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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Dr. Enfield Announces that Rainier Beach Will Not Close Next Year

A media release was sent out today by the district regarding RBHS for school year 2011-2012.  It was a letter to the Rainier Beach High School community from Dr. Enfield.

I am aware of concerns about your school, and I want to personally assure you that there are no discussions about closing Rainier Beach High School for the 2011-2012 school year. I apologize for any confusion about this, and reassure you that improving student achievement at Rainier Beach High School continues to be a top priority for Seattle Public Schools. 
 Great that it's not closing but a "top priority"?  C'mon, RBHS has never been the district's top priority.  More like the district has left it twisting in the wind with a few ill-fated and poorly planned attempts to make it more effective for students.

They are still looking for a new principal "to start this summer."  Really?  They can find a new principal for Ingraham by the end of the school year but not for RBHS, a school that is their top priority? 

The interview process is underway, and top candidates will visit the school, meet with students, staff and parents, and then write a reflection on that experience.

Write a reflection on the interview?   I guess that would show someone is really listening, maybe.  I haven't interviewed for a job in a long time - is this something new?

One interesting line from the job description that may bear on the Principal Floe firing:

Leads the development, implementation and evaluation of data-driven CSIP’s in collaboration with the Building Leadership Team and staff; ensures budget and staffing are aligned with CSIP and that the CSIP incorporates Standards Based Learning System (SBLS) and technology; establishes and executes a monitoring plan for instruction of SBLS and the infusion of technology into the instructional program; 

They also want someone with experience and/or knowledge of the IB program (so that's still on the table). 

They also say this:

Seattle Public Schools is seeking an experienced high school principal for a Transformation High School, with a proven track record of increasing student achievement and closing the achievement gap.  

Again - WHAT is a Transformation High School?   They give the following list of skills and abilities but don't give a definition:
1.    Demonstrate a sense of urgency to achieve dramatic gains in student learning and close the achievement gap, especially for students of color and students from lower-income households. Hold self and staff accountable for ensuring high academic achievement for all students.
2.   Demonstrate or has evidence of improved student achievement.
3.   Demonstrate a commitment to urban school leadership reform and management.
4.   Understand and promote the use of a wide variety of instructional strategies to meet students’ diverse learning needs.
5.    Be able to identify highly effective and rigorous instruction and have the ability to bring such strategies to scale across an entire school.
6.   Identify and prioritize complex problems and key issues. Articulate a clear vision and goals. Develop effective solutions and execute.
7.   Engage and empower others to take responsibility to achieve results. Build effective teams throughout the school.
8.    Communicate clearly and concisely to a wide variety of audiences. Possess a leadership voice, inspire and lead through communication and presence. Successfully build strong interpersonal relationships with all constituents.
            9.   Build positive relationships with students and families of diverse backgrounds.  

Okay, number three - what does that mean?
Also interesting is that RBHS has a design team made up of various stakeholder groups which is then broken down into -5, count 'em 5 other committees.  Principal selection, academic program (I'm thinking this is only for staff as it is fairly technical), school climate, communications, and professional development.)

I hope there is an honest effort to include various stakeholders.  I'll have to see what the RBHS PTSA Board has to say about this because they had been asking why Michael Tolley and Dr. Enfield could not directly say they weren't closing RBHS for the next school year.  Glad it's finally cleared up but you have to wonder why it took so long.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe RBHS should request the former principal of Ingraham.
South Seattle Parent

dan dempsey said...

So will RBHS be closing at the end of that year?

rooster said...

Bree Dusseault should be made the principal of Rainier Beach -- let's get her some principal experience -- although she would be absolutely eaten alive. She probably wouldn't even get an interview in the real world with so little principal experience.

WenD said...

@rooster: I agree, but she'd tell you she already paid her dues in a post-Katrina charter school. TFA corps members have awesome powers. They're cult-like in their awesomeness.

Anonymous said...

Bree Dusseault will be the BOSS of the principal of RB. She has already asked for and gotten the second SE position. Because of course with her hot five minutes of time as a charter school principal in New Orleans totally knows what SE Seattle needs.

Call me "Snark Intended".

Anonymous said...

And of course her background as "a multidegreed business consultant."

Snark Intended

Anonymous said...

I rarely think this way, but given the horrible mess at Ingraham and Dussault's apparent acceptance of that new, sixth Director position, here is my hope. And it isn't unicorns and rainbows.

I hope the RBHS community raises a stink and categorically refuses to work with Dusseault. This is not apparently an Ed Director who gives 2 cents about the value of the community that supports a school nor about the value of the school leadership that supports its community. Not a good starting place for Transformation.

Secondly, I hope the rest of the SE schools rise up and echo RBHS. I really do.

If they can't boot her "leadership" by their own efforts, I want to see the board pointedly cut that 6th Ed Director position next budget cycle. Or this one, if it can be done as an "emergency" way to close the budget gap. They definitely have the right to do so.

Let me get very specific: I want to see Patu take the lead on red-lining the position. I want to see Smith-Blum and whoever replaces Sundquist second and third the motion. I want Buetow (I can't even bear the thought that Martin-Morris would retain his seat) provide the 4th vote. Either her or whoever takes on and beats Maier after this pathetic incident in his neck of the district.

On Maier: The thought of his explaining that Dusseault and Enfield have authority to fire Floe and so he isn't going to lift a finger, which is my prediction of his "leadership" if or when he ever makes a public quote on this incident, makes me nauseous.

