Full disclosure file: DPS hires The Next Wave

Some may think hell hath frozen over. Others may scream, rant and yell. But, to be fair- I’ve never been elected, I’m not a public figure, and believe it or not, my firm is damn good at what we do.

Dayton Public Schools- the Superintendent Lori Ward with the approval knowledge (update) of the School Board,  has hired The Next Wave (my small ad agency) on a one-shot P.O. to provide “Marketing and creative services to improve enrollment process for DPS including redesigning forms for digital completion, brochures, posters, direct mail as needed strategy and website”

The amount is $5,000 and the work is to be completed by June 30th.

I’ll post the PO if asked- it’s public record.

Will this bias my reporting of the Dayton Public Schools? Honestly- it’s difficult to do both, but since you don’t pay to read this- I don’t really care. My interests are in improving this city- and the city schools first and foremost. It’s why I’ve probably spent thousands of hours writing on this site- going to meetings, running for office, etc.

I’m not clearing this post with the superintendent or the school board. During the time that this is in effect- anything else I’ll write about DPS will be either commentary on published reports, or public information that I don’t feel is getting out about DPS. I will talk to the superintendent about the posts before they go up. I will also disclose my relationship with DPS in any post mentioning them.

And, again- remember, you read it here first. The DDN missed this.

Let the screaming begin- and bundle up (btw- it did get noticeably cooler this week- didn’t it….)

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! If you wish to support this blog, please head over and use our services at The Next Wave Printing for all your printing needs. We have 4 Color Business cards starting at just $13.50.

23 Responses

  1. truddick June 15, 2011 / 11:55 am
    Congrats from here too–tho’ I’ll note that DDN is not prone to publish reports on relatively minor contracts, so this doesn’t count as another of your many scoops.
  2. Gary June 15, 2011 / 2:32 pm
    Looking forward to reading your report and marketing strategy, congrats.
  3. Allison June 15, 2011 / 3:55 pm
    I don’t pay to read the DDN either (therefore missing out on their “most important stories”), but every time you write that you don’t care what your readers think because you write your blog for free is one of those “one step forward, two steps back” things.
  4. David Esrati June 15, 2011 / 5:35 pm

    @Allison- I do care what my readers think- about the articles I post- that’s why we have comments, and ratings. However, on this issue- I can’t stop making a living, to swear an oath of poverty- in order to keep hammering away at waste and potentates.

    Sorry it offended you.


  5. Civil Servants Are People, Too June 15, 2011 / 7:31 pm
    Congrats.   I sincerly hope it leads to more jobs for you. 

    Just wondering what you thought of DPS’s selection process.

    How did you get the deal?   Just curious.

  6. David Esrati June 15, 2011 / 9:48 pm

    @CSAPT I believe this selection process was we’ll give your firm one month to prove you are worth more than what we’ve been paying the other firms for years. While PON and Burgess & Burgess have had the account for years- without having to produce anything that really changed perception- this is an experiment and nothing more.

    I am not a believer in spec work for agency reviews- but, I’ve been so disgusted with what I’ve seen in the past- I did some example work that changed the idea of what an agency can do for a school system. I think they understand now.

    When we’re done- I’ll probably post a retrospective.

    Should there be an open competition? Probably. Would any firm in Dayton be able to do a better job for the money- unlikely.

    Am I a totally comfortable knowing how this project was awarded- no. Will we prove that our value is there- absolutely. If anyone wants to question- we can compare the output of Burgess for the last 2+ years to what we did in 30 days. End of story.

