Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Strategic Plan Survey Results

Here is the presentation from today's Work Session on the Strategic Plan with survey results.

  • 5905 responses - 64% family member, 26% teacher or school staff, 1% principals, 5% community, 4% Central Office
  • By zip code - looks like a somewhat even distribution with  NE - 98115 with 528 responses, SE - 98118 with 221 responses, SW - 98136 with 118 responses, West Seattle - 98116 with 182 responses and NW - 98117 with 433 responses.  (There were more zip codes than those.)
  • page 8 has a breakdown of coaches and costs - overall it costs $6.4M for 65.6 coaches  (the salary swings are interesting)
  • Professional development in math, science and reading helping teachers and students - the big answer was .... no opinion.  And, out of the nearly 6,000 responses, only 3443 people answered this question.  Effective/somewhat effective (families-27%/teachers-51%). Ineffective/somewhat ineffective (families-22%/teachers-28%)
  • MAP test results effectiveness.  Effective/Somewhat Effective (families-41%/teachers-33%).  Somewhat effective/ineffective (families-45%/teachers50%).   Out of 6k responses, only 3682 respondents answered.
  • MAP- how many times a year should it be used?  3x- families-30%, teachers-23%, principals-40%.  Hmm, looks like principals like it more than teachers.   2x -families-29%,teachers-30%, principals, 40%.  That's a lot closer.  And hey, they ARE reducing MAP to two times a year for 2011-2013 (winter and spring)
  • NSAP.   More efficient/somewhat more - families-42%/teachers 23%/principals 55%.   Somewhat less/less efficient - families-27%/teachers-29%/principals-31%. 
Survey feedback
Common themes from families that emerged from the open response
• Suggestions and comments about funding various support programs
• Providing tutoring to struggling students
• Concerns about the distribution of financial resources

Common themes from teachers and staff that emerged from the open response
questions include:
• Suggestions and comments about increasing funding to a variety of programs or initiatives
• Smaller class sizes
• Differentiated supports for students

Hey - look at that, parents and teachers in agreement over support programs. 
With the exception of principals, approximately half of stakeholders responded that the communications around the budget  and the effectiveness in the budget development process in allocating resources were ineffective or somewhat ineffective.
• Open ended responses included the following themes:

– Increase transparency (eg. Enrollment projections, line item budgets,
frequent communication)
– Continue seeking input from stakeholders
– Continue decreasing central administration and allocate more funds to

  • Budget communications  Effective/somewhat- families-20%/teachers-42%/principals-57%.  Somewhat ineffective/ineffective- families-55%/teachers 44%/principals-34%
  • Budget development process Effective/somewhat effective-families-11%/teachers-22%/principals-48% - clearly a disconnect from families versus staff in schools


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update.

Does the reduction in MAP testing mean this year's Spring MAP will be used for next Fall's Advanced Learning testing/qualification?


David said...

Have to love the response less than 2% of teachers, parents, and the community saying the "budget development process" is "effective" in "allocating the District’s resources to meet our
goals": "District staff will continue improving the budget development proces", "we will continue to solicit greater input from stakeholders", and "we will communicate more effectively" (on slides 38 & 39).

What a bunch of bureaucratic drivel. The vast majority of parents, teachers, and community members just said they don't consider the district to be budgeting correctly for our goals. The staff response is that they will improve process and communication? This was a vote of no confidence in the district's ability to allocate funds. Where is the sense of urgency from district staff? Don't they realize they don't need to twiddle process and communication, but significantly change how the budget is allocated?

Parents and teachers were pretty clear they want more of the budget allocated to teachers in the classroom in the general comments. The vast majority of them also said they don't like how the budget is currently allocated and don't think it meets our goals. But the district staff's response isn't to shift funds to teachers in the classroom, but to improve process and communication?

Patrick said...

Not really surprising that there were a lot of "no opinion" responses for professional development, when most of the survey takers were parents. Parents don't have much idea what happens at professional development.

dan dempsey said...

Parents and teachers were pretty clear they want more of the budget allocated to teachers in the classroom in the general comments. The vast majority of them also said they don't like how the budget is currently allocated and don't think it meets our goals. ... BUT

Net result=>

Blatant Tribalism

Those in power will continue to do whatever they wish until they are removed.

If no one is every going to make an evidence based decision then I suggest voting for a new Tribe ... to toss central admin on its ear.

Charlie Mas said...

I just read through the whole presentation and it distills down to "blah blah blah". There is nothing of substance here.

If the Board can't see though this weak response it will be yet more proof that this Board needs to be replaced immediately.

dan dempsey said...

Strategic Plan = stumbling forward to continue a pathetic performance, under the guise of professional thinking.

What is the R.O.I.?

Return on investment for the Strategic Plan BS.

Hey at least the math works out to around $100,000 per academic coach per year.... how convenient.

Jan said...

"Blatant Tribalism" -- Dan. What a great phrase. It would be a good name for a rock bank (maybe a punk rock band).

Jan said...

I agree with Charlie -- lots of "blah, blah, blah." Lots of "we will continue doing what we are doing now." I saw nothing that suggested a shift in scarce dollars from any central initiative to any school-based need.

There does seem to be renewed language around "school autonomy." It isn't clear if there is any substance to it, but it might be something that the Alts and any school that can shoehorn its test results into the "high performing school" glass slipper can use to break away from District standardization. One can hope. Especially since I have never seen in Dr. E the level of animosity that MGJ had toward school autonomy.

Unclear whether any of the multi-tiered intervention stuff can actually mean "targeted interventions for struggling students." Hope hope.

