Odds and Ends

Executive Director
Some readers have been doing some investigating and found a real puzzler:  how did Bree Dusseault get her job?  She doesn't meet the qualifications currently listed for someone to fill her old regional position:


Education:Master’s degree in education or closely related field
Five (5) or more years of successful experience as a Principal, Supervisor or District Administrator
Preferred Qualifications:
Demonstrated experience across grade spans (Pre-K - 12)

She has one year of experience as a principal of a small charter middle school that had only 50 students and 5 teachers.    She claims to have been Founding Principal of New Orleans Charter Middle School but checking, it looks like the school was founded in 1998.  It was a good school until Hurricane Katrina wiped it out.  She re-opened it in 2007 and left at the end of the school year.
She has had three years experience teaching high school math, one year as a middle school principal, and  has no experience teaching in or administering elementary schools.  
Granted, sometimes candidates can prove their worth beyond their qualifications but given her performance with the Ingraham situation, you have to wonder.  
I'm hearing that 6 administrative employees in Nutrition Services got raises.  This as we continue to cut counselors, teachers and maintenance staff.  I wrote to the Board to ask this about this but no answers yet.

After the Legislative Session, we find our district still $4M in the hole.   From the Super:

We will be discussing potential solutions to the $4 million gap during our June 8 work session with the School Board. We will bring a proposed budget to the Board on June 15, with scheduled action on July 6. There will be a public hearing on the proposed 2011-12 budget on Wednesday, June 22 in the John Stanford Center auditorium.
The Washington Policy Center's Liv Finne weighs in on the Ingraham situation at the Times.
Public schools are not organized to maximize the energy and talent of educators. For example, school principals in Seattle lack the authority they need to improve student learning. Instead, Seattle Public Schools has chosen a command-and-control strategy to run the schools, with the five-year strategic plan, Excellence for All.

This plan, now in its third year, has failed to raise student achievement. Its central feature is to require school principals to meet mountainous paperwork requirements, including the writing of Continuous School Improvement Plans, to name just one.

By now it's obvious that Excellence for All is not working.

She does get a few things wrong:

Consider Ingraham's staff. The principal cannot decide who does or does not teach at Ingraham. 

Not true.  The principals are part of the hiring committee.  Can a principal prevent some assignments?  Not all the time.

 Teachers at Ingraham High are micromanaged by the central district. For example, the district requires Ingraham's teachers to use the weak Discovery Series math curriculum, a curriculum judged "mathematically unsound" by the state Board of Education. 
Interesting reading.

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Ana said…
"How did Bree Dusseault get her job?"

I have heard that she had applied for a coach job, and that someone in HR pushed her up to the Exec Director position because they were having a tough time finding canidates that met the qualifications for that position, and thought that her research work could be substituted for actual experience.

No knock to her for taking the bigger job if offered to her. Let's hope that for the new NW Ex Director, they hire someone who is appropriately qualified and experienced. There has to be a principal or two out there who is deserving of a move up the ladder a la Phil Brockman. Thoughts?
StopTFA said…
Here's a hilarious item. Boy, I am just embarrassed to even read the lame UW College of Education application to the PESB for its alternative route program for TFA. It either says "see attached district letter" or reads like a TFA promotional brochure. Compare it to others on SPSLeaks.

UW Application for U-ACT

Sent back for re-do

UW-PESB emails

UW needs a tutorial and TFA's lawyer
Anonymous said…
"By now it's obvious that Excellence for All is not working."

Clearly NOT obvious to School Board ... budget still $4 million off ... and SE gets Bree as a ...... what? to do what? at what cost?

Humm how is the Central Admin reduction in spending going?

Any thoughts on how to improve student learning? it is highly unlikely that continuing to follow a very poor expensive and ineffective plan is warranted but the Board does nothing.

Michael DeBell has raised concerns as to whether the coaching model is working?

Hey Mr. DeBell as Liv Finne wrote:
"By now it's obvious that Excellence for All is not working."

So what is your response?

---- Oh gee I forgot about TfA and the new policy D43.00 with no mention of interventions ... I guess that must be your response.

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
Michael DeBell and Kay Smith-Blum need to step up to the plate and address this mess.

There is no mention of how to help students catch up. Instead of doing individualized plans for students in need of intervention,
Enfield's plan is to do individualized plans for the principals and, likely to follow, teachers.

Schools need warm bodies to help students get double doses of the coursework they are struggling with, the math curriculum needs to change (or let schools opt into Singapore), and Bree and Michael's time would be well-spent doing individual plans for the at-risk students they should be helping.

Instead, Susan Enfield's plan is to make the principals and staffs feel at-risk. When the schools are not successful (which they won't be without interventions for students), Enfield and Co. can pass the blame onto the schools.

