Disqus

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Superintendent Juneau's Conversation with the Times

In an interview with the Seattle Times, Superintendent Juneau says "she’s learning how to be more patient."


(For reference, here is the latest edition of the district’s strategic plan draft, which was provided to the Times during the interview.)

This "latest edition" of the Strategic Plan doesn't look all that different from the first draft and there's still no wording for Special Education students.  (They are obliquely reference here: Delivering  high-quality, standards aligned instruction across all abilities and services.)  

There is also this:
Making clear commitments and delivering on them.

This sounds great but I would say, no excuses will be tolerated if this really is the district's bottom line on commitment.

Q: What have been the biggest challenges so far, and where do you feel you’ve been able to break ground?
A: We have a need to build up our operations systems again. I approach an educational organization like a triangle.

Juneau may not know this but every single new superintendent has said this. When this business of getting operations under control will happen is still a mystery. 

Q: What are you hoping an innovation think tank on transportation would produce? Some type of mixed delivery model?
A: Yeah, there are examples all over the city. I mean, Starbucks has a shuttle. Microsoft has all these things going on. [We’re looking] at how can we dovetail in with the current system. 

… I see yellow school buses, primarily for special education students, vans. There’s a lot of parents who are currently carpooling, how do we connect with parents currently doing that work. I visited with (State Superintendent) Chris Reykdal about how the state currently reimburses the district and I think he’s excited about if we’re able to develop an innovative delivery system that he’d be able to work with us on the money.

Naturally, this is a key issue this year and anything they can do to change the current system would probably be welcomed by many parents.

Q: How much of that $40 million do you expect to come out of the central office budget?
A: We’re looking at 5 percent cut across the board right now. We’re working out with our cabinet members now about where that might be … We as central administration are also going to bear some of the brunt and try to keep the cuts as far away as we can from student learning, even though some of it will come from there. We could cut all of central administration and still have to cut.

Q: Do the cuts for central administration include pay cuts for leadership?
A: There have already been some. … After being here for a little while and seeing the work in central administration, I … figured out what functions are happening, and restructured that way. There weren’t huge moves. There are moves made by previous superintendents of clearing everybody out. It was really leveling out my cabinet members and [bringing] some associate superintendents down to the chief level … I wouldn’t say it was huge sweeping amounts of money … but it is significant to people who are receiving higher salaries.

I expect this will be able to seen on paper so I'll be interested to see what those cuts look like.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why did you delete the comments on SPED from the board meeting in open thread post?

SPED parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Because there was name-calling involved.

Anonymous said...

I did no such thing. If you're going to behave that way then I'm done providing anything constructive to your blog.

SPED parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

SPED Parent, my recollection is that there was wording that was insulting. I appreciate that you were trying to provide information on an issue discussed at a Board meeting. But I have guidelines and I try to stick to them.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Also, your query should be at an Open Thread. We try to keep specific topics on topic.

Anonymous said...

I was not impressed with the Juneau discussion with the Times, but I don't know that the reporter maximized the opportunity either. "I approach an educational organization like a triangle. There’s ready to learn, ready to teach, ready to act … What I’ve learned most from the community is that we have work to do on acting. And so that’s where really my focus is going to be." I have attended many public fora where she has heard from parents of students receiving special ed services in SPS. She knows, or at least she has heard, of District dysfunction where our students are concerned and that our families do not, by and large, experiences teachers who are ready to teach our children. And/or, she can look at the academic outcomes for our students and reach that conclusion all on her own. It's been a very long time since anybody in leadership in SPS addressed the 'ready to learn' situation, except rhetorically. My concern is that Juneau is going to continue that dry spell and that it's just more business as usual for our students.

Reader

Anonymous said...

"abscessed with other peoples"
Ha ha - that is kind of true. Nobody has suffered more undeserved wounds in the service of Seattle's school children.

I also, was not impressed by the interview. Mostly the Supervisor seemed at sea. The educational triangle seemed to me like the "Conjoined Triangles of Success" a hilarious bit of satire on 'business-speak' by Silicon Valley.

-Cynic

Anonymous said...

