Tuesday, July 08, 2014

The History of Board Priorities

At the most recent Board Retreat, the Deputy Superintendent, Charles Wright, told the Board, in a rather elaborate fashion, that if the Board added a bell time switch to the list of Board priorities, it would have a severe impact on the staff's work. Nearly every department would bear part of the burden and nearly every current initiative would be delayed. The claims were an obvious exaggeration.

I contend that the addition of a bell time switch to the list of Board priorities would, in fact, have no impact because the staff doesn't work on Board priorities. As evidence, I present the Board priorities for the past five years:

  1. Special Education and Bilingual
  2. College-readiness
  3. Data and Assessments
  4. School Performance Framework
  5. Student Assignment
  6. Leadership Development
All six of these items came from the staff and were included in the Strategic Plan. This was a Board that was led by the superintendent.


  1. Audit Response
  2. Budget Development
  3. Policy Overhaul
The first two of these items are things that the staff would be working on anyway and reflect the exposure of a financial scandal - attributable in part to a Board that was led by the superintendent. The third, policy overhaul, is a Board job which remains incomplete to this day and already had staff dedicated to it and was already a staff duty. There is not much in the way of additional work for staff here.


  1. Instructional Materials Waiver Process
  2. Program Access (otherwise known as Access Framework)
  3. Bell Times
Of these three items, work was only done on one of them, the waivers. That work was done by Director DeBell himself and carried forward over the staff's obstructions. No work was done on the other two Board initiatives. Note that the bell time switch was assigned to staff three years ago.


  1. Bringing Teacher & Principal Profession Growth & Evaluations (PG&E) to scale
  2. Development of Equitable Access Framework: Phase I
  3. Development & Implementation of Student Support Strategies/MTSS
  4. Replacement Strategic Plan
Note that three of the four items on this list come from staff and are things that they were working on anyway. The only item on the list that came from the Board is Equitable Access Framework. It is a carry-over from the previous year. There never was any work done on this initiative and there is no work being done on it now.


  1. Common Core State Standards
  2. Budget
  3. Capacity Management
  4. Multi-Tier Systems of Support
  5. Equitable Access Framework
  6. Professional Growth & Evaluation
Note that five of the six items on this list come from staff and are things that they were working on anyway. The only item on the list that came from the Board is Equitable Access Framework. This is the third year that the Board has made this little job a priority yet there never was any work done on this initiative and there is no work being done on it now.

It is abundantly clear, from the evidence, that Board priorities do not add any work to the staff's load because they are either work that the staff was doing anyway or work that the staff simply neglects.

1 comment:

Charlie Mas said...

Here's something that you might have noticed: the priorities from 2012 were repeated in 2013. That's because they weren't done in 2012.