UPDATE: Live Blog for Tonight’s 6PM Board Meeting & SACS Update from Elgart

Join us tonight at 6PM as we watch the Board meeting streamed live. The Board will adjourn to a Committee of the Whole where Dr. Mark Elgart of AdvancedED (SACS) will present an update. We will add to this post as Elgart makes his report.

Tune in live by clicking here or watch Comcast 24 and then join us in the comments!

Also, be sure to check Nancy Jester’s live blogging at the top of the DeKalb School Watch blog side panel.

***

Well, it looks like the streaming isn’t quite working yet — so tune in to Comcast 24 if you have it.

Elgart said you can’t have a dysfunctional board and high student achievement.
Elgart is saying it’s better to have an appointed board than an elected board.
This community is diverse – not just African-American and Caucasion. You are urban. Some Boards do better because they acknowledge the changing community. Problems are more complex. Not a north – south issue.
Coleman: asked what Elgart considered best type of classroom – a good system.
A: Good question – will answer later.

OVERVIEW
History: Challenges weren’t created in last 2 years. Been saying that… evolved over at least a decade. In 2004 system on probation for governance issues. Underpinnings as to why: operating environment has emerged that practices aren’t written down, but carried forward. Unintended orientation, for example, when you got on the board your ability to visit a school changed. I have two daughters in HS but can’t walk in there as a parent. I have to engage staff differently than other parents. You’ve added a position of authority. None of you has authority as an individual but when you walk in a school you are a board member and if you engage with staff it’s as if you are their boss.

In the last ten years the volume of info between board and staff has increased. His mother was a board chair and [he was a student?] and they didn’t talk about it at home. Emails and phone calls cause tremendous disruption in school operations. It is not your job. Your job is to govern. You should only go into schools when invited as a guest to an event.

Columns – day to day operations or long term issue? Focus on future topics. Thurmond is the day to day. No blame on a certain group – it’s just that it’s been done wrong for over a decade.  Carrying on of tradition.

How to deal with barrage of phone calls. Can’t solve individual problems. There’s a process through staff for that. Don’t do it. Once you solve one you’ll have 100 more – it doesn’t stop. Say, I understand your concern but this is not the right process. Don’t even say you’ll pass the concern on. That’s hard – I understand for the three of you who were voted in. You feel responsible to the voters.

Then, board member against member to debate whose individual problem is more important. Don’t advocate for a student. Not your role.

You have the financial resources that are in the upper tier for a system your size – yet you operate with debt. Ten years of bad decisions – individual basis. Far greater dollars on central office resources and far less in classrooms and achievement stagnant for a decade. More attorneys and fees than three systems each your size combined. You don’t need the number of legal advisors. Glaring issue to address. Budgeted amount has been $1 million. Retainer fees exceeded $2.5 million. Spent much more in reality. No other system has two law firms on retainer. And how could you budget only $1m when you have contracts for a minimum $2.5 mil?

Last: No community collaboratively developed plan that galvanizes and focuses on student achievement. Plans have been produced but not collaboratively and not galvanized. (That shortfall points to Ramona IMO)…  The strategic plan should set a direction. Superintendent – organization and budgets should be strategically planned.

We realize you won’t fix this in one year. Will take 3-5 years to turn an urban system around – significant challenge. Our commitment: we will be with you to guide support advise monitor and reinforce. Blind spots will arise. We will help you see the full picture and bring in professionals to help.

+++

(I’ll continue with the detailed report in the comments)

Advertisements

About dekalbschoolwatch

Hosting a dialogue among parents, educators and community members focused on improving our schools and providing a quality, equitable education for each of our nearly 100,000 students. ~ "ipsa scientia potestas est" ~ "Knowledge itself is power"
This entry was posted in Board of Education Meetings, Ramona Howell Tyson, SACS/Accreditation and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

65 Responses to UPDATE: Live Blog for Tonight’s 6PM Board Meeting & SACS Update from Elgart

  1. DCSD FOR DUMMIES says:

    Elgart just hit a homerun about finances.

