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Monday, April 13, 2009

Performance Management Advisory Committee w

Something weird happened to me last week. Here's the story:

The District has a Performance Management Steering Committee, headed by the Superintendent, that is working on the criteria, metrics, assessments and benchmarks for performance management for students, teachers, principals, schools, and the District. You know, all of the scorecards and dashboards and such for the Strategic Plan.

The Steering Committee, in turn, has a Performance Management Working Group that serves as an advisory committee to the Steering Committee. The Working Group, made up of central office staff, representatives from SEA and PASS, and a few consultants that foundations have funded to help do this work, makes recommendations to the Steering Committee and then the Steering Committee makes the final decisions regarding the performance management work.

The Working Group is scheduled to meet for a couple hours every other Thursday through July of this year. Their work will focus on measuring and supporting school performance to help schools improve. A major part of this effort is the development of annual "school reports," which will make school achievement and improvement more transparent, both within the district and to the public, and will enable the District to provide more targeted and effective supports to each and every school.

That's all pretty straightforward, right?

Well, the performance working group asked CPPS if they would like to have a member serve on the working group providing the student family perspective. CPPS, of course, accepted.

It turns out that CPPS has their own project this year to develop a parent-created score card to measure the district’s performance on implementing the strategic plan and, basically, keeping its promises on a range of issues. So they were really interested in having some influence over how the District officially measured the progress.

I should note that CPPS has, like the Alliance, undergone some changes in leadership. And, as with the Alliance, those changes came with changes in focus and operation as well. I was contacted by a representative of CPPS with the information about the Performance Management Steering Committee, the Performance Management Working Group, and the offer to have a representative from CPPS at the table in the Working Group. The CPPS representative said that they knew that I was both interested and informed about the Strategic Plan and performance management and asked if I would serve as their representative on the Working Group. I accepted.

Great! They say. The next meeting is this afternoon.

That's when things started getting weird.

CPPS sent an email to the District saying thank you so much for the offer to have a representative from our group on the Working Group, our person will be Charlie Mas.

The District emails back - within hours - saying, whoops! Sorry, our mistake. Since there is only one teacher and only one principal on the Working Group, to keep things fair we can have only one student family member and we already have one. The student family person on the Working Group comes from the District's Schools-Families Partnership Advisory Committee. This news came just hours before the meeting was to start.

The District, in short, pulled back the invitation immediately after they heard that I was CPPS' choice. I can't say if the invitation was rescinded because it was me or if the invitation would have been rescinded regardless. Moreover, I have no grounds for presuming either to be the case.

CPPS, of course, still wants to have a representative on the Working Group. I imagine that they are working to get the invitation restored.

All I know is that it is weird.

18 comments:

Jet City mom said...

I should note that CPPS has, like the Alliance, undergone some changes in leadership. And, as with the Alliance, those changes came with changes in focus and operation as well.^
I expect the district was not as aware of this as they could have been, and were really just looking for someone who would fill the position of " family representation" without you know actually expecting them to retain information on accountability.

When they heard your name dear sir they recoiled in "horreur" frantically backpedaling all the way.

Why in heck is there only ONE teacher and ONE principal on what sounds like a very important process?

Do they actually want meaningful work accomplished or not?

dan dempsey said...

Either way it is pathetic...

Way 1: sorry we are unable to count and have no idea how to connect invitations with an actual predetermined number.

Way 2: sorry we are only interested in statutory yes men to fulfill a meaningless role. Mr Mas is disqualified as he will spend too much time thinking and contributing instead of just nodding and saying yes.

Have I missed something? Are there more than two ways?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Join the club, Charlie. I learned from a source I can't name that I was going to be asked to be on a taskforce through an education group but someone in the district(named to me but I won't name)didn't want me on it and told them so. (And kind of funny that the person who didn't want me on the taskforce was someone I thought I did have some rapport with.) I did receive the invitation but was unable, at the time, to join the group. Interesting that the district will speak up if they don't like the group membership even if it isn't their own group.

Charlie, you and I both know that we ask questions they don't like. It may be our questions, our refusal to give up or our manner or all of the above. I think that when these groups are formed they want people who they perceive will further the group goals along and if they support those goals, all the better.

Charlie Mas said...

Here's some irony to sprinkle on top: instead of coming from CPPS, the student family representative will come from the School Family Partnership Advisory Committee - a Committe on which I serve.

The SFPAC is meeting this evening and getting a presentation from... you guessed it, the Performance Management Working Group. So tonight I will be angling at a second chance to get myself appointed to that Working Group, this time as the representative of the SFPAC instead of CPPS.

Ah! I forgot to mention... the person who appears to be running the Performance Management work is Carol Rava-Treat.

dan dempsey said...

Is anyone surprised at the continued attempt to guide the groups to pre-determined outcomes?
Selection of individuals for public input is a really important part of this.
This parallels the Central Administration's use of research.
Instead of looking through research to find a direction, research is mined to support the pre-determined direction.

Mr. Mas and Ms. Westbrook just fail to appreciate the vast wisdom in how the district operates.
--------------

The district failed to put a Mathematician on the Core-Committee for HS Math materials. Only a UW mathematician, Dr Jack Lee, applied and he was an unknown quanitity.

Given the UW letter about the decline of math achievement in incoming frosh ... it was best to stay away from unknown quantities from UW.
http://www.seattlepi.com/local/353199_math29.html Especially true when the plan is to continue with the current math direction. The fact this direction is failing is apparently of little concern.