And finally: WAKE UP PEOPLE. Have your school communities finally realized what is happening here in Seattle in the name of Ed Reform? Think you and your happy little community are immune from group-think central office standardization of how every school administrator and teacher should act? You're not. So get smart and get vocal and start rallying your community to Push Back.

Completely Outraged And You Should Be Too.

RosieReader said...

Rock on Completely Outraged.

Just saying... said...

The power of Betty Patu and her strong community backing vs. weak kneed and lack of spine Maier. His knowledge of my school comes solely from the info our weak principal provides him while sitting in our weak principal's office.

Lori said...

Add to the list of more things don't make sense to me. Why is Ms. Dusseault moving to the SE district at this time? If we are to believe that what she witnessed at Ingraham this current school year was so dire that the principal had to be let go without any apparent effort to improve his performance or obtain input from the staff and community, then clearly she will be desperately needed in the NW at least another year so she can mentor the new IHS principal and provide the institutional memory regarding what was going *wrong* at that school.

Note, I'm not saying I agree with Mr. Floe's firing. I'm just saying that as a personnel matter, it makes no sense to re-assign an Executive Director during this leadership "crisis" at IHS. If you want the new principal up to speed and ready to make changes, and you have an unhappy staff that may resist this new person's changes, it seems even more important to have that new principal working closely with the one and only person in the district who apparently had insight into what needs to change. How can you expect a brand new Exec Director and newly hired principal to correct the course at IHS (which many don't believe needed correcting in the first place)?

another mom said...

@Lori -Amen!

Just saying for real. said...

It seems irrational to believe that ONE person in ONE year could get someone fired. If that is the case maybe our REAL concern should be our interim Superintendent? Who's only been on that job a few months. Maybe we should point concerns towards her as she was chief academic office last yearend part of this school year and that was her area of concern with Mr. flo?

Enfield should be stepping forward and answering questions publicly! The Ingraham community deserves no less than that. Don't hide behind Bree D.

Melissa Westbrook said...

First, even though Dr. Enfield says the cost of the new Ex Director is neutral, well, of course not. The money is coming from getting rid of a second principal at RBHS. That's money that surely could be spent at RBHS on better things but apparently yet another adm. person is just the ticket.

Second, Lori is right. It does seem odd to change Ex Directors right when you shake up leadership at a school that is taking on major challenges (Ingraham is taking on APP students AND moving towards becoming an international school.)

I think Dusseault's reputation may proceed her so good luck in the south end (especially if her role is to work with high schools).

Just saying, I know it seems odd that one person could have so much sway but I believe that the Ex directors are operating as the eyes and ears for Cathie Thompson and Dr. Enfield. Clearly they know what they want to see happening in the classroom and there shouldn't be any deviation. That Ms. Dusseault spent a fair amount of time in classrooms at Ingraham where the teacher WASN'T on acaademic probation makes you wonder.

I think teachers everywhere should be thinking about this brave new world of performance management and narrowing of teaching flexibility.

Lori said...

Just sayin, if Ms. Dusseault wasn't intimately involved in the firing of a principal at one of her schools, then she's not a very competent Executive Director. If she wasn't in favor of the firing, then she doesn't have the support of her boss, the Superintendent. If we are to believe that she is truly powerless in her position, then why keep her on staff, much less move her to the SE, an area that presumably has a great need for effective leadership?

Either she's very powerful and was involved or else she's completely ineffective. I don't see an in-between position here. Perhaps she's being moved in order to be a hatchet-man? Perhaps the district put her in the NW with the express purpose of changing leadership at IHS, and now she has an agenda somewhere in the SE. Just speculation, but it makes sense to me.

Just saying for real said...

Lori,
As I stated earlier ONE person cannot get someone fired in one year. Again Enfield was CAO last year and part of this so had to play a larger role in the decision making. Also, I'd it would be good to hear from parents of kids who were not achieving. Surely there must be two sides to the story, with the truth somewhere in the middle as no principal, teacher, or any human being perfect no matter how nice or well liked they are.

It just seems pretty interesting that there's not heavy outcry outside of a few blogs about Enfields actions as interim sup so far in other areas. The love affair still continues while her underlings are attacked. Cutting counselors, maintaining downtown admin, supporting TFA, lack of achievement by under privileged children.

Lori said...

Just saying, I certainly didn't mean to imply that the Exec. Director fired a principal all on her own, nor do I see where anyone else on this thread has said that. Of course the Super is involved and should answer questions or make more of a statement of explanation.

Like you, I have always been lead to believe that firing teachers and principals is a time-consuming and arduous process that requires lots of documentation. On another thread yesterday, someone said that that is just anti-union hype, but I have been told this by principals who were working the system to get rid of poor performing teachers as well as by teachers at a school who were going through the effort with their own principal. So I do still believe that there is a clear path to follow. This is why it seems safe to assume that there is a lot more to the current story than has been made public thus far. I hope in time the truth becomes known.

dan dempsey said...

I thought to be most effective you need background and experience in a job.

It makes ZERO sense to move Bree D. to a new area. Either the knowledge she acquired in her current position increases her effectiveness there or it does not.

If her effectiveness did not increase, she should be fired not moved.

Disruptive INNOVATION is not a sound plan to improve anything long term.

Dr. Enfield is an agent of school reform NOT school improvement.