  7. Tiffany June 16, 2011 / 1:56 am
    You are faced with a near impossible task. I am not sure anyone you can help them with enrollment….. I think the only way to fix that is to improve the schools. :(
  8. Gary June 16, 2011 / 10:27 am
    You know, I am so tired of hearing–all my life really–that the DPS system is bad, and that private or catholic schools offer a better education!  It’s all relative to how the kids are raised at home, what they see thier folks doing, like smoking and drinking … How much the folks help them with their homework, etc.  The computer games …
    How good the teachers are … But all the public schools now are remodeled.  What more do the kids and the PTA want?
    Also, it depends on how much the kids and the teachers apply themselves; or if the kids have good genes, like Doogy Houser!
    Hopefully David will add some of my tidbits to his report.  Kids can be depressed, abused, those kinds of things.  Schools might need healthier foods and better janitors, computers, etc.  There is a lot that goes into getting a good education–then you won’t find work anyway!  Try to be positive … You can spend more money and send them to Immaculate and Carroll but it doesn’t help, those schools are too disciplined with nutty professors.
  9. David Esrati June 16, 2011 / 10:42 am

    @Tiffany- the thing is there are a lot of good things going on in the DPS system, yet you never hear about them. There are graduates going on to greatness- they’ve had 20 Gates scholars since the program started- that’s not by accident.

    The biggest problem is that they haven’t done a good job of communicating what they are doing right- and getting the customers to believe that they can provide a great educational experience. I aim to change perceptions- and often- perceptions become reality- if you believe in Expectancy theory (made famous by management guru Ken Blanchard).

    Give me some time- I’ll work the magic.

  10. Gary June 16, 2011 / 1:19 pm
    Too bad the slogan, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? is already taken–look how fast it caught on …
    One method comes to mind, that might be useful, David, is that when I used to watch kids and help them with thier homework, etc., at Lutheran Scools of Dayton (yes, i did have a job there for 10 months before it went under) one student asked me: Why should I have to study OH rivers, etc., I probably won’t ever use the knowledge anywhere?
    The only answer I could come up with is that I told her she might, just might need to know those history facts someday, you never know, to get a job somewhere … or whatever, or with whomever …
    So, there needs to be that mindset, or paradigm going on … I think … for DPS.  Empower the kids!  Improve!
  11. Silk Hat June 16, 2011 / 1:52 pm
    DPS is like all other school districts.  The quality of the school is determined by the quality of the students.  Dayton will always be horrible and unusable because, well, Dayton is home to the bottom of the barrel.  I agree DPS should highlight all positive “things” but right now even the below average black trash and black acting white trash is leaving the city to contaminate the suburbs (Kettering, Moraine, Huber are all declining as a result) what else needs be to be said?  Are the Gates scholars legit or did DPS work some Dayton PD style affirmative action stuff in there to get some minority flunkies scholarships?
  12. Joe Lacey June 16, 2011 / 2:37 pm
    Congratulations David.  The Board, however, has not and will not vote to approve your PO since it does not exceed $5,000.  This is the Superintendent’s decision.
  13. David Esrati June 16, 2011 / 3:09 pm

    @Joe Lacey- just heard from the Superintendent- and have changed the post from “approval” to “knowledge” of the school board.

    The superintendent, I’m sure, will inform you the board of what we’ve done- and be showing you the work.

    Thank you for your correction.

  14. Hall June 16, 2011 / 3:59 pm
    So, this was a no-bid job ?
  15. David Esrati June 16, 2011 / 4:21 pm

    @Hall- yep. Just like the one to Burgess & Burgess except I actually do work and deliver services.

  16. Donald Phillips June 17, 2011 / 1:58 pm
    The most expedicious way to deal with an ‘opposition figure’ is to pay him off. Five-thousand dollars is cheap, too. Tammany Hall called such patronage “chump change”.

    You’re oh-so a public figure Mr. Esrati.

  17. Alan Scott June 18, 2011 / 12:26 am
    Gary you have officially entered Clown-Town with your uninformed comments.
    You can spend more money and send them to Immaculate and Carroll but it doesn’t help, those schools are too disciplined with nutty professors.

