In the soup with “Supes”

9223chicken_noodle_soupWe have been receiving quite a lot of mail about this company called “Supes” that, similar to the Broad Academy that brought us Dr. Atkinson, ‘trains’ superintendents and other ‘leaders’ for school districts.

Below is a link to a nearly two-year-old article showing that this “Supes” Academy won a $20 million no-bid contract with a Chicago school district to form and run a “Chicago Leadership Academy”. (Sound familiar? Atkinson tried this at DeKalb as well on a smaller scale.) For some reason, these companies seem to think that the cure for what ails our schools is to pay them really, really big bucks to train more leaders.

$20 million no-bid contract raises questions about Supes Academy
July 30, 2013

Why do we care? Well, now we are also getting word that our search firm, ProAct has ties to this Supes Academy. Broad… Supes… whatever you call it, in our opinion, it’s a waste and yet another way to drain the coffers intended for the classrooms of America.

The simple fact is, hiring more and better qualified teachers, giving them smaller groups of students and a strong support network of assistants and specialists will get the job done. Like we always say here at DSW2, “It just ain’t rocket science.” Ask a teacher what he or she needs and you will be on your way to resolving the issues. Layer on top of that, programs to address poverty, hunger and idle time and this country will make a dent in the economic divide. No nonsense, old-fashioned ideas are what we need. Not a bunch of overpaid consultants whose only recommendation seems to be to hire their own overpaid ‘leaders’.

You can’t really ‘train’ up a true leader. Leaders are just kind of born to lead. Or they have so much experience that they truly know the right thing to do and can articulate why. We need a leader with a proven track record leading schools — someone who has been there and done that.

We look forward to seeing the resumes on the list of superintendent candidates submitted to the board by the liaison committee. Hopefully there are at least a few of them who are not Broad or Supes graduates and agree that just as an old-fashioned bowl of chicken noodle soup can make you feel better when you’re down — aligning the budget to focus on classrooms, along with simple, hard work and strong teacher support is all that is needed to turn our academics around, thereby providing each of the youth of DeKalb an opportunity for a bright future.

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13 Responses to In the soup with “Supes”

  1. What? There are companies out there just trying to make money off of education? Now I’ve heard it all. 😉
    Sadly, education is now big business with everyone trying to get their hands on a constant flow of money (aka tax dollars). If they would just get back, as you always say, to putting it back in the schools/rooms, maybe we’d get somewhere. Instead, frightening amounts are taken out and put in other “pockets” (figuratively and literally) to train/discover/rediscover/realign/plan/etc. and what has that done…? Find teachers who can teach, allow them to teach, and support them in any way you can. throwing money on “quick fixes” ane never sticking to it seems to be the georgia/DeKalb way, never amounting to sustainable change and progress. There’s a reason certain states/districts are at the bottom. Hopefully a leader will eventually see that and allow change to take hold for more than a few years. Yes, we must adapt. But complete and total change with every new elected official, supe, principal, etc. does not allow for the growth and development of a skill. There are many studies that discuss 10,000 hours (7-10 years) needed to become expert at anything. Not allowing educators to perfect their craft only does harm.
    I can think of my past 15 years as an educator….Quality core curriculum (QCC), georgia performance standards (GPS), common core (CC), Georgia Common core (CCGPS), Georgia standards of excellence (GSE) starting in 2015-16! (Honestly, who’s getting paid to change the name of these things?), Open court phonics, mountain math, calendar math, america’s choice, success for all, Singapore math, reading workshop, writing workshop, Classworks, STAR reading/math, accelerated reader, etc. etc. All very expensive programs…not to mention the countless new textbooks, tests, trainings come and gone, grading/email/attendance programs,….
    Essentially, a lot of money wasted in a lot of ways that will never be recouped. Whereas giving a child a smaller class, a happier (better paid, better prepared) teacher, extra support before/during/after school, and needed resources would bring life-altering change. That’s the change we can pay for.

  2. Same old same old says:

    None of this matters. Thurmond is planning to apply. He continues to understand nothing about education or who knows enough to run it for him. Nothing will change.

  3. This and That says:

    I think WorldUniteNow has hit the nail on the head. “Essentially, a lot of money wasted in a lot of ways that will never be recouped. Whereas giving a child a smaller class, a happier (better paid, better prepared) teacher, extra support before/during/after school, and needed resources would bring life-altering change. That’s the change we can pay for.” So sad that the administrators are not seeing this.

  4. @ This and That

    Sad? We think it is criminal!

  5. Let’s rewind the tape back to December 8 when the board voted to hire ProAct. If they are saying now that they had no idea that ProAct was questionable, then we cry foul. There, in our comments in the Dec 8 post, is a link to an AJC article that clearly states ‘issues’ with ProAct and the fact that other districts – including Atlanta – declined to hire them. Our Board clearly had this information and hired ProAct anyway. Further, this was done after a re-bidding of the RFQ process. We have it on good authority that the first go-round yielded other companies responding to be considered – Ray & Associates (our last search firm) was one of the respondents in the first RFQ. When the school district announced that they were scrapping that round and sending out another request, Ray & Associates could not figure out what had changed in the request. They tried calling several times to no avail – no one at central office would respond to them. They decided to leave their proposal as is, since they could not detect a difference. Apparently, their proposal was tossed, as district leaders insisted that only ProAct responded in the second round.

