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Monday, April 19, 2010

Strategic Plan Update

IMPORTANT UPDATE:
I now have the spreadsheet which was used as the basis to report, on the District Dashboard, that 82% of Strategic Plan projects are on schedule. I will need time to thoroughly review it, but even at a glance I can see that it is full of thin deceptions.



So I was just thinking about the progress on the Strategic Plan. I know I shouldn't. It only serves to upset and frustrate me. Nevertheless...

Focusing just on the primary themes and elements of the Plan, it still doesn't look good.

1. Ensuring Excellence in Every Classroom

1A. Adopt an aligned curriculum in math and science

They haven't done this. They're nowhere with regard to science; I don't think they've even gotten started. They're not much further along with math. They have standardized the textbooks (for the most part), and they have posted pacing guides, but there's no evidence that they have aligned the curriculum. In fact, it doesn't appear that they have any ability to align the curriculum, that they even know how to align curriculum, or that they know what aligned curriculum would look like. After making bold statements on PowerPoints and paying millions to vendors, they appear to be completely adrift.

1B. Develop districtwide assessments in math and reading

This is a reference to the MAP, but it isn't districtwide yet and teachers either don't know how to use the results or simply aren't choosing to use them. There were supposed to be a lot of other common assessments, but there's no evidence to suggest that they are either in use or useful. Mostly this was an excuse to funnel millions to a vendor for a data warehouse which isn't ready yet and will be of questionable utility when it is ready.

1C. Develop a school performance framework

This isn't done yet either. There was also a vendor who made hundreds of thousands of dollars on this as well. This is also a project of questionable utility. The school scorecard design remains unfinished. Some arbirtrary measure of school quality will stick a label on every school but it won't result in any useful response and families won't be able to use those ratings to make any enrollment decisions that they wouldn't have made anyway. By the way, this is WAY overdue.

2. Strengthen Leaders System-Wide

2A. Improve our hiring process
Not done. Not even close. In fact, with the further deferral of school budgets into the early summer, our hiring process has actually gotten worse.

2B. Expand mentoring programs for new teachers and principals
Not done. Not even started.

2C. Develop a comprehensive evaluation system
Not done. Should have been negotiated last year, but the District deferred it into this year. They may defer it for yet another year since they are still unprepared to made an authentic proposal and they are unprepared to perform or pay for any of the support it would require.

3. Build an Infrastructure That Works Well

3A. Update District technology
Overdue.
3B. Develop a budget process to ensure that resources meet goals
Ha! Not done. The District's budget process continues to put pet projects ahead of students. Why in the world would we be spending millions on performance management while we RIF teachers?

I can't help noticing that there are no facilities goals among the infrastructure theme. Curious.

4. Improve Our Systems
I'm not sure how this is different from theme 3A.

5. Engage Stakeholders
Puh-leeze.

The common themes here are:
Big, important-sounding statements about goals that are ill-defined, unachievable, and unaffordable.
Millions spent on vendors or central staff, but nothing spent on students.
A failure to address reality.
A failure to fulfill on the promised timeline.
A failure to acknowledge failure.

9 comments:

ParentofThree said...

"Millions spent on vendors."

Makes me ill.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Develop a school performance framework

As I mentioned, schools are going to get some kind of report card starting this fall (this from the joint City Council/School board meeting). I find this interesting because I am unsure how this will work. Who is the district is doing this assessment? Are parents allowed to voice how they think their school is doing? If not, why not? Again, parents are on the front lines of their schools and many parents know their schools better than many in the district.

Elsewhere I came up with a new phrase "decorative transparency" (or call it "decorative engagement"). It's window-dressing to say you are doing something that is surface only. As I reported elsewhere, I found it telling that Tracy Libros said the format of the SAP meetings "worked for us" and yet many parents were loudly and visibly unhappy with the format. That says a lot about how the district "engages" with parents and community.

seattle citizen said...

I believe MAP and CSIP will be the primary sources of school "report cards," but I could be wrong.

dan dempsey said...

5. Engage Stakeholders
Puh-leeze.


Appeal of NTN filed on March 5.

SPS refuses to comply with RCW 28A.645.020 by providing information on decision-making within 20 days of the filing of an appeal.

Instead of the legally required date of March 25th the Public gets May 7 instead. But the NTN redo was on April 7 ... Huh??? how is the 20 day requirement skipped ... perhaps Judge Middaugh can explain.

SPS can Engage this ...Supreme Court date of May 27 at the Temple of Justice in Olympia.

MORE HERE.

dan dempsey said...

1. Ensuring Excellence in Every Classroom

1A. Adopt an aligned curriculum in math and science

They haven't done this. They're nowhere with regard to science; I don't think they've even gotten started. They're not much further along with math.
========================

SPS admin central defines alignment as some type of internal consistency.

Consistent with a failed philosophy and a proven record of futility is apparently good enough for 4 school directors.

Completely misaligned with OSPI math standards and coming common core standards ... that is NOT the alignment that counts with SPS.

Aligned with a history of failing results and ready to keep right on going that is our SPS to heck with any "Order of Remand" from a superior court. Nobody tells the SPS to do the right thing.

Note the SPS justification of the appeal of the Spector Decision is based on the Superintendent's completely bogus "Separation of Powers" argument.

Since only the appeal of the Spector decision has been filed without an accompanying justification yet, I have only the points raised by MGJ and the Board on 3-3-10 ... In all likelihood....this will be another expensive crushing defeat for SPS....

The good news for SPS is that unlike federal court the SPS will not need to pay the winner's legal fees. Currently the District is Paying two separate law offices to deal with Superior Court and Supreme court issues related to the Student Assignment Plan, School Closings, and the Math fiasco.

Aligned ... Aligned with what?
maximum legal action.

wseadawg said...

The whole idea of the School Report Card is about "branding" folks. Like US News ranks High Schools and Districts, that's the way all schools are going.

Just ask, "What would a corporation do?" Then look to what your "competitors" are doing, and get your product on the shelf with them.

The rest sounds nice, but who are they kidding?

seattle citizen said...

Yes, the whole "school report card" just feeds the "failing school" ideology instead of addressing individual successes and struggles of individual students and educators.

I'll say it one more time: SCHOOLS don't fail: PEOPLE fail.

Focusing on the whole schools is merely a way to make claims about it that the public will buy, allowing the "retructuring" of the "failing school" instead of the hard, expensive work of dealing with individuals.

seattle citizen said...

Think about how bad it would sound if they said they wanted to "restructure" students. A non-started, eh? But they CAN get away with saying this about schools...if the public will let 'em.

Ten Thousand. JSCEE. 6:00pm 4/21

dan dempsey said...

The students do not need to be restructured. They need to be standardized before entering grade 1.
There is far to much diversity in the humans entering grade 1. Time to apply for an NSF grant to have a year devoted strictly to standardizing students in K.

The Strategic Plan is largely about standardization and equalization without regard for individual differences. It is time to end individual differences ... lets throw a gob of money at this kindergarten standardization year. This plan makes about as much sense as at least 50% of the strategic plan.