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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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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