Dallas ISD Administration: Caught with Their Pants Down

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policyTuesday was the start of exam week in DISD high schools, and administration is furiously trying to figure out just exactly what that means. Apparently someone forgot to address the policy changes needed to accommodate STARR/EOC and ACP high school students in determining both their semester and their final course grades.

If the district followed the Local policy, developed in February of 2012, we would be using EOCs and ACPs as 15% of the final course grade, except that the TEA has deferred implementation of the requirement that EOC tests count toward final grades. Even if we did, nowhere in policy does it say how semester grades in EOC courses are computed. If we follow non EOC course guidelines, the EOC would count twice in the final grade, once as a final exam grade and again as 15% of the second semester grade. Did they really plan to count EOCs twice?

Local Policy keeps referring to the Superintendent developed Regulation Policy, as if that is going to explain this train wreck. Well, hold your breath; Regulation Policy on Grading was last modified in January of 2011, a year before Local Policy was changed to accommodate state law.

Apparently Policy isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on and administration finally figured that out. Last week, on Wednesday, high school test administrators were told the new rules. For all classes without ACP’s, the final exam grade will not be derived from an actual final exam but will be an average of the 3 six weeks grades for the second semester. Final exams which had been developed by teachers, printed, and studied for, are now to be counted as the sixth six week test, and “will only be used if [it] positively impact[s] the student’s overall average for the last six weeks,” according to the power point presentation.

As teacher Diane Birdwell pointed out in a speech to trustees at the May 23 Board Meeting, changing the rules at this late date is not only disrespectful to teachers, but deceitful to students and parents. Are teachers supposed to tell students that, as Ms. Birdwell points out, “they aren’t REALLY final exams?” Oh, and if you don’t do well it won’t count? If a student was hoping that a major end of the year effort on their final would bring up their average, well, too bad, that’s not possible. In fact, if a student had a lackluster six weeks grade earlier in the semester, that poor grade will haunt the poor kid twice, once when averaged in as a semester grade, and again when averaged into the final exam grade.

This administration is spending so much time and effort making sure that the required number of spot observations are done, that thumbs are up and crayons are collected, that the really important stuff, like how students are graded, is an afterthought. Parents and students should be furious. Call your trustee. Ask them to explain the policy that led to this mess.

Don’t bother asking DISD administration. They are still looking.

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Posted in Administrative Policies, Giving Grades, Teachers Rule
126 comments
Undertheradar
Undertheradar

Anyone remember "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes"?

Anonymous
Anonymous

My seventh grader noticed this on the ACP blueprint for Science 7:  

3. Earth and space. The student knows that natural events and human activity can impact Earth systems. The student is expected to predict and describe how different types of catastrophic events impact ecosystems such as floods, hurricanes, or tomatoes.

 

Woodrow Alum
Woodrow Alum

New, young, white teachers are being paraded around Woodrow.  The ink isn't even dry on the teachers who were nonrenewed.

Graduation was a joke.  Check it out on youtube.  The student speeches were an attempt at humor and slam.  Trustee Mike Morath showed his lack of maturity and blew a chance to impart some wisdom.  After he started a good speech, he asked the students if they really wanted to hear his speech?  Raise your hand if you do.  Few raised their hands so he said, God bless Woodrow, turned around and sat down.  Richardson's speech was very elementary and he still had trouble reading it.  No Spanish interpretation of anything.  The band and choir played and sang the Battle Hymn of the Republic for the student's entrance. It is said to be a tradition but is it appropriate.  UGH!

msdallasteacher
msdallasteacher

DISD is in for a horrible shock come mid-July when the true teacher vacancy numbers come out. My school is in an Imagine 2020 feeder pattern. I have no intention to return in the fall, but I'm waiting to reject my contract on the off chance my spouse looses his job or something horrible happens. Otherwise, even if I don't find a job in a different district, I'd rather leave teaching than return to DISD in the fall and make $5 an hour for the last hour of every day. Between that and the Orwellian Core Belief chanting, I feel my intelligence has been sufficiently insulted. Oh, and for the last few years, on top of everything else, I've had the joy of my computer shutting down every 15 minutes, usually while I'm projecting to the class. The tech people said the only solution was a new computer. Ironically I found a solution (a quick harmless download called "caffeine") just last Friday. Good bye DISD! Sorry kids, I'll miss you! The seven years I've been at my school is the longest I've worked anywhere.

