Showing posts from March, 2012

Opportunity Scholarships

This came to me via State Rep. Tim Probst: New scholarship program for the middle class taking applications now Probst’s Opportunity Scholarships will help 3,000 families afford college OLYMPIA – Washington state high school seniors and college students may apply immediately for a new college scholarship program that reaches far into the middle class.  The Opportunity Scholarships program is accepting applications online, from now until April 16. The Opportunity Scholarships Act was sponsored by Rep. Tim Probst, D-Vancouver, and passed the Legislature with bipartisan support in 2011. The program will award 3,000 scholarships for $1,000 per year, renewable for up to five years.  It is the first program of its kind in the nation, and is funded through a public-private partnership. The state allocated $5 million in seed money for the program and Boeing and Microsoft have already committed $50 million, combined. "This is what can happen when Americans focu

This and That And Good News in our District

Tomorrow, Sunday, April 1 , Seattle Children's Hospital will be giving away bike helmets on a first-com, first-serve basis.  They have 400 helmets to give away and your child must be present to be fitted properly.  This is happening at the Ballard Commons Park from 10 am to 1 p.m.  Salmon Bay's Leo Pfeifer won first place in C-Span's documentary video contest.  He won $3,000 and his video will be aired on C-Span on April 25th.  This is the second year in a row Leo has placed in the top tier of this competition.  Students in grades 6-12 created videos with the theme, "The Constitution and You."  They had to select any provision of the Constitution to work on.  Over 1200 videos were submitted.  Congrats to Leo, his parents and his teachers at Salmon Bay. In the Global Reading Challenge competition, two Seattle teams have advanced to the next round: Alki Elementary and Adams Elementary.   Those two teams will compete against a Canadian team in video conferenc

Friday Open Thread

Things continue to heat up in our district. The BEX IV scenarios are both puzzling and shocking. And, of course, for most people it is short time to digest these ideas before next week's BEX IV meetings throughout the city. (And again, I gripe that this district has 5 regions and the BEX IV scenarios affect people in all regions. Why only three meetings?) I am thinking of trying to have a meeting to talk about BEX issues before the BEX meeting, either Saturday or Sunday. Would anyone be interested in meeting and going over maps and ideas? Only director community meeting this week is Director Patu on Saturday.

Times, Do Keep Up

Over at the sleepy T editorial board, they woke up and decided (probably via Councilman Burgess), that they don't like the Creative Approach MOU.    The title of this missive?  " Seattle Public Schools' Innovation Plan Requires Tweaking, Scrutiny"   Here's what I wrote in the comments: "The Seattle Public Schools' pursuit of innovation is a work in progress that would benefit from wider, sharper scrutiny." Hello Times! Where have you been? Over at the Seattle Schools Community Forum blog, we have been discussing this over and over. Many us spoke out against it at Board meetings. First, it isn't hard to get 80% of people to agree if you have a good plan. It's the details that count and clearly this detail got missed by the Times and Councilman Burgess who sat silently through the entire Board meeting where it was discussed and voted on. Very funny as well mentioning the education levies have a simple majority. Parents

Education - The Key Issue in the Governor's Race

Went to the Alliance for Education breakfast today. It was a packed house despite the fact that there was another breakfast fund-raiser going on for King County Dems and the Mayor was off making a policing announcement.  Yay to the Ingraham band who showed up (and, poor things, had to stay until the end to play us out).  Yay to Maple Elementary's dragon dancers and spoken word performers (but next time, give the kid doing rap the microphone).  Impressions: - kind of subdued, almost like people are weary of talking about education - nice round of applause for Susan Enfield but nothing out of the ordinary despite her departure - Dr. Enfield called the Alliance "Seattle's local education fund".   - Sara Morris of the Alliance said the Alliance was both "a critic and a friend to the district" and "the independent guardian of funds."  She also spoke of Seattle someday becoming the "envy of the nation."  I wonder how we get there if we

Charter School Drumbeat Continues at the Times

The Times never runs out of space for people to advocate for charter schools. " If voters favor charter schools, why can't state lawmakers? " by Robert Enlow and Jonathan Bechtle. Robert Enlow is president and CEO of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, the legacy foundation of Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman headquartered in Indianapolis. Jonathan Bechtle is CEO of the Freedom Foundation, a free-market think tank based in Olympia. Lots of comments follow, nearly all pointing out how the authors are wrong. Let's remember, however, that the people who make decisions in Seattle read the print edition, not the online edition, and they certainly don't read the comments from the riff-raff. If you only read the print edition you would think that everyone loves the idea of charter schools - except for the teachers' union lobbyists who control the Democrats in the legislature and obstruct any kind of reasonable and necessary education reform to pr