"Do you have PTSD?"
Ha ha - another prescient comment! Any parent who has dealt with the SPS administration has PTSD - by definition!! I know I have it. It will take me years to recover from Tussles with Tolley.

-Cynic

Melissa Westbrook said...

I believe those comments were directed at me. Still, "abscessed" is pretty funny.

Anonymous said...


C - E - R

C - E- R

C - E - R

Juneau fails per the above rubric, the rubric that every child and every parent of a child in Seattle Public Schools knows:

Claim - Evidence - Reasoning



Juneau is not meeting standard, not at all. It is depressing. The coming cuts not just to the bone, but, into the bone, hitting marrow, and, this is the best she can do?

She *claims* that she's done everything she can to make cuts at the district level.


But, hat is the *evidence*? Where are the numbers? Where is the before and after org chart? The org chart needs nothing less than a buzzsaw. Before Enfield, that is the chart to go back to. Flat, less bodies. Fewer deputies. A lot fewer deputies, and lieutenants.

Juneau gives ZERO evidence to support her claim.

And, she also gives no reasoning either.

And yes, at her salary, I do expect her to have a ready command of the facts and the evidence and be more than able to espouse a reasoning.


Juneau could claim we should have faith in her leadership because she has clear priorities (teachers in front of kids) and that to protect that, she will go to a crisis budget and slash FTE at the district BEFORE touching the classrooms. $40 million to make up? What is the hole size exactly? And what is the size of the savings she has pulled out of the district HQ? What is she doing to personally work harder/smarter? Ditching the executive ed directors, that are glorified cheerleaders, for example? The principals should be able to handle their schools, and, if they cannot, then they are performance problems that she should care about directly. If she or her myriad of assistant supers cannot handle the direct reports between them, they should go.

She may not have been able to go into details in a media interview, but, she could have come with her C-E-R homework (pre-prepared and handed in on time to the reporter) to back up her assertions. They could have published it with links to Juneau's numbers.

Oh wait, there are no numbers. No evidence.

She just spouted hollow platitudes sans evidence, I don't believe those platitudes ("we're doing all that we can!") or her.

Just another, "listening tour" or "learning the community" or "taking time before making changes"... blah blah blah. 3 years, then she'll be gone. That's the pattern. Why fix it when you can move on? Leave the mess for some other suit to repeat the same old platitudes.

To cut 10-15 high school teachers out of Ballard (who may loose 250 kids next year due to Lincoln pulling out sophomores) and 10-15 teachers out of Roosevelt (who may only loose 100 kids) is absolutely unacceptable because it is so clearly disproportional to enrollment changes at those schools. Cuts at Franklin, Cleveland, etc are troubling. And for places like Garfield, where the contraction of enrollment is going to even be more acute, cutes will be far more painful. Their enrollment already significantly eroded from last year to this (1,857 in 2017/18 to 1,695 2018/19 = 180 kid shrinkage, and that was WITHOUT any boundary changes; 2019/20 will see the north cut off from accessing GHS and west Seattle having a different pathway option opened up too so the shrinkage will be more acute - accordingly, more teacher FTE will be pulled from GHS comparatively).

I doubt Juneau even understands these numbers. If she did, then her interview with the Times would have been much, much more C-E-R in order to push confidence into her district's stakeholders (teachers, students, parents) because she would have understood this is a 5 alarm fire.

CER

Anonymous said...

Garfield's Year-over-Year Total Student Counts for February (most recent data per P223 count);

February 2018: 1810
February 2019: 1756

Not sure where CER is pulling their figures from but Garfield's enrollment is hardly significantly eroded. But yes, Garfield is facing heavy cuts as well, just like other schools in Seattle.

FNH

Anonymous said...

Juneau has never run an organization the size and complexity of SPS. In fact, she has never worked at a district level. She went from the classroom to leading a state education agency, which is not nearly the same as running a school district.

People on this blog were warned about her lack of experience, but her demographic background checked all the right boxes and she spoke the right rhetoric (aka platitudes). Voters chose her over two more experienced candidates because these other candidates had "questionable" views on public education (aka weren't rabid school choice opponents).