S54 Time
S54 Time

I noticed just now that the vacancy numbers are way lower than what was posted last week.  Could they really have hired so many people from the Sat job fair and got them ready to work?  I also saw that some of these positions listed are "district wide."  All sounds a bit fishy, but that's the DISD way.

Exceeds and Proud
Exceeds and Proud

As of now, Sunday night, no-one can explain to me the purpose of having 2-5 grades take ACPs. They don't count toward their grades, they don't get any feedback, this test serves no purpose except to make school even more dismal.

Persona non grata
Persona non grata

RE: FMM's South Dallas Strategy

Team approach. Planning team. Regular conversations with people. Encourage debate. Support and foster creativity.

BWAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

"Ten Attributes of an Effective Strategy Development Process - Insight Plus

TEN ATTRIBUTES OF AN EFFECTIVE STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT PROCESS

Crafting strategy is not an easy task. The process must be carefully thought out and constantly monitored. A TEAM APPROACH [emphasis mine] works best.

1. Provide a structured framework. Use a strategy development framework that is logical and breaks what is essentially a complex task into manageable components.

2. Build a strong planning team. Any planning team should include a cross-section of stakeholders – people with balanced views, creative minds and questioning attitudes. The best planning team comprises roughly seven or eight people. This number provides sufficient diversity of opinion and is a containable number for meetings.

3. Consult widely. The art of strategy development is primarily the art of conversation. Focus groups and surveys work well but regular conversations with people about the future direction of the school provide the richest data.

4. Build an effective team process. Employ approaches to planning that draw on the capabilities of each individual and combine the collective intelligence of the group. Diversity is helpful. Encourage debate. Value people who challenge the ‘status quo’.

5. Look for strongly developed strategic skills. Ensure an understanding among team members of the core elements of strategy. Ensure the focus is on strategic thinking not just strategic planning. Encourage the ability to see beyond ‘what is’ to ‘what could be’; to see beyond today to envision tomorrow. The ability to interpret data and recognise the implications of that data for the school is a key element in the team’s capabilities.

6. Build a comprehensive database. Provide the planning group with valid raw material to underpin and reinforce all strategic debates. Do not supply so much data that the group suffers from ‘analysis paralysis’, but enough to be able to examine issues from all perspectives.

7. Support and foster creativity. Allow people to draw on ‘gut feel’ and intuition when necessary. The capacity to combine seemingly unrelated ideas in order to create new initiatives is the key to creative solutions.

8. Be diligent with time frames. Time frames set aside for strategic planning processes can blow out. Momentum can soon be lost and enthusiasm diminished. Work to a project schedule that is reviewed regularly. Ideally, a planning process should take around three to four months.

9. Ensure that planning workshops are productive. Too many planning workshops are ‘talk fests’. Remind people in every workshop that they are there to make decisions, develop actions or agree on ‘open items’ that will need further exploration after the workshop. There can be no other outcomes.

10. Put sufficient organisational support behind the planning effort. The commitment of top management, along with the resources to undertake the tasks as cost-effectively and efficiently as possible, is vital. Financial and moral support for the process of planning is mandatory."

http://www.insightplus.com.au/blog/1-blog/51-ten-attributes-of-an-effective-strategy-development-process-

retiredteacher
retiredteacher

What do you folks make of the entire section in today's DMN devoted to the South/West Dallas initiative and Mike Miles?

Persona non grata
Persona non grata

The entire Blue Ribbon faculty (save one) and principal from Bonham went to the new Callejo Elementary. Anyone have insights on their STAAR results this year?

Quo Qu ohhh
Quo Qu ohhh

Reports from the DISD job fair this morning state that there were many out-of-town applicants, which seems notable, since the event is By Invitation Only. These were not DISD Alt Cert people, though there were apparently plenty of those too, many just having been accepted to the program.

One wonders if this recruitment rationale is similar to moving a trial out of town, to avoid biased jurors from an area in which a crime and subsequent media coverage took place!

