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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Overreach by Seattle School Board President - Where Does It Stop?

 Folks, it would appear that either Director Chandra Hampson either learned nothing about being humble from the Scarlett/Al-ansi episode OR she is doubling down before her being president of the Board ends in December. (And if that doesn't happen via a 6-0 vote, then they are ALL insane.)

First, just to note, tomorrow night will be the first in-person Board meeting in a long, long time. I'm glad to see it as I think the Board should have to look the public in the eye. I'm hoping that we do not see an influx of board meeting instigators such as we have seen around the country, yelling about masking and CRT.  (To note, there is no actual announcement of this at the website; I just saw different wording on the agenda and asked.)

BUT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR YOU TO DO IS WRITE OR CALL THE BOARD AND TELL THEM, "NO!" to the following agenda item.

It's - spsdirectors@seattleschools.org or 206-252-0040 for the Board office. 

But the most important issue is this intro item on the agenda, coming solely from Hampson.

  1. Amendment to Board Policy Nos. 1010, 1240, 1310, 2090, 2190, 2200, 2255, 3123, 3130, 3208, 4260, 5000, 6000, 6030, 6530, 6801, 6882, and 6900; repeal of Board Policies A02.00, F21.00, H13.00, and No. 6535; amendment to the Information Technology Advisory Committee Charge; and repeal of the Capacity, Enrollment, and Facilities Master Planning Advisory Committee Charter (Exec, Oct 13, for approval) Approval of this item would amend and rename Board Policy No. 1010, Oversight and Progress Monitoring; amend Board Policy Nos. 1240, Committees; 1310, Policy Adoption & Suspension, Creation Harassment; 4260, Use of School Facilities; 5000, Recruitment & Selection of Staff; 6000, 
Overview

Without even reading it, you can see this is a chock-a-block BAR; it's 160 pages for crying outloud. Hampson is trying to ramrod through too many issues into a single BAR under the guise of governance. 

I counted so you don't have to but that's about 18 policies amended plus the repeal of one advisory committee and an amendment to the tech advisory committee. And this amending is not some "oh we got this word wrong here" change - this is a fundamental change to Board oversight of staff work.

What this BAR does is reduce Board oversight of many crucial areas instead, trusting that the Superintendent and staff are always doing the right things at the right times at the right costs. Because that's how staff has always operated.

The Board - via the Executive Committee, headed by Hampson - decided that she should meet with other Board committee heads and decide what the recommendations on oversight reports should be. The Executive Committee also voted to recommend to the full Board to waive the four annual oversight Work Sessions. 

(bold theirs) The Board is now refocusing its oversight and progress monitoring to gauge progress toward these goals and adherence to the guardrails. The Board’s existing reporting mandates, spread throughout dozens of distinct policies, provide few measures aligned with this strategic focus.

In-Depth

This BAR will rename Policy 1010 - Board Oversight of Management and Progress Monitoring to Oversight Progress Monitoring. Note that deletion of the the word "management?"

Here's part of what will go away from Board policies but I urge you to go to page 74 of the BAR and see the slash-and-burn for yourself:

Oversight Roles and Responsibilities

and progress monitoring of
The School Board is responsible for governance and oversight of all departments and major program areas of the district, both academic and operational (referred to below collectively as “Oversight Areas”). The School Board’s role in the oversight of management is to review and evaluate the performance of all Oversight Areas, at least annually, through formal reports, audits and any other reporting method deemed appropriate by the School Board through the Superintendent. to evaluate alignment with the community’s vision and progress towards adopted goals.

Progress Monitoring

TheThe School Board and the Superintendent understand that district oversight of management is the responsibility of the Board as a whole, not of individual Board members. The Board shall hold the Superintendent accountable (in part through periodic evaluation) for the performance of these systems.

In addition to the oversight of management responsibility, the Board also has oversight responsibility for academic performance.

Progress Monitoring is replaced with an Outcomes Focused Governance model:

The Board shall establish and maintain Student Outcomes Focused Governance Goals and Guardrails. These Goals and Guardrails shall be aligned with the district’s strategic plan and based on the community’s vision and values for Seattle Public Schools’ students and district strategies to improve student outcomes.

What is Student Outcomes Focused Governance? I'll have more on this later in the post but this is the major reason why this BAR exists.

Also gone is the District Annual Operations Data Dashboard which, if nothing else, was a chart where you could see the progress (or lack thereof) of different SPS departments.

For ITAC, the Information Technology Advisory Committee, which was a Board committee, it changes to allow the Superintendent to pick the members AND "discontinue the Executive Committee reporting relationship, as discussed in Executive Committee previously." Again, less oversight from the Board.

For the Capacity, Enrollment and Facilities Master Planning Advisory Committee charter, they just get rid of it. Formerly FACMAC, that was a good committee but boy, did it make staff mad. So naturally, it's going away.

Fiscal impact

The fiscal impact of this action is indeterminate. It is anticipated that discontinuing some reporting requirements may reduce staff time spent presenting information to the Board. However, the district will continue to conduct analysis for the purpose of evaluating and improving district operations, and the discontinuing of Board-mandated annual reports will not eliminate the costs of all associated analysis nor the need to make such information publicly available, which is recommended. Rather, this is the elimination of such reporting to the Board in an annual capacity outside of that which would be presented to the Board during its regular meetings are part of interim and annual goals and guardrails.

