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Saturday, April 16, 2011

What Would Make You Happy?

In the Org Chart thread, Reader suggested that I'm impossible to please and that there is nothing that the District could do that would make me happy.

I responded with a list of 11 things the District could do that would make me happy. They are all things that the District has said that they would do but have not done. Therefore I don't consider them unreasonable expectations.

I'm not the only grumpy gus on this blog, however, so let's see other folks answer that question: What would could the District do that would make you happy?

25 comments:

mirmac1 said...

Put names in boxes and jettison the rest. Time for positive (meaning negative) budget impact!

SC Parent said...

Reduce central admin positions by 20% and cut remaining central admin salaries by a minimum of 10%. There's no need for anyone other than the Superintendent and CFO to make $142k. Maybe then we could hire competent people instead of the salary vultures we seem to attract and then have to let go after a year or two.

Anonymous said...

I just finished watching the 2009 documentary: "The Most Dangerous Man in America" Daniel Elsberg .... fascinating.....

The District could Stop Lying and make evidence based decisions. That would be revolutionary. It would make me really happy, especially if it happened at more levels of government.

-- Dan Dempsey

"To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data."

Anonymous said...

SC Parent,

Here is a link about Superintendent Pay in NY STATE .. note how far out of Whack Seattle is with these guidelines.

Pay Link

-- Dan Dempsey

Noam said...

"salary vultures" is the best description heard yet about the folks that populate administrative positions downtown.

Its too bad about Ann Chan but she was really done in by the "do nothing but wrong, but do it a day late and a dollar short" HR department.

Susan, no matter how the deck chairs are re-arranged, Charlie and SC Parent are right, no change will be possible when all the same faces sit in them except the Chief.

basically said...

Stop giving gigantic raises to people who already make an absurd amount of money (MGJ), when they get crappy reviews. Maybe I should re-word that as 'never again' do that.

Follow recommendations of Advanced Learning Audit, and follow up on promises made to that community. That is a list of well more than eleven things, to be sure.

anonymous said...
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anonymous said...

I've been generally happy with Dr. Enfield so far. I feel like we are finally in good (or better) hands, and I am happy to give her a chance. Until she proves me wrong, I will remain optimistic. I won't like every decision she makes but if we begin to move in the right direction that will be enough to satisfy me.

I do hope that Dr. Enfield fulfills her promise of offering more support and intervention for struggling students. I know it is just gaining publicity now, but it was MGJ that cut summer school and night school. It was MGJ that cut high school college and career counselors. And there has been no real support or intervention for struggling students for many many years (way before MGJ).

I am anxiously waiting to see what Dr. enfield does to fulfill her promise of more support for struggling students! If she fulfills this promise I will be very very happy!

Steve said...

I'm with Charlie about people at the District speaking frankly. Everything that comes out of them sounds like it's been filtered through a sieve that strips the words of all meaning. It's like the PR department of an company being sued by the EPA. Not what I want from the people who are teaching my kids.

We are smart and caring people who can take the truth, no matter how harsh. But we know BS when we hear it. It matters how you talk.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Right now, what would make me happy would be two things:

1) I hear Dr. Enfield saying, in many forms, how what Central Adm does will be driven by the needs in the classroom. I want to see that take the form of real needs to the classroom.

For example, keep the elementary counselors and cut the number of academic coaches. I was astonished by Dr. Enfield's answer at Questionland that only 12 of the coaches are in the schools and the rest help from headquarters. Out of 86 coaches!

Peter Maier said, when questioned about the new additional Ex Director for the SE, that this was Dr. Enfield's call on how best to help that region. I honestly think 2-3 intervention specialists would help more and send a better signal.

2) Straight up - what is the plan for the Strategic Plan? Let's see an org chart for that complete with where each project is, its costs, what will be reduced/put on pause and what might be eliminated.

If this is the major work that drives our district, then there should be some way to know what the heck is going on. That the "Refresh" work session had very little of that is troubling.

Chris S. said...

Personally, I'd like to see that strategies 360 person gone. Awkward, yes, but that's the biggest mistake made since MGJ left. Oh, except the TFA recruiter. Nothin' like admitting a mistake, in my book.

KG said...

Get rid of the coaches. It is ridiculous that since I can remember that Seattle Schools has been bloated since atleast the mid 1990's. I have some institutional memory but they will not listen down at the Stanford Center. These people are changed and interchanged just like underwear. A lot of us are in Seattle schools for the long haul. Enfiled may be more of the same putting our most vulnerable kids at risk. When your salary depends on not underastanding the needs of the schools this is what Seattle gets.

zb said...