This transparency is just too transparent.

Signed, Stop being MIA, Directors DeBell and Smith-Blum
Anonymous said…
Some enlightening facts from TFA proposal: Students get to pay $11,410 and traditional UW Ed students pay $16,500.

"The districts in this partnership believe that teachers prepared through the partnership with Teach for America...will address regularly experienced shortages and bring a unique set of skills and perspectives that will help the districts close the achievement gap.

"We anticipate 35 candidates the first year and 50 in subsequent years."

The application claims SPS and Fed Way may need TFA-ers for Special Ed and ELL programs as well as math and science.

The UW Dean of Ed (Tom Stritikus) signed the application May 20. There was no sig from Enfield at that time.

Chris S. said…
Stop being MIA - good analysis. This is "trickle-down." AKA "Students Last."
I'll be explaining that tuition figure in a TFA thread soon.
dan dempsey said…
"How did Bree Dusseault get her job?"

Bree has the "correct" ideological beliefs, which overrides any other requirements.

If the directors would start breathing this "house of cards" would collapse. This pathetic structure would then be correctly aligned with the ground.

from the linked article:

We contrast the strategies that appear to be driving the policy agendas of the most successful countries with the strategies that appear to be driving the current agenda for education reform in the United States. We conclude that the strategies driving the best performing systems are rarely found in the United States, and, conversely, that the education strategies now most popular in the United States are conspicuous by their absence in the countries with the most successful education systems.

Many will be quick to point to exceptions to our characterizations of American practice. In fact, examples of excellent practice in almost every arena of importance can be found in the United States. But our aim here is not to focus on isolated examples of good practice but rather on the policy systems that make for effective education systems at scale, for it is there that the United States comes up short.

And Seattle Schools comes up incredibly short ... check the data.

Conclusion ... four new school directors need to be elected in 2011. Dr. Susan Enfield needs to become former Seattle Schools Superintendent ASAP.
dan dempsey said…
"The districts in this partnership believe that teachers prepared through the partnership with Teach for America...will address regularly experienced shortages and bring a unique set of skills and perspectives that will help the districts close the achievement gap."

OK so there are NO SHORTAGES at this time ..... but additionally ...

This confirms Charlie's thought that the District believes that TfA teachers contain special powers that border on Voodoo magic.

You will note that the SPS Math Achievement Gaps are at historically high levels. At grade 10 they keep on expanding after School Board decisions, NSF funded projects ($200,000 per year for multiple years), UW advice, UW help, SPS coaching plans, SPS professional development ($400,000 worth in one year for High School with new "Discovering Adoption")...... Pretty damn clear the District either ...
A: Has no clue
how to do anything positive about reducing math achievement gap .... or

B: District knows how to close the achievement gaps but chooses not to.


Yet TfAers will bring a unique set of skills and perspectives that will help the districts close the achievement gap."

Clearly this is just the usual drivel that gets written and no one either reads it or believes it .... but something needs to be written in support of the fairytale so this is what is produced.
dan dempsey said…
Michael DeBell and Kay Smith-Blum need to step up to the plate and address this mess.

Patu is normally voting against the mess.

Carr, Sundquist, Martin-Morris, Maier always vote for more mess.

Is there an end in sight?

Apparently not.
Arne Duncan is a mess maker and the SPS drone directors do their alignment dance to follow their Big money leaders ... and relevant data be damned.
Anonymous said…
Oh, this is a RICH SMACKDOWN. From the state's response to the UW TFA proposal:

"...Neither of the letters provided address the requirement of this section that asks that the districts to identify that they are currently experiencing, anticipate experiencing or are planning for addressing teacher shortages in endorsement areas for which the Alternative Route program is preparing interns..."


It is EXACTLY what the teaching force and smart parents have been saying.

Anonymous said…
WAIT. HOLY COW. As of 5/30 the state was still rejecting the UW's application for TFA in the fall. Said that if supporting documentation was not received by the state by 6/2 that the next available time for consideration by the board would by in SEPTEMBER. Too late to start a program this year.

So what has happened? Did the UW satisfy the state or not?

Totally looks like Stritikus launched this program with NO operational planning and hung the UW Managing Director -- biz guy -- out to dry with trying to meet state compliance in time.

CT said…
So besides Bree Dusseault getting a job she was not qualified, it looks like Stritikus got a job HE was not qualified for either. What an idiot - his proposal reads like a TFA sycophant rather than a balanced professional running an academic college. Too bad the reputation of the UW COE is at stake. They’d be wise to toss him to the side and get someone who has their best interests at heart rather than his big ego. His <a href="https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0BzFnDSPMMw3yMmNiMDdkNjUtMDAzZC00OGJhLWIyNjctNzFjZjA0YzkzNjcz&hl=en”>earlier e-mails </a>pretty much show that he’s only out to make a name for himself.