Live Blogging from BEX IV meeting

A new scenario draft was available at the meeting and it raised some questions. - it shows that the World School would stay at a renovated Meany but share it with a smaller middle school (400 seats). - I was told the Roxhill and Arbor Heights principals had okayed a merge but it is not clear it's a done deal. - the costs for the buildings look better, about $30M for an elementary but I think it could be cheaper and oddly between $45-75 for Thorton Creek K-8 and $70M for Wilson-Pacific and Olympic Hills. - In EVERY scenario there is $32M for a South Lake Union school. The word I heard (not from staff) is that some businesses would give the land if we build it. Not this BEX. You don't give up that kind of cash when other schools are hurting. - maybe repurpose Jane Addams as a 6-8 middle school

BEX IV - Full of Mysteries

 Finally had my first look at the BEX IV preliminary plans .  I'm sure there is a rhyme and reason to this plan (actually 4 scenarios) and it all revolves around....portables? As we learn from page 8, there are 170 portables (of all kinds) being used in our district .  Most are general classroom portables at "active" schools - 114.  There are 14 at closed buildings.  The rest have various uses. Keep in mind they are only talking about middle/K-8 and elementary school buildings for BEX IV (except for Lincoln, Mann and wherever they put the World School). They have many tantalizing projects but no explanation of what some of them might be used for.  The projection out date they are looking to is 2021-22 (how old will I be then?  don't scare me like that). They do not list possible costs for buildings (could be too soon) but those better be costs that reflect the building costs around the region.  We cannot keep spending on buildings as we have in the past.

Who will work on a new school?

It's not enough to oppose charter schools by saying that public schools can do everything that charter schools can do; the public schools have to actually do it. It's time for innovation advocates - both within the public school structure and outside it - to come together to make it happen for students. The Board's approval of the MOU with the SEA regarding creative approach schools opens an opportunity for folks to change the way we teach children. I have spoken with a few people about this project and now I want to open the conversation to a larger group. Who will join a group to develop and staff a new school? I'm thinking of an elementary school housed in the Columbia building in Columbia City that would be a school that incorporates some of the best ideas that have been proven by innovative practices all around the country.

Hell Gets a Chill

No, hell hasn't frozen over but it is a bit chilly as I find that I actually agree with the Times' editorial board on an education issue .   We all agree the public should have the opportunity to hear and/or meet the superintendent finalists.  Then they go and spoil it by showing their motivation to get an ed reformer in there but I am glad they are standing up for more transparency.  They have a great quote from 2003 when the district was again looking for a superintendent. We warned then that, "Seattle Schools' number-one goal ought to be regaining public trust and confidence. The district compromises this goal when it promises citizen input but fails to deliver." Amen, brothers and sisters.  But it would seem that in other cases, the Times works to make sure to protect those at the top like Goodloe-Johnson, Sundquist and Maier.  That endangers public trust and confidence as well. Then they bring out one of their most old and tired lines: Board mem

Spirited Talk at Lowell@Lincoln...About Their Future Location

I attended the PTA meeting at Lowell@Lincoln. Good crowd, I'd say about 50+ people (not including the FACMAC and PTA leaders). And they had brownies. Opening the meeting, the investigation was topic one. But they felt it imperative to keep to the agenda because this meeting had been previously postponed. They said that Ms. Geoghagan and Nancy Coogan would have a coffee hour soon with parents. (I hope it's an evening coffee hour because clearly you would not draw as many parents in the morning.) Frankly, everyone in the room seemed fine to move onto the agenda.

Tuesday Open Thread

In the "we can dream, can't we" category, what do you see for education in Seattle in 2062? The Happiness Initiative, Sustainable Seattle, and the Next 50 present the 2nd Annual Dream A Sound Future Competition The Happiness Initiative is a national project offering tools and resources to communities and individuals seeking to enhance their well-being.  The mission of the Happiness Initiative is to work for a just, healthy and resilient society where all people have the opportunity to pursue happiness. Based on the Seattle Area Happiness Initiative indicators for sustainability, you can present your ideas on how you see the region in the next 50 years and the steps to get there. Think of the year 2062. Imagine thriving economy, culturally diverse society, carbon emissions free highways, healthy oceans and lush forests. How do we arrive at such a future? What is our best-case scenario? Our contest asks residents of all ages to share their dreams and visions