  2. Elgart: Have to build budget from inside the classroom out – not from the top down.
    (GEE! Does he read this blog? That’s been our point for almost FOUR YEARS!)

  3. 1-Improving student achievement (said most difficult)
    2-Can you get your fiscal house in order? Tough budget to prepare. Significant decisions.
    3-Demonstrate effective governance

    11 required actions further call out these concerns. If it was Sept, I would say to establish a strategic plan and direction do drive the budget. But it’s April and you have to develop a budget. Have conversations about what is important. Then when you go through a true strategic plan with community participation you can revisit the budget. You also need to get training to become a cohesive team. By December – we don’t expect an increase in achievement but we expect a budget and evidence that it was followed. Ability to align resources with the needs of the district. Distribution needs to be equitable not equally. December should have a nearly or fully completed focused community based collaborative plan. Schools are community based and communities must have an opportunity to plan.

  4. You’ve lost at least 3 months in this progress. We won’t punish you for that. It won’t result in full accreditation. Expectations for improvement will remain for 3 years. Sustainable track record of improving student achievement will be most difficult. Recruit and retain quality staff. Proper direction, assistance and support. Commend their commitment for being willing to meet the challenges. If you stay focused. Understand you can’t solve all problems overnight. Over time you will improve what you do for kids. If you try to heroically achieve it, you will cause more problems.

  5. Coleman: More context about collaborative community planning. How can board initiate that without micromanaging?
    A: Define the process with an outside expert. [MGT America warned Tyson when they presented their research results that this action needed to happen – it was never done. This is on Ramona IMO.]
    Get parents, students input and also include teachers and staff. One on one or small groups. [Didn’t Atkinson do this?] Establish a core planning team. Thurmond. School reps. Parents. Students. Board reps. Reflects the base of DeKalb. They are the carrier. Assemble the ‘skin’. Write vision and mission statements. Core values. Reshuffle back into community. What would they expect schools to do differently? Check it. The plan will address 5-7 areas. Vote on it. It becomes doctrine. Drives all decisions.
    Staff will say we had that. But it wasn’t developed correctly. Didn’t galvanize communities. Formerly the strategy was nine political reps fighting for their district. You are not the GA legislature.

  6. Morley: How did this carry on for a decade? Why was it never stopped until just recently?
    A: Lacked unified leadership in board and super. Series of events. No stable leadership. Key is stable effective leadership. Right leader – but haven’t found long term leader – for stability. Critical. Can’t have super be rotating position.

  7. Curious says:

    @AndrewChampNews just tweeted that Elgart said we will likely remain on probation in December. Did he say this?

  8. This all changes in Nov 2014 – election – and everything changes. [He is mistaken – the board votes in July 2014 and takes their seats Jan 2015].
    System is treated as a north south – African American – Caucasian community.
    Some schools have capacity and are doing well. No incentive to improve. Other parts – little or no capacity but tremendous incentive to improve. How to line up capacity and incentive? Fighting tooth and nail to get more or protect what they have. Battling that dynamic at this level for 20 years.

  9. Mayfield: may be time extension – but achievement may take 3-5 years. Even in the 11 are addressed will district be removed before 3-5 years?
    No – there are also levels – you can move up the ladder to full accreditation. We will give you more direction as to next steps as you go along.
    One action that’s missing – #6 -Robust district diagnostic evaluation system. — NO systemwide system for teachers all over the district and access benchmarks – teachers should know where each student is according to standards. Most of the country – teachers have that info at their fingertips. Remarkable that this doesn’t exist in a system this size with the huge resources. [Again: Ramona]

  10. Then you have to provide instructional development for teachers to use the system. Then you’ll start to see improvement.
    Mayfield: Does AdvancedED have a template for responses?
    A: General template – not complicated. Ask for evidence. Identify action steps. Show how you did it. Describe impact. Don’t just say you did it. Wants evidence of improvement. Thurmond had asked if Elgart had confidence in him yet – he said not yet – he needs evidence.
    Rubrics are provided that show performance levels.
    M: How do we know our responses are what you’re looking for?
    A: We’ll show you.
    M: Will you show us how to set up the process?
    A: not our role but we’ll show you systems that do it well.
    Annual or short term objectives should be included in the strategic plan – includes specific business plans to address objectives. Board and staff create it together.

