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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Some Surprising Elements in the NTN Contract

The NTN contract has some surprising elements.

First is the fact that the contract is for two schools, not one (see Exhibit D). The two schools are the two academies of the STEM. We know this because Exhibit B of the contract requires: "Size: Schools will be designated a small school with no more than 450 students for grades 9-12, with a firm commitment from the district to hold enrollment level." My old style drill and kill math skills tell me that the total enrollment is capped at 900 - not the 1,000 referenced in the community engagement.

Exhibit B of the contract also has this requirement: "Unique School Name and School Code: School will have its own identity, with a unique school name and state school code. School will have appropriate signage for recognition as unique site." and this one: "Separate Facilities: Schoolfacilities are physically separate from other schools and support a unique identity."

So the Academy of Engineering and Design and the Global Health Academy must be two physically separate schools. They have to have separate codes with the state - so they will report their WASL scores separately - and they have to have separate signs, sites, and staffs. This was not part of the community engagement. Each school will also have to have its own principal. Exhibit B also requires "Leadership:: School will have a full-time principal."

Speaking of the principals... "Principal Selection: NTN will play an advisory partner role in principal selection and approval." It's nice that the District will grant that power and authority to a private entity but will not allow it for school communities.

Not only will each of the two schools need their own principal, but they will each need their own full-time IT administrator. "IT Administrator: Assignment of IT administrator to support the School (full time for a school of 450)." And the staffs of the two schools must be separate: "Dedicated Staff: Teachers and principals are full-time employees of the School and will not have their assignments divided with other schools."

Finally, one of the stipulations of the contract is that "The District has secured the necessary financial and community support to implement the NTHS Model as provided herein;". I have seen no evidence of this community support. No such evidence was ever presented to the Board.

There is some very wacky stuff in this contract that was never discussed publicly. The community was misled to believe that STEM would be one school, not two, with one principal, not two, with one staff, not two, and with one IT administrator, not two.

22 comments:

Melissa Westbrook said...

Wow. Just wow. And I thought they were going to pour a lot of resources and time into one school before. How can this be justified? I have no idea how they will satisfy the "financial and community support" requirement.

"Principal Selection: NTN will play an advisory partner role in principal selection and approval."

This is in New School's MOU so that's not entirely new but it's a nice perk considering we're paying them.

dan dempsey said...

So in the interests of full transparency the NTN contract was posted on Feb 2 for a vote on Feb 3.

I will try not to be bothered by the fact that I went to two school board meetings and a work session on NTN as well as the Cleveland open house. All of that lead me to believe exactly what Dr. Enfield said.... eventually we will have a (as in one) STEM school of 1000 with two academies.

I should have known we were going to have two PBL schools with 450 students max. in each....

.....Because that is how this district operates.....

Is it time for a recall?

Given the HS math adoption fiasco which the following voted for:
Carr, Sunquist, maeir, and Chow

Along with this NTN contract that is even more outrageous with votes approving from:
Sundquist, Carr, Maier, Martin-Morris

I see two strikes for:
Carr, Sundquist, and Maier

Point of interest in a recall a petition must have at least one incident of "misfeasance" or higher.

The Math vote will do nicely. To get the petition approved by the court, then it is time for signature gathering.

25% of the number cast when the position was voted on.

which comes out to around 32,000 so a recall will likely need close to 40,000 signatures when they go through and evaluated for non-eligible signers.

Looks like 400 sheets of 100 signatures per sheet should do it.

lets see $1.2 million for math and $800,000 for NTN that is $2 million wasted in just a little over 6 months of decision-making.

PBL is one of the most ineffective instructional techniques. Every NTM school is an under performer and now we are obligated to use PBL in every class as it is in the contract.........

Well like Sundquist always says he in NOT a teacher. Can he stop proving it repeatedly with these votes.

Also in the recall vote, the election is whether to pull the director or not. There is no other candidate. The position is vacant, if the recall is successful. I am guessing it stays that way until the next general election. If we can get this down to a four or three person board there will be a lot less deliberation time needed.

=========================
A little over a year ago I asked the Ag's office what can be done when the school district will not follow their own policies?
.... the answer was do not elect those people again... or go to court.

looks like it is time to do both:
#1 recall
#2 legal action on NTN Contract.

Meanwhile Marty is $7000 in the hole for the HS math appeal ...

reality check ... reality check !!

gavroche said...