There are X amount of teachers having been terminated for all manner of reasons, many not even connected with MRS DOLLO and spot evals, yet they bring in people from out of town. It seems like another kick in the face for teachers who were unfortunate enough to have been working here during the descent of Miles. The BOT and local business "leaders" remain silent, allowing lambs to be led to the slaughter as long as their larger agenda is met. 

Exceeds and Proud
Exceeds and Proud

Nicky Niewinski was brought to Dallas by her patron, FMM. She is young (a la Sprague) and has drank the...Kool-aid...offered by FMM. She has harassed many good teachers during the past school year and acted as de facto principal at one elementary. She ripped out the plants, the animals, and all evidence of childhood learning in favor of creating a sterile "professional" learning environment. Really? For 4-11 year olds? Gone are cooperative learning groups, small groups, and individualized learning. Whole groups, LOs/DOLs, and MRSs were the only "evidence" of a productive teacher.

Miles says he is all about transparency, but let's hear and see some transparency in his relationships with these cute young things he likes to surround himself with. Why was the previous principal placed on leave? Why does the new principal only have four years experience? Why is it that he has to bring this "talent" with him? What "talents" do they have? Why can't the teachers see what these "fellows" write about them in their evaluations?

My understanding is that Niewinski would parade these fellows in and out of the classrooms all day. They would pick up a student's journal and pepper them with questions without so much as a "Hello, my name is .... Let me buy you dinner" This is still the South, and we like a little politeness before you ...reach into our souls and rip it out.

I fear for the future of our children under FMM and his little Crony Club. I don't know where they are dragging up the latest crop of substitutes, but the latest are piteous.

please be clear
please be clear

To Juliette Low -

I am confused by your post.  Go to the TEA website and click on CERTIFICATE LOOKUP.  Type in Floyd Mike Miles and you will see that his certification is active effective May 10.  It expires in 2018. 

commentomater
commentomater

@Anonymous ha, we could use some tomatoes! Handy for throwing at administrators!

S54 Time
S54 Time

@Woodrow Alum I was also in attendance, my daughter graduated in the top 10.  I was stunned by Morath's immature stunt with his "speech", truly a joke.  I did enjoy the speech by the class val, but was unimpressed the most by Morath!!  Honestly, I left feeling the graduation went alright, but as usual, the parents and families present are the most lacking in class, maturity and manners. 

I had never attended a DISD graduation and in hindsight, would have liked being informed about the crazy parking and lack of organization before the ceremony at Loos.  Waiting outside with another HS that just let out was insane.

So glad my child is done, one to go at TAG.

txteach
txteach

@msdallasteacher "off chance my spouse 'loses' his job"

S54 Time
S54 Time

@msdallasteacher I feel exactly the same way...........

Persona non grata
Persona non grata

"DISD is in for a horrible shock come mid-July when the true teacher vacancy numbers come out."

If, by "DISD", you mean the FMM Gestapo team, I fear you are mistaken. The vacancy rate is right in line with der fuhrer's stated goals on arriving here. If you mean the general population of Dallas, you may be right.

Imagine all the rubes from outside our district whose only knowledge of DISD is the oh-so-inviting, enthusiastic, sweetness-and-light, it's-a-great-day-in-DISD website! Who wouldn't want to sign on with such a "professional" district? No, they'll find teachers who will later appreciate a real life Venus fly trap.

Quo Qu ohhh
Quo Qu ohhh

@msdallasteacher I'm sure you will be missed. Thank you for posting what so many of us have been thinking - "Orwellian Core Belief Chanting" (LOL!) and having had our intelligence sufficiently insulted... all while having tech (and other) support that is sometimes less than zero.

Nelie Shison Wormsey
Nelie Shison Wormsey

@Exceeds and Proud  Not so much for the students, but to measure the teachers.  I hear that CEIs will be figured from ACP scores...especially for teachers who teach non-STAAR core subjects like social studies and science (except for 5th).

Persona non grata
Persona non grata

I have absolutely no trust in FMM.

I have absolutely no respect for FMM.

When his jaw moves and he makes sounds, I assume the spin machine is in full gear to cover a hidden agenda.

