Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Board of Ed: update on Holyoke

 backup is here
Chester "incredibly impressed at what Steve has done with this challenge, really gotten his arms around it"
within a couple of weeks, anticipate having finalized turnaround plan
Sagan "hope you haven't turned over too many stones and found too many things under them"
Receiver: still a lot to learn and a lot to do
wanted to give you a sense of what that work looks like
a number of community conversations, but also learned that that didn't always work
went into neighborhoods with family neighborhoods
staff meetings in 11 schools
in most cases, over 50% of staff attended
had "speed dating community 1 on 1"
"a whirlwind but I got all kinds of information from all kinds of folks"
reviewed an immense amount of documents: all kinds of indicators
every leadership member in central office and all 11 principals (10 of 11 returned)
"long history...people proud of teams, festivals, parades"
early literacy, early childhood expansion
"a lot of good work that has been done over the past few years"
"academic performance has been concerning"
struggle relative to like communities: not just testing data, but discipline data and pregnancy data, etc
mistrust from parents: many attended and didn't have a good experience
"will do everything they can to stay out of our schools because of their experience"
"and those stories need to be listened to"
if you look at district spending, lots of central office, lot of staff not directly working with children
Talked a lot about pathways at the high schools for students
"just having two high schools for students should not limit pathways for students"
"right now we're pretty boxed in: have a traditional track...and a vocational track...not working" for all students
social emotional needs: working with community partners, support for students
Springfield's done some important work around this, Boston has as well
"to truly be a wrap around experience in our schools"
Time: day for work with kids (not just academic) and staff working together
"see receivership as a dynamic opportunity"
"got to be more nimble and flexible"
"empowered, autonomous schools"
central office needs to shift: "in service of schools"
have focused too much on inputs and not enough on outcomes
"receivership is not about eliminating programs of excellence"
"want schools to be schools of choice"
want us to be innovative
people want to "work in an innovative, progressive school system"
reporting out to the community: quarterly, at least
meeting on high school redesign: multiple pathways for students
have posted a position for student and family engagement: "we're going to go outside of the schools"
people coming to us "is not gonna happen" unless we're engaging with students
"a lot of what we do still isn't translating into Spanish"
"we're not texting"
focusing on staff and school climate
push for raised expectations: have been surprised by how low the expectations are for kids
"if I'm bored within five minutes, I can only imagine how our students feel."
"hate to use the word rigor but" work on intellectual demand on students
each school (not principal) pick one idea that they rally around
thanks School Committee "good allies" once a month meetings plus once a month ward meetings with SC ward members

Willyard: Dean Tech: plans?
called every ninth grader this summer to see where they really wanted to go this summer: some switched when asked directly (rather than directed by an adult)
real appetite for vo-tech
enrollment and partnerships have dropped: working with business community
"not going to be adjusted overnight"
"talking to students is incredibly valuable"

McKenna: aware that breakfast in the classroom is to happen?
EOS coming to meet with principals later this week

Moriarity: believe community is on a path that is much more cohesive than it was

Chester heard from people who opposed receivership but were very complimentary to receiver's leadership
Sagan: "your job is to work yourself out of a job"

No comments: