Sunday, February 09, 2014

Seattle Schools This Week + Updates

From SPS Communications:
Superintendent Banda made several principal appointments Feb. 7 , including:

George Breland, Cleveland High School;
Maria Breuder, McGilvra Elementary School;
Dedy Fauntleroy, John Stanford International School;
Robert Gary, Madison Middle School;
Jo Lute-Ervin, Kimball Elementary School;
Mary McDaniels, Madrona K-8; and
Dan Sanger, Bryant Elementary School.

I see a couple of principals who seem to rotate every couple of years.  I'll note in reading through the bios that some note that parents and teachers at some schools were part of the selection committee but not at others.  The district seems to be depending on "surveys" but don't say what the survey was specifically about in the first place.  Again, why is that?

From Superintendent Banda:
I am pleased to announce that Carmen Rahm has been appointed Executive Director of Technology.

For the past 10 years, Mr. Rahm has been Assistant Vice President for Information Technology at Central Washington University. He established the strategic vision for the technology department and then ensured that plan was implemented. 

Mr. Rahm’s first day will be Feb. 10.

Monday, Feb. 10th
Curriculum and Instruction Policy Committee Meeting, 4:30-6:30 pm.  Agenda

Discussion includes Creative Approach Schools update, Policy 3130 (Student Assignment), Math Adoption Progress Report

Wednesday, Feb. 12th
Executive Committee Meeting, 8:30 am- 10:00 am. Agenda.  This is always the most bare-boned agenda so not a lot to see here but they will be setting the agenda for their March 8th Board retreat, their first since the Alliance has stopped "guiding" them. 

Oversight Work Session: Capital Programs and Planning from 4- 5:30 pm.  Agenda.
It's a hugely ambitious agenda to churn thru but lots of info here to be gleaned.  It would be nice if the Board actually asked some hard questions here. 

Work Session: High School Graduation Requirements from 5:30-7 pm.  Agenda
Well, hallelujah, they are considering removing the Culiminating Project Graduation requirement starting with the class of 2015.  I have long thought this ill-managed, ill-thought out and fairly useless.   Interesting slide on page 12 of the number of 2.0 GPA region waivers.  The following page is about the implications of the current policy:

•In some cases failing a class is more desirable
than passing a class–The E grade does not count against the student
based on the policy.
•Many students meet the requirement without a true 2.0 GPA
•Students can have a CORE GPA of 2.1 and still not graduate


Thursday, Feb. 13th

Advanced Learning Taskforce Meeting, 9:30 am, JSCEE rom 2776

Audit and Finance Committee Meeting, 4:30-6:30 pm.  No agenda yet available.

Operations Committee Meeting, 4:30-6:00pm.  No agenda yet available.

Oversight Work Session: Department of Technology Services, 6:30-8:00 pm Agenda
This could be informative as they will be reviewing the findings and recommendations of an independent review by the Center for Educational Leadership and Technology.

From the review, SPS tech problem in a nutshell:

The information and technology environment at SPS is a difficult environment to support. The lack of effective governance structures, standard infrastructure components, business process re-engineering
skills by customers, and an integrated architecture, along with the presence of outdated infrastructure that is difficult to maintain, and the presence of silos of data enabled by autonomous business units, have all contributed to create this difficult environment. 


From the review:
Finding 2: Teaching and Learning
- Data to inform instructional decisions is cumbersome for users to obtain.
- Data is not easily accessible and not enough of it is available to users.

So we are now a "data-driven" district, finding and accumulating more and more data and yet  it is not accessible to those who need it most (and I'm going with teachers here).  Slide 11 is required reading. It applies to most areas of the district.

Telling fact from the presentation is that because the BEX IV need was greatest for capital buildings, the  Technology "ask" was about half. They then go on to explain a growing gap between funding and need. And they are right because the need - between Common Core needs and privacy needs (this is my own assessment, not theirs) - are HUGE.

But it is also noted in the Capital Programs and Planning Work Session presentation that our backlog of maintenance is also still HUGE.

So despite the need for better buildings and technology, we don't have the money. But we have the money for testing. We have the money for ever larger salaries for senior staff. The district has chosen to take on a huge expense in the Seattle Teacher Residency costs within the next 2-5 years.

And there you are. Priorities.

Friday, Feb. 14th
BEX Oversight Committee Meeting from 8:30 am- 10:30 am, JSCEE 2750

Saturday, Feb. 15th

Community Meeting with Director Blanford, 10 am to noon at the Douglass-Truth library
Community Meeting with Director Martin-Morris, 11 am to 1 pm at Montlake Branch library

13 comments:

Charlie Mas said...

A number of these principals were interim appointments made at the end of last year with the understanding that a decision about their permanent appointment would be decided halfway through this year. It appears that's what happened.

Charlie Mas said...

There are 294 other school districts in Washington State. Of those, only one other District, Bellevue, has a GPA graduation requirement.

Anonymous said...

Our principal was interim and then named as permanent principal. There was a survey but the District hasn't said how many families actually participated and won't. It seemed pretty pro forma to me. Close to a "phone in" approach. Nobody tried to reach out to families who aren't getting involved in school activities. The Education Director in our region acknowledged that this has been a flaw in the "community input" process for principal appointments.

Dropping out

Anonymous said...

There are some nonperformers or in best light controversial performers in that bunch. What gives?

DistrictWatcher

Mark Ahlness said...

SPS technology has been outrageously underfunded for at least the last 20 years. Now everybody in the department is scurrying around because the Super has let it be known we are now a data driven district (oh please). Test every student multiple times in every subject, every year, on computers, of course. I was on the BEX IV tech planning committee and resigned in disgust after listening to this dreck...

Black Hole said...

Mark,

Check the 2013-2014 budget. Techology was funded at $42M. The dollars come from BTA II- levy dollars.

Olympia is talking about linking data to LAP dollars and student achievement.

The quest for data is a daunting task for the district and will only get worse.

Banda supports linking student test scores to teacher evaluations.

I can understand why you resigned in disgust. M prediction- it is only going to get worse.

Black Hole said...

Clarification and page 61:

http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/school%20board/12-13%20agendas/072413agenda/20130724_Budget_FY14_Revised.pdf

The district spent > $41M on technology between 2005-2012

Charlie Mas said...

It seems that the "interim" appointment thing was a way to foist an unpopular principal on a school. The school community is told that it's just on a trial basis, so they don't protest the choice. Then, if the principal can go five months without causing a scandal the appointment is confirmed without any public input.

Why do some schools get to participate actively in the selection of their principal and some schools don't? What is the process and what efforts are made to see that it is equitable?

Harman said...

The other part of the story is the principals who were made "interim" appointments but who were not made permanent appointments(some were not the choice of building search committees who Banda summarily ignored),

Do some more checking and you'll find who they were.

Building climate surveys were done a month ago and this seems to be the result of that. Some got VERY low marks.

Guess that's what can happen when you decide to completely ignore the local stakeholders.

mirmac1 said...

Yeah, I was wondering about the Broadview-Thomsen situation. I'm sure Tolley pushed the RBHS AP wash-out to B-T.

DollyV said...

Yes... and then you keep the person who you've basically fired (probaby for good reason) around for the last half of the year? That NEVER works.

Anonymous said...

But just to be clear, the whole bunch isn't bad. Some schools may be pleased to see their interim principal get permanent status. I believe folks at my son's elementary have been very happy with our new leadership--and my son, upon hearing the news, said "Awesome. Too bad I'm graduating."

HIMSmom

mirmac1 said...

HIMSmom, I agree with respect to Madison. I had serious misgivings but have been pleasantly surprised.