Overall rat­ing: 2.7 / 5

Report Card post­ed on: February 2, 2011
Number of Board Watchers Reporting: 7

View the agenda/minutes of this meet­ing (will open in a new win­dow).

I. [Academic Achievement] — Compared to the oth­er top­ics on the agen­da, to what degree did the Board address aca­d­e­m­ic achieve­ment of stu­dents?

1 = not at all
5 = a great deal

Rating: 1.9

Comments:

  • No sub­stan­tive dis­cus­sion about how stu­dents are doing and how the edu­ca­tion­al process is being improved.
  • There was dis­cus­sion of pol­i­cy of staff stan­dards in hir­ing but noth­ing direct­ly about chil­dren achiev­ing or not in the dis­trict.
  • Their dis­cus­sion of effec­tive teach­ing would prob­a­bly be cov­ered under aca­d­e­m­ic achieve­ment. How is stan­dards based learn­ing work­ing? What is their data show­ing?
  • Endless dis­cus­sion of what pol­i­cy to adopt.
  • Effective teach­ers dis­cus­sion was worth­while, but it drift­ed at times. There was a lot of word­smithing and not much sub­stan­tive dis­cus­sion of how the com­mit­tee reached their deci­sion on this lan­guage and what these attrib­ut­es are based on. Is there research that sup­ports these pri­or­i­ties.
  • The dis­cus­sion that last­ed too long on teacher effec­tive­ness would no doubt affect aca­d­e­m­ic achieve­ment in the future —-no dis­cus­sion on the present aca­d­e­m­ic achieve­ment.

II. [Effectiveness] — How effec­tive was the Board in ana­lyz­ing and solv­ing prob­lems and mak­ing deci­sions and plans that will improve aca­d­e­m­ic achieve­ment in the future? I.e., will what they did “add val­ue”– make a sig­nif­i­cant pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence?

1 = not effec­tive
5 = very effec­tive

Rating: 2.6

Comments:

  • The long hag­gle about desir­able teach­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tions, etc. was aimed at improv­ing achieve­ment. Seemed like deep dis­cus­sion of the obvi­ous.
  • The board is not effec­tive and inef­fi­cient at prob­lem solv­ing and ana­lyz­ing. They picked to death a pol­i­cy that they said the admin­is­tra­tion already sup­ports and is using which defined good teach­ing. Beyond work­ing on a pol­i­cy, what did we learn about stu­dent achieve­ment in the schools tonight? Nothing.
  • Little effec­tive about this board meet­ing.
  • Discussing pol­i­cy con­cern­ing teach­ers will improve aca­d­e­m­ic achieve­ment.
  • Modest val­ue added here. Some board mem­bers tried to engage Dr. Covington in a dis­cus­sion of how the new Teacher Effectiveness guide­lines would affect hir­ing. That seemed to be a vital dis­cus­sion that was giv­en short shrift.
  • Much too long dis­cus­sion but if the ini­tia­tives on page 2 and 3 on the agen­da regard­ing Effective Teaching begins at the end of this school year, progress in aca­d­e­m­ic achieve­ment with eval­u­at­ed qual­i­fied teach­ers would be a pos­i­tive change for our kids.

III. [Finances] — Did the Board uti­lize finan­cial data to under­stand the District’s finan­cial sta­tus and assure that it stays with­in its bud­get?

1 = no data-based dis­cus­sion
5 = exten­sive data-based dis­cus­sion

Rating: 2.4

Comments:

  • Mr. Perry’s talk was good, but too long and not enough time for ques­tions and dis­cus­sion.
  • Important info giv­en on TIF, but not real dis­cus­sion.
  • The admin­is­tra­tion pre­sent­ed their rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the TIF Commission Kelvin Perry who spoke to the board about TIF and Dr. Gwin report­ed how much state fund­ing the dis­trict is los­ing, This was pre­sent­ed by the Administration. To say they UTILIZED this data is a stretch.
  • Received a TIF report but noth­ing else.
  • TIF dis­cus­sion was the only finan­cial infor­ma­tion giv­en.
  • No finan­cial dis­cus­sion at this board meet­ing.
  • No except vot­ing on the con­sent items.

IV. [Resource allo­ca­tion] — Did the Board uti­lize the finan­cial resources it has avail­able to
accom­plish the goals and objec­tives of the District vs. spend­ing mon­ey on things not direct­ly relat­ed to goals.

1 = allo­ca­tion not relat­ed to goals
5 = allo­ca­tion direct­ly con­nect­ed to goals

Rating: 2.3

Comments:

  • No dis­cus­sion of finances in rela­tion to goals.
  • No dis­cus­sion of finan­cial resources avail­able to accom­plish objec­tives and goal of the dis­trict.

V. [Important issues] — Did the Board spend its time address­ing sig­nif­i­cant issues and con­cerns impor­tant to stu­dents and the District vs. rules, pro­ce­dures, per­son­al agen­das?

1 = no time spent on impor­tant issues
5 = much time spent on impor­tant issues

Rating: 2

Comments:

  • The board spent the major­i­ty of its time on its own poli­cies. These pol­i­cy dis­cus­sions should be done in a work­shop. The news­pa­per and tele­vi­sion press, prin­ci­pals, teach­ers, and the com­mu­ni­ty hear noth­ing about what is hap­pen­ing in the schools. Hot top­ics such as SWECC, tuition for Pre-K, etc. were not dis­cussed. These meet­ings have no sub­stance.
  • They think this pol­i­cy dis­cus­sion is suit­able for a board meet­ing, I do not.
  • No time spent address­ing cur­rent sig­nif­i­cant issues fac­ing the dis­trict.
  • Time devot­ed to Teacher Effectiveness pol­i­cy was sig­nif­i­cant, but the con­ver­sa­tion didn’t seem as robust and sub­stan­tive as it could/should be.
  • Effective Teaching dia­logue

VI. [Policy] — Did the Board focus on issues of pol­i­cy and over­sight rather then “micro­manag­ing”, i.e. get­ting involved in the day-to-day oper­a­tions of the District?

1 = micromanagement/no pol­i­cy
5 = policy/no micro­man­age­ment

Rating: 3.6

Comments:

  • I believe they are try­ing not to micro­man­age, but it creeps in some­times. Their pol­i­cy gov­er­nance mod­el keeps them tied up to inhib­it micro­man­age­ment. Can this be sus­tained over gen­er­a­tions of boards? I doubt it.
  • They think this pol­i­cy dis­cus­sion is suit­able for a board meet­ing, I do not.
  • Fine tun­ing pol­i­cy should be a “work­ing” board meet­ing or announced once a month as a pol­i­cy board meet­ing.
  • Almost all pol­i­cy dis­cus­sion even if it was word­smithing.
  • It was clear to me that the Board was slap­ping Dr. Covington’s hands in the dis­cus­sion of Exec. Limitation Policy—-ie. the announce­ment of tuition for pre-k and the reper­cus­sion that fol­lowed

VII. [Community engage­ment] — Did the Board behave in ways that mod­eled and facil­i­tat­ed good com­mu­ni­ty com­mu­ni­ca­tion and cit­i­zen engage­ment?

1 = sti­fled com­mu­ni­ca­tion & engage­ment
5 = encour­aged com­mu­ni­ca­tion & engage­ment

Rating: 2.4

Comments:

