Sunday, November 15, 2015

Seattle Schools This Week

Monday, Nov. 16th
Community Meeting on Assignment Plan at Rainier Beach High School, starting at 6:30 pm.  This is the last of the meetings on this topic.  I still maintain this was window-dressing and not about staff getting and receiving real input on this topic.  I'll have a separate thread on what readers have said but it seems clear that the waitlist is still an issue.

Wednesday, Nov. 18th
Board meeting starting at 4:15 pm.  Something of an end of an era for this particular make-up for the Seattle School Board. Agenda.

I do want to publicly say thank you to each of the Board members who are leaving - Harium Martin-Morris, Sherry Carr, Sharon Peaslee and Marty McLaren.  I walked Fremont with Sherry Carr to help her get elected.  I worked on the campaigns of both Sharon Peaslee and Marty McLaren (her first one.)  It takes courage to even stand up and run for office and even more courage and energy to serve.  I certainly have disagreed with them on many issues but I truly thank them for their service.


Highlights

Action (Vote) Items - These include:
  • the Assignment Plan changes.  I think the Board should vote no if only because the quite obvious attempt by staff to hastily stage some community meetings.  I think staff thought they could just rearrange the SAP by calling it "streamlining" while trying to control the enrollment issues by changing the waitlist date.  I still think it possible to change that waitlist date.  But really, given that the boundaries WILL be changing and programs like AL seem to be changing, the whole thing will probably need overhauling.  And we have just the new Board to do it.
  • Bell Times - well, it has been very quiet since staff whittled that Tier 3 down to about 13 schools.  There are many who believe it is better to take this step (and I would agree) BUT there should be a commitment into an on-going vision of getting to two tiers.
  • Superintendent raise/extension.   I find this shocking because of the lack of data on Nyland's performance, the small amount of time he has been here and the droning from staff and Board about lack of funding.  (I'll note there is a document attached to this BAR that appears to be an evaluation but is virtually unreadable.  But that may be by design.)  I have said this often but I'll say it again: when the district doesn't want to do something, there's no money.  When they do, they find money.
  • Authorization for BTA IV levy.  Sure, the Board can (and will) authorize this but staff sneaking in that they rearranged dollars to help pay off the bonds on JSCEE into BTA IV is wrong.  A Board dedicated to transparency would at LEAST have directed the Superintendent to consider a press release to the public.  But again, this is just one big bucket of money that, in the end, staff pretty much rearranges as they like.  
  • SMART goals vote.  Well, this should be interesting with competing amendments over which communities of color get called out by name.  Political correctness, clarification or just plain politics?  Without much publicly said, it's hard to gauge.
I don't see anything particularly worrying about the items on the Introduction list.

Thursday, Nov. 19th
Operations Committee meeting at JSCEE, from 4:30-6:30 pm.  No agenda yet available.

Board Special Meeting:  Work Session, Board 2014/15 Annual Self Evaluation, 5:30-6:30 pm.  Yes, those meeting times do conflict so I'll have to ask about this one.  You'd think the Annual Self-Evaluation would come at the end of a school year and not just as some on the Board are leaving.

Saturday, Nov. 21st
Community meeting with Director Blanford from 10:00-11:20 am at the Douglass Truth library.

Community meeting with Director Patu at Cafe Vitta from 10:00-11:30 am.

There will be no more district meetings - Board, Work Session, Committee or Community - until December 1 when the newly elected directors take the oath of office.

35 comments:

Jan said...

Melissa -- I hope you will delete the first comment. Cowardly and shocking and totally uncalled for (and so anonymous, of course).

garfieldMom said...

Melissa, what are you seeing attached to the superintendent's raise/contract extension BAR that looks like an evaluation? Or is it attached to something else? I can't find anything like it.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Garfield Mom, they no longer have links so you scroll past the BAR. There's a document immediately after the BAR in a chart form that seems to indicate "proficient, basic,etc." They have a color heat code but it is not used on the charts. As I said, I find it difficult to understand.

There is no narrative.

Watching said...

The board is to vote on an evaluation instrument. The evaluation instrument links performance to SMART goals. I'm not finding the superintendent's evaluation.

Anonymous said...

Ah - well they've attached/included an evaluation "instrument" related to the SMART goals but not the actual results obtained using that instrument. Interesting. Is that the only evaluation used? They sure are determined to give him a raise, if the article in the Times is any indicator. Danged if I can see why.

reader47

GarfieldMom said...

