Dayton Public Schools takeover by the State can’t happen soon enough

Steve Jobs was purported to say “A” people hire “A” people. “B” people hire “C” people.

Dayton Public Schools is an example of what happens when “F” people hire.

Seriously. It doesn’t get any stupider than this:

Dayton Public Schools hopes a two-year, $537,000 advertising campaign will boost the district’s enrollment and attendance numbers, Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli said Tuesday.

Lolli told school board members the campaign by the Ohlmann Group will include everything from billboards and RTA bus ads to radio spots and direct mail. The budget plan estimates $250,000 in spending this school year and $287,000 next year.

“We want the word to get out to everyone that Dayton Public Schools are changing for the better, and we want them to understand the changes that are happening,” Lolli said. “Our parents need to have their students in school every day. Students need to know that school matters, and we want everyone to be there.”

The hundreds of proposed radio ads, totaling $107,000 are the largest expense in the $250,000 campaign for this school year, with billboards ($32,000) and direct mail ($27,000) next highest.

Source: Dayton schools plan $500K ad blitz on attendance, enrollment

You don’t buy a media plan, before you have the campaign. And, what do people in Centerville, Piqua, Kettering, etc. care about DPS? Why would you spend money on radio? Oh, that’s because Ohlmann loves to spend money on media. And, I’m sure ads in the Dayton Daily news are well read by parents of DPS kids too- or is paying off Cox Ohio to leave them alone the idea.

And, btw- the amount of money for the actual execution of this brilliant campaign- a measly $5K. What a deal.

Dr. Lolli knows nothing about advertising- or what she’s buying and this board is too stupid to know any better.

Because, well, “F” people hire “F” people.

And speaking of “F”- Lolli keeps saying “we’re only an “F” district on paper.” Uh, you have a PhD and you don’t understand a scoring rubric?

And why are you an “F” district?

How about the fact that your IEP system is down, you’re pointing fingers- and kids aren’t getting services. That’s a violation of Federal and State laws.

For those of you who don’t know what IEP is- it’s an Individualized Education Program, a written document that’s developed for each public school child who is eligible for special education. The IEP is created through a team effort and reviewed at least once a year. It’s also what gets the district a ton of extra money. There is this thing called accountability in Federal money- and right now, Dr. Lolli and this board are one step outside of a prison cell if they don’t get their system back online. DPS has at least a third of it’s kids on IEPs.

Now- some other things you don’t do unless you’re a flaming flying idiot. Remove staff from one of your top performing and most sought-after schools, and cause the principal to lose it. No, you can’t take kids on IEPs who are operating at functional levels of a 3 year old- and put them in third grade without disrupting EVERYTHING.

Or, walking into another school, and removing two teachers from the building, but fail to notify them in writing, as required by the contract, of what they did wrong. This causes lawsuits. It also kills morale. Of course, when one of them tried to make an EEOC complaint the day before getting hauled out of class, it starts looking worse. Especially when she was told there was no one to take her grievance. Remember what sank Rhonda Corr? It was Dr. Winston’s EEOC complaint, which started an investigation.

The Dayton Education Association President, David Romick, has decided he now works for Dr. Lolli, and not the union. He’s refused to push to get these teachers back in the classroom, or for clarification on why they were removed in the first place. Word is, Romick is looking to get a cushy $100K plus job in HQ working with the enemy.

Tuesday is the last duty day for Board attorney, Jyllian Bradshaw, even though they can’t have possibly fully evaluated their RFP for legal services. But, don’t worry, they are giving their law cleark a .49 cent an hour raise to manage things- like the ridiculous amounts of money they are wasting with Subashi and Wildermuth to lose the suit I filed against them for violations of the Open Meetings Act.

But, the prize of the “F” district – is having the board president send an email to the staff who came to the Sep 18 board meeting to discuss the screwed up state of the English as a Second Language program since Dr. Lolli put her nose into it. BTW- that was the very last meeting I will attend, until the State takes this mess over, or these idiots out in handcuffs. I’ll be there for that.

Let’s be clear- the teachers don’t work for the board. They work for the superintendent. If Bill Harris has a problem- the correct chain of command is through her. But, he’s an idiot.

