Sunday, April 26, 2015

Seattle Schools This Week

Tuesday, April 29th

This date sees two Work Sessions; both closed.  They run from 4:30-7:30 pm. 

I am a bit puzzled by these as the calendar notation has one about HR and is an open session and the other as a closed Executive Session.  But I went to the agenda and now both are notated as "Closed" sessions.  I thought an Executive Session was always closed any way and also why are both now closed?

The HR presentation is still linked. 

 Page 7 has a fun chart about "HR Turnaround: Theory of Change." (Which begs the question: is there ANY department in SPS that doesn't need to be overhauled?)  The chart says that for the next school year 80% of HR's change will be a "fix", 10% is "sustain" and 10% is "innovate."  Those numbers switch by 2017-2018.

Page 10 is about aligning with the Strategic Plan, Goal #1 which is equity.  Fun fact that I didn't know - SPS is partners with the Martinez Foundation (former Mariner great, Edgar Martinez's foundation) to help with finding a more diverse pool of teachers.

Page 12 sees a glaring grammatical error.
Its all about service to schools

Page 22 has another interesting fact I didn't know - the Superintendent's budget paid for new staff training for his customer service initiativeAs well, the Deputy Superintendent, Charles Wright, paid for LinkedIn account funding out his budget. 

Page 26 has the department's weaknesses.  One is Using multiple data systems causes a duplication of efforts and manual workaround.  Honestly, this has been an issue for years and I truly thought JSCEE had taken steps to correct having so many systems that did not interface.  I guess not.

Page 28 has a troubling list of Threats/Risks with one being Physical security of the department.  What?

Page 29 - re: Title IX issues,
Received commendation from OSPI OCR for our sexual harassment training
Decrease in investigation time from 200+ days to 82 days through in-depth case management and legal counsel
Page 38 - Take at look at this HR Budget page. Tell me what you see in first three cost centers.  I just want to see if anyone reacts how I reacted.

Thursday, April 30th

School Bell Times Community Discussion
Hamilton Middle School from 7-8:30 pm

Interpreters: Spanish, Somali, Chinese

Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N) gives members of the SPS community the opportunity to host or participate in small-group discussions on important school system topics.

The topic for this year is Bell Times

The District wants to hear your thoughts on how the Superintendent’s recommendation to change school start and end times – also known as Bell Times – will impact students, your family, and the community.


I'm hoping there will be members from the Bell Times Taskforce there to update us on their work.   I'm also hoping this meeting will not be uber-facilitated.  

Saturday, May 2nd
This Saturday sees a couple of the last Director Community meetings for the school year. 

Director Blanford - Douglass Truth Branch Library from 10 am to 11:30 pm

Director Peters at the Queen Anne Library from 11 am to 1 pm.

17 comments:

Jon said...

On the Strategic Plan Goal #1 being equity, I agree that all their bullet points are about equity, but shouldn't there be more there about educational success?

Specifically, goal #1 of the Strategic Plan is: "Ensure educational excellent and equity for every student"

I'd expect that to mean that every student is challenged and succeeding.

Instead, everything but the word "equity" seems to be dropped and "equity" seems to be interpreted as diversity, professional development for teachers (apparently around "culturally competent instructors"), and strengthening SpEd and ELL.

Is that really the meaning of goal #1 of the strategic plan? It doesn't mean "educational excellence" at all? It doesn't mean every student being challenged and succeeding?

Jon said...

Oops, typo there, the #1 goal is: "Ensure educational excellence and equity for every student"

Melissa Westbrook said...

Jon, maybe that's just from HR's viewpoint as what that goal means for them. But I agreed that all facets should be considered in the work.

Jon said...

Right, I'm saying the staff's view of what the goal means seems wrong, at least to me.

I think the goal says, essentially, "Ensure educational excellence for every student" where equity is supposed to be part of making sure every student succeeds.

The bullet points the staff put toward the goal seem to suggest they think the goal says, essentially, "Ensure equity for every student". I think it suggests that because there's no action item in their list that addresses student success for that #1 goal.

Maybe it's just me, but that seems like the wrong reading of the #1 goal of the Strategic Plan unless they plan on changing it to just "Ensure equity for every student". Is it just me? No one else thinks it's strange that they have nothing addressing "educational excellence" in service of their #1 goal of "ensure educational excellence"?

Anonymous said...

They never have much of anything about excellence and learning. Remember the old strategic plan under Banda? We've seen this before.

