Monday, June 30, 2014
After 1180 posts and 139,312 total page views I am putting my blog on hold. At some point I will probably start again as I'm already feeling the tension when I read my RSS feeds. One goal I didn't make was to reach 100 members falling short by eight. That tension adds to the possibility of starting again in the future. So, keep me in your feed and watch for a return, probably about legislative time when there will be much to think about.
One last thing is to share my tattoo. I've had this for a number of years thanks to a birthday present from my son. It captures how I see myself and what I will always be, Papa Bear! I am proud to wear it and look forward to having an opportunity next year to support the journey in a small way. Thanks to Rob and the Board for believing that I still have something to add.
Friday, June 27, 2014
Yesterday I attended a PBIS conference with a district team and then an E3 Summer evening where I joined others in being recognized for our work on sustainability. In my case it was supporting people like Nancy and teachers in developing our curriculum, Connie Jo and others who pioneered the building efforts, and Lori, Kevin, and Dawn who got us on the map locally, in the state, and in the nation. We learned that at the district level we actually outscored the district winner for the Green School award, but could not be recognized because we don't have a high enough free and reduced lunch count. Looks like next year will be the year.
Finally today was one of more tearful good byes, ceremonial disposal of my office chair, and a final gathering at Lori's house for more thanks and good byes.
Sunday, June 22, 2014
Though this final week has three evening meetings, I will be winding down with probably fewer posts as I approach the 30th. I have decided to mothball Seeking Shared Learning with the possibility to once again post in the future. I'm going to now spend some time learning about LinkedIn and look for some work to fill some of my days. Know anyone looking for a leadership journey?
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
It continued on Monday at an open house where many came to share their appreciation and engage with others that have shared our experiences. It was a rewarding evening for me as I was showered with thanks and gifts that included an unbelievable trip to Washington DC with tickets to Monday Night Football where the Hawks take on the Redskins. I was also blessed to have previous board members and mentors from my past attend to congratulate me and share stories.
This was followed on Tuesday with a gift from the Board and then today at the Chamber of Commerce meeting. I think with school ending today and only one more evening meeting before the 30th these events are behind me. I can now begin fading into the background as the days count down.
In reflecting, I must admit that each of these events will be memorable for me and I give thanks to the many that attended and to those that planned the events. Each was at the same time a humbling and rewarding experience. I think I did OK and know that more pictures were taken of me this week than in the previous 44 years here. So much to be thankful for and so many to thank.
Monday, June 16, 2014
The reason for the request as identified in the letter to be mailed later this week is below. I was notified because of the requirement to notify public school districts of the request and to provide for a comment period prior to submitting the official request.
Thanks to Superintendent Dorn and staff for this waiver request. Though it doesn't remove the onerous requirements of NCLB, if successful, it puts off for a year the need to mail a letter that does not accurately describe the current reality of our schools. If the federal department does not grant this request, I can only assume that they want to once again punish us for not conforming to their one size fits all reform model.
Sunday, June 15, 2014
The Washington Supreme Court on Thursday ordered lawmakers to explain why they haven’t followed its orders to fix the way Washington pays for public education.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
So many things went through my mind as I experienced graduation this evening from the stage for the last time. Above all the feelings was one of gratitude and pride. Gratitude that I had the opportunity to have a small influence on these young people's experience in our schools and pride in their accomplishments individually and collectively. I thank them and their families for this achievement in their lives and wish them success in their new learning and career experiences.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
“Plaintiffs claim that the Challenged Statutes result in grossly ineffective teachers obtaining and retaining permanent employment, and that these teachers are disproportionately situated in schools serving predominantly low-income and minority students. Plaintiffs’ equal protection claims assert that the Challenged Statutes violate their fundamental rights to equality of education by adversely affecting the quality of the education they are afforded by the state.”
You can go anywhere in the education blog world and find articles and commentary. In this New York Times piece we read about reactions from both sides and get a sense of the court's decision in the words below.
“Substantial evidence presented makes it clear to this court that the challenged statutes disproportionately affect poor and/or minority students,” Judge Rolf M. Treu of Los Angeles Superior Court wrote in the ruling. “The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience.”
In this piece from Andy Smarick at FLYPAPER he shares 10 things to keep in mind as this case proceeds through the court system.
6. Like just about every groundbreaking decision, this one includes dramatic language to make its point (and likely help sustain the decision on appeal). “Evidence has been elicited in this trial of the specific effect of grossly ineffective teachers on students. The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience.”
This case will be important to follow as it will open the door for similar suits in other states. The provisions that were struck down by the court such as teacher tenure and last in first out (LIFO) are protections against what unions see as unfair personnel decisions made by building and district leaders and undoing them will not result in fixing the problems in schools.
