Niccolò Lolli at the helm

Machiavelli was ruthless.

Machiavellianism is “the employment of cunning and duplicity in statecraft or in general conduct”.

Dr. Lolli announced the latest seating chart on the DPS tilt-a-whirl and analysis by the team behind esrati.com says she gets an A- for strategically solving some district problems.

Some of the people are being set up to fail, by being given horrible assistants, or assignments that should be a hint to leave. Others are being used to help set the stage for the next round of school closings. As Dr. Lolli says- this isn’t a final line-up, because she needs to find some new bodies to fill in the gaps- and she expects some to resign after seeing their new placements.

Good morning,
We are continuing to build the administrative team.
These changes are now being announced. A few adjustments from the last announcement have been made as we continue to make sure we have the best teams in place.
Edison: Jessica Reese, Principal
Myra Baker, Asst. Principal
Kemp: Stacy Maney, Principal
Gary Armstrong, Assistant Principal
Valerie: Shawnkeida Whitlow, Principal
Deidre Kelley, Assistant Principal
Teacher Leaders: Morgynne Hicks, Kristal Etter
Edwin Joel Brown: Channey Goode, Principal
Assistant Principals: Dale Robinson, Tiffany Bozeman
Wogaman: Basharus Simmons, Principal
Assistant Principals: Stacey Williams, Timothy McKinney
Wright Brothers: Eric Krissek, Principal
Assistant Principal : George Hurbanek
Belmont HS: Dr. Donetrus Hill, Principal
Assistants: Alice Owen-Clough, Karen Chichetti, Gerry Griffith
Dunbar Early College HS: Dr. Sean Henry, Principal
Assistants: Chris Caldwell, Dr. Lynda Huggins
Meadowdale HS: Nelson Stone
Assistant: Melinda Clark
Ponitz Career Center: Raymond Caruthers, Principal
Asistants : Daniel Hinshaw, Lolita Stevens
Stivers School for the Arts: Rachel Murdock, Dean of Academics/ Erin Dooley Assistant Principal: Adrienne WileyILC: Tasha Millerton, Assistant Principal
Chief of Curriculum, Instruction and PD: Carolyn Mack
Chief of Secondary Schools: Erin Dooley
District Athletic Director: Shawna Welch
Director of Outreach and Student Activities: Ida Nalls
Director of Professional Development and Curriculum
Support: Ryan Tait
Associate Director of Truancy: Mark Baker
We still have a few vacancies to fill in a few of the buildings.
Congratulations to each of these administrators!!
Elizabeth J. Lolli, Ph.D.
Superintendent
Dayton Public Schools
115 S. Ludlow Street
Dayton, Ohio 45402
(937) 542-3530
(937) 542-3555 (Fax)

As long as she relies on Dr. Sheila Burton, Marsha Bonhart and doesn’t figure out a true head of operations, she’s doomed.

However, moving Erin Dooley to supervise all the high schools is long overdue. The only proven principal in the district, Dooley can serve as a mentor/troubleshooter/drill sergeant to the principals being thrown into the fires of what passes for High Schools in DPS.

At the upcoming review session, she’s also hiking staff and admin salaries, retroactively, – with the odd explanation: “To better align with increases received by members of our bargaining units, I recommend an increase of 3% to the salary scale for Administrators and District Support Staff, retroactive to July 1, 2017.”

For the bargaining units- you waited until the last minute to sign, throwing the district into chaos? There was no retroactive pay for the teachers. And, you and your former boss, Rhonda Corr had no problem throwing several hundred thousand at Huffmaster for the strike that never happened.

At some point, you are going to say you’re broke and come to the taxpayers with yet another F on your report card- and want more money.

Yet- there were no RFPs or RFQs for research. Just a line item “Contract between Hanover Research Council and DBOE for research services, research reports, survey design, administration and analysis, interviews, benchmarking metrics. Effective July 1, 2018. $42,000 annually”

I’m still waiting for the communications that were used between DPS and the Montgomery County ESC to hire Burges and Burges for their survey. It seems all of a sudden, we’re flush with money.