Equity Analysis

The reduction in reporting will allow the Board to focus work and decision making on students of color furthest from education justice, particularly Black boys and teens, in alignment with Seattle Excellence. This shift will also free up staff time to focus on work that does directly impact and benefit students furthest from educational justice.

Why?

This proposed action is presented to the Board by President Hampson to support the adoption of a Student Outcomes Focused Governance framework, review and update existing reporting requirements as called for by Board policy, and establish a policy mandate for progress monitoring aligned with the district’s strategic plan and established goals and guardrails.

Student Outcomes Focused Governance

Student Outcomes Focused Governance (SOFG) is a framework developed by the Council of Great City Schools for increasing goal alignment between the Board, central office, and school buildings; providing foci and delineation for Board and staff work; increasing the effectiveness of the Board’s use of time; and, ultimately, and foremost, improving outcomes for students. The Seattle School Board moved toward this governance model with the August 25, 2021 approval of three goals and five guardrails aligned with the district’s Strategic Plan, Seattle Excellence, and the SOFG framework. 

And here are those goals:

Goals

  1. The percentage of Black boys who achieve English Language Arts proficiency or higher on the 3rd grade Smarter Balanced Assessment will increase from 28% in June 2019, to 70% in June 2024.

  2. The percentage of Black boys and teens in 7th grade who achieve proficiency or higher on the 7th grade Smarter Balanced Assessment in math will increase from 23% in June 2019, to 45% in June 2024 and to 70% in June 2026 – essentially doubling over 3 years and reaching the targeted 70% in 5 years.

  3. The percentage of Black boys and teens in each cohort/class who graduate and also successfully completed at least one advanced course will increase from 52% in June 2019, to 62% in June 2024.

.
So understand, the changing of ALL these policies is in service to "student outcomes focused governance" which, in this case, is the targeted universalism method using Black boys in SPS. That's it.  I have no problem with the focus but they mean the TOTAL focus? Houston, we have a problem.

If your child doesn't fit that category, both the Board and the staff have written it in that they don't have to pay as much attention to all the other students. There is NO other way to read this.

Guardrails

  1. The superintendent will not allow school and district initiatives to go forth without engaging students of color furthest from educational justice and their families, following stakeholder engagement principles that are utilizing current adopted best practices.

  2. The Superintendent will not allow implementation or adoption of any programming that does not prioritize educational and racial equity.

  3. The superintendent will not allow adult behaviors in central office, school buildings, or classrooms that are misaligned with district-wide vision, values, and anti-racism initiatives.

  1. The superintendent will not allow the use of disciplinary actions as a substitute for culturally responsive behavioral and social emotional supports for students, with and without disabilities.

 Where to start? 

  • How will this be enforced? 
  • How is this reported at any given school? Who decides it goes forward at any given school, the principal?
  • Under number 2, is that EXISTING programming or NEW programming or both?
  • Number 3 is just laughable given the entire behavior of senior leadership at JSCEE and the Hampson/DeWolf vs Scarlett/Al-ansi debacle. 
  • Number 4 - a big word salad that needs to be rewritten. I understand the premise but who decides if a principal used a "culturally responsive behavioral and SEL for students"?

5 comments:

Historian said...

I have NEVER seen a board that was willing to change 18 policies with a single vote. Truly astonishing.

Thanks for reporting. I do agree that this board has given-up their operational oversight duties.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I’ll call it an “under reach ?” What is the point of holding office to being accountability and transparency to the district if they…uh, don’t do that? Where’s the press? How can nobody care?

Angry Emoji

Melissa Westbrook said...

Angry Emoji, I feel like I'm shouting into a void.

How media outlets like the Times and The Stranger and Crosscut, etc can ignore the Hampson/DeWolf and Scarlett/Al-ansi story? I know stories about race are delicate (even though this one wasn't about race really, if you believe the investigation) but it's a NEWS STORY.

But as Historian says, never seen a BAR like the one on the agenda tonight. I have no idea what the Board is doing and how the staff is getting them to do it.

However, as I said from the start of the restart of this blog, I'm just documenting what I see. Maybe later on, parents and the public can ask, "Why was she the only one writing about this stuff?"

Anonymous said...

I see what the wishes and guardrails are hoping to accomplish, but there is NOTHING in there about providing the whole education thing that the district is receiving a ton of money to provide to all students. What about the education thing for all students? Basic education? FAPE? They literally didn't mention any of that. So, federal law comes WAY ABOVE school board policy. State law, case law, bla bla bla. They're trying to regulate anti-racism in JSCEE, but even there... employees have rights. Free speech. Yadda yadda yadda. When all the employees are Black, you have the hopes that this will go well, but what happens if you get a different superintendent? Or Goodloe-Johnson? Sigh.

Sleepless Mom

Stuart J said...

First, what happened? I just read this post today (Oct 21). Second, this seems relevant for state legislators. I am sorry for the Times' lack of interest. Maybe there are TV reporters who would cover this?