They can say equity all they want, in power point bullets and slides all they want - but when it comes right down to it, do they actually set up systems that are equitable?

No.

And when it's pointed out, do they change/alter/flex or do they just obfuscate and bloviate on the system as is?

Example: algebra readiness test, a tiny small thing, no budget particularly involved, not a lot of students, no resources - but they can't conceive of equity, and when it's pointed out, they can't change to provide it.

Absolutely no equal access, although they would say it was totally equitable b/c everyone had to drive to JSCEE for the test - but "exact same difficulty for everyone to access" is NOT equity b/c the neediest/most challenged do not have the ability to jump the hurdle.

When pointed out? What did they do? Come up with at least eight different reasons why that was how it had to be.... and never ever ever even admit that it might not have been a good choice, and that they should do better.

Do you know how nice it would be to hear one persone at JSCEE say once, when a glaring error is pointed out, "You're right. That really wasn't the best we could have done. I'm going to try to get a change in this week, and I promise, it won't be the same next year."

Nothing. Nothing like that ever happens. It must be a really fear-filled and scary place to work, b/c no matter how nice people do act to your face, they all seem petrified to ever be honest and petrified to ever say "I made a mistake, I'll do better". And I've never seen an organization so averse to change - and I'm comparing it to large federal govt and super large private companies.

Lots of great, warm and caring people down there. But something about the culture just leaches the initiative and creativity out of them, and they seem petrified to take a step, and unable to articulate reasons that don't sound completely bogus.

So sad

mirmac1 said...

I found this interesting:

"Developing a non represented classification and compensation structure that is fair, transparent and competitive "

Are these new Teachers United folks, all three of them?

Anonymous said...

No, Mirmac, I think it refers to badly needed review of all the director and executive director positions that have been created and quickly filled under the radar, mostly by Mr. Wright. We've had a Director of Continuous School Improvement for over a year now. Hmmmm. (your point about what a farce Teachers United is, nothwithstanding).

And Jon, you're absolutely right that equity and educational excellence are both worthy goals but require very different actions. I think they're lumped together to ensure lip service to both without any real commitment to either (dogma yes, but not meaningful action). If there were, we wouldn't see SPS tripping over itself to meet compliance on HCC/Advanced Learning without ever asking how we just ensure rigor and excellence in all classrooms.

Emile

Josh Hayes said...

There, see, I interpreted that to contain an unspoken connection: equity IN educational excellence. That is, providing educational excellence to all.

I expect to see radically different ideas of how to interpret that (laudable) goal, like, providing ALOs at every school rather than at a handful of magnet schools, which would certainly get a lot of people up in arms (but hey, equity! Look at the equity, everybody! We are CRAZY equitabilitarians!).

I'm just saying, I think the assumption is that these are not two unrelated things, but rather, something they hope, in some vague fashion, to link together.

Lynn said...

Tuesday's Oversight Work Session is open to the public.

Anonymous said...

There are some big administrator level salaries in those three cost centers. I want to know what the "Talent Development" position actually does. Seems like a whole bunch of overlap in the org chart.

NGC

Anonymous said...

To Melissa's question, I see a large increase in the three cost centers' budgets just since last year - 20-47%. Why such a big increase in one year?

Momof2

Anonymous said...

According to HR personnel reports to the Board

9/3/2014 Exec Dir. Talent Management
Asst Supt HR (rehire)

4/4/2014 HR Analyst - Compensation

Oct 2014 - exec level hires in Employee/Labor Relations and Professional Development

Jan 2014 - Manager Compensation & Benefits

Jan 2015 - Civil Rights Compliance Officer

reader47

Melissa Westbrook said...

NGC and Mom of 2, yes, I was referring to the amount of money for the 3 FTE in one category and amount of money for 7 FTE in another. The amounts per FTE seemed very high to me and I have to wonder why.

mirmac1 said...

reader47

And ever present Nate Fitzpatrick shuffling between recruitment mgr to data something to whatever-made-up title. I dare anyone at JSCEE to produce what made this ex-TFA worth the time, money and space he occupies.

Page 38 said...

I took out my calculator and found some hefty administrative salaries.

Calculator Says said...

I calculated administrative salaries. Great work, if you can get it. Extremely generous. Let's cut the counselors!

Melissa Westbrook said...

Exactly. How are these high salaries being justified in the face of continuing cuts to counselors at schools? I don't get it. (And don't anyone tell me it's a "site-based" choice - it's a Sophie's choice.)