Monday, September 20, 2010


On the last Regular Board Meeting:

All right, I know that I’ve been a bit slow with my meeting recaps…but comfort yourselves in the knowing that Spydra watches each meeting at least thrice; this is the real deal, y’all.

Brenda LaBrasse gave one of her looooooong presentations. Let me get the superfluous out of the way: Brenda is easily – easily -- the best dressed woman at District 11; girlfriend rocks it. But her droning verbatim delivery of the PowerPoint presentation her secretary put together for her is just like watching and listening to paint dry; positively somnambulistic.

And how many times are we all going to be subjected to the same sales pitch, anyway? First from Mike Poore, then from some yahoo subject-matter expert, then one more time from Brenda, and then the tag-team presentation, then the Q&A presentation…I mean WOW; we already bought it – enough! This presentation was 40 pages long…and went on for 90 minutes! ZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Fortunately, Sandra and Bob were alert and listening – actively – and both had their BS detector on vibrate mode, their spines stiffening ever so slightly whenever it went off. Sandra went first, and I gotta say: she asked the right questions…and though they were hard questions, she asked them with grace; with a bit less grace but bunches of punch, Bob’s questions followed.

? “RtI is state mandated – after six years, and all of the money we’ve poured into it, why has it yet to be fully implemented throughout the District?

? Why after six years are teachers still being trained on implementation?

? Why hasn’t Positive Behavior Support been fully implemented at Keller?

? Is RtI also supposed to address disciplinary programs?

? What types of climates are conducive to learning?

? Why is so much wondering going on as to what principals and teachers must do to utilize the data more effectively?

? Why the constant moves from EASe, Tynet, Zangle…?

? Why isn’t it flexible enough to filter out individual schools?

? “What does ‘highly unsatisfactory mean?’”

? “What good are all of these statistics if the numbers don’t tell you anything?”

? Why are there still challenges? Are they additional or ongoing challenges?

? If the RtI program is the right answer, is it being wrongly implemented?

Here’s my own question, for what its worth: doesn’t it seem like RtI would stand for Retool…or RTL, as in Ready to learn….rather than RTI (Response to Intervention)? Maybe it’s just me, but somebody should have smelled trouble based on that alone.

Here’s another: What is the Office of Discipline, and how does it differ from the Dean’s Office? Maybe I’m still in Bedrock, but when I was in school, it was either the Principal, the Vice Principal, or the Dean who doled out the discipline – there wasn’t a whole office devoted to it; if there’s a whole office, who’s the Director of the Office of Discipline?

Too bad answering the questions was so clumsy and painful; ask Brenda an unscripted question, and her expression turns to granite…and she turned to stone again and again. She got a little wobbly and kinda looked like she needed a drink, and in the end, could only manage the following utterance:

“We still have a lot of work.”

And Gledich…geez…him and his slogans: “The D11 Way”; “Focus, fidelity and follow-through”; “Our core business is educating students.” Very reminiscent of the Tami-Hasling-Chatty-Cathy phenomenon. Scripted, pre-programmed and rehearsed, it’s hard to discern much sincerity in his words as he speaks them. Indeed, the search string “focus AND fidelity AND ‘follow through’ AND ‘response to intervention’” had 101 returns — few of them from D11.

At one point, Gledich said something brilliant to this effect: “I need the Board to expect me to expect the schools to implement RtI with fidelity…to expect me to expect schools to do their jobs.”

“Fidelity” is on my own banned words list, solely because of the D11 way it’s used.

1. Faithfulness to obligations, duties, or observances.

2. Exact correspondence with fact or with a given quality, condition, or event; accuracy.

3. The degree to which an electronic system accurately reproduces the sound or image of its input signal.

Once again, renaming schools that were only recently closed or changed was the subject of discussion. I agree with Charlie – what’s the big hurry? How do we know that the changes made yesterday will be considered wise tomorrow? Many of the schools have their names permanently placed on the building…but the District will not allow these permanent name plates to be altered or removed in any way. Well, why? Why are the names of these schools up for change at all? In looking at the CDE website, Adams is still listed as a District 11 elementary school; before we start running about willy-nilly coming up with new names for these established buildings…let’s make sure the rest of the State is aware the school has been closed.

Maybe it would help to clear up confusion if we just started hyphenating the school names, like Dr. Demi-Smith or Linda Hunt-Stone: how about Adams-Star-Elementary-K-8-Charter, or Irving-Junior-High-Middle-School-Online-Vocational-Hodge-Podge?

Bob will update his disclosure form for conflict of interest related to his recertification as a substitute teacher; too bad Jan still refuses to do the same with her pizza contract; thanks for taking the high road, Bob.

Bob mentioned how the kids at one school all bragged that there’s no bullying there, and even shared their LEGOs; wow! Too bad the Board can’t model that anti-bullying concept for the rest of us. You know – don’t even teach my kids about bullying until you can better practice what you preach…because if Jan “The Man” Tanner isn’t actively bullying various members of the Board, I don’t know what it’s called. Maybe she’s just making friends.

And what about Jan's BUTTUGLY shark skin jacket?!?  In a word, EwwYuck!

In talking about Patriots Day, Jan looked so happy about Mann Middle School’s salute to the Star Spangled Banner, you’d almost think her middle name was Obama.

Jan wants to bring up the ballot initiatives ad infinitum et nauseum – and does. Tanner is obviously excited about the whole “Evil Trio” issue…pressing the board members to speak publicly against them, and plainly coaching board members on acceptable things to say at the end of meetings. Jan even flashed cards that “they” printed out for her in English and in Spanish; the Spanish ones were not ready, “they” are not printing them up but are allowing “them” to print it up. At the risk of sounding Ebonic, I’d like to know just who “they” and “them” is.

Because the Board took a formal stance on the matter, it appears that the end of each board meeting is going to end with a crappy advertisement against the ballot initiatives.

1 comment:

  1. RTI is what good teachers have been doing all along - even back in the 60s, probably before. Because some teachers don't care about student performance or grades like Johnny always gets in the 90s and now he's getting 80s, eh who cares? A good teacher will try to find out what's up with Johnny? Did he miss class that day, was he too tired to pay attention etc. Then, good teacher tries to rememdy the situation. Why has RTI not been fully implemented? Because the majority of those teachers in that school are not good teachers.