  11. Colman: How can we make sure we’re doing budget process in a way that makes you comfortable?
    Elgart: High level objectives. Meet and discuss in public. Budget cuts come furthest from the classroom. Avoid impacting classroom. Write down Non-negotiables. Guides staff in developing the budget. Give staff parameters. Open discussion about what those are. They can’t come back and say they want to cut teachers and paras and increase class size to reduce the budget. Quite frankly you have gutted the classroom. Challenge is to restore. Invest in retaining and recruiting best teachers. If you don’t have effective leaders in schools and effective teachers in classrooms you won’t get there.

  12. Orson: One end of spectrum is turnover of super and board. Another is long time bureaucracy in CO. Inertia. Capacity is a very serious issue. Culture has been not to address. Right size CO should be equitably distributing resources.
    A: Super must establish organizational infrastructure. Must have concurrence. Has to be done first. Create a chart without names. Identify necessary jobs. Visit neighbor systems for examples. Don’t put names to the boxes. It compromises objectivity. Then move into that structure. Allow superintendent to deploy it. Don’t get involved with opinions about who should go in which position. No more difficult task than making personnel decisions. Don’t influence – you’ll make it political. Thurmond needs a blank sheet of paper and design the needs of this district. Base it on his professional opinion of who fits where best. Stay out of admin prerogative and deployment.

  13. Johnson: How to correlate strategic plan and curriculum to improve student achievement.
    A: Educating students is core business. Heart and soul. Identify areas of greatest need. You are a 21st century urban school system – not a segregated racial system of the 60s and 70s. Big gaps – one is the use of technology. It’s their world -they are digital natives. WE are digital immigrants. We adapt and learn it. The average 12 year old can use technology better than anyone in this room. This is a great strategy to reduce inequity. So, you can’t ask students to bring their own technology. Provide those who need – the tools. That’s the difference between equal and equitable. [Atkinson often said this.]

  14. @Curious – yes he more or less said that. We will either still be on probation or could move up ‘the ladder’ to perhaps ‘warning’.

  15. Elgart: You can’t just ‘say’ your primary purpose is educating students and then never discuss it in detail.
    Coleman: Stay less engaged with community? Can you elaborate?
    A: Standard Op Procedure – you must agree. Maybe have a script. Guide you through difficult conversation. It’s emotional. Hard to respond. Talk about scenarios. From budgeting to community engagement you have to know how to handle. Problems can be addressed but you are not the vehicle.

  16. Morley: We believe that there is no north/south. But we must consider larger spectrum – like commissioners, etc. Mindset must change regarding capacity and incentives. Big difference in south DeKalb capacity – and affordability.
    E: Do not look at this as 9 districts that have to have equal. Some will need more. The discussion that “I have to have an equal amount or I won’t support it for you” has to end.
    How will public trust that this new org chart will stick – given that there’s an election and the board will change?
    A: If you decide Thurmond is the right person then you need to give him years of stability. [OR — in my opinion – they should find and hire that right permanent person ASAP!] This board needs to stay in place long term in order to create stability (guess they should run for office in July!)

  17. Elgart: Capacity is more about people than money. Example: a $70,000 job is filled – but if it’s a highly qualified person that is better ‘capacity’ than one less qualified.

  18. Elgart: Gwinnett has managed recession. They didn’t take the cut and hope strategy for recovery. They restructured around assuming this is a new reality. Made reallocation and redistribution of resources. Cut things that they had done for years in order to allocate funds toward needs. Projections are that the rate of inflation will outpace resources for at least six more years (word from Washington). No new money.