On Tue, Oct 9, 2018 at 9:26 AM William Harris <[email protected]> wrote:

To Teresa Troyer and The Members of the ELS Team:

Yesterday, I received an email from the ELS team. After reading the email, I was shocked and appalled at the same time. First, It appears that this team has disregard for the structure and rank of employees at DPS. While, the team may have some questions about information, it is highly inappropriate to attack Ms. Mack, who serves as your Supervisor concerning a presentation made at the Board meeting on September 18. If you have concerns and or questions, you should ask her for a meeting to clarify matters. While many of you have worked in this department for some time, that does not give you the right to usurp the authority of Ms. Mack or Superintendent Lolli. You are well aware that the District is addressing the concerns of students and parents in your department. There are some challenges that exist and Dr. Lolli and Ms. Mack are addressing these issues. Obviously for some of you, solutions are too slow. However, it is inappropriate as well as unprofessional to leap over rank to address this Board, when the chain of command is in place. I would suggest that you decide to be a part of the solution and not add to the problem.
Also, I believe that is is also appalling to continue to come to board meetings to address the board regarding your department. For teachers too address the board is unprofessional and sends the wrong signal to the community. The ELS Team Members are a vital part of the overall DPS team, you are supposed to be a “cheerleader for the District.
Your work is valued and we would hope that you would join us in making DPS rise, not fall.
You have my permission to forward this email to the ELS Team.
Best Wishes,
Dr. Harris
Next thing- Sheila Taylor weighs in, also not her job:
From: SHEILA TAYLOR <[email protected]>
Date: Tue, Oct 9, 2018 at 10:35 AM
Subject: Re: Response to the ELS Team Members
To: William Harris <[email protected]>
Cc: Carolyn Mack <[email protected]>, Elizabeth Lolli <[email protected]>, JOCELYN RHYNARD <[email protected]>, JOHN MCMANUS <[email protected]>, Karen Wick <[email protected]>, Mohamed AlHamdani <[email protected]>, ROBERT WALKER <[email protected]>, TERESA TROYER <[email protected]>
As a Board Member I am available to hear any questions or concerns pertaining to DPS.  President Harris is not speaking for me.  Board Member,  Sheila Taylor  623-7466
Yeah, that’s right Sheila, Harris isn’t speaking for you- because, legally, he has no voice, unless 3 of the others agree with him, and have voted on it in an open meeting. If Harris is having illegal secret meetings with three other board members, we’ve got yet another OMA violation.
And then, more BS.
On Fri, Oct 12, 2018 at 7:13 AM Teresa Troyer <[email protected]> wrote:

Please see from Ms. Taylor and Mr. Harris below.

Ms. Rhynard responded just to me, not to all, that she appreciates the work we do for the community.  Ms. Wick-Gagnet responded to me and forwarded the letter to Ms. Mack/ Dr. Lolli saying that she is confident in the team to address our concerns.
I thought you should all be able to see the responses.
Thanks,

Uh, Ms. Rhynard isn’t allowed to speak to you either. She should be talking to her direct employee- Dr. Lolli, no one else. Same goes for Ms. Wick-Gagnet.

This is why this board needs intervention now by the state. Not, next September when the next “F” comes out on the report card.

The mysteries of school board meeting mojo

After I swore off attending Dayton Public School board meetings, I went to both the Wright State Board of Trustees committee day meetings, and to the Trotwood Madison Board of Ed retreat. The more I know about these political bodies, the more I scratch my head.

Apparently, my legal video recording of the WSU board of trustees has them scheming new ways to put me in my place. I got a call from WSU PR manager Seth Baugess on Tuesday to let me know about new language that would appear in releases announcing board meetings. They will now have specified spaces for cameras. They will not provide a feed to their microphones, because they are afraid of loose talk on an open mic, and that they acknowledge my right to be there and video, however, they’d like prior warning of me being there (which they can’t require).

UPDATE

2 Oct 2018: “All members of the public are welcome and encouraged to attend public meetings of the Wright State University Board of Trustees.

In an effort to maintain unobstructed ingress and egress for meeting participants and guests, prevent disruptions to meetings or barriers to public views, and preserve the ability of university personnel to staff the meetings, Wright State reserves the right to designate workspaces for members of the media and their equipment as well as seating areas for other guests.

Guests who intend to record public meetings of the Wright State University Board of Trustees are advised to check with public relations contacts or their designees on site to locate designated workspaces.

It’s fascinating, because the Aug 18, 2018 video of a 3 hour WSU board retreat, which is unlisted, already has over 475 views. I’ve only shared the link with one WSU faculty person.

When I asked Baugess why they didn’t record and post all the meetings, he said because they didn’t want to. They do one meeting a year- the budget meeting and that’s it. Hint, you might have more support via transparency.

If there is one good thing that came out of my video recording of DPS, they expanded their broadcasts to include their “review sessions” which previously weren’t recorded. Not that anything important is achieved at these meetings, that would actually require board members who had a clue.