So it's actually the SMART goals BAR that you're looking at? It's confusing, but that's this year's evaluation criteria. I have yet to find the criteria he's being evaluated on for last year, much less any outcome of that evaluation.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Garfield Mom, exactly so. He's getting the raise not based on work but on the fact they don't want him to leave (and fear he will without it?).

Charlie Mas said...

From the Superintendent's performance rating tool:

"III-A. Customer Service: Ensures that systems exist to provide strong customer service and engage principals and families as partners."

"III-B. Culture: Demonstrates skill, commitment, and compassion while developing and implementing a plan for shifting the district’s culture to one of collaboration, high performance, continuous improvement, and collective impact."

How shall the Board grade him on these attributes based on his engagement over the firing of the principal at Queen Anne Elementary and the Garfield choir teacher?

Also, I notice that the baseline for a number of the SmartGoals is Basic -. Does that mean that his performance is currently in the unacceptable range?

Anonymous said...

This is the only thing can find that relates to the 2014/15 evaluation -

Work Session: Superintendent 2014
-15 Annual Evaluation Executive Session: Evaluate the performance of a public employee
Monday, November 2, 2015, 4:30 PM –8:30 PM


It too uses SMART goals but mostly it was Senior staff reporting on how they did, then the Board met independently. They did not appear to release any info AFTER this closed door meeting that I can find

reader47

Anonymous said...

Also re: enrollment and assignment plan - two kinda interesting comments in the 11/6/2015 Friday Memo to Board

1. It appears that the concerns are more around the dramatic reduction in the scope of the entire document, rather than the specific changes regarding wait lists and tie
breakers. SCPTSA recommended that we limit the November 18th action to amending the existing student assignment plan for wait list and tie-breakers and provide more time and opportunity for public engagement at a later time before making the more dramatic revisions to the entire document.


really? I thought the wait list was THE thing that most upsets people?


2. Under the heading "listening opportunities" is this:
Enrollment Staffing
A number of staff met with some members of the Seattle delegation around district
finances and enrollment staffing.We agree that everyone came away with new understandings and insight


things that make you go hmmmmmmmm

reader47

Anonymous said...

I do want to publicly say thank you to each of the Board members who are leaving - Harium Martin-Morris, Sherry Carr, Sharon Peaslee and Marty McLaren. I walked Fremont with Sherry Carr to help her get elected. I worked on the campaigns of both Sharon Peaslee and Marty McLaren (her first one.) It takes courage to even stand up and run for office and even more courage and energy to serve. I certainly have disagreed with them on many issues but I truly thank them for their service.


MW, I have to say that you have some nerve. So keep in mind...what goes around comes around. I can't wait until yours comes around. So keep a steady hand on the tiller and both eyes at your back!

Ted B.

mirmac1 said...

Ted B. crawl back in your hole.

Anonymous said...

Ted B, Don't you worry about Melissa - we've got her back.

Longtime reader

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'll try again (my original comment disappeared.)

Ted B., you'll note that I said I supported - in multiple ways - three members of the departing Board. Each of them knows I worked to get them elected. That I ended up disagreeing with them? That's politics.

I'll let your comment go but understand that I sense a threat in there somewhere and we're not having that here. Don't do it again to me or anyone else.

I have lost the most important person in my life this year; I don't think "what comes around" applies to me any longer. Or, at least, I just don't care.

Thank you Mirmac 1 and Longtime Reader, I appreciate the support.

Anonymous said...

You rock MW! But please refer this threat to Google if not the police. There is a real threat in there especially considering the bland comment that generated such a BS post.


everybody>TedB

GarfieldMom said...

So according to an email from Sherry Carr, we'll see some transparency around why the board is voting for a raise and contract extension tomorrow. Should be illuminating.

Melissa Westbrook said...

GarfieldMom, really? This late and she believes this is timely accountability?

Watching said...

Are public documents supposed to publicly available 48 hours before board meetings?

The superintendent's evaluation is no where to be found.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Watching, well, you see the Board is being quite silent on this issue almost as if they don't need to show anything. I'll be quite interested to hear their explanations before the vote.

Maybe I'll need to make up bingo cards for this meeting because I know some key phrases will keep coming up.