  19. How else can you generate revenue? You can NOT continue to furlough and cut teacher pay. Look at restructure. EX: Cobb may generate $ through distance learning offered outside the county. Tax base in DeKalb cannot support education funding at this level going forward.

  20. Mayfield: What strategies have been successful?
    A: Shared commitments. Reduce overhead. Work with county. Work smart together. {Sigh! Another point we have driven home for years on the blog} Thurmond asks the crowd to give the commissioner in attendance a hand.
    Johnson: Suggestions as to how to best use our communications dept to reduce anxiety and concerns of stakeholders.
    A: Required actions each need a plan and a timeline. Detailed. Put it in a communication tool. Maybe make a graphic – showing progress. Promote steps actually done – not what you plan to do. Transparent on the website. You are lacking a business plan for each item.

    [Comment – Mayfield is impressive to me. He might be a better choice for super than Thurmond. Rmember – it was the former board led by Gene Walker that hired Thurmond in a secret meeting just before they were dismissed by the Gov.]

  21. McMahan: Define Equity vs Equal
    A: Equity is based on need.

  22. Coleman: Ways we can productively engage with SACS?
    A: Our availability is open. Will engage with Thurmond. Liaison to Gov. Our staff will engage with Thurmonds staff. Share evidence. Where you need external assistance we will provide short lists of credible support to hire. Encourage board to continue to engage me. Commend thoughtful questions and listening. Continue to build on this. This district’s future is highly dependent upon the leadership around this table. I will support you. We can bring experience and perspective.

  23. Final Comment: Mentioned stability. Second piece is focus. Focus and stay focused. Takes discipline. Lots of distractions. Third. Look for incremental results. Don’t try to fix it all overnight. Stay dedicated to incremental improvement. Commend you all. For those appointed, commend your commitment. For those elected, act as if you are appointed. Work together to establish a vision that will last well beyond all of you.

  24. Johnson: Accepts the charge. Thanks for direction. Thanks audience. Help us communicate what we discussed tonight. Thurmond interrupts – points out chair of chamber of commerce, and thanks Elgart. Unique opportunity to fashion and mold an 21st century school. A blessing to be the ones to get it right.

  25. Concerned Citizen says:

    I believe every single one of the board is already assisting in micromanaging; why is Coleman talking about it as it it is a given?

  26. It's about the kids! says:

    If the focus and the resources really do come back to the classroom, and the leadership is streamlined and improved, I may not have to retire.

  27. Concerned Citizen says:

    Is McMahon capable of listening? Elgart explained about six times….it’s scary the lack of basic understanding..

  28. Atlanta Media Guy says:

    So 10 years of bad decisions. Mr. Thurmond can we please get rid of the folks that made those bad decisions like Tyson, Beasley, Berry, Ward, Howe, Guilroys, Edwards and the rest hired under Clew…. I just do not see things changing, if we give these folks another chance.

  29. Atlanta Media Guy says:

    Thanks Ramona Tyson! I guess we get to sit through more Charettes! MGT America told her what to do, and she ignored them since the whole thing was a ruse, WE needed to feel good about DCSS. What a sham, Tyson should resign tomorrow!… Just finished reading entire thread! Thanks DSW, I was at the kids school for a dress rehearsal, our Talent Show is tomorrow.

  30. Achelous says:

    As a teacher who was hired to restart a dying program ten years ago, I can only pray that the resources that were at first dwindling and are now woefully absent can at least make some sort of appearance.

    It is also very difficult for schools to hire great teachers if they are not allowed the staffing points necessary to do so, then are handed extra teachers without any approval process to see if they would be good new hires for the local school. If this can change, we may have a shot at success for all (for real!)

  31. dekalbite2 says:

    Elgart was on the money. Lewis, Tyson and Atkinson gutted the classroom to balance the budget.

    Thurmond and the BOE need to ensure EVERY child has:
    1. A safe and clean and learning environment
    2. A competent, well compensated teacher in a reasonably sized classroom
    3. Abundant access to cutting edge science and technology equipment

    Money that is left over after funding the core business which is teaching students in the classroom can be allocated for admin and support of the classroom. If certified personnel need to be sent back to the classroom, then that needs to happen as soon as possible.

