Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Seattle Schools This Week

 Update: added the Audit&Finance Ctm agenda.  See the bottom for a couple of items I called out to the Board.

end of update

I had wrongly assumed most meetings were done for the year but had forgotten that there are generally some left before the 4th of July holiday.

Tuesday, June 28th

Work Session: Strategic Planning & Partnerships from 6-7 pm at JSCEE.
Agenda

This includes:
  • Research & Evaluation 
  • Community Partnerships 
  • Equity Initiatives & Outcomes 
  • Family Partnerships
  • Race & Equity
This office is head by Brent Jones, Chief Strategy & Partnerships Officer. For a one-hour Work Session, this presentation is overly long. I cannot see how the Board could go thru it and have time for important questions.

Page 7 is a review of Major Accomplishments but I would be interested in more detail about external funding and the 23 schools in the Creative Advantage program. They also mention "MENDR research-practice partnership" but I can't find any info on that item.

One thing I see about this accomplishments list is that it's long on "things we did" rather than how those things provided better outcomes. I recall that one issue for the Families & Education Levy overseers was just such lists from community partners; the F & E levies wanted to know about outcomes.

I see on page 30 that there will be an new office for "equity project management." I am disappointed that the district believes it needs a whole new office for this work instead of leaving it with Race & Equity. Page 31 also says they won't have an "equity scorecard dashboard" until Winter 2017 ("on track.) That seems like a long time to wait to see outcomes.

Wednesday, June 29th
Work Session: 2015-16 Superintendent Evaluation Check-In/2016-17 Superintendent SMART Goals; Executive Session: Evaluate the performance of a public employee from 4:30-7:30 pm at JSCEE. Agenda

Thursday, June 30th
Audit & Finance Committee of the Whole Meeting; Executive Committee of the Whole Meeting;Work Session: Budget

From 4-6 pm at JSCEE. Agenda.  The Board will go into a closed executive session at the end of the meeting.

Previewing the agenda for the A&F meeting, I see some confusing things.

1) For the purchase of Technology for New BEX IV schools, etc., I see the phrase, "Capacity RePurpose" with no explanation.  Not sure what that means. See page 6.

2) Page 32 is asking for $50K more for the PowerSchool contract.  But reading the BAR, I see this:


For the School Board’s information, we wish to call out that we have paid PowerSchool in separate contracts for training this year as well. We hired PowerSchool trainers to lead master scheduling training/workshops with our schools in the spring for $66,500, and we had technical staff members attend PowerSchool University for $4,400.

However, the BAR goes on to say:
Each year the vendor releases a new version of their product in the summer. This spring, although SPS Department of Technology Services staff members have been testing the Beta version, the production release was delayed by the vendor and was just released on June 22. This has greatly reduced the ability of the staff to successfully implement the new version before the system must be available for start of school preparations in early August.

So the district has to pay more for training because the VENDOR didn't get the product released on-time for the district to get staff fully-trained in time for the new school year?  It might be worth asking if the vendor can make that training less expensive as it seems it was their issue and not the district's.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Relationship with Mayor's Office of Education" is listed as a major accomplishment...REALLY????

-Speechless

Anonymous said...

MENDR apparently refers to this - though it's not an easily found connection, that's for sure

The Seattle Minority Engagement and Discipline Reduction Research Collaborative
https://ies.ed.gov/funding/grantsearch/details.asp?ID=1741

Its funded thru researcher at UW starting in 2015, for 2 years at $400,000


reader47

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thanks Reader 47.

Lynn said...

The agenda for Thursday's meetings of the audit and finance and executive committees and budget work session is now available.

Lynn said...

The executive committee will set the agenda for next week's board meeting this afternoon. The new contract with PASS will be included as an action item. There was no contract attached to last week's agenda when it was an introduction item - so even if it's attached to tomorrow's posting of the agenda, the public will have just five days to read it. Those days include the holiday weekend.

I am wary that there's something in there staff don't want us to see. The district and SEA arbitrarily introduced schedule changes last fall without any community engagement - longer elementary school days and a weekly late start or early release. PASS leadership scolded the board last week about the inequity of boutique schools and dual track programs. What do they have up their sleeves?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Good points all, Lynn.

I also wonder if something is up.