Director Chow at the last board meeting made a big speech about how "Hello .. the Calc and pre-calc students are doing fine."
... the data shows at UW over the last decade things are continually worsening.

Director Chow supports the recommended materials because they came out of the process.

Sorry Charlie and Melissa .... with folks like you involved there would be no telling where processes might go ... they might even lead to improvements.

SolvayGirl said...

Charlie and Melissa..."He and She Who Must Not be Named"

You should be pleased you strike such terror in the hearts of District staff! Keep up the good work.

SolvayGirl said...

But seriously folks...I agree with Dan that the cherry-picking of committee members to achieve the desired outcome is quite troubling.

Charlie Mas said...

The Calc and Pre-Calc students are doing fine. That may be true, but I wonder where they got their math instruction. Did they get it in school or did they get it outside of school, either from a tutoring service or from a family member?

Since the introduction of the reform math pedagogy, the only math my children learned they learned from me. The lessons they got at school were bewildering.

dan dempsey said...

From the PI article:
Many college freshmen can't do basic math, and some instructors are dumbing down their classes to accommodate them, a group of University of Washington math, science and engineering professors warned in an open letter released Thursday.

"This is a big issue for us at the University of Washington," said Cliff Mass, a professor in the UW's atmospheric sciences department.
-----------
Our problem is that, as Charlie points out, this is not a big issue for the Seattle Schools Central Administration.....nor is this problem even noticed by Director Chow.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Huge problem, Dan, even more so now. They need to get students in and out in 4 year flat. Too many others are chomping at the gates to get in. When you have enough numbers of students lagging behind because of remedial courses, then you have a problem. If it gets bad enough, they might make students take a basic English/math test before they let you in. (My son has to do this before they let him take Running Start courses and that's for community college.)

seattle citizen said...

Speaking of CPPS..got an email from them containing a letter to the Supt. It had to do with upcoming union contract negotiations. Here is what they'd like:
"
During the contract negotiations, we want to work with the district to achieve the following goals:

Implement a parent and community outreach and communication process during the negotiations
Develop an analysis of potential tradeoffs required by all stakeholders to prevent additional budget cuts that impact classrooms
Ensure transparency in all decisions to make tradeoffs clear to parents and the community
Assure the retention of quality teachers
Create an exit strategy for underperforming teachers
Include parent priorities in contract negotiations"

This seems vague. What do they mean by "parent and community outreach during negotiations"? How would parents contribute to contract negotiations?
What do they mean by
"include parent priorities..."?
Should the district negotiate contracts while considering various parents' desires (regarding hiring, I assume, regarding which jobs are worthwhile?)

What are the trade-offs required by all stakeholders during union contract negotiations?

I'm sort of confused by this letter to Supt. What does CPPS want?

Jet City mom said...

Because CCs don't accept/require SAT scores, they have had placement tests for English/Math for decades.
They don't use the transcript at all, which I think is interesting since that is what 4 yr schools generally do ( except some publics).

One of the concerns as I see it is a fairly new one.
We have many more student snow attempting to attend college than in the past.
More students with learning issues, more students who perhaps have attended 6 or 7 different schools, students of all backgrounds.

We have less math( more spiral math) taught in the K-12 schools at the same time that college courses and employers are looking for those with more math.

One child had math courses that used Mathematica in the classroom- it seemed to work well enough, she took precalc in junior year and stats senior year- still when she wanted to take a math class at the community college, she didn't place into college level.

( which was IMO- because the advisor at the college ( seattle central) insisted on her using the timed computer test- instead of paper and pencil as we requested- when she went to a different community college ( North) and was able to retake the test on paper, she placed into a more appropriate class- she does have a learning disability which qualifies her for the paper and pencil test- ) I include this info, because I think it would be helpful for parents/students interested in the CC classes.


Her high school math teacher Gary Anderson, is currently working on a Moodle activity based on theory of Spaced Repetition.
He's pretty smart , you might check it out.

dan dempsey said...

Spaced repetition that sure sounds like John Saxon's idea of shuffling rather than the pointless spiraling of Everyday Math etc.

seattle citizen said...

article about police in middle schools (all in central/south) in today's Times:
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2009059303_webcops16.html

anonymous said...

Odd. Isn't it the high schools that need police officers most? HS is where we the majority of violent crime happen (rapes, assaults, weapons), and drug and alcohol usage.

The majority of middle school crime is petty theft (ipods, phones), skipping class, vandalism....

And white, middle class, suburban high schools seem to be at the highest risk for very violent crime (mass shootings, etc).

seattle citizen said...

I think the theory is that it is in middle school that it's easiest to "catch" a student before they start to make trouble (for themselves or others). It's a matter of prevention, not protection, per se

WV has been watching too many medical commercials: Ovella! for healthy eggs! (sideeffectsmayincludeitching,stitching,crampsanddamps.TakingOvellamayalsocauseyourheadtoexpand.PeoplewhoarebreathingshouldnottakeOvella.Peoplewhoareshorterthan8'6"shouldnottakeOvella.TakingOvellacausesdeath;ifdead,consultyourphysicianbeforecontinuinguse.)

SolvayGirl said...

"WV has been watching too many medical commercials: Ovella! for healthy eggs! "

Or, perhaps...short novels promoted by Oprah!

Couldn't resist that one.

seattle citizen said...

good one, Solvay!

Maybe it's a short book about eggs (promoted by Oprah)

And on the other end of the spectrum from eggs, WV tells us that when you are dead and buried, you become wormiu