Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Upcoming Work Session and Operations Committee Meetings

I finally had the opportunity to look over the Work Session presentation on "Resource Stewardship" and "LEAN."

I don't really like PowerPoint presentations and understand that they are general outlines with the presenter to fill the points.  But I found this a confusing presentation.

One, I felt there was a lot of filler.  I am big on getting to the point so explaining that improving processes would help with both the bottom line and customer service.

Two, page 5 says there was a School Leader Survey in 2015.   How did staff get this done less than two weeks into the new year?  If  this was truly done in 2015, then kudos to them.  But another issue on the same page is what do these colors mean?  I know red is probably bad but again, not clear.

Then there's the issue of LEAN.  Page 6 says "Define Value..from a Customer Perspective!."  That may work for business but if you ask a parent what "value" from their child's school may mean from their perspective, you'll get a lot of answers.  (Ask a taxpayer - who is footing the bill - and you'll get even more.)

Page 12 talks about Enrollment and "tuition billing."  Again, I am unsure what they are talking about here.  Is that kindergarten tuition?  I have to assume so.  The number of steps they reduced is great and they say they "increased funding by $560K."  That really begs the question of how?  Did this process increase the funding or did more students enroll?  Or did they save money for the department?

Page 13 was also interesting because the contrast presented were two photos of the Enrollment Office being cleaned up.

The last page was a push for LEAN without saying anything about costs.  Is the district going to invest dollars in this effort or is it just a new way of doing things that senior staff already know how to implement?

If anyone attends, please let us know about what you hear.

The Operations Committee meeting is Thursday afternoon and here's the agenda.

There are a couple of BEX updates and then several enrollment issues.

- Amendment to the Student Assignment Plan for South Shore Pre-K enrollment (M. Garmoe)
- Amendment to the Student Assignment Plan for Leschi Elementary blended model
for 2015-16 (M. Garmoe) 

Hmm, the South Shore pre-K enrollment is changing?  Just after the City preschool plan passed?  No one should be surprised.  

There are also these items:

- 3130SP, Superintendent’s Procedures for Student Assignment (C. Toner)
- Bell Times Analysis Task Force update (P. McEvoy)

Now, on the Superintendent procedures for student assignment, I'm a little surprised as she's the Director of Early Learning.  But the Board voted to allow the first City preschool in Bailey-Gatzert this Spring so maybe there are adjustments to be made there.


Anonymous said...

Part of lean is 5S which includes a decluttering and organization steps.

5S: Sort, Straighten, Shine, Standardize and Sustain


Po3 said...

Lean expenditures or restore cut teachers in the classroom.

Lean expenditures or text books.

What should be the priority?

Anonymous said...

Honestly, you could find everything you need to know about lean on wikiapedia. A lot of it is just common sense. There's also the book Lean for Dummies which is a great resource.


Melissa Westbrook said...

HP, do you think the Board has even checked?

NO1B said...

Looks like we're seeing movement around the city's prek program and a MOU is NOT in place.

Sigh said...

Our schools and classrooms have been LEAN for years and we have 27 students in K classes.

I don't get it.

NO1B said...

The city's prek program will impact SPS's operations. For starters- enrollment, Teaching and Learning, Facilities, Data and Assessment etc. Does the city expect SPS to collect funding from the city's prek program and figure-out sliding scales etc? This will add work to the district Budget's department.

District officials(facilities)have already put-in countless hours on the city's prek program and I've not seen that the district has been financially compensated for administrative fees.

IB and other programs are not getting funded and the district must insist that they get reimbursed from the city.

What has Nyland have to say on this issue?

Anonymous said...

What needs to be leaned out is JSCEE. You can hire a big consultant to come it and run lean or you can send a couple people out to be trained and put them in charge. Boeing used to have senseis brought in from Japan to help with their lean efforts but other companies like Honeywell have done it on their own. Virginia Mason did it on their own.

A lean program for the schools would ideally address the differences in procedures at each school. Our athletic director said that every school is different for PE credits, etc.


Ann D said...

Virginia Mason Hospital is a leader in LEAN management approach applied to a healthcare setting. While healthcare is also a business, it also has a lot of public interactions and, based on my experiences there, it has done a good job using LEAN.

