Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Near Total Turnover at Rainier Beach

We know that neither of the two principals currently at Rainier Beach High School will be there next year.

Now we learn that nearly all of the teachers currently at Rainier Beach High School are also leaving. It's a combination of factors, including RiF's, dissatisfaction with the school administration, the challenges associated with teaching there, and concern about how student outcomes will impact the teachers' performance evaluations.

There will be almost a complete turnover of personnel at Rainier Beach between this year and next. While that might be one of the hallmarks of a transformation, this is not a transformation. In a transformation the personnel turnover is targeted, deliberate, and planned. This isn't. There isn't anyone guiding this turnover; it's just happening. It's a crisis, not a strategy.

The school is going to get hit with all of the negative consequences of turnover. All of the established student relationships will be destroyed. The "family" feel of the school will have to start over from scratch.

I suppose the new principal will have the advantage of having chosen the bulk of the teaching staff, but will have to do it without first-hand knowledge of the school or the community. Hiring a teaching staff will be an urgent task for the principal, but the principal can't get started yet because the principal hasn't been hired yet. Dr. Enfield is taking her sweet time with that decision. The challenge for the new principal and for the school grows with each passing day.

It's hard not to see this as messed-up.


anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anonymous said...

Is Michael Rice leaving? Wonder if he could give us his perspective of what's happening at RBHS?

Po3 said...

Wow, anybody want to place bets that the principal is a KIPPer and teachers are mostly TFAers. Great opportunity for Enfields strategy.

Anonymous said...

It's going to end up TFA staffed, isn't it? That's my prediction. I've met teachers who have taught at RB, and understood how very challenging it is. I was hoping (and, I know, maybe not possible under current rules) that substantial stipends would be offered to take on the challenging task to try to attract teachers who were willing to take on the challenge. I'm guessing that the school is going the route of throwing novices, who will probably be dedicated, at the problem. I guess it will be an interesting experiment (kind of like the proverb about interesting times).

I was hoping for something different for those of you who have kids with needs similar to my own, but live in SE. I feel bad. I might find it an interesting experiment in the end, but it's certainly not one I'd submit my children to.


Jamie said...

BB, I was wondering the same thing. Would love to hear from Mr. Rice. I am hoping he's ok.

Anonymous said...

Call it what it is: Hurricane Bree.

What will it look like after the transformation? New Orleans Charter School. Uniforms. No excuses. All children treated like military cadets.

I doubt anyone in RB's community asked for this, but Top-Down Ed Reformers like Bree prefer giving orders rather than responding to requests.

You will do it and you will like it.

The SE Region is Bree's sandbox. She makes the rules. Too bad for you if you don't like it. WSEADAWG

Charlie Mas said...

Ms Dusseault will not be the the Executive Director with responsibility for Rainier Beach High School. Mr. Tolley will be responsible for the K-8s, middle schools, and high schools in the Southeast Region.

southmom said...

My god, if this were APP we're talking about, there would be rioting in the streets. How can the board force students to attend RB? Where is the urgency? Where is anyone, ANYONE, at the district or board who cares?

Anonymous said...

I agree with southmom - how can they force kids to attend this school? It has no principal and the majority of the staff is leaving? I find this shocking to say the least.

Excellence for all, is that right?


Anonymous said...

You have to consider the possibility that they would be considering closing RB for at least one year and then reopen as something else.

The students could be squeezed in somewhere else for a year or maybe two but that is about it before the "bubble" really hits high school.

seattle parent

Charlie Mas said...

So here's a question: If the student outcomes at Rainier Beach don't improve, will Mr. Tolley be held accountable?

If there's little improvement in the student outcomes among the elementary schools in the Southeast, will Ms Dusseault be held accountable for those outcomes?

Affamso said...

But southmom, it would be rioting by the APP parents and kids, not those of us who aren't in that community. In this district, it is undeniably the squeaky wheel getting the grease. You have to get the RBHS kids and parents to be louder than anyone else, to write letters, to do sit-ins and organize FB pages.

I know it can feel inequitable, but those showing up for APP-related protests are APP parents. RBHS hopefully has more alliances in the larger community. If you organize something and come back here and tell everyone, you may be able to round up interested parties (myself included) who'd like to help but aren't going to go marching into the board on behalf of someone else, who may or may not want my help, when I am not part of the community, don't have a kid at RBHS and don't even live near the area. But I'd be happy to support a community parent-led effort.

At the very least, I would definitely put a bug in the ear of KUOW's Phyllis Fletcher. She seems like she would be interested. THIS is A Story.

Anonymous said...

Closing a high school without much fanfare and save the district budget some $$$ to cover shortfall (gotta cover those raises). Hmmm! That is pretty ghoulish! And sadly possible. But then since SPS is going corporate, SPS LTD., maybe this is the new normal.

-got my seatbelt on, hope you do too!

Anonymous said...

Affamso -- you're right of course, that efforts have to be lead by those most directly affected.

But, the problem here, in addition to the general disenfranchisement of the children who attend RB (at least some of them are there because they don't have advocates) is that the people who should be up in arms about this are not the RB community. They're the RB community that should have been, the families who live in South. That's not a community that exists.

I think the real experiment would be to make RB an option school, with an IB program and see what happens. That, of course, requires reassigning all the RB neighborhood elsewhere.

I think SPS is not thinking rationally if they think that kids with "IB scores" will attend RB with an interim principal, TFA staff, and a theoretical IB program.


Dorothy Neville said...

"I think SPS is not thinking rationally if they think that kids with "IB scores" will attend RB with an interim principal, TFA staff, and a theoretical IB program."

Great comment. And when has SPS been witnessed thinking rationally?

Charlie Mas said...

IB students in the south-end will choose Rainier Beach regardless of the risks (new administration, new staff, new program, risk of closure) because they are shut out of Sealth and Ingraham. They won't have any other choices.

They might be able to choose a school in the Renton district, but the outcomes there aren't much better.

Jan said...

Charlie said:

So here's a question: If the student outcomes at Rainier Beach don't improve, will Mr. Tolley be held accountable? If there's little improvement in the student outcomes among the elementary schools in the Southeast, will Ms Dusseault be held accountable for those outcomes?

Here is my answer -- Nope. Why? Because the FIRST thing they will do is try to make all the teachers/principals "accountable" by dismissing them (already happening at RBHS). Then, it will take 2 years to get any results under the NEW teachers/principal. By then, the administrators have already moved on to other jobs/titles/cities -- tagging their resumes with all the great work they did here. And their replacements, of course, can't be held accountable for what happened before they came.

Jan said...

Charlie notes: they won't have any other choices.

Hmmm. I hadn't quite thought of it before, but the OLD SSD choice system really didn't make a very good sandbox for the Ed Reform crowd, because they couldn't "force" families to stay in the schools they were reorganizing/experimenting on. Now that they lulled everyone into thinking that the NSAP was such a great idea (with all those promises of option seat set asides, option schools, etc.) -- and have removed most of the promised choices AND the transportation to get there, they have created just the scenario they need -- a group of captive kids, without the resources to flee.