It Will Only Happen Again if Everyone Turns Away

I see we have come to a sorry place where, once again, the district says things like "handled", "controls are in place" and they "investigated" and all is well. Problem is, we've heard that before - with the Hill scandal, with Silas Potter, etc.  For those of us who are community members and taxpayers, it's a sad thing to see schools that are probably not working as well as they should.  It's sad to see, once again, that the focus is off academics because, once again, the district has a crisis.   Parents, are you really willing to turn away so easily?  All parents, not just Lowell parents should speak up because if you think things like this just happen at other schools, you'd be wrong. This is your district and you have a right to ask for better.  If you accept every decision and explanation - without question - you will not get better from this district. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

The Times Talks To Lowell Parents

The Times talked to parents at Lowell.  They also talked to Susan Enfield via SPS Communications.  I can appreciate how tired the Lowell community must be.  First one split, then another, then a felon goes on a field trip, then Principal King says he's leaving, then he's staying and now this investigation that calls out both of Lowell's principals.  It's a lot. And there are questions: What led a special investigator to conclude that Principal Gregory King and Assistant Principal Rina Geoghagan mishandled the report? If they did mishandle it, why were they not fired? And why were the investigation's findings released after the close of the district's open-enrollment period? What led the investigator was the evidence which was fairly clear-cut in terms of both principals being told about a behavior issue by one IA by a couple of staff members.  The principals never did an investigation and then, when the district got wind of it, they both proceeded

The Geek Shall Inherit the Earth

So I know that Charlie is just in heaven because this weekend is Emerald City ComiCon and NEXT weekend is Sakura-Con (deep breaths now, buddy). But there are also tickets to Geek Girl Con 2012 on sale now.  Caution: breathless prose approaching: On Wednesday, April 18th at 6:00 p.m., GeekGirlCon and the Association for Women in Computing  join forces to host another fantastic event. Darren G. Davis, publisher of Bluewater Productions , will discuss the release of his Bill Gates comic book and give you greater insight into how the Nook and the Kindle are changing the comic book industry. GeekGirlCon is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting awareness of and celebrating the contribution and involvement of women in all aspects of the sciences, science fiction, comics, gaming and related Geek culture through conventions and events that emphasize both the historic and ongoing contribution and influence of women in this culture. Now I'm not one to call anyone a ge

Welcoming Our New Ombudsman

I had a chance to sit down with the district's new Ombudsman, Ron McGlone and talk with him about his new job.  (And a shout-out to Noel Treat for suggesting the district try out this idea again.) The district news release set out the long history that Mr. McGlone has with our district.  He has been in SPS since 1990.  He has worked as a non-teacher substitute (and even knew the last previous ombudsman), a family support worker and also worked in Customer Service and Enrollment.  He also served in the U.S. Army (which explains his great posture and firm handshake). 

Adding up the score from Lowell

As the story at Lowell comes out, there are definitely some lessons learned and some people who come out looking good, bad, and mixed. Here's the central absurdity: two employees were investigated for failure to report inappropriate behavior and the only evidence against them was their report of the inappropriate behavior - the one that satisfied their requirement to report. The people who accused them were the people to whom they made the report - a report that those folks dismissed out of hand. It makes my head hurt to think about it.

District Announces MAP Meeting

From SPS Communications: Families and parents will have a chance to talk with Seattle Public Schools staff on April 4 about the 2011 "re-norming" of their children's Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test – as well other questions related to MAP testing. The meeting will be held 5-6 p.m., in Room 2700 at the John Stanford Center. SPS staff, including Mark Teoh from Research, Evaluation, and Assessment (REA) and Bob Vaughan from Advanced Learning, will be joined by John Cronin from the Northwest Evaluation Association (the makers of the MAP assessment). The meeting will take place prior to the School Board meeting. For questions about this event, please contact the REA department at . Family and Parent meeting on MAP testing Wednesday, April 4 from 5-6 p.m. Room 2700 John Stanford Center 2445 3rd Ave. S. Seattle, WA 98134

Seattle Schools Week of March 26-31

 Tuesday FACMAC meeting Tuesday 4-7 at JSCEE.  Wednesday School Board Work Session - BEX IV 4:00-5:30 pm No agenda yet. School Board Work Session - Budget 6:00 pm- 7:30 pm No agenda yet. Thursday Alliance for Education Annual Breakfast , 7 am at the Sheraton. This should be good. You see all the movers and shakers in education plus all the elected officials in Seattle. We should see a large crowd (at least in reporters) as two of the speakers are Rob McKenna and Jay Inslee, candidates for governor. Charlie and I will be seated at the pariahs' table. Arts Education - Southwest meeting at Chief Sealth High School from 6:30-8:30 pm. Saturday Community Meeting with Director Betty Patu at Cafe Vita from 10 am to noon. Arts Education meeting for students at the Meany building from 10 am to noon. This meeting is geared towards middle and high school students.  More info/RSVP.