Which brings me to the 4 hour and 38 minute meeting of the Trotwood board last Thursday night. Yes, over four and a half hours.  What I found fascinating about this meeting is that the Superintendent wasn’t there, nor were any of his staff in his place. It was the board and the treasurer. I have NEVER seen DPS leave the superintendent seat open. When I asked, the board president said he didn’t have to be there, “this is our meeting.”

Which leads me to what exactly are the job divisions between a Superintendent, the educational professional who is highly paid and qualified to run a school district, and an elected board of lay persons who serve as the superintendents board of directors. From the OSBA:

Board members make decisions on a wide range of issues, such as hiring and evaluating a superintendent and treasurer; setting district policy; planning student services; goal-setting and long-range planning; adopting curriculum; establishing budgets; engaging parents; being good fiscal stewards; acting in the best interest of the school district and within the scope of their legal authority; and creating community relations programs. A board member should be a skilled decision-maker; however, decisions are only made by the board as a whole at a public meeting.

Another important part of the board’s work is its public relations role. School board members help build public support and understanding of public education, and lead the public in demanding quality education. The school board serves as a link between schools and the public.

What a school board member doesn’t do
The role and function of board members often are misinterpreted by the public, and in some cases, by board members themselves. The board is a policymaking body and members are the chief advisers to the superintendent on community attitudes. Board members do not manage the day-to-day operations of a school district; they see to it that the system is managed well by professionals.

Board members are not education professionals. They do not evaluate staff, other than the superintendent and treasurer, nor do they become involved in employment interviews, other than those of the superintendent, business manager and treasurer. Board members may be consulted during the hiring process for other positions, such as assistant superintendent.

Source: Understanding Your School Board | Ohio School Boards Association

The first hour of the Trotwood meeting was a presentation by the treasurer. And while I understand that this information doens’t require the superintendent, I would think that it is relevant to his job performance. At one point, the game changing discussion of Open Enrollment comes up. He wasn’t there to discuss the implications- although I can tell you that for DPS sports- you’d see a giant sucking sound as our star athletes enroll in Trotwood in record numbers after the coaching debacles under the current administration. Stated capacity right now is 300, but, I could see enough students wanting to leave DPS after next years report cards show Trotwood with marked improvement and DPS with State Takeover. Enough that Trotwood could actually expand it’s district and take over parts of Dayton- like Thurgood Marshall, WOW, Meadowdale/Valerie and grow.

The next part of the meeting was the main reason I was there. My firm, The Next Wave, was one of 8 bidders who had submitted RFP responses to TMS- and were invited to present. The agenda had each firm presenting for 15 minutes. I was to be last. The only other agency principal that was there at the start of the meeting was Theresa Steele of the Hathaway Group. She stayed up until just before my presentation before leaving. B-63 also stayed for a few other presentations, all the rest came and went.

The agenda: btw I added links to all the firms sites:

BOARD RETREAT
Trotwood-Madison Board of Education Offices 3594 North Snyder Road Trotwood, Ohio 45426 4:00 p.m.
1. OPENING
A. Call to Order and Pledge of Allegiance
B. Roll Call – Board of Education Members
C. Adopt the Agenda
2. TREASURER’S UPDATE
A. Treasurer Update – J. Allen
3. PRESENTATION – MARKETING
A. C-3 Group
B. B63 Line/AFA Associates
C. Catapult Creative
D. The Marketing Formula
E. Wilderness Agency
F. The Hathaway Group
G. Approach Marketing
H. The Next Wave
4. DISCUSSION ITEMS
A. Consent Agenda
B. Executive Session Options
C. October Retreat Information
5. ADJOURNMENT
A. Adjourn

This is where things get odd. The board was somehow directly involved in a contracting process, without any of the staff that would actually work with the agency. If they are just reviewing what the recommendations of staff were, to grant approval, where they already knew the rankings of an evaluation team, this makes sense. However, the questions didn’t seem connected to a rubric to me. If the board is weighing in on preferences, you have to look at two parts of the OSBA instructions:

They do not evaluate staff, other than the superintendent and treasurer, nor do they become involved in employment interviews, other than those of the superintendent, business manager and treasurer.

But on the other hand:

Another important part of the board’s work is its public relations role. School board members help build public support and understanding of public education, and lead the public in demanding quality education. The school board serves as a link between schools and the public.

And this is where I really wonder about this whole system of electing people to manage professional organizations. I’m used to presenting to firms with marketing professionals with deep understanding of what an ad agency does, who know why and how they plan on working with us. That is not the case here.

