Dayton Pubic Schools and other tails of illiteracy

No, that headline isn’t a typo, and I know the difference between tails of a dog and tales of woe, which is what the story of the Dayton PUBLIC (not pubic) Schools continues to be.

It was bad enough last July, when an overpaid administrator, Ms. Lynsa Davie, stands in front of the school board and her deck had placeholder text– and no one bothered to stop her. That was to get approval on a half-million dollar consulting contract.

Since I’ve given up on going to DPS board meetings because there is no doubt in my mind that the district is guaranteed to be eligible for State takeover for next year- and that there will no longer be an elected school board, I have to rely on my friend, former School board member Mario for updates. This one was too embarrassing not to share:

The last meeting saw a presentation by the Director of Outreach and Student Activities Ida Nalls – Family and Student Engagement. She starts out by saying “I wasn’t quite sure what you wanted so I created a smorgasbord…” and hands out file folders to the board.

All right, let me get this out of the way…

Those who know me know I’m a stickler for form. I can spot an extra line space at 50 yards (not really), but I do use that ¶ button to show spacing. I used to get twitchy when the kids would bring home notices from school that had been photocopied at an angle. Just the other day, someone handed me a multipage document with a binder clip, which I unfastened so I could straighten the papers out. I’m a pain, I get it.

So I take a look at what I am given and just…well, once again DPS proves that professional presentation is not their strong suit. I’m remembering that god awful PowerPoint where the Ipsum language was not replaced with actual text.

I have made my share of spelling errors that went out and even one time misspelled my own name on my resume. (I found out 5 years later when one of the people who interviewed me pulled it out of his desk drawer to show me. Thank goodness I interviewed well.)

Headings in bold with the text that belongs to them on the next page. Some double spacing between paragraphs, other times not. Double spaces between words. Sometimes a double space after a period, sometimes not. Microsoft Word puts red squiggles or blue squiggles under errors like that for easy identification. I know the District has moved to Google everything and do not know what that program uses as a notifier.

A letter sent out to community partners, I’m guessing large and small – Hello Community Partners comma then the next line begins with no space between the heading and the next paragraph. Three spaces between that paragraph and the next, which is one sentence that almost goes the full width of the page, then the next sentence begins under it, then a space and a bullet point list of requirements to partner with DPS schools.

At the end, Sincerely, with the Director’s business card information, but no actual space for a signature.

It gets worse, but I don’t want to bore you. I leave you with this-

In the list of Approved Community Partners for Middle School we have the Dayton Metro Library bringing the Program/Service of…..Litearacy.

God help us.

Here’s the video of Ms. Nalls presentation- and, for the first four minutes, you won’t hear much, the audio levels are wrong.

I’m sorry that I don’t have the actual document to post. I’ll see if I can get a copy of it, but if you listen to the board members cooing over this presentation, it’s obvious that not only did they not get the materials in advance, they didn’t read them. That these are being distributed to “community partners” is scary.

In a well run organization, with competent PR people, anything being distributed to stakeholders gets checked over by multiple people for content, and for presentation. Not that DPS has had competent PR editors since the Grand Dame, Jill Moberley retired, followed by one failed hire after another. Dr. Venita Kelley is suing the district for wrongful termination and asking for $200K plus back pay and reinstatement. According to the Dayton Daily news, “In a March 12, 2018 performance evaluation, Lolli said Kelley had been ineffective in her strategic communication role” yet she had no say in hiring their ineffective ad agency, The Ohlmann Group.

If you need a reminder of how that mess came to be, there’s plenty of info on that sordid purchasing failure on this site.

A funny sidenote, while DPS used to have a page with the members of the Superintendent’s cabinet, now, all it has is the ice queen, Dr. Libby Lolli. She alone rules the district. The sites staff directory doesn’t have the new PR chief in it- but still has former employees like Chef Anthony Head listed. Good job PR department and two PR agencies, now they have also hired Fahlgren Mortine because, well, Ohlmann alone can’t save them.

When you are about to be taken over by the state, why worry about a balanced or sustainable budget?

Maybe it’s time to dismiss the newly hired $85K a year PR head, Tracy Hanlin, plus her 2 assistants, before she sues them too. She should still be in her probationary period. Because, if it’s your job to make the district look good, you shouldn’t be having the district being written up on


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