LEAN is about decentralizing decision-making and empowering staff to make changes. If there is a problem with a new butterfly needle or the wait times for mammograms is taking too long, they have a culture that promotes individuals at every level helping to initiate change and improvements.

It might be a good solution for Seattle Schools, where there seems to be an entrenched attitude of "not my problem, I just work here". So, in use it might look like the high school English teacher who is frustrated that halfway through the school year they are told to stop making photocopies might instead work with building staff to come up with a plan that uses less photocopying (maybe purchasing more hard copies of material), shifts lesson plans, reduces non-essential printouts and copies to what is required.

That said, as my mother is an organizational change and appreciative inquiry consultant who has studied LEAN/Six Sigma, change management is costly and without management truly embracing the work required, it is just an exercise in futility. Also, I'm not sure how or why LEAN is suddenly being introduced as it would seem to be part of the strategic plan for the district -- it is that big an initiative.

It is all well and good to want to initiate change but given the lack of vision and transparency over what and why LEAN is showing up now for Seattle Schools I would assume that it is just a waste of time and money. If we had a superintendent who was going to be with us longer and who had a background in LEAN then maybe but Dr Nyland has already said he intends to be a short-timer.

PS - anyone from Seattle Schools reading this, I'm happy to arrange a consult with my mom who also has a background as an educator.

Ann D said...

It appears that the LEAN initiative included the hiring of Bill Echeverria in May 2014, as Director of Continuous Improvement. Mr Echeverria has a background in LEAN/Six Sigma.

From an Aug 2014 memo to principals about school staffing levels:

"Please know that Bill Echeverria, Director of Continuous Improvement, is redesigning the staffing adjustment process for 2015-16 using LEAN strategies
to further improve the process."

mirmac1 said...

Yes Ann D. And Guillermo has been under the radar. He reports directly to Wright (who is of course not really a business mastermind).

If LEAN means driving more decisions out to the buildings, then I am concerned. I had a Board member tells me that allocation of restricted-use funds is a BLT decision. Huh? Compliance with the law is up for debate at BLT meetings where, I will bet yo,u not one person knows the WACs and CFRs?!

If LEAN means building get to decide whether serving SpEd, FRL or ELL fits their model - well then we are on the downward slide of the continuous roller coaster that is our district's method and madness.

Anonymous said...

I don't follow all of mirmac1's acronym's, but based on our limited thus far discussions with school leadership and sped, I would be very concerned with them having more decision making power since they (at least at one school), appear to have no idea how the law is written.

Does anyone have any new info about pre-K at B-G? I saw on the SPS website it is expected to open next Tuesday. I am curious as to what the day is going to look like as well as the level of interest it has received so far, especially given there is no before/after care available.

NE parent

Huh? said...

Considering the Gates grant, which was used to establish prek at B-G, was approved by the board a few weeks ago, I'm finding it interesting that the B-G prek is about ready to open.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, Huh, the district can truly get things done when they want to.

As I mentioned previously, the enrollment plan is being discussed at today's Operations Ctm meeting and there are two items on it related to preschool. That Early Learning's Cashel Toner is talking about "student assignment" is a tip-off that's it's pre-K.

Lynn said...

I sent Ms. Toner and enrollment services an email with some questions about the recent changes to the Superintendent's enrollment procedures.

The updated procedures say this (on page 37): General Education preschool student (sic) are continued into kindergarten at the same school. Does this mean that Bailey Gatzert becomes their designated school for kindergarten - even if they don't live in the attendance area? Or do preschool students from outside the attendance area now have two guaranteed kindergarten seats - at Bailey Gatzert and at their attendance area school? If Gatzert becomes their designated school, will they be provided transportation for kindergarten in the 2015-16 school year if they choose to continue at the school?

This last minute change was more sloppy work by Early Learning.

mirmac1 said...


Thank you for pointing that out. If, say, Madison Park PreK are shipped to BG PreK for the desired demographic (to fit the latest theoretical model), then does our day-late, dollar-short board realize that by rubberstamping (much like the staff-constructed "Strategic Plan"), does that mean that SPS is obliged to pay more for more busing? I ask because there is no end to whining about cost for SpEd busing costs. Of course some downtown think its apples to oranges but it's really apples to "how 'bout them apples" (read IDEA).