And the legal bills keep coming: “Increase $158,000 to provide legal services to the district for various legal matters on an as needed basis for the 2017-2018 school year. Not to exceed $323,000 Originally approved on June 2017 board agenda Board Agenda: May 15, 2018”
“Increase $65,000 to provide legal services to the district for various legal matters on an as needed basis for the 2017-2018 school year. Not to exceed $240,000 Originally approved on June 2017 board agenda Board Agenda: May 15, 2018”
That’s over half a million, and DPS has an internal legal staff as well.
There is also another large chunk of money going to the Montgomery County Educational Service Center- a slush fund operation, which operates with Dayton tax dollars- but Dayton residents can’t serve on its board: “Increase purchase order by $91,841.12 due to vendor increasing rates for one on one

assistants services during the 2017-2018 school year. Originally approved December 19, 2017
Board Agenda Not to Exceed $341,841.12 For May 15, 2018 Board Agenda”
On personnel issues, there are some non-renewals- including the Ruskin Principal, Jennifer Dearwester, and the assistant principal at Ponitz who was part of the failure to keep a riot from getting a teacher dragged down the hall- Debra Corbin is non-renewed and the other assistant, Julie Nighswander, resigned.
Dr. Bob Bucheim got demoted to “Associate Director, Secondary Social Studies” which should serve as a hint that he’s no longer useful to the district and that he should be job hunting elsewhere.
There will be some battles over the other non-renewals, but, this board will sit in a trance and let the Superintendent get involved in more lawsuits. I’m starting to wonder if the new board members weren’t sponsored by the local bar association.
The real question is what happens this fall, if the district doesn’t pull a rabbit out of the hat with improved annual yearly progress to stop the State from stepping in. The last team to get an A in AYP was headed by Lisa Minor and David Lawrence who have both left the district. And, while it’s early in the resignation season, many DEA members are saying they just can’t take another year of the tilt-a-whirl, and we’ll see how many abandon the good ship Lolli-pop.
Less victims for Dr. Niccolò Lolli.
Machiavelli, however, is applauding from his tomb.

The DPS agenda, or lack of one vs the real agenda

It’s Saturday. DPS offices are closed. Yet, the agenda for Tuesday’s board review session isn’t posted yet. That’s pretty much par for the course. Sunday at 5pm is their target, as if they are all working away on weekends, getting everything right.

The reality is, they just don’t want to share with the public. They don’t welcome scrutiny, or respect the public’s right to know.

Looking into my crystal ball, I predict they’ll be accepting the retirement of Peggy Burks, one of their most talented principals, who has been paid all year not to work. Yet another embarrassing reality for this administration.

They are hoping to ratify a contract with the bus drivers. Because, if they don’t, they’re screwed come Tuesday.

They’ll be voting on other stuff in a review session, that they shouldn’t be voting on- because they can’t get their business done on a schedule with a business session. You know the ones where citizens and other interested parties get to comment.

So we wait.

But, in the mean time, the students of Belmont aren’t waiting. After Dr. Lolli came to campus a week and a half ago, read the riot act as she removed a principal a month and a half before the end of the year, and implemented draconian punishments only for Belmont- and not the other schools, the students have said they’ve had enough.

Come Monday morning at 8:30 the Bison of Belmont will be protesting the new policy of Saturday detentions for being late 3 times, and parents hauled into court if the detention isn’t served. Lolli also banned cell phones and headphones- only at Belmont. So much for equal punishment for all students at all schools. Isn’t this what got the district into a lawsuit with the OHSAA over a basketball fight? Thurgood kids all sat their mandated 2 game suspension- Dunbar didn’t.

The ice queen superintendent, who hasn’t a clue over anything other than the Marzano method and curriculum alignment is about to get a swift kick in the keester by some high school kids who still believe life is fair and that capricious rules should be protested and contested.

In the meantime, Dayton Public Prep is still signing up students, staff and teachers for a full-frontal assault on education by route with their alternative plan for running the district as a charter, focused fully on year round schools and creative empowerment in the classroom.

