Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Contempt for Policy - Annual 2090 Edition

There is a school board policy, 2090, titled "Program Evaluation & Assessment". It is, of course, about program evaluation. I encourage you to read it - it's only one page long and written in fairly simple language.

The policy requires an annual report. Here is the actual policy language:
"The Superintendent shall prepare an annual report which reflects the degree to which district goals and objectives related to the instructional program have been accomplished."
Pretty straightforward - evaluate the instructional programs to determine if they are accomplishing their goals. Instructional programs include each school's general education program, each option school, language immersion programs, International Education programs, Special Education programs, Spectrum, APP, A.L.O.s, the Skills Center, bilingual education, Biligual Orientation Centers, and anything else that you could identify as an instructional program.

Each year the staff puts together their report, as required by the policy, and each year it utterly fails to even address the instructional programs. Instead, the annual report is all about assessments. Here is this year's annual report to be presented at tonight's board meeting. The policy does not require an annual report on assessments; it requires an annual report on programs. You would think that the Board - or at least one Board member - would ask for the report required in the policy but, shock, not one of them ever does.

This is yet another example of how everyone in the District Leadership conspires to ignore policy.


Jon said...

Wow, that is dismal. Does the board really get fooled every time by being shown this kind of Powerpoint eye candy? What do they think, "Clearly, someone put a lot of time into this, and there's some pretty images, so it must be okay?" Don't they check to see if the content matches what it is supposed to?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Charlie has hung onto this issue like a dog with a bone and he's right.

I am baffled why the Board doesn't - for once - say "this isn't good enough."

But when you let people get away with this kind of stuff, over and over, what do you expect?

Anonymous said...

"This is yet another example of how everyone in the District Leadership conspires to ignore policy."

And, I'd add, how they conspire to ignore accountability. It's harder to hold people accountable for programs if there are no data to show programs aren't working.


hierospace said...

Are there any published district goals for each of these programs? I know where to find school and overall district goals but I've never seen it by program. I'm also curious if the summary data from past assessments (by program) that should have been in this report is publicly available. Seems to me it would be straightforward to generate and publish what should have been in the report if they are. This seems a necessary step to get to the most important part of the policy, which is for the district to "adjust its instructional program if student performance...indicates the district's students need assistance in identified areas."

Melissa Westbrook said...

Board meeting - all assessment talk, no program reviews.

Not one. No explanation. No questions from Board.

Anonymous said...

After reading this and Melissa's report on the board meeting tonight, I'm suddenly fantasizing about running for the board just to push on the policy questions.

I'm sure it'll pass...


suep. said...

everyone in the District Leadership conspires to ignore policy.

That's not true, Charlie. And when you paint everyone with the same negative brush, you potentially undermine the efforts of those who are trying to do the right thing.

Melissa, yes the Board did ask questions. I also requested a Work Session for this report.

flibber - the help would be welcome!

Charlie Mas said...

Sue, I will be grateful when I see the policy followed.

Charlie Mas said...

hierospace asked:
"Are there any published district goals for each of these programs?"

No. The policy requires the Board to set the goals and objectives for each instructional program, but the Board has failed in that duty. I suspect that the Board doesn't demand the required report from the superintendent because it would expose the fact that the Board has not done their duty under the policy. So the Board keeps quiet about the superintendent's failure to keep their own failure out of the spotlight.

Charlie Mas said...

This report was previewed in the Curriculum and Instructional Policy Committee. That was the time and place to ask the questions and to demand a report that is responsive to the policy requirements.

Charlie Mas said...

Last year, after the usual non-compliant report, I wrote to the Board about it and, to my delight, the next C & I Committee agenda included a discussion of the report. When the committee got to that point in the meeting, the Board director who put the item on the agenda couldn't remember why. When reminded, she asked Mr. Tolley about the absence of any program evaluations in the program evaluation report. He responded that the annual school reports did most of the work. He acknowledged that there were no evaluations for a number of programs but reminded the Board that the absence of these evaluations had been previously noted and that they were already promised. Specifically, he committed to doing evaluations of the advanced learning programs for the 2014 report.

Well, here's the 2014 report and there are still no evaluations of the advanced learning programs. I have to wonder how Ms Heath evaluates the performance of the program manager without having an evaluation of the program.

Melissa Westbrook said...

As I said,NO questions were asked about the program reports. I did not say no questions were asked at all.

Anonymous said...

@ Sue P,

Can you please clarify what you hope to accomplish via the work session on program evaluation and assessment? Hasn't the Board already accepted the non-report posing as report?

Thank you, though, for at least being interested in the issue. I'm sure there are a number of other parents/community members who would be happy to talk with you further about this, and you may find it helpful to get their insights prior to the requested work session. It might bolster your case to be able to say you met with a group of parents deeply concerned about this... Maybe you could post an invite here for a community meeting, if you're interested? Strength in numbers...


Anonymous said...

@ flibber,

Do it! I had the same thought, but too many skeletons to make it viable. :)


Charlie Mas said...

I have reviewed the video of the meeting. Not one Board director made any mention of the absence of any program evaluation in the program evaluation report. Not one. Director Peters did ask four questions, but none of them were about program evaluation; they were all about student assessment.

Anonymous said...

Skelly -

Hmm. I don't know if I have skeletons or not.

Suep - I will muse on it for a while.