Next question!

commentor
commentor

@retiredteacherI read through Miles' commentary, looking for exactly what he plans to do. Lots of concepts but few particulars. Vocational academies and tutors for middle school were the only concrete plans. He wants the kids to come to school fed, but doesn't elaborate on how that will happen. The DMN editiorial on the other hand, wants the north dallas big bucks philanthropists to step up, presumably to write checks for breakfast at mcdonalds and tickets to the Perot Museum. The only words which made sense were" The effort has to be collaborative. Residents should never feel that something is being imposed on them. They must be inspired to get involved, own the process and become the engineers. Otherwise, it won’t be sustainable." I will add that handouts never empower. The area in question will never become the vibrant safe community that sends kids to school fed and rested unless the push comes from the parents themselves.

Exceeds and Proud
Exceeds and Proud

Okay, so many teachers were non-renewed because their positions were considered to be "excess." Did they get an invitation to the Ball?

dallasparent
dallasparent

@Exceeds and Proud I heard this name some months ago via the parent-teacher connection.  From what I was told she uprooted plants, an aquarium and a long time portrait at an elementary school.  I could go on, but it is hear say.  What's next, ripping out community school gardens?  So much science in this along with community and parent participation.  I thought we wanted to involve parents and the community. 

Shaking my head!

Book Fairy
Book Fairy

@please be clear I saw that. I looked last week and it wasn't posted yet. 


Hugo Cavez
Hugo Cavez

Do not blain that one on any LEP's!

Juliette Low
Juliette Low

@please be clear My post was actually from the DMN's education blog. My questions are these:

Is FMM currently enrolled in online courses at Lamar?

If so, to what end?

What Lamar courses did FMM complete to afford him the eligibility to sit for the state sup certification exam?

Were any of those courses online, and if so, were any of the assignments completed on dates and at times that FMM was actively attending DISD meetings, trainings, office hours, or other contractual events?

How is that for clarity? Need a few more?

Exceeds and Proud
Exceeds and Proud

Wow, what a perfect exemplar of how DISD got into this mess, it's not just about voter apathy, it's an indictment of how he feels he can get away with anything. I thought you were a douche before, thanks for removing all doubt, Mike Morath.

commentor
commentor

@disrespectful @Woodrow Alum He was going somewhere with the demonstration of voter apathy, except for his snide remark about the lady not paying attention, then revealed his true self by leading those kids into showing exactly what he  thinks they are, apathetic losers like their non voting parents. He is correct in that you get what you accept.

disgruntled
disgruntled

@stop the insanity   I agree, and imo, all of the data/observations that are being gathered (don't forget the HR database) are just a means for providing cause for termination at a moment's notice.  When you want to terminate someone for cause, the most important thing you need is documentation.  

Before I taught, I was in management.  The three keys to terminating an employee with cause?  Document, document, document.

Disrupted DISD
Disrupted DISD

@commentor @retiredteacher 

I absolutely agree that for any process to succeed, in Dallas or otherwise, it must be collaborative and have community buy-in.  I have yet to see Mike Miles do anything to advance that.  He has Open Mike sessions and meetings with business people, not to get their input, but to tell them the way it will be.

Supposedly, DISD has a process outlined to be followed in selecting a new principal for the school which involves the community, the parents, and the SBDM. They are supposed to come up with a "Principal Profile" which details the characteristics which they deem important for the new principal to have.  They then have liaisons from each group who take part in the interviews with the principal candidates and have an active role in choosing who will be offered the position. 

I wonder how many schools were able to go through this process in choosing their new principal.  The news reports refer to "fellows being placed," which makes me think that the process was not followed, or perhaps in only a perfunctory manner.  I know that TAG and Booker T. went through the whole process and had their liaisons taking part in the principal interviews.  Did this occur at Marsh, at Lincoln, at Madison, at Bryan Adams, or at any of the other schools, before placement of their principals? 

There have been plenty of opportunities for Mr. Miles to truly involve the community in important decisions which will affect their children.  Has he chosen to do so?

