Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Board of Ed: update on the Commissioner's search

Sagan: Wulfson "has not just kept the lights on, but has kept up Department moving forward"
"That cannot be said enough."
"have had an ongoing process that started late last summer"
"so many places kept bemoaning the rapid turnover in state schools' chief"
benefited from having someone in that position for as long as we did
"I hope for the long path" of the next Commissioner..."this is not a short term job"
applicants were allowed to do so anonymously
preliminary screening made up "to try to hear from the field"
"people came with very different viewpoints"
"certainly not going to talk about those that applied that we didn't bring forward"
group "brought forward three very strong candidates"
"I go into Friday with a very open mind"

Craven: others in room really added to the discussion

Sagan: schedule for Friday; 9-5
random order is Schwinn, Infante-Green, Riley (board is currently getting schedule)

may go two hours with each
lunch is a little late, so Board will have snacks at first break
Omni Parker House second floor
public meeting; stakeholders have been invited to provide questions
public invited to provide feedback in writing, 'though Sagan stresses they must be signed
Board currently has a draft of four pages of questions
Sagan notes that such a document is a public document as it has been distributed to the Board, but he is asking that it not be shared

Already asked:
Job now and mission statement
in the past had to change a course of action and what was result
divisive or tough issue
equity/diversity question
achievement gap
innovation strategies
deputy to complement strengths and weakness (to laughter, as people look at Jeff Wulfson)
external affairs: building strategic partnerships
competing needs: districts, charters, vo-techs
state and local accountability; have tried receivership model, empowerment zone, how to return to local
working on consensus around difficult issues
any questions they had

Doherty: questions about testing, stress on testing, how tests are used
Craven: oversight of fiscal matters, looking for specifics
McKenna: what's vision or philosophy of a state agency
Sagan: homework is "a year from now, tell us what happened and look forward"
McKenna: specifics on what could work or does work in closing the achievement gap; "we want real, 'give us the nitty-gritty here'"
Trimarchi from students: what has worked other places?
Student engagement: in decision making in education, on a local level and state level
Fernandez: personal values and their experience and how they will lead
Sagan: my experience is they're all very good at telling their story; if we don't get there, you should jump in
Morton: suggests eliminating sentence that suggests roles of charter schools
West: nothing on teacher evaluation; ask about that in the context of state role generally, possibly?
McKenna: dealing with teachers, teachers' association, teachers' unions
Trimarchi: professional development for teachers, and so forth
Morton: wants to be sure special ed is included "serving students with disabilities"
Doherty: "I think it's a bit of a reach to ask for a 'plan that will successfully end poverty'"

Board goes to get their sandwiches, Sagan reveals that he doesn't know what a 'Pilgrim' sandwich is

McKenna: if there's a situation out there around special education in their state, can we
Sagan: Schwinn, on our radar before, have had more time to look into it
Morris: "as it relates to the special education compliance issues go back to allegations from 2004-2014, prior to Schwinn being there, 'she has only been part of solutions not part of problems'"
compliance will move to Schwinn under plan
Sagan: also had conversations with Texas
recognition was an issue they needed to do data analysis to plan; believed they only had one vendor to do it
"all of the issues before were prior to her coming"
Morris: two issues: special education compliance issues as found by US DoE; other issue was the no-bid contract
"we have spoken with senior officials" about contracts "completely baseless and she has been completely exonerated"
Moriarty: laws very different
Morris: compliance of special education not under her oversight
McKenna: they went through a sole source contract process?
Morris: yes, and that was a separate office that did that
"we definitely feel very comfortable that there was no behavior that was out of line"
McKenna: is there a public statement on the role of Schwinn in the contract anywhere?
Morris: "That has been publicly stated in the press"

Monday will be 12:30 to 5

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