I agree -- Wow, this really smells. If the Board members do not cry foul and demand a halt to this corrupt boondoggle then yes, they ought to be booted for dumbly abrogating their duties of due diligence and voting in favor of what is effectively a highly suspect no-bid contract. Who the heck does the Board think it is representing? Has anyone alerted the Seattle Times to these last-minute revelations? Where are the reporters in this town?

Patrick said...

Gavroche, welcome to the one-newspaper town.

Maureen said...

P. 14 Dedicated Staff: Teachers and principals are full-time employees of the School and will not have their assignments divided with other schools. So Engineering and Global Health can't share a French teacher, an AP Calc B/C class...? Crazy.

dan dempsey said...

Crazy is the fact that I gave the board all the data on how bad these schools were. I had no idea that all classes had to be taught with PBL.

If I had known that then I would have known why the scores were so poor.
====================
Check it out I have a document up on My Northwest .Com under Frank Shiers show

Go to the kid at the black board and the link is below in the middle of the article.

Includes the full scoop on "discovering" series math at the 18,000 student Bethel School District.... in a word BAD

I looked at Low Income, White, Black, Hispanic, Asian/Pac.Isl and American Indian and all 5 subgroups went down in the three years of "Discovering" check out the link on Franks page.

dan dempsey said...

fixing that Frank Shiers link HERE.

dan dempsey said...

My Report on Discovering at Bethel can best be viewed as two .pdf files.

file #1 of 3 pages

file #2 of 8 pages

Charlie Mas said...

It's time to write to the Board and ask them about the terms of this contract. You can also write to the STEM email box looking for answers.

Is it the District's intent to violate the terms of the contract - a contract that they co-authored?

See Director Martin-Morris' blog for a concise and complete list of the disturbing terms of the contract which are in variation to the community engagement about STEM.

seattle said...

Of course there is always the aviation high school just two miles away from Cleveland STEM, at the Museum of Flight. It's one of the top performing schools in the state, and is committed to serving students from all over puget sound including SPS students. It's a true PBL school, and kids score in the top 5% on state standardized tests.

If I lived in that area I'd be checking out the Aviation High School.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'm going to attend the Board Work Session today from 4-6 (I think it's on the Budget but I had thought it was about CTE so I'll have to check). I'm going to write up a sheet with all these glaring, obvious issues about NTN and personally hand it out.

I don't believe that the staff disclosed all this to the Board. How could the Board have voted this in with all these issues not clearly laid out? If staff did tell them and the Board voted on it without either the Board or staff disclosing all these issue to the public, then, to me, it is grave misconduct.

Dorothy Neville said...

Melissa, if the board got the contract the day before the vote, then they had time to read it. It's not long and not hard to read. The fact that these terms didn't get asked about or discussed at the meeting just means that none of the board members took the time to even glance at the contract.

On a sort of related note. On Harium's post about CHS STEM, Maureen reveals that Aviation HS is moving into Seattle, the Museum of Flight specifically. About two miles from CHS. Harium says he knew about that and that the board "entered into a leter of understanding" with them. Well, shouldn't such a letter of understanding be something done in public at a board meeting? How could they have voted to agree to a letter of understanding without such a vote happening at a board meeting? Do any of you recall discussion of such a letter? Maybe I just missed it.

Chris S. said...

Dan, looking way ahead, if you succeeded with a recall of 3 and had a board of four for the remainder of the term, how would a 2-2 split in votes be decided?

reader said...

MGJ would provide the tie breaker... no doubt.

ParentofThree said...

"If I lived in that area I'd be checking out the Aviation High School."

Except that there is now a letter of understanding that states that Aviation High can only accept a small number of SPS students.

Chris S. said...

Yeah, precisely what I'm afraid of.

Charlie Mas said...

The Aviation High School letter of understanding was done in public by the Board with plenty of discussion. I was at the Board meetings when they happened.

Charlie Mas said...

It's pretty clear to me that the District intends to violate the terms of the NTN contract. They intended it from the start. They entered into the contract fully planning to violate it.

Nice.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Charlie, I'm unclear on why you say that. Can you elaborate? Are you saying the district is not going to have dual staffs?

Dorothy Neville said...

Thanks Charlie, I missed that about the letter of understanding being part of the board agenda. I'm curious about the terms and will look for it. I assume sometime in the last year or so?

Charlie Mas said...

The District has no intention of having two separate schools on the Cleveland campus. That, by itself, constitutes a violation of the contract terms.

The District has no intention of naming a second principal or a second IT administrator - they aren't in the budget. Those are violations of the contract.

The District has no intention of keeping the staffs separate - it isn't in the budget. That's a violation of the contract.

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