VillageIdiot
VillageIdiot

Feeding plan is to force feed them in the classrooms

Exceeds and Proud
Exceeds and Proud

I had it first hand, the portrait was of George Washington. She also had benches donated by the PTA removed from the auditorium. Her rationale? Students need a professional learning environment because our intent is to get students career and college ready. I guess she has never graced the hallowed halls of the Ivies.

please be clear
please be clear

No, I really don't care.  He's certified now.  It bugged me that he wasn't.  Now he is.  I'm over it. A lot of people in the district are certified, and who knows how they got their certifications.  I only know how I got mine.  Maybe Miles is like an AC.  An AC superintendent.  Like an AC teacher.  I suppose we could speculate all sorts of stuff about his certification, but what would that accomplish?  I'm not trying to start an argument, and there's no need for you to answer me back this time.  I understand what your other post was about.  Thanks so much for clarifying.  I've got yardwork to do now.

To poster Hugo Cavez:  Is Cavez a misspelling of Chavez?  Or is Cavez the intended spelling?  If you mean Chavez, well, Cavez sort of falls flat.  Sayin'. 

Quo Qu ohhh
Quo Qu ohhh

@CMF Umm (cough, laugh...) there is NO WAY they filled that many positions at the job fair. There were, from what I understand, some running counts on white boards, and they did not reflect hirings on that scale. Additionally, some schools sent Assistant Principals or others who did not have hiring power. Finally, anyone chosen by a school receives a "recommendation for hire" which has to go through HR. It would have been physically impossible for HR to have processed that many people in that amount of time.

I have seen paperwork handed out at that fair - there is a checklist for hiring, including everything someone from out of the district or even out of state would need to get into the system. Again, there is no possible way that HR could process all of that from Saturday night to Monday morning! it would take longer than that even if the hires had all been made from the 300 or 400 "excesses" walking around in their red wristbands.

SadieSmith
SadieSmith

@ bilingual teacher I know it was a typo, but "ASS Principals" is funny : - )

 bilingual teacher
bilingual teacher

At our school one teacher, one parent and one community member went to central offices to interview candidates and they only have one. This one is now our principal for the next school year. I wonder where were all those fellows and 800+ people that Miles refer applied to work here ass Principals.

Quo Qu ohhh
Quo Qu ohhh

@Exceeds and Proud Why yes, Exceeds, they were! 

At check-in, a member of Central Staff with an iPad even assisted in their application.

Do you mean to tell me that candidates who were not amongst the Non-Renewed did not have to sport accessories from the Hester Prynne Collection?

Quo Qu ohhh
Quo Qu ohhh

@Exceeds and Proud Professional environment? What profession, biohazard specialist for the CDC? Sounds more like she's preparing kids for prison or psychiatric inpatient experiences.

Quo Qu ohhh
Quo Qu ohhh

@please be clear Thank you! Your comment made me laugh out loud. In fact, I am still laughing as I type this.

(1) DISD Fall 2013 Climate Survey (223 page, 4.5 Mb PDF)

(2) Public Education Grant (PEG) List of 57 Failing DISD Schools

(3) View school master schedules. Fall 2013. Sort by teacher, class, grade, etc.

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Foundation for Empowerment (FCE) released 3 papers:

1. Disruptive Change: Mike Miles and the Crisis In Dallas ISD, which has been prepared with consultation by education academics, extensive research, review of data and education literature, and meetings and interviews with people of Dallas holding varying and sometimes conflicting points of view;

2. Digging Into Data and Evidence: Mike Miles, Dallas ISD, and Trickle-Down Education Report, by Dr. Julian Vasquez Helig, Lindsay Redd, M.A. and Dr. Ruth Vail; and

3. The Challenge of Disruptive Leadership in Dallas ISD, by Decoteau J. Irby, Ph.D. and Matthew Birkhold, M.A.

"You will see from these papers that, after much research and discussion, we believe the current Superintendent lacks the pedagogical, leadership and integrity qualities necessary to lead Dallas ISD and recommend the Board terminate his contract."

Citizens wanting to speak at regular board meetings and briefings must sign up by calling Board Services at (972) 925-3720 no later than 5 p.m. on the day before the meeting.

Contact the Superintendent and Trustees:
3700 Ross Avenue, Box 1
Dallas, TX 75204

Superintendent Mike Miles
milesfm@dallasisd.org

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District 5
Term Expires 2016
lblackburn@dallasisd.org
(972) 925-3718
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District 8
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District 7
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District 4
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