I think I understand a little bit of what coaches try to do (coordinate across schools and programs), and I feel like some of those functions are valuable. But, what I'd like to see is the coach position being one that teachers rotate through, rather than a permanent position. Then they'd get to see how to apply the theory in the classroom. And, I don't care if the coach positions are grant funded, I still think if the job should be held by a certificated teacher, that teacher should be teaching directly some of the time.

I also think principals should be teaching a class, at least one session, of something in their school. Maybe they do already.

Those changes would make me happy.

(Oh, and the change to neighborhood schools definitely made me happy).

KG said...

ZB,
With 86 coaches that averages about 1 per school building. They could at least trim this down so they could retain 32 or so fulltime counselors to serve each elementary building .5 time. Could you agree here? Seems logical to me.

anonymous said...
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anonymous said...
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Kathy said...

Clean audit.

seattle citizen said...

All donations/grants to SPS go only to individual classrooms, none to central/policy/structural funding.

Wanna help a class? Great! Wanna manipulate policy? No thanks!

And I second Chris S: No Strategies 360 in SPS central. Also, no Gates, Alliance, OSC, LEV, Broad, Walton, et al.

I'd also like to see people from all of the aforementioned groups actually volunteering in the classrooms, say ten hours per week. Now THAT would be helpful!

Word Verifier thinks it's nessibl: necssary and doable.

none1111 said...

I feel like some of those functions are valuable. But, what I'd like to see is the coach position being one that teachers rotate through, rather than a permanent position. Then they'd get to see how to apply the theory in the classroom.

+1 for this.

I also think principals should be teaching a class, at least one session, of something in their school. Maybe they do already.

Not so sure about this one, although I have seen it work okay in practice. The problem is that it's not a one-size-fits-all thing, much depends on the size of the school, the state of churn in the building (both from Central demands/changes, and sometimes from a bunch of staff changes all at once), etc. Unless a building is running super smoothly, principals have a ton on their plate even without teaching in a classroom.

With 86 coaches that averages about 1 per school building.

Maybe if they didn't have crappy curricula like EDM and CMP that apparently can't be taught properly without massive professional development, they wouldn't need so many coaches!

I agree with zb that some of these functions are important, but the overall number of coaches is at least 2-3x too high. Especially in a time of such dire finances.

Focus like a laser said...

I would like to see an incentive pay scheme that will get the best teachers to the neediest schools. I want to kids grouped by ability, needs, language, whatever, and have teachers focus on getting all students moving at the fastest pace possible. I want to see parents looking beyond their kids and their school and even their country to try to get students learning how to deal with the truly urgent issues of today and the future. Education is so important but it needs to become more intense, more real and more useful to all people.

Dorothy Neville said...

Focus like a laser, I would also like to get great teachers in high-need schools. I suspect that some are already there and that they don't need more salary but have other ideas of what would make them more effective. I suspect that since high-needs schools typically have a high proportion of inexperienced teachers, there are incipient great teachers there, but are hampered by not having an optimal mix of experienced and new teachers for collaboration.

The current plan is a $2500 incentive stipend. After taxes, that works out to what, maybe $150 a month? Is that enough? I am not so sure.

I would like to see some incentives to get better mixes of new and experienced teachers, I would like some incentives to get proven great teachers into high-needs schools. But I think it is probably not just extra cash. I'd like serious effort in asking teachers what would work, asking principals at schools that have shown higher than expected growth what works.

Anonymous said...

The Board of Directors could call for a forensic audit of district headquarters administrative and financial operations. Since possibly prior to the arrival of John Stanford as superintendent of our public schools, many bureaucrats at headquarters perfected the act of turf protection. The opportunistic educators that populate top level positions have created the issues that have been documented in a few key audits over the years; a forensic audit is the most effective means to clean house and clear up the system to function.

A problem with sitting back to give Dr. Enfield a chance to demonstrate ability and competence for the work that is necessary will be it puts too many students' success in jeopardy as well as millions of taxpayer dollars. A forensic audit would provide her substantial documentation and clearly actionable areas to address the problems. Another big risk is that she could continue arranging the deck chairs on the ship Titanic (aka JSCEE) and taking bold and insubstantial action that would add to her glossy portfolio, but none of it would help the district while merely helping propel her to the next district that hires her.

Ed Doc

Anonymous said...

Howzabout we fix the things in the Moss-Adams audit before we spend more money on audits?

Then I want an audit on audit costs (just kidding!)

Mr. Ed

Arnold said...

Ed Doc,

Before the upcoming levy, it is politically safer for the deck chairs to be rearranged.

The district will spout changes within the system without publically disclosing chaos and culture of incompetence within the walls of JSS.

Arnold said...

Ed Doc,

You can add "salary vultures" to above comment.