Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Just Wondering

Sitting at the Executive Committee Meeting and wondering:

- if the district is a partner in the new Seattle Teacher Residency program and the first year costs are $50k and escalate up to $1M by year 5 (it's part of Strategic Plan for teacher development), why do we need TFA at all?  Why complicate things if our district and its partners are creating home-grown talent from outside of schools of education?

- wondering why, if Jane Addams has a planning principal and planning team, Wilson-Pacific doesn't have a team.  Apparently Chris Cronas, principal at Wedgwood, is the planning principal for W-P middle school but I haven't heard anything about outreach to parents. That middle school will open at John Marshall for 2014-20115.  Should parents with students assigned there get to give input just like JA parents?  (Note: just because Mr. Cronas is the planning principal doesn't mean he is leaving Wedgwood.)

- I still need to do a write-up of the Board retreat but I don't recall a lot of discussion about foreign language immersion but apparently, it is WAY up on the list of to-do's for the district.  There seems to be some kind of belief in a "commitment" to making sure there are 12 schools total in that system.  How does this rise to the top of the list over, say, 6-8 math adoption?  Hard to understand.

9 comments:

  1. re: TFA. We don't. We never did need them. This was to appease a few powerful interests. I do want to know whether the UTR teachers will require conditional certs...

    AND, who will bear the costs for this costly program once the private funding inevitably goes away. How will evaluate the effectiveness of this new costly shiny thing?

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  2. I'm a big fan of language immersion, but it seems to me the district's current approach is more expensive and less effective than it could be. It would be great to see them step back and think about the model and possible adjustments before going full steam ahead... Any chance of that happening?

    HIMSmom

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  3. Here's what I'm just wondering:

    Why doesn't the Board do its job?

    They keep saying that they aren't supposed to get involved in administration or management. They keep saying that they are supposed to focus on policy and governance work. Okay, so what is that? They can be very specific about what they are not supposed to do, but they are not nearly as specific about what they are supposed to do. Governance? What does that even mean?

    Seriously. I would love to hear a Board member - any Board member - list three governance tasks.

    Surely one of the governance tasks would be to enforce policy, but the Board doesn't enforce policy. Ever.

    You would think that the policy work would include writing policy, but they don't write it. Staff writes policy. The Staff writes the policies and brings them to the Board committee meetings. Typically they write these policies without any input from the Board. often as not, the Directors are seeing them for the first time at the committee meeting. The policies get discussed a little bit and the Committee members might do a little wordsmithing then the draft policy is advanced to the full board for a vote. At the Board meeting there usually isn't any substantive discussion before adopting a policy, so, in effect, the staff write the policies.

    That's how you get a do-nothing, float along with the current, rubber-stamp board. They can't say what their work is, and they allow the staff to do the jobs that the Board Directors can correctly identify are theirs.

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  4. At today's executive committee meeting there was talk about providing new Board members with some training about what their job is and how to do it. The Staff will write it.

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  5. Oh and the Alliance is going to be organizing the new Board member orientation. But, of course, since they now seem to be doing everything else.

    Quite disturbing.

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  7. The May 8 Exec Committee minutes link to this MOU with the City, which I find rather interesting:

    SPS-City MOU

    ...particularly in light of the fact there is never a mention of students in special education when these folks talk about the achievement gap. No FEL grant names our students as a target population. Our kids just don't matter, apparently. Or, oh yeah, we got our "own" money so the rest for general education. Our kids are, by law, general education students first.

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  8. Are you serious?! Chris Cronas, the principal that single handedly and unilaterally killed Spectrum at his school is now going to be the planning principal at the middle school where APP is (was?) slated to land when the school is built?

    This is a principal who is very clearly near the bottom of the list of all district employees as far as understanding Advanced Learning and Gifted Ed. He flew in an expert from out of town and did the opposite of what she recommended.

    I am beyond words. If I let loose right now with the words that are on the tip of my tongue, Melissa would need to delete this post, because they are NSFW. This man doesn't even deserve to be a principal, he definitely shouldn't be directing anything for a building with advanced learners, let alone planning it! Disaster alert!

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  9. APP/Spectrum parents go forth.

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