Based on the parent/teacher feedback to MAP (the only feedback that counts, in my opinion -- other than kid feedback, which they didn't solicit), I think the MAP movement is weak -- but I guess we should be glad for what we get. MGJ would never have budged at all. It seems to me that the responses split between 2 times per year -- versus NONE. Thus, I would have suggested moving to 2 times per year in fewer grades (say, 3rd through 7th), but given schools the ability to elect NONE instead. This would have culled the really little kids (where the consensus seems to be that the test is even LESS valid for the uses to which it is being put) and who have things like reading assessments, etc. anyway. It would also have dropped out the 8th/9th graders, where I suspect that increasingly, EOCs will be used. And it would have saved a bundle, because we would be reducing the number of students, not just the number of tests. My recollection is that STUDENT number -- not test frequency -- is what drives the contract price.

Jan said...

But, Charlie -- I will say this. This seems to me to be the first presentation EVER that attempted to keep track of Board questions and to respond. I agree with you that the responses were often the sort of weak "continue to improve" or "work to develop" etc. etc. language that boils away to nothing. BUT -- it is a start. It allows a couple of things.

First, to the extent that board concerns are NOT listed -- it allows the board to add to the "tracked list" things that staff may have quietly hoped to drop.

Second, I think it is unrealistic to think that this administration, given years and years of horrible history, could come up with truly accountable, action-driven responses in the first round. I HOPE the board does not just pat their little hands together appreciatively and move on -- but instead credits them for at least (weakly) trying -- but pushes for real action, and not just words. But if ever accountability for board follow up is to start, it has to start somewhere. Maybe, maybe, this is the first pale shoot?

Note to Board -- this shoot will not survive under piles of metaphorical manure, unless you pay attention to it, and demand that the Superintendent and her staff refine their responses into more concrete action, and action more in line with your expressed policies (i.e. -- more funds to schools, less to central administration).

Jan said...

Finally, I thought the HR stuff was incredibly damning. I am clueless on HR stuff, so I don't know what the right fix is -- but this has always seemed to be a particularly stinky swamp -- one that needs to be attended to immediately!

Dorothy Neville said...

I agree with Jan. While it is easy to be frustrated, I am seeing that the staff are taking board pushback seriously. It is a start, it is a significant change. MUCH better than the disdain and blatant ignoring of board input we have seen before.

I was at the meeting and can attest that the board members (some of them at least) were very candid and strong in their discussion, pointed out significant issues that staff has not addressed yet and pushed for timelines.

Tomorrow I can look over my notes and give more details.

Linh-Co said...

Is the Board just coming around because elections are nearing?

Anonymous said...

Doesn't the District Scorecard shows that they target 82% going towards instruction by 2013? Also, what would have been nice to have been included in the presentation is a slide that shows how the SP qtr update will link the further fine tuning and monitoring of the plan. I've attended some of these sessions and realize that when the District issues a SP, it really is more of a shell or high level goals and the details are created through the ensuring quarters. I'm looking forward to seeing what the administration will come up with. In the May 4 presentation, there was a mention of Dec 2011 as a quarter update. I didn't see it on this version and I hope the Board will hold staff to that progress status report out.

A Friend of Seattle

Anonymous said...

Also, I am hoping that the Board will expect a more detailed work plan from Enfield and her staff before (August 31) the new school year starts. This detailed workplan should include timelines and milestones so that when the Board reviews the progress in December there is enough detail agreed upon to evaluate.

A friend of Seattle

Robyn said...


My sentiments exactly. The presentation glossed over the budget questions and responses even though those responses were the most "damning". There was no slide summarizing parent comments. I like how earlier in the presentation smaller class size was mentioned once, but not addressed.

I wrote to the Super, the Board and in the comment sections of this survey that in order for there to be "Excellence for All" or "ALO for All" we need smaller classes. Otherwise, it's absolute BS that a teacher can differentiate with 30 kids in a 2nd grade class.

dan dempsey said...

Still I wonder about the amount spent on Centralized Administration vs. school instruction and directly assisting students to learn. ... In this regard the Strategic Plan is long on Blah, Blah.

As long as the Top Down Model so loved by UW and the District persists it is really hard to see that over-head over-load getting under control. Academic Coaches for teachers are $100,000 each.

Here is an Indiana District serious about cutting Upper level expenditures to promote keeping the focus on classrooms.

Salander said...

Dan-if 90% of administrators in SPS stepped down there would be absolutely no loss to students.

dan dempsey said...


YUP ... the big problem is the model.

If the New Student Assignment Plan is going to make every school a quality school that will only happen when schools are able to function largely independent from Central Admin.

The idea that the NSAP transportation savings can be placed into schools to make every school a quality school is ridiculous.

The 6-15-2011 performance report delivered by DeBell, Here at 121:00, is the usual 15 minute chuckle. There are areas of emphasis for next year..... again many of the same things that failed to improve under emphasis in the past .... will be emphasized in the future.

Organization alignment -- audit response plan -- collaboration -- and blah, blah, blah .... YUP that will do it -- another largely meaningless report completed -- look for another one in 12 months.

Continued Emphasis for Math .... What does that mean?

HR department scored very low.

-------------------- fact ---
In Seattle Schools before the school board voted to bring in TfA, I made the Board aware that only 1 teacher out of every 200 teachers was not "highly qualified". Dean Stritikus of UW CoE sees TfA as a solution for the "Chronic Teacher Shortage".

This week the District posted 3.6 positions in math open at Rainier Beach HS. --- Why weren't these positions posted earlier?

dan dempsey said...

At the Board meeting Sherry Carr stated that for next year Central Admin spending will be below 6%.

I do hope that Meg Diaz can verify that is not done by creative accounting.

Anonymous said...

@ Dan: page 337 of the proposed budget book.

A friend to Seattle.

wsnorth said...

It looks like the "Principals" are generally pretty out of touch and clueless on almost all questions. Nice to know.