Reminder: If the bus strike happens, DPS will get a chance to beat Trotwood to the bottom of the state district rankings in one easy step. And if Trotwood manages to avoid state takeover with gains in Annual Yearly Progress- it’s probably because of the many talented DPS staff that left the district when Lori Ward was show the door. The same team that got DPS their last AYP A- the one Rhonda Corr got as a gift from the very person she shafted, David Lawrence who was the chief architect of the turnaround.

Wait for the conclusion to that drama when test scores are released in August.

 

DPS: Special meetings are to avoid scrutiny

The announcement came on Thursday the 22nd- which is a day earlier than normal.

The Board wants to meet Thursday February 27, 2018 at 5pm to have an: “Executive Session to consider the employment, dismissal, discipline, or compensation of public employees and to investigate charges and complaints against a public employee.

The Board may choose to reconvene in public session for the purpose of conducting a public vote.”

That’s boilerplate text- and my guess is this will be where they make Dr. Elizabeth Lolli the Superintendent, with a multi-year contract, without public input, without asking the community how they feel about her, or where there is any opportunity for anyone else to apply.

And you know what? That’s just fine, because after I’m done with my lawsuit- and the judge finds that the Task Force met in violation of the Sunshine laws, Lolli, Burton, Abraha, Al-Hamdani, Walker and Harris, will all be unable to take action on closing any schools- because they discussed the issue in an illegal meeting.

If you need to see the visuals of the illegal meeting- the one the judge will review- watch “Goodbye Sunshine”

Unfortunately, this board is just as much of a mess as the last board, despite their shorter meetings.

At the community session on Thursday at Meadowdale Elementary, the community groups said the same thing over and over:

  • Safety
  • Communications and Transparency
  • Have a plan and stick to it

Unfortunately, there was only one board member actively engaging the community, Jocelyn Rhynard. The other board members, Walker, Al-Hamdani, Harris and Commissioner Mims, all stood off to the side, either talking to each other, or observing. Same can be said of Lolli, and DPS communications guru Marsha Bonhart.

As I walked from table to table, group to group, I recognized people at every table. And I kept thinking to myself, if David Lawrence was Superintendent, one, we wouldn’t be having a community in an uproar, because he actually understands and knows the issues and the community members- but, that he’d have his sleeves rolled up and be actively engaging and learning from the groups.

That’s why we need to have a board that comes clean on its plans for a superintendent in advance, and give the community an opportunity to weigh in.

Just remember, another man the last board passed over to hire Rhonda Corr – went to Springboro schools, which had been in turmoil, and brought order and pride back to a challenged district. That man, Dan Schroer, also managed to get Springboro to pass a levy on the first try ever.

I warned you about what would happen with Joey Williams. I’m warning you again, this board doesn’t understand open and honest communications, and as long as they feel the need to keep pulling secret meetings, emergency meetings, they will never earn the trust of the community.

And they won’t move this district forward.

thumbnail of Lolli’s smoking gun email

Before Al-Hamdani is in office, only he and Harris are in the loop

In the 171 pages of internal communications they released to me through a public records request- there was this gem from Elizabeth Lolli to Bill Harris’s private email and Al-Hamdani’s private email before Al-Hamdani had even taken office:

2. We have the first meeting of the Facilities Task Force on Tuesday, January 9 from 9:30-11 :00. The agenda includes a review of the district data that we have collected. I will make sure that you receive the same information Tuesday evening.

3. DPS has officially joined the Montgomery County ESC Business Advisory Group. The group has been meeting (Superintendents, Reps for the Superintendents and a consultant from MCESC) to develop the Ohio Department of Education Business Advisory Plan. They have been meeting monthly to write the plan, but after the plan is submitted in March, the meetings will be quarterly.

4. I am meeting with Phil Parker and Rick Stover on Friday to discuss the Accountability Panel and suggested changes they have for that group. We will also begin to plan out how best to rework the Contract with the Community. I will update you after the meeting to share the ideas they have and gain your input.

5. Tommy Owens met with me on Friday. He is suggesting that the BOE hire his firm to do the “grass roots” marketing for the district. He indicated a guess contract amount would be around $45,000.00 and he requested that we agree to hire him for two years ($90,000.00) if his company is hired. Please be prepared to weigh in with me on this idea. We currently have two PR people and we employ the Ohlmann Group.

