School Board Retreat

I finally did find details of the Board Retreat this Saturday, the 1st of March.

It's at a place called The Hub Seattle, 220 2nd Avenue South in Pioneer Square from 10:30 am to 5:30 p.m.

And once again, you have to pay for parking.  I find this quite off-putting for members of the public given the number of venues in this town (and particularly the number of  - free - SPS ones).  But if you are staff, the Board, or the Alliance, of course, you won't be paying for parking. Then again, I'm not sure the Board or staff really cares if any member of the public comes.

The Hub Seattle sounds like an interesting place.

HUB Seattle, Bainbridge Graduate Institute, and Social Venture Partners have teamed up to launch a Center for Impact and Innovation in the heart of downtown Seattle. Housed in the historic Masin’s furniture building in Pioneer Square, this unique facility houses one of the largest concentrations of social entrepreneurs in the country. Together, we’re creating a space to educate inspiring leaders, fund their ideas, incubate their social ventures, and lead the revitalization of Pioneer Square as a center of impact and innovation.

No agenda yet available but I would expect that the Alliance is still working on it.

UPDATE: Here is the agenda

I am certainly hoping to NOT see any Alliance person seated at the table with the Board and staff and, of course, NOT to see any input from them except for what time lunch is.   But we'll have to see what their money buys them at this Retreat.


Watching said…

Are you saying the Alliance makes the agenda?
dan dempsey said…
"HUB Seattle, Bainbridge Graduate Institute, and Social Venture Partners "

The original Social Venture Partners .. now there is a group to research. How to make big bucks off of public education seems to be their position. SVP has been around quite a while.

The Seattle brach has been around for 15 years.
Anonymous said…
Starting to also connect the dots says:

@ Dan: careful there Dan with SVP. That's Sundquist territory. It's full of corporate reformies.

Ellie Kesselman said…
I think that Dan Dempsey is correct. I glanced at the Social Ventures website, found this recent (Feb 2013) Seattle SVP blog post about earning 11 dollars for every dollar invested

“Communities In Schools is proud to be a leader in the emerging field of rigorous return-on-investment studies,” said Dan Cardinali, president of Communities In Schools. “As we continue to build our own evidence base, we look forward to working with other leaders in the sector to refine and perfect ROI calculation so that they can be both a powerful management tool for nonprofits and a strategic investment guide for donors.”

So I thought to myself, hmmm, what is this Communities in Schools (CIS)? Seattle SVP kindly provided a link to their website, where I read a 23 May 2012 post on the Washington State CIS blog about the research study upon which this claim of an 11 to 1 ROI was based. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find the source of this research study as yet.

This is all about public school privatization. I found a Facebook page for Washington CIS, dated mid-Feb 2013, about meeting with 70 legislators to request more funding. How much more funding do they need? Funds for what? Sigh...
Watching, they did last time with the Board and the Superintendent.

Yes, I looked at The Hub Seattle's links to SV and yes, it has that ed reform feel.
Lori said…
Maybe I'm not fully awake yet, but I'm confused by people painting SVP in a negative light here. I know several environmental organizations who have been funded by SVP over the years and enjoyed collaborative relationships, so my personal view of their work is favorable.

I looked at their 2009 Form 990 to see who's making "big bucks off public education" at SVP, and I see completely reasonable salaries. The ED made about $90K that year, a program manager made about $60K. That's hardly getting rich!

The study Ellie posted shows how investing a dollar in intensive, in-school support produces $11 benefit to *society* not to SVP. That ROI would be used to convince legislators that this program saves taxpayers money in the long run. One of the recipients of SVP funding is Communities in Schools of Renton, which provides family support workers and a mentorship program designed to improve high school graduation rates. Renton has received accolades in recent years for their high school graduation rate increases, using tools that I'm sure I've seen people on this blog praise in the past.

I'm not seeing anything alarming, sorry.
Charlie Mas said…
Among the agenda items, we find:

Directors’ Role in Supporting Superintendent

Included in the Strategic Planning discussion we find:

Activity – Characteristics of high performing school district and Profile of a high performing district

Gee, I wonder if it includes things like making data-based decisions, policy compliance, and trustworthiness.

What do you think are the characteristics of a high performing school district?
Not seeing, I don't know that SVP is being painted in a negative light. It's a wary light.

So I look over this agenda, there's a lot of "characteristics of high performing school districts". For crying out loud, again? What more does the Board and staff need to hear? When does actual work and direction start. There's nothing about that.

Just reviewing districts, other strategic plans, etc.

And what does "interests and negotiation" mean in talking about directors and the Superintendent?

The outside people on the agenda are Bob Ness and Kent Bechler.

Mr. Ness is the "founder, co-president at Global Leadership Forum" and he does management consulting. But he also works for "Profound Results" - "we help leaders and organizations envision their preferred future, strengthen their teams and design the roadmap to achieve sustained performance and profound results for those they serve."