    DCSS superintendents Lewis, Tyson and Atkinson and the BOE members tried to preserve jobs all over DCSS rather than protecting the classroom personnel – i.e. teachers which are the most critical employees to students. This is a primary criticism Elgart was making in this discussion.

    If Ms. Tyson is handling the SACS response, she needs to do some homework. She is the one who eliminated so many teaching positions and eliminated the paraprofessional positions that Elgart directly referred to. Is she the best person to lead the SACS response since her actions have contributed greatly to this problem?
    http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2011/11/where-have-all-our-teachers-gone.html

    The technology department needs to get its house in order as well. SACS has identified this as a big gap.
    “Big gaps – one is the use of technology. It’s their world -they are digital natives. WE are digital immigrants. We adapt and learn it. The average 12 year old can use technology better than anyone in this room. This is a great strategy to reduce inequity. So, you can’t ask students to bring their own technology. Provide those who need – the tools. ”
    So why has DCSS spent/stil spending so much on technology for so little return? There needs to be less emphasis on the network and more emphasis on software and access to technology that works for the end users, namely students and teachers. Hundreds of millions for personnel to run a network with little access for teachers and students to hardware and a lack of software aligned to student needs is not acceptable. Building and tending to a network with little working and effective technology hanging off of it has become a huge problem for DeKalb students who exist in a 21st Century world. That is why SACS got so many negatives from teachers and parents regarding this department. Has anything been done in this department to make it more “student oriented”? SACS will be interviewing teachers and students again. It will be interesting to see if MIS has the will to put students first.

  32. sam123 says:

    Equitable instead of equal …..good idea. An example of equitable is when Gwinnett gives MORE POINTS to at risk schools to hire extra teachers for programs like Reading Recovery. That Titile I money that is used for coaches in the schools could be used for intervention with at risk students. The coaches need to be hands-on with students.

    The job at hand is overwhelming. I really wonder if Dekalb is up to it. It is too bad that elections are coming in the next couple of years just when things could be getting solidified. Mr. E sees the big picture. They need to listen up.

  33. I feel conflicted. On one hand, I am encouraged by Elgart’s words and his calls to action to the Board and Thurmond. He was very clear: Make an org chart and give NO thought to the names – build it with necessary key staff positions. Just build a system from the classroom out. What do you need? What kinds of staff positions are critical and necessary? Where else can we cut? How else can we generate revenue? He charged them with making a PLAN – a vision. [Notice he said nothing about the ‘Vision’ Ramona Tyson created – it had no vision at all – it was just a list of future building plans. And her SACS responses have just been random collections of documents – not detailed responsive, quantifiable business objectives.] He wants them to write a mission statement – a selection of core values – and let those drive their decisions. He asked them to list non-negotiables – like class size or literacy by a certain age. He asked them to streamline the central office and told them they absolutely cannot make more cuts to teachers or paras or the classrooms in any way. He said they had to greatly reduce their legal costs – that they spend more than three similarly sized systems combined. And he said they have to work slowly and diligently – no heroics – just steady progress.

    I agree with all of these charges – however, then I visualize the staff and talent necessary to pull it all off and there’s where I get discouraged. Time will tell. Thurmond has some very major tasks to begin. I would like to hope that he’s up to the tasks. However, if I were on the Board, I would start looking for that very talented long-term superintendent.

  34. On her live blog tonight, Nancy Jester made the same points as I, only much more clearly:

    7:12
    nancy_jester:
    Re: Technology Elgart discussed how DCSS is far behind here in harvesting data and using it to inform teaching/decisions.

    7:12
    nancy_jester:
    That’s interesting to me because the former interim superintendent was in charge of technology and is widely praised by SACS.

    nancy_jester:
    I do agree with Elgart though. It goes back to my thesis about DCSS. We only have 2 problems: (1) Incompetence and (2) Fraud

    nancy_jester:
    The system is mired in incompetence and nothing short of a massive change of personnel will fix this. I don’t see that happening but hope springs eternal.