The people who we would be working with weren’t even in the room. Hadn’t met with us. And, forwarded all 8 proposals to them for consideration. This is HIGHLY irregular. Usually, after the proposals, only a few are selected for interview. And, this is the clincher, I’ve never, EVER, had the opportunity to watch my competition present- or film. Typically, these presentations are considered “proprietary” information and strategy, and are managed in executive session, or via a sub-committee. It was enlightening to me. I’ll withhold commentary, but, as someone who has judged for the American Advertising Federation National Student Advertising Competition, I can say that most of the pitches weren’t even remotely structured like pitches.

And what was shocking to me, was that only B-63 and Hathaway stayed to watch any others. Of course, when I made the video public yesterday, there were exactly 8 views by today- which means my 7 competitors and one of my subscribers… (total assumption).

Yet, the need for marketing and PR pros is insanely obvious if you watch the remainder of the meeting after my presentation. The free form discussion wandered in some very dangerous areas. While discussing a failed effort to get staff to answer a professionally run independent survey they revealed that only 38 of 440 employees had responded, and then discussed the culture of fear that might be preventing completion. That kind of public sharing isn’t ideal. Neither is the admission by one board member that there used to be a “Hit List” of teachers to be gotten rid of. This opens all kinds of legal liability for the district.

Other discussion of how a consent agenda works, showed a lack of competence by staff or the board, at being properly briefed about it. DPS just moved to consent agendas recently, and while they still allow for a removal of any item, it’s basically a way to avoid so many role call votes for various items. You can read more here: OSBA on Parliamentary Procedure and Voting Makes a Difference.

I applaud Board President Denise Moore for championing that the board need to work on continuous education and improvement. However, as she is a 12 year board member one has to wonder what she was doing for the 11 years before she figured this out, and hired Tyrone Olverson to straighten out a district that had made its way to the basement.

The district didn’t say when they’d notify the agencies of a decision.

A few of the agencies had made an effort to attend a board meeting or retreat before. For at least three of them, their big “reveal” at the end of the pitch was that they had a red “608 to Great” rubber wrist band on.

Yet, my firm, had the forethought to buy the URLS www.thetrotwoodturnaround.com and www.608togreat.com and point them to a holding page that some staff person liked so much that they used it for the background screen for the whole district convocation at the beginning of the school year.

If you watch my presentation, actions speak louder than words. Best of luck to Trotwood in picking a partner. If you want to watch the sample video I included in my presentation directly, it’s here:

And of course, no other ad agency has a platform to reach the community the way Esrati.com does, for better or worse. Over a thousand unique readers a day can’t be totally wrong.

 

 

 

Fire Dr. Lolli yesterday

Dayton Public Schools were 607 when Dr. Elizabeth Lolli was handed the reins by a school board that had just fired their last trainwreck (Rhonda Corr). She looked like the best one available to them. Hint, you were 607 because the people you had in charge were all trainwrecks. Lolli was hired by the one you fired- Hello?

When you are 607, the first thing you think you’d do is immediately lay out a plan for change. Need to see how it’s done? Look at the posts on this blog about the new Trotwood superintendent, Tyrone Olverson. He had applied to be DPS superintendent when they hired Corr, but didn’t even get an interview. When Corr was fired, no consideration was given to bringing David Lawrence in for an interview- even though he was still on the payroll and was passed over for Corr.

Of the three finalists in the Corr pick, Roberson has left the district to be replaced by a white woman who sent out requests to all principals to fill out a blank spreadsheet on all their students on IEP. In Dayton, that’s well over 25%- and, a database already exists. Currently, the district doesn’t even have software to manage IEPs nor do they have a solution in place. Nobody seems to be in charge of IT since they RIF’d their last IT director back in November 2017 when the district lied and said they were broke.

Dan Schroer, went on to be the new Superintendent in Springboro. A district that had been in turmoil thanks to a dysfunctional board. Less than 2 years later, the district passes a levy on its first try (a first) and they get an A from the state. One of only 28 districts to do it.

Back to no plan Lolli. Since she’s been in charge, she’s spent money like a house on fire, giving teachers retroactive raises, hiring high-priced administrators, and spending money on consultants without explaining the value proposition. The board, sits there mute. No demands for projections on how this will payback- or bring students back. Just like Wright State, Dayton Public Schools is suffering enrollment declines the likes of which we’ve never seen. To further screw with things, Lolli runs an illegal school closing task force which only decides to close 1 building (Valerie) and move HQ across the street (waiting to hand the old HQ over to Sinclair for some sweetheart deal that’s been not-so-secretly pre-arranged).