Don Kennedy makes a soft landing

Don Kennedy, the former CFOO of Seattle Public Schools was kicked out on his ass a year ago. The School Board softened his landing with six months' severance, but now we know ( from this Seattle Times article ) that he has landed in clover as the interim operations chief in Bridgeport, Connecticut. At $900 a day, and assuming a 260 day contract, that's $234,000 a year. Any questions? He'll have to get back to you on that. Dr. Goodloe-Johnson, as we know, has been made the superintendent of the state-run district in Michigan which is made up of all of the "failing" schools taken over by the state. I have no doubt that she got that position based on her analogous success with the Southeast Education Initiative here in Seattle. In case you're wondering, Dr. Goodloe-Johnson really did declare that effort a success. Dr. Goodloe-Johnson rather famously (or infamously) denied any responsibility for the scandal in the RSBDP saying that she couldn't be expected

Just Wondering

Now we know a few more things about the situation at Lowell and I just have to ask Dr. Enfield and Mr. Apostle a couple of questions: This was in the comments section on the thread about the release of the investigation report.  Last year, Gregory King shared with the entire staff during a staff meeting, a "This is my life" power point. In it he revealed that his father had been killed by white racists when he was just a young boy, I believe at age six. His brother was killed as a teen ager, also by presumed gang activities. We knew that he had gone through what would have a major impact on his phyche. All year, when we saw teachers bullied, and his own outbursts, ranting at the staff, we all somewhat excused him, as we knew that he had suffered much in his growing up years.

Trayvon Martin

FYI - Tomorrow, a rally and march for Trayvon Martin sponsored by the NAACP, Mothers for Police Accountability, American Friends Service Committee, and other activist groups.  Rally at 4pm Sunday the 25th Greater Mt.Baker Baptist Church, 2425 South Jackson Street March at 4:30pm to MLK Memorial Park, 2200 Martin Luther King Jr Way  Trayvon Martin was 17.   He had friends, was bright (but got in trouble for tardiness) and had a close-knit family even though his parents had divorced.  He had played football but quit.  He continued volunteering at the team's concession stand for months anyway.  Three weeks ago he was visiting his father's fiancee's home and went out to get some treats at a nearby convenience store. He was shot to death coming back home by a neighborhood watch guy.  So why bring this up here?  Because I've talked in the past about the need for teens to learn how to deal with police officers.  Things happen.  I suspect that Trayvon's pa

Special Session Updates

Looking around it seems that there is some forward motion but our legislators still haven't gotten enough done. The gimmicks around waiting one day for a payment to K-12 districts to save some money seem to be off the table. Here's what the Governor said: “They have a lot of work to do. I don’t think at this point … they have … made sufficient progress for me to open the doors to bill signing. So I will sign no bills on Monday. I had planned to, and I will not,” Gregoire said. The last day that any bills passed that need the Governor's signature is next Saturday, March 31st. I'm thinking that the charter school bill is still in flux but my gut tells me Lisa Macfarlane's  idea/challenge about passing a referendum to send this issue to the voters is a lot of semi-wishful thinking.  It would get charters on the ballot but the issue would be how to win that vote.

Community Meeting Open Thread

If you attend either the Martin-Morris or Smith-Blum community meetings, let us know what you hear. I suspect Kay will get an earful.  The issue at Lowell is NOT just a personnel matter; parents need to know that their children will be protected and inappropriate conduct investigated. It's a public trust between parents and schools and it needs to be protected.

In the End, It's Just Depressing - the Lowell Investigation

I first up want to make a couple of statements about this report (which really turns out to be three reports.) Memo #1 about whether 4 employees fulfilled their mandatory reporting obligations. Memo #2 is about Lowell Elementary School: complaints by two employees.  Number three is a letter to HR head, Paul Apostle, in response to the assertions of Rina Geoghagan and Gregory King about the Report (memo #1).  One, there are only two people are named - Rina Geoghagan and Gregory King, both administrators at Lowell.  Everyone else gets a code.  It does make it difficult to follow the narrative. Two, I am deeply saddened at this outcome as it leaves a lot of questions and for the Lowell community much worry. Three, there is something to be learned here starting with the basics. Every - single - person in SPS needs to know the protocol about reporting issues around adult and student interaction. Every - single - administrator MUST be trained on the protocol and asked if they

Lowell Report Released - Details to Follow

It finally happened.  Will post ASAP.