CT said…
Sorry - not sure where the last few characters of my link and a couple of words disappeared too... Blogger is not my friend today.

<a href="https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0BzFnDSPMMw3yMmNiMDdkNjUtMDAzZC00OGJhLWIyNjctNzFjZjA0YzkzNjcz&hl=en” > earlier e-mails </a>

StopTFA said…
Can the UW be charged with plagiarism? They obviously cut and pasted from TFA's handbook.

City U, Saint Martin's U, PLU, they all have their sh*t together compared to this dreck.

Thank goodness the PESB staff feel required to do a professional job. They rightfully ask "where is your market analysis of need? Just saying see district's letter is not sufficient".

The UW's response to PESB's cutting comments will be posted soon.
Anonymous said…
This is quite an insightful afternoon, following the emails from Stritikus, the latest posted above by CT.

Stritikus' first perhaps only priority appears to be getting TFA into UW. Wow. NO initial strategic thought for existing students, faculty, local school districts and most of all our kids in our schools.

Quote Stritikus: "I think we have a great opportunity here that would be attractive to donors, help TFA move into Washington state, and do a great service to the nation."

Is there a period of probation for a Dean? Because these emails are an embarrassment.

cascade said…
Stop TFA

I have been told that you can add Seattle U to the ed colleges with their act together. Apparently someone from the faculty (the head?) testified AGAINST rolling out TFA in Seattle, based on no teacher shortage, when it came before the school board for a vote last year.
someone said…
Curious how SPS justifies the salary raises for the nursing staff when so many are losing jobs - how did that fly under the radar?

And the TFA stuff is just, well, frighteningly incompentent - but since much of what happens at SPS seems equally idiotic, I guess we shouldn't be surprised. Sometimes I really honestly wonder if there is a way out of this mess...
CT said…
Agreed, Cascade. I’ve been told that UPS has it together as well. Not sure where Western stands on all this, but UW COE is looking dumber and dumber with each e-mail that comes out. Thanks to SPS Leaks for all the e-mails and various documents. Not quite the way I intended to spend part of my weekend, but they made for some interesting (and cringe-worthy) reading.

suep. said…
Here's my piece on the TFA-UW debacle for HuffPo:

Seattle's Education Reform Hypocrisy
Really? said…
From UW's proposal:

"Seattle and Federal Way districts have done internal assessments of their anticipated shortage areas (exact needs assessment data requested from districts). In response to their assessments, districtsentered into agreements with Teach for America (TFA) that will allow placement of TFACorps Members into locally identified teacher shortage areas. In both cases the districts will work with TFA to request conditional certification as per their district needs
I have a piece coming out in Crosscut on the whole UW/TFA timeline. Quite a story and it still isn't over.

What is curious is that a UW COE professor said they had been "working" on this proposal for a long time which isn't true as the doc to the Professional Educator board clearly show. Or, if this is their best work, UW is in trouble.
StopTFA said…
The Seattle U's successful alt cert proposal is posted on www.scribd.com/spsleaks and on the PESB website.

The UW has been totally schooled by their competition and by their regulators.
StopTFA said…
I would say it is about time for the UW Daily, the Seattle Times, and the SPU, SMU, PLU, and City U newspapers to blow this open. And time for Dean Strit's bosses to start paying attention to the kind of crap he and his staff are putting out. I bet if one of their grad students submitted a paper as lousy as this program proposal, the student would get a flunking grade.
dan dempsey said…
This TfA fiasco is hardly different from so many other SPS decisions. Need and supportive data for bringing in TfA were both lacking. So how is this much different from so many other approvals for nonsense by the School Board.

Decisions are made based on ideological alignment with what the deciders would like to have work. Need for services or products and evidence of effectiveness is never needed..... hope for a brighter future and belief in fairytales trump evidence.
dan dempsey said…
One question... What does Randy Dorn Superintendent of Public Instruction think about this TfA deal?
Mud said…
Someone - are you implying that the school nurses are getting raises? Or are you saying that others, like Bree, are getting raises/created positions and the nurses are losing positions because of the resulting decrease available to health services?
Luke said…
Mud - I think "someone" misread Nutrition Services mentioned in the Budget section. Nutrition Services got raises. School nurses are represented by SEA so get raises (and cuts) at the same time as teachers.
someone said…
@Luke, Mud - yes, sorry brain and fingers were on two different planets - meant the section re: budget and the aforementioned nutrition staff but my fingers typed nursing instead - sorry for the confusion.

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