Thursday, December 19, 2013

Seattle School Board Operations Committee - Could Be Interesting

The agenda for the Board's Operations Committee meeting was finally posted yesterday and now, updated today.  I'm hoping to see the new Board members there as this is the last committee meeting for the year and a good way to get up-to-speed. 

What will they be talking about?
  • a contract modification for a company called Brainbox Consulting.*
  • 2014-2015 Transportation Service Standards.  This could be important as the Work Session yesterday on the budget had some wording on transportation and grandfathering in their presentation that I didn't understand.  (I was unable to attend the Work Session and am only working off what was in the presentation.)  
  • Annual Capacity Management 2014-2015 - moved from being an update to an action report
  • newly added - High School Target Enrollments from Tracy Libros
  • and, as an update, the bell times survey
*Their Linked-in page says:  Brainbox Consulting is a Seattle-based business intelligence consulting firm specializing in delivering data visualizations, big data analytics, dashboards, and data integration solutions.

Ah Big Data, remember I told you about this.  They also work on strategic plans so maybe that's how the district is using them.  They developed the "data warehouse" for SPS.  Here's what SPS says about them (at the Brainbox website):

We can now use accurate, timely, and accessible data about at risk students and many other performance indicators, to inform how we evaluate, invest in, and sustain programs. Having access to accurate data through the Academic Data Warehouse has been a game changer for us.

Pegi McEvoy
Assistant Superintendent of Operations, Seattle Public Schools  


Charlie Mas said...

I notice that the Annual Capacity Management Report is on the agenda.

The annual capacity management report is another one of these reports required by policy that we see every year and every year we see them they fail to meet the requirements of the policy and every year the Board pretends that they don't see how the report doesn't fulfill the policy.

In the case of the annual capacity management report, it is supposed to include something about the demand for various programs, but it never does. The District staff don't want the Board - or the public - to know about the demand for option programs or how that demand is not being met by supply. According to the capacity management policy the demand for programs is supposed to play a role in setting the program capacity, but it doesn't and it never will.

Who Wins? said...

The district needs to forget about Brainbox and other shiny educational fads. The district has a funding gap of $18M and they want to decrease funding to our schools. Keep the funding IN our classrooms.

Disgusted said...

Brainbox is related to the Academic Warehouse. The link indicates that Gates paid for the Academic Warehouse. It is worth noting that the TIF grant was part of this project and the district is picking up larger portions of this bill.

The district is talking about cutting WSS, making teachers responsible...with less resources etc. Yet, the district is willing to spend more $$ on this nonsense.

It is time for the board to keep dollars in our classrooms.

mirmac1 said...

We have been funding Brainbox via TIF and other internal and external (guess) sources since 2009. These folks have only ever gotten personal services contracts. Brainbox is essentially a body shop to let SPS rehire its ex DoTs employess to keep plugging away at its unproven and unfinished student growth/teacher eval schemes.

Where's the accountability for this endless rathole? I would bet that millions that would've gone towards decent curricula and PD has gone to this teacher eval effort.

Which reminds me, what does this million dollar effort tell us about that TFA experiment? Let me guess. Nothing.

Cindy Jatul said...

Addressing start times has been imperiled by our new deputy superintendent Charles Wright. He presented a one sided, negative overview of the issue only focusing on transportation costs, impacts on after school activities, etc. A multiple page document against with only one line about the benefits of students getting adequate sleep. wright's argument boiled down to the district not having the resources to evens study the implications. Therefore no survey or implantation possible unless the board votes to make consideration of "bell times a priority". Kudos to Peaslee who articulated the benefits for learning, health, and safety associated with later starts for secondary schools. McLaren and Blanford want more time to study the issue. Email board members to vote this as a priority or the issue will be off the table for years to come.

Lynn said...


I'd be interested to hear what Tracy Libros had to say about High School Target Enrollment.