Future of Seattle Schools Discussed Tonight on Seattle Channel 21

Tonight on Seattle Channel 21 at  7 p.m., on City Inside/Out the topic will be the future of Seattle Public Schools featuring Susan Enfield and Sharon Peaslee.  I did an interview segment awhile back (and nearly forgot about it) so I'll be in there as well.

Just Try Them, You'll Like Them (and we'll throw in a vote to boot)

The lure to legislators, well, I'll let Lisa Macfarlane of DFER tell you: Speaking of choice, why don't we let the voters decide this fall about whether they'd support a small pilot program for public charter schools? Lawmakers could pass a bill with a referendum clause adding the issue to the November ballot - making the Governor's opposition irrelevant. Earlier this session, House Democrats insisted that they couldn't even let a charter school bill come to a vote, let alone pass one, because the issue was too important and had to be decided on by voters. So let's see how House Democrats feel about a referendum charter school measure that goes straight to the ballot. Any bets? One, very clever.  Tack it onto the end of what is going to be an incredibly long ballot this November, get out all your yes votes and watch most voters ignore it.  You win! Two, did she check in with Senator Tom?  Because he said this kind of vote on education was a "

Superintendent Search Update

School Board President Michael DeBell has sent out a letter describing the status and plan for the Superintendent Search. March 23, 2012 Dear Seattle Public Schools families, staff and community, As you know, the Seattle School Board is in the midst of searching for our next superintendent.  We have contracted with an outside firm, Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA), to conduct a national search to find a leader who is a great fit for our schools and community. Last fall, Elway Research, Inc. conducted two surveys to gather input about desired characteristics in the next superintendent from a broad spectrum of the community, including three town hall meetings held in conjunction with Seattle Council PTSA.  Using the survey results and information gathered from interviews with the Board and community members, the search firm consultants drafted desired characteristics that outline what the community is looking for in a new superintendent, including:  a visionary, in

School-Level Budgeting

A thread was requested on school-level budgeting that is occurring over the next couple of weeks. 

Friday Open Thread

Tomorrow - Community Meetings with Harium Martin Morris at Diva Espresso on Lake City from 9:30-11:30 am and also with Director Smith-Blum from 10-11:30 am at the Capitol Hill branch library. What's on your mind?

April 26 C & I Meeting - Save the Date

Mark your calendars, folks. You will not want to miss the April 26 meeting of the Curriculum and Instruction committee. And bring a snack because the agenda is going to be packed! According to the timetable for the policy review process, the C & I committee will consider Phase II revisions for five - count 'em, FIVE - different policies. And not quick, simple, non-contentious policies, but five potentially controversial ones. I'm not sure what else the committee hopes to do in that meeting, but the discussion of these five policies could take a long time.

New Principal for TOPS K-8

From Dr. Enfield to the TOPS community: I am excited today to announce the appointment of Chris Scott as your new principal, effective July 30, 2012.   Dr. Scott comes to TOPS from Raleigh, North Carolina, where he is currently the principal of a gifted and talented magnet school. Dr. Scott earned his doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he focused on social justice and equity in public education and conducted research addressing educational opportunities of American Indian students.   Dr. Scott was selected after a hiring process that included interviews with a team consisting of four parents, three certificated staff and one classified staff member. The process was comprehensive and the members of the committee were nominated through the TOPs site council. Candidates also participated in a site-visit.  The selection team committee was particularly impressed with Dr. Scott’s both his personal and professional dedication to social justice. Dr. Sco

Live Blogging From the School Board Meeting

You go first and we'll chime in. Update: Because a reader had asked, last night was the introduction of the Snow Waiver for the two days of school missed because of snow. So it was just introduced last night and the discussion is around (1) cost to make them up and (2) worth doing given how the last days of school are not generally productive. I'll watch the tape of the meeting and see what the discussion looked like but it looks like the Board is in an either/or situation. The money for the days is already allotted, I think they should use it for those days. If not, then the Board should direct the Superintendent as to where to spend it. They are in charge of the budget and if extra money comes, it should go at their discretion and not the Superintendent's. On the other hand, what would you suggest to make those last two days of school productive?