“We believe the judge fell victim to the anti-union, anti-teacher rhetoric and one of American’s finest corporate law firms that set out to scapegoat teachers for the real problems that exist in public education,” said Joshua Pechthalt, the president of the California Federation of Teachers. “There are real problems in our schools, but this decision in no way helps us move the ball forward.”
Supporters of the lawsuit disagree and seem ready to help those in other states with a similar belief.
Observers on both sides expect the case to generate dozens more like it in cities and states around the country. David Welch, a Silicon Valley technology magnate who financed the organization that is largely responsible for bringing the Vergara case to court — Students Matter — has indicated that his group is open to funding other similar legal fights, particularly in states with powerful teachers’ unions where legislatures have defeated attempts to change teacher tenure laws.
The second event was an announcement by the Gates Foundation that they are recommending a two-year delay in linking Common Core test scores to teacher evaluation. I'm wondering how their change in policy that ed to our state's waiver loss aligns with this new belief and whether Secretary Duncan is open to being influenced. I'll share some thoughts in my next post.
Monday, June 9, 2014
|Caralena, Melanie, Sean, Jordan, Colin, Skylar|
Sunday, June 8, 2014
Others worry about the one-size-fits-all measure, when colleges have different missions. Moreover, certain criteria reveal more about the ideology of those rating the schools than the quality of the schools themselves. For example, those ranking a school based on its graduates' earnings value high salaries over professions such as teaching, social work, or other important, but not lucrative, jobs.
Williams College president Adam Falk decried the rating plan as "oversimplified to the point that it actually misleads."
Wendy Lecker, author of the post, believes enough is enough and challenges college presidents and all of us to fight back.
It is high time for university presidents, good government groups and others to join public school advocates in demanding that the democratic purpose of our public schools be restored, lest no one remain when the profit-seekers come for them.
The article makes me reflect on my beliefs. I don't believe that I am in complete agreement with Lecker, but with each new federal initiative or mandate I get closer, especially with comments like the one below.
“It’s like rating a blender. This is not so hard to get your mind around.”
This is what Jamienne Studley, a deputy under secretary at the Education Department, told a group of college presidents who were meeting to talk about President’s Obama’s plan to rate colleges with the apparent aim of driving out of business schools that don’t meet the administration’s definition of success.
Thursday, June 5, 2014
Over time, our focus has been on the giver of the feedback supporting them through training, role playing, and feedback. We now know that we need to spend as much time supporting the receiver to be receptive to the feedback even when it feels wrong and misguided. We know from experience how difficult it can be to receive feedback that makes us question our knowledge and skill so leverage in this process rests with supporting the receiver in maintaining a positive mental model through the process. As we shared in a draft to support their individual and team reflection:
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Also yesterday I read in a Valerie Strauss Answer Sheet post that Oklahoma Governor Fallin has this week to decide if she will support the bill recently passed by both legislative houses to repeal the Common Core. It will not be an easy decision as she is in a difficult situation.
Fallin is in a complicated position in regards to the Common Core. She is the chair of the National Governors Association, one of the organizations behind the development of the Core. Last December, amid growing concerns among conservatives that the Core constituted a federal takeover of local education, Fallin issued an executive ordersupporting the Common Core standards, which in Oklahoma were being called the Oklahoma State Standards, and saying that there would be no federal intrusion.
Though popular with legislators the decision is not one that others in the state view as a positive step including the teacher quoted in the article. As with us, it would be difficult to once again be forced to respond to yet another set of standards. I'll continue to follow this process as I am interested in seeing if moving away from the Common Core Standards will jeopardize Oklahoma's waiver.
We have a quality leadership team and I take pride in having had some small influence on their capacity to create, implement, and sustain the adaptive changes necessary to meet the accountability measures imposed by federal and state mandates. More importantly, they have the capacity to continue our "Future Ready" initiative to ensure that all Tahoma graduates are prepared for success in post high school learning and work. We are positioned for continuing success as Rob transitions seamlessly into the superintendency. I am excited with the combination of commitment to what we do well and adaptive thinking that he is bringing to the work and to following our progress over time.
It will be no surprise to those that know me that my last message was about leadership. It was about passion, beliefs, collaboration, collective capacity, transparency, humility, learning, and our purpose for being our YOUNG PEOPLE. I chose to use the quotes on the slide below to end my short presentation, just before I got emotional and embarrassed..
The day ended, however, on an upside as it was the annual Board meeting to honor retirees and those with 20, 25, 30, and 35 years in the district. Board President Mary Jane, made it easy for me by allowing me to sit while the kind words were said. It was fun to honor the other eighteen retirees and multiple Years of Service Award recipients.
Sunday, June 1, 2014
Last week Ken Riggs, high school music teacher, shared information with us on how well the high school choirs did this year with a focus on a recent Chamber Choir performance. Below, are his words and a link to the performance. I watched videos of four of their songs, well worth the time. Can't wait until the day our young people share their talent on a performance center stage at the new Tahoma High School.