    We smell some big fish…

    Read through the comments in the post below – remember – they got all sidetracked about creating a citizen committee before voting to hire ProAct. It was very messy.

    The December 8, 2014 Board Meeting

    To read the latest update (Friday, April 24), including this comment >> “The Board of Education remains pleased with the search process and with the depth and quality of the applicant pool, and is very much looking forward to first round interviews.”, go here >>

    Click to access DeKalb-County-Superintendent-Search-Update-4.24.15-FINAL.pdf

  6. BTW – Michael Thurmond has announced a 3-4% pay raise for DeKalb teachers, depending on experience. Today’s AJC has an article stating that all metro districts will be giving pay raises – average raise – 8%.

    Metro Atlanta area school systems are proposing to give teachers pay raises up to 8 percent or more starting next fall, the biggest jump in years for many educators following furloughs, stagnant pay and increasing class sizes.

    “I feel like this is a positive first step,” said Patrice Dawkins-Jackson, a teacher at Dunwoody Springs Elementary in Fulton County, who’s expected to get an 8 percent raise.

    …Fulton is proposing some of the biggest boosts — upwards of 10 percent when “step” increases for years of experience are added.

    Yearly salaries for new teachers with bachelor’s degrees in metro Atlanta:

    Atlanta — $44,312

    Cherokee — $41,915

    DeKalb — $41,262

    Clayton — $40,742

    Fulton — $40,308

    Forsyth — $39,990

    Cobb — $39,347

    Gwinnett — $38,383

    Proposed pay raises:

    Atlanta — none

    DeKalb — 4 percent raises for teachers with more than six years; 3 percent for those with 0-5 years.

    Cobb — 4 percent

    Gwinnett — 4 percent

    Fulton — 8 percent for teachers with 6 to 20 years of experience

    Teachers look forward to pay raises, first in a while

  7. melaniestef says:

    Time for a REAL SUPT. ! PLEASE YALL!

  8. brother dekalb says:

    Do not delude yourselves into thinking that the Board will choose a new superintendent from the list given to them by the committee. Michael Thurmond wants to keep the job and he is a masterful politician/PR campaigner. There is already a groundswell of support emerging from him and insiders as well as community members supporting keeping Thurmond. If you do not agree, you darn well better make your voices known, as we have already started down the rabbit trail of maintaining the status quo. The board is split 4:3 along racial lines on this issue. They have the power to choose to keep Michael Thurmond in perpetuity. Folks – it’s a $300,000 job. Do you really think he would walk away from this gig? He originally promised only to stay one year. He’s been here about 2-1/2 years. Do you think he would really step down and pass the torch to someone with a proven track record of leading a school system into better achievement for students? No. He thinks he is the perfect solution. He wants the job and he has the very vocal support of 4 of 7 board members. They can blame their actions on the search firm’s connection to ‘Supes’ or Thurmond’s ability to put $50 million in the bank (after collecting over $100 million in additional tax revenues due to increased property values) — or the weather, but they will do what they are going to do. The fix is in. Keep watching. As they say at weddings, “Speak now or forever hold your peace”.

  9. Nikole says:

    Dekalb pays new teachers better than most, but those of us that have been teaching for years make far less than we could in Atlanta, Cobb or Fulton.

  10. PRESS RELEASE >> 27 April 2015


    The DeKalb County Board of Education is pleased to announce that it has selected its semi-finalist Superintendent candidates for interviews by the Board of Education. The highly qualified pool of candidates is a testament to the tremendous opportunities that exist in DeKalb to continue the turnaround of the District. In conformity with its previously issued timetable, from the pool of semi-finalists, the School Board will select up to three finalists to participate in additional private as well as public panels.

    The Board is also aware that SUPES Academy, a related company of the Board’s search firm ProAct, is involved in investigations of certain matters related to the Chicago Public Schools. We are not aware of any evidence that any such allegations relate to the search in DeKalb nor do they relate to any of the candidates. While we will continue to monitor the situation, the Board is committed to the completion of the search process and the selection of DeKalb’s next Superintendent.
    Dr. Melvin Johnson, Chair
    DeKalb County School District


    The DeKalb Board of Education will hold called meetings at 1:30pm, Friday,
    May 1, 2015 and 11:00am, Saturday, May 2, 2015 at the Sheraton Atlanta
    Airport Hotel, 1900 Sullivan Road, Atlanta, GA 30337. The called
    meetings will adjourn to executive sessions for the purpose of discussing
    personnel and legal matters.

  11. melaniestef says:

    I remain hopeful that this system will emerge with a new a Supt.that every Board member , parent and teacher will embrace and support to unitely move DeKalb Schools forward.

  12. melaniestef says:

    Sorry, I meant unity.

  13. There is new info on the issue with “Supes Academy” as well as the head of ProAct, the search firm helping DeKalb find candidates for superintendent. Read this new report from the Dunwoody Crier >>

    DeKalb school search firm under FBI probe

    FWIW – a point of clarity: As we understand it, SUPES is under investigation and not PROACT. We look forward to learning about the candidates from the short list the Board will evaluate. They certainly should not pay the price of any bad press focused on the SUPES Academy or the current leader of ProAct. They are entitled to be interviewed and respected as the sincere candidates they likely are.

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