  35. In other news…
    http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local-education/suspended-dekalb-school-board-member-has-new-lawye/nW99x/

    Suspended DeKalb school board member has new lawyer for constitutional fight
    By Ty Tagami

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    A suspended DeKalb County school board member who is challenging his pending removal by Gov. Nathan Deal has hired a lawyer with a history of successfully arguing constitutional issues.

    Eugene Walker, the former school board chairman and one of six board members Deal suspended in February, has hired Thomas A. Cox to carry the dispute to the Georgia Supreme Court.

    The education lawyer with Carlock Copeland & Stair of Atlanta represented the Atlanta and DeKalb County school systems in the lawsuit that in 2011 successfully challenged the constitutionality of the Georgia Charter Commission Act. Voters later amended the constitution to clarify the state’s authority to create charter schools.

  36. And in still other news: Susan Blum at Huff Post had this to say about the Atlanta cheating scandal – [seems relevant to our discussion somehow]:

    What I want to ask is about the point of all this testing.

    Isn’t our goal to get children ready for the world they will enter?

    When all that matters is test results, people will do everything they can to make them look good. High-stakes testing gives the message that the process doesn’t matter — not even for the teachers. High-stakes testing puts the attention on the measurable: simple answers to simple questions.

    And cheating is always tempting when people are in competition with each other. Ask Lance Armstrong. Ask the overseers of the Chinese Civil Service Examination, who struggled in vain for more than a thousand years to prevent cheating.

    In the game of learning, everyone could be a winner. Not in the now-deplored sense that everyone gets a medal for participating. But in the sense that everyone could actually learn basic skills.

    When schooling first became compulsory in the United States in Massachusetts in 1647, the goal was literacy and numeracy for all, so they could participate in the basic operations of democracy. In the neoliberal quest to pit every unit against every other unit — child against child, teacher against teacher, school against school, district against district, state against state — it has seemed as if the declared goal is to produce losers.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-d-blum/atlanta-schools-cheating-scandal_b_2998507.html

  37. howdy1942 says:

    First, I commend Dr. Elgart for laying it out for the School Board and the Superintendent. I especially agree with his point that cuts should be made as far away from the classroom as possible. I also agree that the School Board should be appointed, not elected. This should be an action item for the next legislative session – hope that Governor Deal will seize the initiative.

    I also agree with Nancy Jester – my perspective is that the Dekalb County School System is filled with corruption and, as NJ points out, with fraud. I also believe that it runs deep. Sooner or later, the AJC will begin to surface questions just as it did in the Atlanta Public Schools and that will bring the action needed to get to the bottom of this mess. I wish that Governor Deal would go ahead and set up an investigative team to begin the process.

    Dr. Elgart is right on the money (no pun intended!) when he talked about Dekalb’s love affair with lawyers. Did you happen to catch it when Dr. Davis of APS stated emphatically that it would not be paying for any fees of those indicted in the cheating scandal, including former Superintendent Beverly Hall. Why on earth did we feel it even remotely necessary to pay those fees (over $100,000) for Crawford Lewis? After all, he had been indicted by a grand jury just like Dr. Hall. And then we heap salt into the wounds of Dekalb County taxpayers by hiring Bob Wilson to defend the now-suspended board. And more of the same with that “governance training” law firm. And then the wasted $28.5 million in the Heery case. Well, I’ll try not to get started.

    Regarding Thurmond, I just don’t believe that he is up to the task. He is a friendly, very likable person who has a quick sense of humor. The task before him is not to win friend and influence people – especially among the administration. Has a recent outside, independent audit been done? Does he have anyone other than Ramona advising him? Personally, I like Thurmond. I’d love to have lunch with him and share stories. I’m sure that I would laugh a lot. But that’s not what I want nor is that what we need. We need a matter-of-fact, no-nonsense, goal-focused, leader that wants facts, makes decisions, rightsizes staff, sets expectations, and measures results. If you remember Jack Webb (Dragnet), “just the facts ma’am.