  • There were com­mu­ni­ty pre­sen­ters at this meeting–DTRT and Teachers’ Union President
  • The board invit­ed the pres­i­dents of the teach­ers union, the DAC and a stu­dent orga­ni­za­tion to speak. That is good. Members of the board mocked both indi­vid­u­als of DRTK and the report card. I do not think that showed respect and could inhib­it future engage­ment by the com­mu­ni­ty. Very few com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers are attend­ing the meet­ings present­ly. Teachers and prin­ci­pals are also not attend­ing.
  • Little sig­nif­i­cant infor­ma­tion com­mu­ni­cat­ed to the pub­lic.
  • One school board member’s snarky com­ments to Do The Right Thing were dis­re­spect­ful and seemed designed to get mem­bers of the com­mu­ni­ty to “back off.” His com­ments taint­ed the meet­ing. It will be help­ful for board mem­bers to be more wel­com­ing of pub­lic engage­ment. The board seemed ill at ease with pub­lic com­ment.
  • Attendance at the meet­ing was poor——why attend if val­ued infor is not given——substance is miss­ing.

VIII. [Board man­age­ment] — Was the Board meet­ing orga­nized and man­aged in such a way as to sup­port effi­cien­cy and good use of time, i.e. loca­tion, arrange­ments, length, logis­tics, pro­ce­dures, rules?

1 = poor­ly orga­nized; time wast­ed
5 = well orga­nized; time used effi­cient­ly

Rating: 1.3

Comments:

  • The meet­ing con­tin­ues to be way too long. 90% of this meet­ing should have been done in a work­shop. Time is wast­ed. The dis­cus­sion is not facil­i­tat­ed well. Microphone use is much bet­ter. The con­ver­sa­tions could be man­aged bet­ter.
  • Nothing well orga­nized and well man­aged about a meet­ing that lasts over two hours.
  • The meet­ing is man­aged poor­ly; it is too long and does not fol­low par­lia­men­tary pro­ce­dure.
  • The dis­cus­sion of tight­en­ing the pol­i­cy on “change man­age­ment” and the lim­i­ta­tions of the Superintendent was poor­ly framed and wan­dered bad­ly at times. The Chairman worked valiant­ly to bring the group to a con­clu­sion. Good effort by the Chair through­out the meet­ing to keep the group on task and focused on the issue at hand. Would it make sense for the board to do most votes by rais­ing hands rather than roll call?
  • Better than some of the past meet­ings but the meet­ing last­ed too long——the Board should observe KCK’s Board Meetings

IX. [Preparation] — Did Board mem­bers come to the meet­ing famil­iar with the mate­r­i­al to be dis­cussed and ready to make informed deci­sions?

1 = most mem­bers poor­ly pre­pared
5 = most mem­bers well pre­pared

Rating: 3.3

Comments:

  • Very dif­fi­cult to know
  • Most seemed to be famil­iar with the issues.
  • Somewhat pre­pared by spe­cif­ic mem­bers

X. [Superintendent account­abil­i­ty] — Did the Board hold the Superintendent account­able for the per­for­mance of the District by request­ing infor­ma­tion and progress reports and enforc­ing dead­lines?

1 = account abil­i­ty not required
5 = account abil­i­ty strong­ly required

Rating: 3.4

Comments:

  • We only heard the superintendent’s report which main­ly talked about school open hous­es. He gave no sub­stan­tive report.
  • Ultimately the change man­age­ment dis­cus­sion got to a con­clu­sion and it became clear­er that Dr. Covington was being held to account. Is there a sim­pler way to do this?
  • Superintendent’s report only addressed pos­i­tive info on stu­dents and their activities——not info on SW or the tuition for Pre-K or any oth­er hot spots report­ed in the KC Star.

XI. [Superintendent’s ini­tia­tives] — Did the Board respond sup­por­t­ive­ly to the Superintendent’s ideas and ini­tia­tives, giv­ing them thought­ful con­sid­er­a­tion?

1 = no sup­port for ini­tia­tives
5 = strong sup­port for ini­tia­tives

Rating: 3.1

Comments:

  • No ini­tia­tives dis­cussed.
  • No ini­tia­tives were giv­en.
  • Several board mem­bers asked for com­ments from the Superintendent and indi­cat­ed con­fi­dence in him. I think some were try­ing to slap his hand by tight­en­ing a pol­i­cy because they think he did not con­sult the com­mu­ni­ty enough before imple­ment­ing.
  • Not much pre­sent­ed.
  • Effective Teaching ——-much dis­cus­sion on his role to inform or not the Board about the clos­ing of schools for snow days etc.