This lack of experience is becoming apparent in her lack of action. And as support for Juneau inevitably wanes, her cheerleaders on this blog will either remain silent or forget they were originally cheerleaders and will join the chorus of Juneau detractors.

Hamilton

Melissa Westbrook said...

Hamilton, the Superintendent was not voted in. She was chosen by the Board (who were voted in).

My first pick had been Denice Swift from Michigan and she did not support charter schools. I had thought what you did - that the district experience would be an important factor.

I'm willing to give the Superintendent more time but if the Strategic Plan is just more of the same, then I'll be discouraged.

Anonymous said...

Swift was my first choice as well. She seemed "hard core". Frustrating.

-Cynic

Anonymous said...

My first choice was also Swift, I truly felt she was most qualified. However, to be completely honest, I could not help but wonder if being a white woman worked against her somewhat within the context of modern day politics. SPS focus is completely on the importance of the achievement gap and having a person of color as superintendent lends more authenticity for public optics. This is sad as I have known incredibly qualified and committed people who work hard on equity, who are of all racial backgrounds.

Observer

kellie said...

The enrollment information for high school is quite opaque.

FNH is using the "total student count" which is the number that includes all running start students.

CER is using "P223 total count" which is the total number of students who are in the building on a day to day basis.

Unfortunately, neither number has anything to do with enrollment or funding. The P223 FTE is the Full Time Equivalent number which represents the actual enrollment into classes. The 2018 Garfield October 1st FTE enrollment was 1549.39. This number is then further reduced by AAFTE to fund the actual teachers in the building.

Garfield's enrollment has decreased significantly. FNH stated that the Feb 2019 enrollment is 1756, but the FTE is only 1509. That means that Garfield has 130 full time running start students and at least 200 students who are only part time at Garfield.

Simon said...

Because of the equity mess left in the wake of mismanagement by Michael Tolley and Flip Herndon and Larry Nyland, politically, the board could only have picked Juneau or Spencer. However, Spencer disqualified himself by getting his education at Broad Academy (note to future candidates: stay clear of Broad) and because of hemming and hawing on charters. Swift and Spencer were the most qualified, but Swift didn't hit the equity notes the board needed and not just because she is white: equity simply has not had to be a focus for her previous positions. In addition, one got the sense that Swift was looking for a temporary position on her way to other places or retirement, and after several superintendent changes in rapid succession, the board wanted a pick who could give them a credible long-term commitment.

Juneau is not incompetent. She is incredibly intelligent and she has done well in her previous positions, and her state-wide office in Montana represented a similar number of students to Seattle. Juneau has also not been rash, which is good. Note that Tolley is out along with several other problem hires from the corrupt Goodloe era. But her slow pace may not be serving her well in the eyes of the public, and the consulting group she's using to develop strategic priorities has been an expensive disaster.

Personally, I'm growing impatient with her. I initially read her slowness to act as caution; I'm now starting to read it as fear? Dread after realizing she's inherited a poorly managed district and has to fix it otherwise her reputation goes down the drain? An inability to connect with all of the people in the district? Blindness to obvious solutions to basic problems? All of the above?

Anonymous said...

Where are you getting your numbers Kellie? I quoted the Garfield total enrollment (transparently, as total enrollment) for February 2019 as 1756 and the exact same time point count for P223 (total enrollment - running start) is 1626, not 1509.

Here, I'll link the actual count:

https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/REA/data_and_reports/P223%20Feb%202019.pdf

FNH

Anonymous said...

Apologies, I see now you are looking at the FTE and not student count at all. What is the difference between P223 count and FTE calculation? Because every high school has a larger student count than FTE.

Personally I am pleased to see right-sizing at Garfield as we moved across the country to attend this school specifically, and it was seriously overcrowded when we arrive (but with relief in sight). I am irritated about the current SPS budget crisis, however, and am ready to pull up stakes and move to another city. Kids don't want to leave, however.

FNH

Anonymous said...

The P233 count is the number of students enrolled in the school. The FTE calculation takes into account the number of classes each student is registered for.

Fairmount Parent