Ramona Hattendorf Sets the Record Straight

A message from Ramona Hattendorf, Washington State PTA Government Relations Coordinator: =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= There seems to be confusion about WSPTA’s position on charter public schools. There has been no change in the WSPTA position on charters. The association has qualified support. Please note "qualified." On this blog and others individuals have been posting assumptions and outright fabrications about what I personally am doing and supporting and actions that WSPTA is taking. I know you value clarity, and while you like to inspire debate it is not your intention to spread misinformation. To clarify various posts on your blog:

This and That

The Times is reporting that Hamilton's 6th grade field trip to see The Hunger Games has been canceled.  I'm not really surprised - I think an adult should see the film before a decision is made to show it to students.  (And if you want a version of it, check out the Japanese film, Battle Royale, with the same theme of kids being forced to kill each other to stay alive.)  I am getting a press pass to go and hear Diane Ravitch tomorrow morning at the National Association of Elementary School Principals convention being held this week at the Convention Center.  I have never heard her speak and I am looking forward to it.  I also hope to speak to some principals from other states about their challenges and successes.   The Association includes elementary and middle school principals.  They are also sponsoring a day of service today for Hawthorne Elementary School in support of their new playground.  (I attended an event at Hawthorne this week and there are a couple of threads

Board Community Engagement Failure

For all of their fancy talk about community engagement, the School Board has the worst community engagement of any department in the District. Imagine a principal who conducted community engagement by holding two sessions a month, during which no more than 19 people could speak to the principal for no more than two minutes each. The principal would not respond to anything said, not at the session and not afterwards by phone, mail, email, or in person. People could, of course, send the principal email, but the principal wouldn't reply in 90% of the cases. Nor would the principal reply to 90% of voice mail messages. That's it. That's the entire community engagement effort from the principal. Would that be acceptable to anyone? Could a program manager conduct community engagement like that? Of course not. Could the superintendent? One of them tried and was constantly hounded by the Board to expand and improve her community engagement. They should have removed the beam f

Hack Job, Anyone?

I mentioned previously that at the last School Board meeting, Liv Finne of the right-wing Washington Policy Center, got up to support TFA and used a lot of hyperbole to make her point (for example, the district was "banning" TFA).   Her latest epistle is off the charts.  Some excerpts with comments: TFA educators set high goals for their students: a clear focus on math and science, 40 minutes of reading every night, and a desire to graduate and go on to college. In Seattle and other cities TFA is helping children raise their sights and reach for the stars. Whenever I read this kind of uplift for one group, I wonder what they think about the other group.  Meaning, if TFA is this great, what do they think regular teachers (read: real teachers) are doing every day and expect to do in the future in their chosen profession? Not everyone is happy, however. The teachers’ union sees opening schools to TFA graduates as a threat to their power within the system

School Board Wants Your Thoughts on Board Meetings

The issue of making the School Board meetings more productive continues.   (It is also the issue of productive for whom?  Are Board meetings for the Board to do business or an event where the public can learn about the business of the school district?)  Also to note, why can't the Board comments be three minutes? They already cut the speaker time from 3 to 2 minutes starting at tomorrow's Board meeting.  Now, it's the start-time of the Board meetings .  At the Executive Committee meeting, a handout showed four options for Board meetings plus what other districts do, both regionally and nationally.  What other districts do varies wildly. But now there are five options listed (versus the four on the handout at the meeting).   Three of them have testimony starting before 6 p.m. which I can't see at all as many people work until 5 or 5:30 p.m.  The other two options have it starting at 7 p.m. but that's AFTER all the agenda items have been heard and voted on.  Her

Improved Oversight

On the Board schedule for this week is a work session specifically for management oversight of the Human Resources department. As folks will recall, the June 2009 state audit revealed that the previous board completely abdicated their duty to oversee the management of the District. While I want to believe that they took this criticism seriously, the fact is that it was nearly two years before they took any action to address the failure. They didn't get around to their first management oversight work until the Spring of 2011. The first department they reviewed was Human Resources. Soon after, the "Chief Talent Officer" hired by Dr. Goodloe-Johnson out of Arne Duncan's camp, was fired. I guess that's what comes from oversight. Since then, the Board has codified their (intended) practice into the new Policy 1010, Board Oversight of Management  adopted this past summer. There is supposed to be a calendar of these management oversight work sessions. They were suppo