Lolli has never completed a single contract as a Superintendent in her life. This has meant, she never had to renew a contract, or face public scrutiny. She won’t complete this 3 year sweetheart deal either- since she’s capable of retiring at any time, and incapable of passing a levy (which this district will need in 1 year or 2 thanks to her wild spending).

When the District got the F on September 13th, her immediate response was to blame a software company, which she plans on suing, even though it won’t change the score. She has proclaimed in public:

“The first thing that I will assure you here, as a City of Learners in Dayton, Ohio, is that Dayton Public Schools is only an F on paper,” she said. “We are not an F school district.”

Source: DPS seeking plan to avoid state takeover – Dayton Daily News

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, swims like a duck- it’s a duck. You don’t need a PhD to tell that Dayton Public School is an F district, it’s in black and white. Read the scores. You fail.

Dayton Public Schools State Report Card 2018Denial is not a turnaround strategy. Maybe, Lolli needs to stop thinking she’s another Republican who found themselves in a position of power accidentally, her Republican hero- Donald Trump. He’d call this “fake news” and get away with it. Lolli isn’t Trump- even though she behaves like him, without the help of Twitter.

Having a plan is something the board should have been working on since day 1. You were 607, you were facing “State Takeover” or on the cusp for the last 5 years, this is no surprise, yet:

School board members have long talked about a need for an updated, official plan laying out a direction for the district.

“Our hope is that we have a strategic plan that is measurable, that is attainable for the district focusing on what is most important – and that is academic achievement, graduation and preparing our kids for life after Dayton Public Schools,” said Board President William Harris…

In an interview, Lolli laid out specific areas that will likely be discussed: academics and instruction, finance, culture, safety and security, and technology.

“We will set some short-term and long-term ideas out there,” she said.

Source: DPS seeking plan to avoid state takeover – Dayton Daily News

Lolli has been superintendent for 9 months- and is just now putting out “some short term and long-term ideas out there”- excuse me, what have you been doing since you were put in charge?

Dr. Harris, Div., not PhD, or Ed, Or Md. Let's use truth in advertising.

Dr. Harris, Div., not PhD, or Ed, Or Md. Let’s use truth in advertising.

Harris is total fail. He still likes to call himself “Dr.” in a professional setting, even though he’s a Reverend, not a PhD or MD. And of course, he was put in charge by this board because he’s black. A move made by a dumb racist on the school board, Sheila Taylor, and followed by the rest of the idiots- including Mohamed Al-Hamdani, Jocelyn Rhynard, Karen Wick-Gagnet and Rev Walker. McManus, who should have been president, always being one to be a peacemaker went along with it hoping to bring some semblance of leadership from the VP chair. He’s failed.

Since Lolli has taken over, she’s had no problems spending money on consultants, including $1800 to local PR Firm Fahlgren Mortine. One has to wonder why, since the district already has a three year million dollar plus purchase order sitting open with The Ohlmann Group. Never mind that the board has publicly lambasted Ohlmann and wondered what they bought.

I brought the Ohlmann group contract up in my last speech to the DPS board on Tuesday.

Reportedly, Harris asked if it was really true I’d not be back, gleefully. You’re on your own dude. Enjoy the highway to hell.

Because, here is a perfect Libbie Lolli move, the reason she was hated in every other district where she served, after getting an hour-long dissertation on the why the district is now worst in the state, 608, her response, as if this was all new to her, was to announce that she was going to cut an instructional day for every DPS student and hold inservice training for staff. Because, well, you know, they don’t know what they are doing:

Each Dayton Public School will close for one previously unannounced day in October or November for mandatory staff training, as the district attempts to improve the quality of teaching in its schools.

A message Friday morning from Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli to school staff mentioned the threat of state takeover next fall if the district’s report card doesn’t improve.

“Great teaching, every day, is the only way we will be able to change the results. It is within our power and control to do that!” Lolli wrote. “Beginning in October, schools will be closed for one day in groups of 2 or 3, to focus on teaching strategies and expectations for DPS classrooms.”….

Lolli said she was not surprised by the state’s critical evaluation of DPS teaching. She said the district has been working to improve “instructional design,” but it’s not a simple or quick process, saying DPS is in the second year of a three-year rollout.

“We didn’t have an instructional framework when I arrived,” said Lolli, who is starting her third year in DPS. “We’re trying to get caught up. We don’t want to have our staff lack the quality instructional practices they need and want. They don’t want to be behind their peers in other schools. But you have to have high-quality professional development and time to implement it if you’re really going to make a difference.”…

Her letter to teachers called them “the hope of the district and the students,” calling for everyone to pull together and change DPS’ report card grade from an “F” to a “C.”