    How many high schools in the area currently have graduates at Harvard, M.I.T. Northwestern and Vanderbilt? Carroll does. How many high schools in the area generated 14 million dollars in college scholarships this year alone? Carroll did. Carroll and C-J take kids from the same neighborhoods that DPS does and somehow, by actually raising expectations and demanding discipline, get results. All DPS does is make excuses for why they can’t compete with the parochial schools when DPS has twice the money to work with.   
    Your comments sound like sour grapes and a loose (at best) understanding of facts if you really think that ICS and Carroll are a waste of money and that DPS has just been the victim of negative perceptions.
    P.S. And give it a rest already with the Gates Scholarship, it only open to a percentage of the population and caters to urban students in distressed districts. Not exactly identifying the best high school students in America. Why do I never hear DPS boosters brag about the number of National Merit Scholars they produce annually?  

  18. David Lauri June 18, 2011 / 11:36 am
    Alan Scott says, “Carroll and C-J take kids from the same neighborhoods that DPS does and somehow, by actually raising expectations and demanding discipline, get results.”
    Hmm, Alan, could the success of Carroll and C-J have anything at all to do with the fact that these private schools are allowed to be selective about the students they admit?  From the admissions overview section of the C-J website:

    Admissions decisions are made using standardized test scores, writing samples, past academic performance and teacher recommendations.

    Carroll and C-J aren’t exactly on a level playing field with public schools who must take all children living in their districts.  Children who go to Carroll or C-J are guaranteed to have parents who were at least motivated enough to get their children into private schools.  Some DPS kids have parents who hardly care whether their children go to school, let alone whether they do their homework or read books, etc.

  19. truddick June 18, 2011 / 11:47 am
    Alan, to be altogether fair: if public schools could select which students to admit, they’d be able to choose the best and brightest like Carroll and CJ.  (full disclosure: we sent a kid to CJ; still not sure it was worth the money.)

    The reason you don’t hear about successes in DPS is, as David is pointing out, their public relations consultants haven’t been the sharpest mad men in the executive suite. 

    Gary, I get hit with the “why do I need to know this” question regularly.  The answer is that maybe you don’t need to know this precise bit of information–but you need to train your mind so that it’s strong and capable of learning everything you will need.  The brain–and we now know this from solid scientific research–is like a set of muscles; it develops through proper exercise, and you must exercise all parts and not just isolated ones.  No one would think it was a good physical workout if someone did only biceps curls; in the same way it’s a poor mental workout if you do nothing but training to use particular machines or do do particular practical tasks.

    Not that I have anything against training–that’s what nursing and other health care programs concentrate on doing, and it’s essential to have a trained labor force.  But there has to be a balance with general education so that the student is ready to be a life-long learner, capable of knowledge in a wide range of disciplines, ready to re-train efficiently if a career change is in the works, and ready to be a fulfilled and responsible person in all of the non-employment parts of life.

    Gosh, I’m sounding horribly utopian today.

  20. Gary June 18, 2011 / 12:33 pm
    But there has to be a balance with general education so that the student is ready to be a life-long learner, capable of knowledge in a wide range of disciplines, ready to re-train efficiently if a career change is in the works, and ready to be a fulfilled and responsible person in all of the non-employment parts of life.
    Really cool, truddick (has anyone every joked with you over you screename?), you sound like those early Presidents whom I love to read about, guys like Samual Adams, Jefferson and ol’ Hickory.
  21. Alan Scott June 18, 2011 / 1:22 pm
    Gary, I never learned about President Samual Adams but I attended one of ‘those schools’ with too much disipline and nutty professors. I hear he brews a great summer ale though.

    Professor Ruddick and Mr. Lauri, I actually buy your argument to a point. But none of the area parochial schools (except maybe MVS) are in a position to turn away large chucks of students becuase they might not be able to cut it academically. The parochial schools are far more likley to make that kid a better student then to lose the income. With vouchers becoming even more assessible now, its easier for parents to get into the parichioal system without a lot of skin in the game. So while the private schools can be selective, they can’t afford to only take the very best kids as most public school advocates think.

    What those schools do is promote an enviornment of achievment and create peer pressure to do better.

  22. Joe Lacey June 20, 2011 / 10:22 am
    Parochial schools are so “in a position to turn away large chucks of students” because they have limited capacity.  They can weed out all but the best and brightest.   And they can and do turn students away for more than academic reasons.  They can apply tighter discipline.

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