And one worthless meeting beget another

Dayton Board of Education held a 2 hour meeting last night and not a single child was served.

It was falsely billed as a “Strategic Planning Meeting” yet, there was no strategy, nor planning. However, there were bad sandwiches, fruit, cheese, crackers and punch, and a consultant who should refund her fees.

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Ambush handout passed out halfway through the meeting by Kathy Hollingsworth click to download PDF

The agenda wasn’t an agenda. And why we’re busy introducing the outgoing board members to members of the administration at all is a mystery. But, that’s what consultant Kathy Hollingsworth wasted our time with- then ambushed everyone with a document outlining what we should have been prepared to talk about- half way through:

1. When do we meet? For what purpose?
2. How is information disseminated? Officially? Informally?
3. How can I feel heard?
4. How can I request and receive information?
5. Who is my “go to” contact?
6. Is there a mentor I can meet with to learn and reflect?
7. How do Board Members interact with the Administration? With individual schools? Teachers?
8. Who speaks for the Board? To the press? Etc.?
9. How is feedback given & received?
10. What is the purpose and role of the President of the Board? Vice President?
11. What is the role of the Superintendent, Treasurer, other administrators with the Board?
12. What is the role of the Board as compared to the role of administration?
a. Example models: Sinclair Model, Mary Connors presentation, Center for Public Education Study 2011
13. How do you deal with being surprised when a parent, teacher or community leader says, “Did you know about X” and you’ve never heard about the incident?
a. Are there other scenarios that will make you feel uncomfortable?

Since it wasn’t on the agenda, it shouldn’t have even made it in the meeting.

And, frankly, this is the superintendents job, to define the vision and the operational modes of the board/superintendent/public.

This is why we pay the superintendent $200K a year and board members $5k a year.

Then there was a discussion about adding yet another meeting (on top of the two final meetings already set for the remainder of the year and Lacey/Rountree/Lee’s terms). This one to discuss who will be board president, vp and who gets assigned to various committees. Clue to superintendent who creates the agenda (for the board to review and act upon)- why weren’t these positions all listed on this agenda, with roles and responsibilities- and a briefing given? That’s how we do these things- not ambush new board members, ask them to meet AGAIN, before seated, to prepare for their terms?

It’s this kind of stupidity that gets us where we’ve been. It shows no signs of change, even though board member elect Karen Wick-Gagnet clearly stated that unless times are slotted on discussion, and items clearly identified on the agenda, she wasn’t going to have any part in it. Word to the staff- time to get your act together, or prepare to be embarrassed. Some people have real lives- and don’t want to be an actor in your three ring drama circus that’s been pretending to be a school board meeting.

After two hours of your favorite movie, book and Dr. Roberson and Rev. Harris finding out they share a birthday (Sept. 3, 1961) the board went into executive session with the board attorney Jyllian Bradshaw and hired gun Beverley Meyer to discuss a personnel matter (Rhonda Corr). They came out at 8:30 and adjourned. No new news.

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Board agenda- click to download PDF

The only thing Hollingsworth had on the agenda in advance were these two instructions:

Introduction to the iiChange Dialog Process

Rules of engagement for the evening

Who are we? What do we want?

  1. Tell us something about you, do you have family? What do you like to do for fun? What’s your favorite book or movie? Why? Use the question ball for additional questions.
  2. Why did you choose to be (become) a school board member? A member of the Administration?

Integrating the past and current with the future

  1. What is good that is happening in the District that we want to keep?
  2. How can we honor those who have gone before us and build on what exists?

All this could have been done in a survey- and presented in advance. As to “honor those who have gone before us”- For Dr. Adil Baguirov- time in prison. For the leaving board members- unpaid time in depositions to ascertain how Corr was hired, how she was given a contract raise and extension and how her evaluations were glowing, despite all the faults that were identified and used to put her on paid leave.

For the remaining three board members- resignations for failure to follow up on the Baguirov residency, and for the modifications of the draft Corr evaluation to their final glowing report.

Then we can get around to building a new dynamic of what and how a board and superintendent act and respond to the needs of the community. Less meeting, more action, less talk, more do, and a real plan with no more than three objectives. Go!

And, get your money back from the “consultant.” She failed.

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