“I think we can make some impact with this,” Lolli said later Friday. “Will it solve the problems tomorrow? No. But we’re on our way.”

Source: Teachers face mandatory training – Dayton Daily News

Insulting your employees, with the support of the School Board is not a good way to go from F to C.

Any school board with an IQ of over 10, would ask where has a day of training ever lifted performance? And, if this was the case, why didn’t your training before school even start cover this material? You already knew the preliminary district data was going to bring bad news.

When I got to the point in my speech where I said I just couldn’t bring myself to go to the board review session because I couldn’t take being around idiots- there is a very faint noise from the audience on the video. It was board member Karen Wick-Gagnet’s husband exclaiming “What the fuck” as he sat behind a group of DPS ESL teachers who were there trying to get guidance for doing their jobs.

Yes, what the fuck.

Taking kids out of school so you can school your staff, because you have no plan, after three years on the job. It’s time Libbie Lolli be shown the door, along with the entire top level staff. Clean house. Oh, wait! That’s what the State takeover will do in exactly 1 year.

The question is, why do Dayton School Students have to suffer this clown show another day?

If you need to see what a school board that actually cares about student achievement looks like, watch one of my videos from Trotwood. As different as night and day.

and for comparison:

 

 

 

Why DPS will fail and Trotwood did not

The first and only call I ever got from the principal at Horace Mann was to request me to come to the school over an urgent matter concerning an 11 year old. She wouldn’t tell me what the problem was over the phone. I dropped everything, as did the 11 year olds mother and we arrived at the school within 20 minutes. Apparently, our daughter had done the unmentionable- brought “Dick Tarts” to school.

What’s a “Dick Tart” you ask? It’s like a cross between a “Tic Tac” and a “Sweet Tart”- shaped like a males anatomy. It was fished out of the trash by a kid who thought they were funny- my girlfriend had gotten them as a gag at one of those “passion parties” where women invite their friends over to drink wine and maybe buy some fun clothes and toys for the bed room.

I sit in amazement as I’m read chapter and verse out of the DPS handbook, that my kid is going to be suspended for 10 days for bringing sexually oriented material to school. And, risk expulsion. There was no negotiating, no discussion, no teachable moment or intelligent thought about the insanity of this remedy for a harmless piece of candy.

That was the only call we got from the principal.

Fast forward to yesterday morning. I run up with my camera to Trotwood Madison High School to hear their new superintendent talk about what escaping state takeover means and whats next. There was no patting ourselves on the back, there was no blaming software for our troubles, not a single mention of poverty holding our students back. Just a man with a plan.

Starting with remarkable ideas like parent engagement specialists making at least 10 calls a day to parents- not to tell them what their kid did wrong, but what their kid did right. There was the move away from Principal as disciplinarian- to principal as a lead educator focused on student achievement, spending time in the classrooms. They had a dean of students to deal with discipline.

And, after the first two weeks of school and working out the kinks, attendance is up. Way up. Because, when you care about kids actually being in school- they actually show up. Someone actually gets the idea that if a kid isn’t at school, they can’t learn. Rocket surgery thinking here folks. But, wait there’s more!

We know some kids aren’t in school because they have to work in order to eat. No worries, not only will we transport our kids home after school if needed, but, if they stay for after school activities or tutoring, they’ll get a ride home too- and dinner if they want it. Trotwood won’t allow poverty to be an excuse to miss school, or sports, or chess club. They’re all in.

And while they only moved up from 608, worst in the state to 603- the goal is to see how good they can be, how high can they go. Every single person working in the district has their sights set on student achievement. The superintendent, Tyrone Olverson is buying a house in Trotwood. He’s all in too. But what you have to admire most is he shares the spotlight, he walks his people up and lets them tell the world that they’ve bought in too. That they know what the challenges are. And the crazy thing is- he’s doing it with a lot of people who used to work in Dayton, people like Lisa Minor, who was part of the reason Dayton got an A in Annual Yearly Progress a few years ago and couldn’t repeat during the turmoil years of Corr/Lolli.

Back to DPS. Superintendent Lolli, is blaming software for their sorry ass performance and threatening to sue the vendor- even though the scores wouldn’t change enough to get them back to 607 from their now bottom of the heap 608. There was no talk of 608 to Great- like the kids are now chanting in Trotwood, there was no plan for transporting high school students, or making sure they are fed, or of calling homes with good news. No plan. Just more drivel about aligning curriculum with tests and structuring her forces. You’ve got a used up wet noodle from Middletown leaning on her friends and family to remake June Cleavers vision of DPS. There has never been an inspiring speech from Libby Lolli because there is nothing inspiring about her. One look at her track record of “leading school districts” shows a woman who has never completed a contract term in her life. She’s spending money with consultants and hiring high priced administrators at a rate like Donald Trump tells lies, and not having to worry how to pay for it in 2 years because that’s when she’ll bow out and retire. She won’t ever have a student high-five her, or a teacher hug her. Who wants to hug the ice queen?

