I will spare you news of the morning, though it did feature a number of belly laughs about transparency, keeping commitments, and such. I may have actually barked out "HA!" at one point. The afternoon was the business part of the meeting.
It began with a review of the previous year's priorities and a status report on them. I fell in love with Director Smith-Blum all over again when she called bullshit on Michael Tolley's report on the status of the Equitable Access Framework. She made it clear - in no uncertain terms - that the Board had asked for and still wanted a systematic plan for program placement. Mr. Tolley, unfortunately, had no response to that.
You'll see them soon enough on the minutes of the meeting, but I'll tell you now that the top three priorities for the coming year - the initiatives that will be on the Superintendent and Board evaluation - will be:
- Implementation of Common Core
- Budget Development
- Capacity Management
These are followed other priorities that will not be part of the evaluation. They are, in order of importance:
- MTSS Rollout
- Equitable Access Framework
- PG&E Implementation
These, in turn, are followed by:
- School Family and Community Partnership Plan
- Student Discipline
- Legislative Plan
- Risk Management
The implementation of the Common Core, of course, is a very big part of the MTSS rollout since the common core will form the Tier 1 curriculum for MTSS. Likewise, the Equitable Access Framework is tied to the capacity management since they both deal with program placement. P G & E, in turn, is related to the budget since the new collective bargaining agreement drives the budget.
I will tell you that there was almost no discussion of the academic achievement gap, no discussion of equity other than as part of the Equitable Access Framework, and no mention of the crisis in African-American student achievement. These were not referenced at any time during the retreat. They did not come up during the discussion of the District's priorities for the year. None of the people who were at the Horace Mann African American Community Task Force - Mr. Banda, Mr. Tolley, Ms McIvoy, and Mr. Herndon - mentioned it at all. The smooth and timely implementation of the BEX IV construction schedule, however, was included as part of the Capacity Management priority.