Seattle Schools This Week

Tuesday, December 1nd
Oath of Office for the four new members of the Seattle School Board.  JSCEE auditorium from
5-6 pm.

If I had to guess committee choices for new Board members, I'd guess that Leslie Harris would like either be on the Executive or Audit&Finance committee and Scott Pinkham, Rick Burke and Jill Geary would like Curriculum&Instruction. 

Wednesday, December 2rd
School Board Meeting, starting at 4:15 pm.  Agenda

(And into the fire quickly for those four new members. It's always fun to see them figure out the microphones as well as see where each member gets seated.)

- Native American program annual review
- Board self-evaluation narrative.   I liked this line:

Directors also noted the need to strengthen how the Board ensures accountability for progress on the Strategic Plan. 
This is interesting.

At the November 10 work session, Directors discussed the progress the Board has made from previous behaviors and improvements in understanding their roles and in reconciling diversity of opinions. Directors noted it took time for them to understand the governance tools and how to use them to bring about change for which Directors are looking. 

Results on this goal varied by individual Director. Most are very good at understanding the delegation of authority documented in Board policies while others micromanage when they do not agree with a decision. Not all Directors appear to feel bound by the Communications Protocol or respect the confidentiality of executive sessions. The Board has not yet found a mechanism to enforce the Code of Conduct, confidentiality agreements, and the Communications Protocol. 
- Election of Board officers: President, Vice-President and Member-at-Large.   I look for Sue Peters or Betty Patu to be elected to be Board President/Vice-President.  
- Approval of Continuous School Improvement Plans (C-SIPs).  

A School Board’s annual approval of schools certifies to the State that each school has a school improvement plan in place. School improvement plans must be data driven, promote a positive impact on student learning, and include a continuous improvement process for monitoring, adjusting, and updating the plan. Each building’s Continuous School Improvement Plan (C-SIP) includes all of these elements.

All of our schools have current 2015-17 Continuous School Improvement Plans, or C-SIPs, on file at the schools, with their Executive Directors of Schools, and in the Grants office. All C-SIPs are also posted online on our district website.

All schools have updated their C-SIPs based on student data from spring 2015 by November 6, 2015. C-SIPs are working documents and will be adjusted during the year as additional data is made available to schools (e.g. Measurement of Academic Progress (MAP) data, graduation data, attendance data).
All revised C-SIPs will be uploaded to the district website by December 2, 2015.
Thursday, December 3rd
Executive Committee meeting from 4:30-6:30 pm, Board conference room at JSCEE.  Agenda not yet available.

Saturday, December 5th 
Board retreat.   JSCEE from 10 am-3 pm. Agenda not yet available.

This should be interesting to see how various members establish themselves vis a vis senior staff.  I am of the mind that since the name of this event is "Board" retreat that the Board themselves should decide what should be discussed/worked on.  Just a thought.


Anonymous said…
I like Betty - is she strong enough to stand up to all the fancy people funded by Gates Foundation Grants? Despite the votes of the out going board at their last meeting, the last election was NOT a validation of Super Larry Big-Check.

Get the ball rolling with Sue as President. Let Betty wrap up her service on the board, next year, at the end of her term, as President!

Charlie Mas said…
Let's see if some of those CSIPs are updated before the Board meeting.

The history here is interesting. The CSIPs used to be shameful. Some of them were completely blank, yet the Chief Academic Officer would certify them to the Board anyway. Several years ago, when Dr. Goodloe-Johnson was the superintendent and Dr. Enfield was the Chief Academic Officer, I showed the Board all of the blank CSIPs. It lead to a very interesting conversation from the dais. Director Carr actually voted against the approval because some of the CSIPs were blank when she last checked them. Director Martin-Morris, however, took the prize when he said that the Board has no business confirming the validity of staff's statements to them, and that Board members should accept all of the statements of the CAO as true - EVEN WHEN THEY KNOW THEM TO BE FALSE.

In the end the staff was able to get the CSIPs completed in the hour before the Board meeting and the Board did accept and approve them by a split vote. Since then the staff has been pretty good about getting the CSIPs done in advance of the vote. It appears, however, that the people who were here for that experience are all gone and we are running the risk of a repeat. It's not too late, but the staff is going to have to make an extra push to get them all done in time. And I will definitely be watching and making the Board aware of the strange stuff I find in CSIPs.
Anonymous said…
Do we get to see a copy of all these "approved" CSIPs? Unless I'm missing something, they aren't attached.

Charlie Mas said…
The CSIPs are on the District web site. There is a link for each of them on this page.
Anonymous said…
Thanks, Charlie. I saw that the posted CSIPs were still the outdated ones, and had somehow missed the notice at the top of the page that the new plans will be posted tomorrow. It will be interesting to see how they look.

Anonymous said…
Oh dear - that dreaded "micromanage" word rears it's ugly head again Most are very good at understanding the delegation of authority documented in Board policies while others micromanage when they do not agree with a decision..... something tells me that "micromanage" like beauty is in the eye of the beholder - a do as I say not as I do kind of thing.

Hopefully the new board can go a few weeks without this one cropping up ;o)

Charlie Mas said…
I think that Director Martin-Morris has a point. The Board should not be so skeptical of the superintendent and the staff that they seek independent corroboration of everything they say. But that's as far as that point goes. If the Board is told by a third party that a statement by the superintendent or staff is false, and the third party provides evidence, the Board should not ignore it. The Board's loyalties have to be to the truth, the rules, and the students, before the staff.

When a motion comes before the Board and it attests - to the state - that a body of work is complete, and the Board has been given reason to question whether that body of work actually is complete, I don't think it qualifies as "micromanagement" for the Board to confirm it.

I'll go one step further. I reviewed the CSIPs for reference to Advanced Learning because the District has promised several times in the past that they would address advanced learning in the CSIPs. Advanced Learning is not a big issue. Advanced Learning in the CSIPs even less so. But there is something that absolutely should be in the CSIPs and poses a much bigger issue: MTSS.

There is no way that any school can discuss their plan for addressing academic under-performance - the primary topic of the CSIPs - without referencing MTSS, the District's chosen method for addressing all academic under-performance. Every CSIP should be almost all about MTSS.

There's a District document on the plan to address academic under-performance by male African-American students and other historically underserved populations. Shouldn't the elements of that plan be reflected in the CSIPs of every school?

MTSS is in the Strategic Plan, it is a SMART goal for the Superintendent, and it is a big freaking deal - it is, in fact, THE big freaking deal for the entire District. But MTSS cannot be applied at the District level. It gets implemented in schools. So I wonder, if I were to look through the CSIPs and try to find references to MTSS, would I find them?

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