Anonymous said...

Is the Supe's eval technically a public document? Wouldn't that fall under "personnel documents" that aren't required to be made public? I'm guessing (and it's only a guess) that this is the reason the "instrument" is discoverable but not the results.


reader47

Watching said...

http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/15-16agendas/111815agenda/20151118_Supt2014-15EvalInstrument.pdf

http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/15-16agendas/111815agenda/20151118_Supt2014-15EvalNarrative.pdf

Nyland's evaluation has been posted and signed 24 hours in advance.


Anonymous said...

Thanks watching -

Here's a live link

Superintendent Evaluation November 2015


reader47

Watching said...

I've noted that significant amount of boxes haven't been checked. For example page 1 which addresses effective and timely supervision and evaluation of staff. I'm thinking about the Queen Anne principal that was forced to resign in October. Why wasn't this issue addressed before the start of school and why wasn't the superintendent evaluated for this purpose?

Anonymous said...

Yeah - I think it's that they only had to evaluation the boxes with bold lines around them

Here's the live link to the eval form (didn't realize it was the filled in version

Evaluation Instrument

There's an awful lot of "basic" and "proficient" boxes checked there. I do not see anything that merits a raise whatsoever. It's like they are rewarding the guy for basically doing his job. No more. No less. bleeahhh

reader47

Watching said...

I respectfully acknowledge the superintendent's work. Considering the superintendent is making over a quarter of a million dollars, receiving a car allowance, annuity payments, computer and cell phone and McLeary hasn't been funded, I don't think the super should receive a raise.

Actually, I think it is time to cap administrative salaries. We have students living in cars that need support- first.

SF said...

Watching - EXACTLY.

Anonymous said...

This is the one that gets me - he gets a "basic" on Customer Service, with this comment

The Superintendent made progress on this goal, moving from a baseline of
“Unsatisfactory” to “Basic+”. With respect to the Customer Service component of this goal progress has been made, but much remains to be done. Continued
customer service outreach is critical to the success of Seattle Public Schools, and that the Superintendent should develop a clear strategy with high expectations for individual District staff. With respect to the Culture component of this goal substantial improvement was achieved in developing infrastructure to support
School-Community partnerships.The Board encourages the Superintendent to continue this work.


Really??? reallllllyyy??? this merits a raise????

Lynn said...

I don't think anyone working for a school district in this state should make more than $200,000. I'm OK with the pension/health care benefits. The job requires lots of travel - so one of the district cars should be assigned to him.
This is a position in service to the public. It he feels $200K is not enough to live on, or that being offered "only" $200K is disrespectful, he should take his much-praised skill set into the for-profit job market.

As an added bonus, this would push down the top pay for other administrative positions in the district.

GarfieldMom said...

It's pretty clear the raise and contract extension are in the bag.

An interesting tidbit from the bottom of the evaluation narrative:

"The Board expects the Superintendent to develop and implement a strong communication strategy for both internal and external communications, and to design a senior leadership succession plan that will sustain progress in meeting the needs of current and future students."

Lynn said...

Sigh. Who is Nyland supposed to be training to move into his job?

Rolling Eyes said...

Tiresome Michael is so tiresome.

Anonymous said...

Oh I agree. I suspect it's a done deal already. I truly don't understand the thinking however. And the thought of anyone currently in Senior mgmt becoming the new Supe is downright frightening, frankly.

reader47

Rachel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachel said...

Melissa or others, The agenda includes an introduction item for the Alternative Education plan that prompted a couple questions.

1. I am trying to determine if any significant changes are on their way for the C54 policy. What is this doc introducing/reviewing? Just a review of Cascade and Interagency?
http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/15-16agendas/111815agenda/20151118_Action_Report_Approval_Alt_Learning_Exp_Model_Packet.pdf.

2. Is there any clarity what Alternative Education includes in SPS and exactly which schools are Option, Creative Approach, or another designation? From what I understand there is confusion in the district about this and no one has yet been able to give me a full list.

Thanks- Rachel

Melissa Westbrook said...

1) I was at the ctm meeting where this was discussed. Yes, it is a review of Cascade and Interagency.
2) I don't know the complete answer to this question because the district is being somewhat cagey. Creative Approach seems somewhat in limbo, ALE seems to only be two schools and Option is defined (I believe) within the Assignment Plan.