Mr. Bechler is part of the Pivot Learning Partners group that is guiding the strategic plan work.
Wondering said…
Did the Alliance hire Ness and Beschler? If so, wouldn't that indicate the Alliance has the ability to move forward with their vision- even if they aren't sitting on the table?
Ellie Kesselman said…
I searched a bit more for that research study, which is the basis for the phenomenal 1100% Return on Investment presented to potential public school privateers. I did find this:
Communities in Schools upload [PDF], alas, with an HTTP 404 error not found.

I am not a Facebook user, but readily found the CIS Washington State page, with their latest post regarding funding requests to the legislature.

N.B. Links to Facebook are with JavaScript disabled. It is safe.
Ellie Kesselman said…
No, I beg to differ, in two ways.

First, from my reading of that SVP blog post, see the last line of the quoted passage, it seems quite targeted i.e. as a powerful management tool for non-profits and
"a strategic investment guide for donors".

I am not claiming that SVP is trying to enrich itself by nefarious means, nor that it is self-serving. That is a question that can only be answered by someone qualified as an auditor. Instead, it appears more like a pitch to investors, i.e. donors.

Second, regarding the 11.60 to 1 ROI being merely a means of representing the benefit to society rather than a representation to potential investors of expected returns (which is NOT the same as a benefit to SVP per se, as I mentioned above):
The SVP blog post which I mentioned yesterday links to the source of the study, which I have yet to view (though it is quoted by the governor of West Virginia and other education reformers). According to the 11-to-1 post via SVP, it was produced by an entity named EMSA, which is Economic Modeling Specialists International. So I perused their website. There is a link to the renowned Economic Impact Study. However, it does not appear to be accessible, requiring payment or some other type of restricted access.

EMSA kindly provides an FAQ, How is the EMSA Economic Impact Study Different From All Others (as an aside: that reminds me of the 4 questions for Passover!) which specifically addresses the point that Lori made, about the meaning of the 11-1 Return on Investment pertaining to benefit to society:
"Why is there no rate of return calculated for the social perspective?

If the costs and benefits of an investment accrue to different agents, calculating a rate of return will be misleading since the investor does not receive the reported dividends. We can still calculate a benefit/cost ratio, however, since this measure is simply a ratio of two dollar figures and is not concerned with the agents to whom those costs and benefits are associated."

This leads me to wonder if SVP and others who are quoting the EMSA study are presenting the findings correctly, per this:
"Is it possible to calculate a return on investment using the results of the economic impact analysis?

The investment analysis and the economic impact analysis are distinct measures."

More detailed definitions of terminology regarding numeric values would be helpful by SVP.
Ellie Kesselman said…
I had one final thought about Social Venture Partners. I promise this will be my last comment on this post. Really! (I am sorry, Melissa. Please don't IP ban me. I am non-hostile.)

Is SVP subject to the provisions of The Securities Acts of 1933 and 1934, Reg D, about solicitation for investment purposes? I refer specifically to the criteria for qualified investors ONLY i.e. with net worth over $1 million, which is Federal law as administered by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

If I were a high net worth donor, I would want to conduct thorough due diligence, to fully understand the nuances of this donation cum investment.
Wondering, the Alliance hired Ness. That's true. Did they prep him? Probably.

The other guy is part of a group hired by the district. I know Banda had used Pivot before in California so that is likely why they were picked.
mirmac1 said…

The SBAR to sign a contract w/ Pivot says the source of funds to pay them is "grants". That means Alliance.

Also, Pivot was the "facilitator" for the Alliance's pet "HR transformation" project. Yeah, the one where they got miffed, took their $/toys and wnet home when Paul Apostle didn't jump high enough for their tastes.

You should read the dreck the Pivot gal sent to the HR transformers. The $$$ to have these folks sit around at meetings and talk about watching lame Youtube videos about techy brainstorming. What a waste of energy and money!

"The Deep Dive (1 of 3)

Naw, I think this is another Banda bonehead move.
Paul Shoemaker said…
There are a bunch of passionate, thoughtful comments in the last few days. I simply want to make myself 100% available for any information or meeting that anyone would like to have. SVP is here to be transparent and, with all of you, make Seattle schools and our whole community a better place. Our part is relatively small compared to many others, especailly parents in their communities. There is no other reason we exist. AND if we are missing something we are doing wrong, we want to hear that too. My email is, my cell is 206-353-4258, and you can contact me at either 24/7. THANK YOU

Paul Shoemaker
Executive Director
Anonymous said…
What is the point of the School Board Retreat? Is this the only way our Super can talk with the board members face to face without it being a board meeting and televised? If so, why do we need all these handlers? Geez, what is this? The Potsdam conference? We even have a professional facilitator and venue. If it's about the future of this district, why not include a lead teacher rep and a PTA head there as well? How about a student rep?

cleaning lint

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