My prediction is that Trotwood is going to leverage its state champion sports teams, it’s new-found swagger and structured approaches to education and start to grow. In fact, I see the day in the not too distant future when Thurgood Marshall High School, Meadowdale High School and the new Valerie at Meadowdale, are all acquired/absorbed by Trotwood as DPS shrinks below 10K students as DPS is taken over by the State, and parents get sick of the “plan du jour” of DPS, the ridiculous 2.5% Dayton income tax and the lousy service.

Compare Trotwood Mayor Mary McDonald who is all smiles and positivity to Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley who flat out tells the entire nation (Frontline hit piece of September 11, 2018) that Dayton kids will never make as much money or have the kind of life she had thanks to her fathers union job. With Mayors like that, who needs to stay in Dayton?

While DPS says we can’t do pre-school 5 days a week, Trotwood says we can do pre-school and child care for you from 8-6 including 3 square meals a day. While Dayton is busy feeding the school-to-prison pipeline and switching winning coaches at Dunbar for losers, Trotwood is reveling in a new found confidence and feeding minds, bodies and souls.

Expectancy theory is a bona fide  management practice. You get the results you expect. Dayton still hasn’t a clue on how to transform itself, and I have a confession to make, last Tuesday, I stopped caring.

Not about the kids, who I wish and hope will manage to take advantage of the amazing teachers who put their heart and soul into trying to make a difference in the mad house. I care about them. I stopped caring about the “leadership” of DPS. I couldn’t find it in me to go to another board “review session” and spend time with stupid people. I’d had enough.

Over the last two years and a half years I went from having dreams of DPS turning around under the obvious choice for Superintendent, the home grown talent David Lawrence, to watching them pass him over for the train wreck of Rhonda Corr.

I did make a few friends out of that process. Dan Schroer a runner up, has become one of my favorite people to talk to over lunch. He’s now running the formerly raucous Springboro district like a Swiss watch, where he passed a levy on the first try- a first for Springboro. His district now has an A for a district grade, 1 of 28 in the state. When I called him to congratulate him, he spoke of how his staff is already planning visits to all the other 27 districts that got an A- to compare notes and learn how to improve. He didn’t take a bit of credit for the score himself, it was all about his team and their can-do attitude. And believe it or not, I made a friend in Rhonda Corr. Yes, even though I’ve called her some incredibly bad things on this site, I still like her as a person, and believe she was probably a great principal. She, as very few people could ever be, was just not built to take on working in a district that’s so dysfunctional. That eats its own, people like Darren Powell, Peggy Burks, David Lawrence, Pete Pullen, real people, who bled DPS right up till they had their throats slit by the very district that they loved.

With that being said, DPS has a retreat today. They should video it, but won’t. I won’t. I’m done. This coming Tuesday will be the last time I go to a meeting and record it. The last time I’ll speak. They’re on their own. Because, after 2.5 years of trying to lead a horse to water, I’ve realized they won’t drink anything but their own kool aide, and it’s the Reverend Jim Jones special blend.

My mind was made up before I went to video Olverson on Friday. But, what sealed the deal was Mrs Howard. Every time I’ve stepped foot in a Trotwood school public meeting she was there, sort of like our Mario Gallin. She made an effort to come over and thank me for what I do. She said it was important work, speaking truth to power. She bleeds Trotwood- but understands Dayton has to succeed if Trotwood is to survive. But, she wasn’t the only one. The president of the school board, the superintendent, at least half of his staff, all pretty much said the same thing as they made their way to me. The only people making their way toward me at DPS meeting is the security staff, John McManus, Jim Fowler and his team from Kiser, or Dr. Hill. The rest fear me, and the truth.

One last fact- Tyrone Olverson applied to DPS when they were looking to replace Lori Ward. They didn’t even give him an interview. Boy did we miss out.

 

Mohamed Al-Hamdani; the prince of pious

Before this school board was elected, I warned the citizens of Dayton that William Harris was a mistake:

Harris has said “I won’t be anyone’s puppet” as part of the slate- yet, that’s comically what he is. I don’t think he brings any of the critical thinking skills we need to this board, nor do I think he has the intellectual horsepower to move the district forward at a critical time. He’s Ron Lee 2. Pass, please.