    DSW2 correctly points out that the next “election” is July 2014 with those elected taking office in January 2015. Elected board members will continue to have great difficulty not focusing on the needs of the district that elected them. I’m not optimistic that even qualified, let alone the most qualified, candidates will offer themselves for election and I’m less confident that such candidates will be elected. The lessons of the past 15 years have been driven home time and again.

  38. John Hope says:

    “How to deal with barrage of phone calls. Can’t solve individual problems. There’s a process through staff for that. Don’t do it. Once you solve one you’ll have 100 more – it doesn’t stop. Say, I understand your concern but this is not the right process. Don’t even say you’ll pass the concern on. That’s hard – I understand for the three of you who were voted in. You feel responsible to the voters”

    This was interesting as he was talking about various lobbying efforts by citizens around the county calling and emailing Board members hoping to influence their ultimate vote on an action item or recommendation. Though not explicitly mentioned in the summary above, Elgart also talked about the culture that has evolved years where Board members got involved in operational issues, sometimes reaching out to superintendents to help with grade changes or school transfers. These were issues Board members handled for constituents because an expectation was developed over the years that this was how one gets something resolved. Also, if there is an expectation for a personal reply to each email to Board members or staff, when will they have time to get things done? This is a tricky balance, being responsive yet being responsible.

    There have been suggestions on this blog over time for email campaigns to Board members and other elected officials for various lobbying efforts. In one way, one can respect this based how the democratic process works. We have a representative government and we use communications to let elected officials know how the citizens feel about certain issues. On the other hand, appointed Boards are not beholden to anyone. While one can see the positives in appointed Boards, would citizens want to give up the right to choose their representatives? This is a conversation the community should have.

  39. No matter what – teachers will continue to do the best they can… and things will get better.

    Check out the current edition of Education Week’s newsletter, click here. They are offering some great free webinars:

    1-to-1 Computing Steps to Success
    Ed-Tech Leadership for Better Schools: Leaders to Learn From
    Daniel Pink on How Teachers Can ‘Sell’ More to Students
    State Networks Propel STEM Education
    Refining School System Approaches to Blended Learning
    Blended Learning & Your School Sponsor
    Exploring Teacher-Leadership Trends and Possibilities

    Plus – there are great articles to read as well!

    AND…

    April is National Poetry Month and Stenhouse publishers has collected some great resources for you to bring poetry into your classroom.

    Resources for National Poetry Month

    (These are also listed under Resources for Teachers and Parents, a page under the Resources Tab at the top of the blog)

  40. In response to Elgart’s call to attract and retain the best teachers we can, we found the article below:

    Consider the Value Proposition for Teachers

    There are some great ideas regarding the hiring process – including first defining what kind of person you are trying to attract. That involves, of course, clear core values.

    Based on our work with large urban school districts and research on teacher and employee motivation, we believe one key lies in formulating and communicating a clear and compelling “value proposition.” A value proposition is the complete set of offerings and experiences provided by the employer to the employee. An effective value proposition reflects the needs of both employer and employee: the employer’s need to attract and retain employees with the right skills and knowledge, and the employees’ need for rewards and working conditions that motivate and engage them to do their best work.

    While salary and benefits are important to all employees, the value proposition doesn’t stop there. It also encompasses professional growth and career opportunities, work-life-balance structures, professional recognition, and working conditions, including quality of leadership, opportunity for teamwork, student motivation and discipline, and demands and structure of the job.

    While the private sector has embraced this concept (often calling it “total rewards”), to date it has been a rarity in the public sector, especially in education. Instead, most school systems have instead relied heavily on the intrinsic value of the teaching mission, rarely looking beyond salary and benefits. Even then, they have failed to communicate the totality of what is offered, particularly with respect to benefits such as health, retirement, and fringe.

    Of course, this would require an experienced, well-trained HR leader. IMO, we don’t have that.

Comments are closed.