XII. [Board cli­mate] — Did the Board demon­strate a cli­mate of coop­er­a­tion and work­ing togeth­er for mutu­al goals?

1 = no demon­strat­ed coop­er­a­tion
5 = strong cooperation/working togeth­er

Rating: 3.1

CComments:

  • There was no prob­lem get­ting board mem­bers to sign up for ad hoc com­mit­tees, how­ev­er, it is always the same mem­bers.
  • The very first item about excus­ing a board member’s atten­dance showed rude­ness, dis­re­spect and pow­er play between two mem­bers. One mem­ber in par­tic­u­lar is pedan­tic. Others try to coop­er­ate.
  • The dis­cus­sion at the begin­ning of the meet­ing regard­ing a mem­bers absence was inap­pro­pri­ate. There is no evi­dence of coop­er­a­tion after wit­ness­ing that exchange between board mem­bers.
  • Body lan­guage and dis­cus­sion indi­cates that the board still has to make progress in devel­op­ing trust and an abil­i­ty to engage coop­er­a­tive­ly. The dis­cus­sion of one board member’s absence was intrigu­ing and dis­tract­ing. What’s the real sto­ry?

XIII. [Strategy] — Did the Board oper­ate “strate­gi­cal­ly”? I.e. did they spend their time work­ing toward the organization’s major long term goals vs. rou­tine busi­ness, per­son­al issues and short term con­cerns?

1 = no strate­gic dis­cus­sion
5 = strong strate­gic dis­cus­sion

Rating: 3.1

Comments:

  • The first 15 or 20 min­utes were wast­ed fuss­ing with agen­da dis­pues and absen­teeism. The Board start­ed out look­ing bad.
  • Very pro­fes­sion­al in dis­cus­sion.
  • It is obvi­ous they are not a group that works well togeth­er although there are peo­ple who try. One con­stant­ly lec­tures.
  • There were irrel­e­vant com­ments made by one board mem­ber. There is not a sense this board wants to work togeth­er or that they respect fel­low board mem­bers.
  • Acceptable, but not high­ly pro­fes­sion­al. One school board member’s snide remarks on Do The Right Thing under­mined the pro­fes­sion­al­ism of the board. The dis­cus­sion of one member’s absence was intrigu­ing, and it seems that that mem­ber or their fam­i­ly mem­bers should inform the board chair of an absence (unless she had just been hos­pi­tal­ized on an emer­gency basis). Most inter­changes in the meet­ing were pro­fes­sion­al oth­er­wise.
  • It still appears that their is a dis­con­nect among the mem­bers ie. the absence of one member——addressing oth­er mem­bers about their lack of knowl­edge on a sub­ject com­ing from their group assigned to the agen­da item.

XIV. [Decorum] — Did Board mem­bers par­tic­i­pate respon­si­bly and at a pro­fes­sion­al lev­el—avoid­ing dis­rup­tive, dis­trac­tive, per­son­al­ized or irrel­e­vant com­ments?

1 = much non-pro­fes­sion­al behav­ior
5 = no non-pro­fes­sion­al behav­ior

Rating: 3.1

Comments:

  • They have a strat­e­gy but it does not seem effec­tive in address­ing the impor­tant things that need to done.
  • They will prob­a­bly give them­selves high marks on this, but I can­not agree.
  • Again, way too long.
  • Generally head­ed in that direc­tion. Discussions seemed more word­smithing than strate­gic, but it’s head­ed in the right direc­tion vs. pre­vi­ous dis­cus­sions.
  • Again the dis­cus­sion was too long but the “effec­tive teach­ing” piece hope­ful­ly is strate­gic

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