Source: Evaluation and endorsements of the Dayton School Board candidates – Esrati

I also said it was time for Joe Lacey to go. Luckily, the voters agreed, and Joe wasn’t re-elected. Unbelievably, Harris makes me forlorn for Lacey.

On my non-recommended list, was the political climber Mohamed Al-Hamdani:

This guy has political aspiration signs coming out of every side of him- in neon, with strobe lights. This board run is his first step to his long future political career. And, he’s arrogant, by the truckload. Early on, I asked a question about the hiring of Burges and Burges and how much it cost- and why they didn’t buy local talent- and he tried to sidestep it and said they hadn’t paid them a dime. I don’t need to be lied to ever, and especially before you have been elected.

Mohamed thinks he knows it all. He has a smugness that rubs people the wrong way. He thinks he has all the answers. He probably reminds people of me in some ways- but, with the establishment nod. His campaign rhetoric has been full of bullshit about all the teachers that taught him- and his story of coming to America- all nice and fine, but missing any substance. He may indeed have all the answers, but, I’ve not heard them, and his testiness will bring back some of the rancor to the board that we can’t afford. He has a law degree- which would and might be handy, but, so does McManus- and it hasn’t kept us out of trouble. One of the biggest mistakes Americans make at the polls is thinking that being a lawyer makes you a good lawmaker- and that’s actually the opposite. Good lawmakers and only the best lawyers, understand that their profession is actually the art of compromise. Too many think it’s to win at all costs. Mohamed is a total wildcard. He may be smart, he may have a good story, he may even understand the issues, but I’d put Mario and Jocelyn ahead of him for my slate. He’s also been the one to say that if “The slate” is elected, they won’t disagree with each other as much in public- lending me to believe he’s planning on operating behind a curtain.

Source: Evaluation and endorsements of the Dayton School Board candidates – Esrati

So far, my predictions have been totally proven correct. Al-Hamdani, started with trying to have secret illegal meetings of the School Closing Task force before he was even sworn in- leading to my lawsuit against the district over the Open Meetings Act.

But, last month, when I decided to push my speech over the 3 minute limit- after Harris had let a whole bunch of people speak for well over 5 and as long as 10 minutes in the June Meeting- I mentioned that maybe, Harris practiced discrimination- since he doesn’t interrupt African American speakers- and referenced Sheila Taylor’s  nomination of him for board president as a rookie- because he was “African American.” You can watch my video: A racist on the Dayton Public Schools Board of Education 2017.

Al-Hamdani, Wick-Gagnet, Jocelyn Rhynard, John McManus, Robert Walker and William Harris were all sitting there- and didn’t say a thing then- but, when I bring it up, Al-Hamdani, the pious one, wants to make me out as a racist for reminding them how Harris got to the center seat.

“So I want to apologize to you on behalf of this community, to insinuate that your only qualification was your color, um was interesting to hear, um there’s people, as a community, we’re better than that sir, so I’m sorry that we had to hear that today, but that’s the world we live in today” ~ Mohamed Al-Hamdani

When I tried to go up with my camera to question Al-Hamdani after the meeting- the security forces played bouncer. You can watch the entire meeting here.

Word has gotten back to me, that someone is telling people that I said the “N” word. Nothing farther from the truth.
What you need to watch is how smug Al-Hamdani is as he plays this out. Note also- if you watch the DPS video feed of this meeting- you’ll never hear my outburst.
It’s sad that this is the best we can do for a school board. They all need to be removed. All of them, suffer from amnesia apparently, totally forgetting how they followed Sheila Taylor’s racist rationale for picking Harris as board president.

Nothing Trumps the Learning" sign at Belmont High School in Dayton Ohio, where a large proportion of the students are immigrants

Apparently, we’re now evoking the Trump brand at Belmont HS in Dayton.

And, while we’re at it. As part of his campaign trail story, Al-Hamdani liked to talk of his path to success as a poor immigrant child coming to America, not speaking English- and how he owes all his success to his DPS teachers and their acceptance of him.

A source has sent me a photo of new signs in Belmont High School “Nothing trumps the learning”- the DPS school where most of the immigrants are, a sign that has many of the international parents terrified. This is, after all, the country where children are now separated from their parents in deportation camps, thanks to President Trump.

A final note: Al-Hamdani, right after getting elected to the school board, was handed a high-paying patronage job in the Montgomery County Clerk of Courts office by his Democratic Party buddy Russ Joseph, who was just appointed to be the clerk when Greg Brush left town.