7. Hiwot and I have our monthly review meeting with the Mayor and Shelley Dickstein on Wednesday. am meeting with Bill Burges on Friday to discuss a strategic communications plan that will include recruiting our students back to DPS.

What do you need to know about this: The Facilities Task Force is a district committee- being given privileged information. The district is now part of the Montgomery County ESC advisory group- the same ESC that I was denied the ability to serve on the board of. Lolli is making a beeline for Phil Parker of the Dayton Chamber of Commerce and Rick Stover– who is tied to everything business interest in Dayton- including CityWide Development. She’s talking to Tommy Owens – about marketing, when she wouldn’t talk to me, and also meeting with Bill Burges from Cleveland- who ran the campaign for “The Slate” of Harris, Al-Hamdani, Wick and the unfortunate loser Paul Bradley.

Used to be this had to go through purchasing- because it was mandated- now, we can just hire at will. BTW- someone find a company website for Tommy Owens please? I can’t find it.

Lolli isn’t working for the full board. She’s not informing the full board. If I was the board members cut out of these communications, I’d fire her.

But, then again, 3 of the board members were involved with hiring Rhonda Corr over David Lawrence and can’t admit they made a mistake. And four new board members don’t know what the Sunshine laws are.

Same screwed up situation, different actors. Sorry people, Tricks are for kids, not the way you move a district forward.

 

DPS PR machine is still not doing its job

First rule of public relations: be honest.

Second rule of public relations: be proactive. Be in front of the storm, not in the middle of it, or after it passes.

Third rule of public relations: be trustworthy, which is an extension of the first two rules.

Despite hiring 2 PR professionals for $180K a year, in addition to an “ad agency” for $345K a year, Dayton Public Schools continue to soil themselves through inept public relations. It may have absolutely nothing to do with any of the people who are hired to do PR, because this school board and superintendent are totally tone deaf and sabotage their own positions of authority at will and often.

Here is some backstory of how the move from the 2.0 to 1.0 gpa for athletics began, long before the Dunbar vs Belmont eligibility fiasco last year. (btw- I went to the rematch on Thursday and watched Belmont annihilate Dunbar 42-0). The story comes from “the man who would be superintendent” if it wasn’t for a board that doesn’t like strong black males with better community ties than they have. David Lawrence, the former Chief of Innovation for Dayton Public Schools, before he was bought out for big money to go away by this incompetent school board, told me he proposed this lowering of standards plan to former superintendent Lori Ward over 3 years ago. Note, he was a DPS athlete who went on to play D-1 sports. He still holds track records at Welcome Stadium.

His reasoning made sense. First, there are other districts, albeit ones that aren’t failing in all academic categories, that use this standard. Not that Oakwood or Centerville has to apply it to as many students, but they will allow kids to participate. But here is the kicker, he put the blame squarely on the teachers in this district, who sometimes would only give a midterm and a final, with no quizzes, tests, or other evaluation items like class participation, attendance, homework, etc. This meant some kids were being discriminated against- because some teachers don’t really try to work with the dumb jocks and take great pleasure in ambushing them.

Dang.

Didn’t see that one coming at all. But when you have a district with a horrible graduation rate, failing at all levels of academic success, this story seems more legit than the one coming out of the PR machine days after a seemingly secret meeting pops this change on us like a magician pulling an elephant out of a hat. We expect a rabbit, not an elephant.

First issue is why was this done, without proper public knowledge in advance, at an unscheduled meeting? That’s a guaranteed sign of “we’re being sneaky” instead of “we’re being strategic.” Proper PR handling would have made sure this issue was out in public long before and well explained and discussed before hand- as well as having proper answers for the board members who voted against or abstained. That way, it doesn’t feed the fires of the public who sees this as yet another lowering of standards.

I still posit that part of this policy is driven by fall out from sanctions imposed on the district after the Dunbar fiasco. The board had to lower standards in a hurry because most high schools wouldn’t have had enough players to play this year after athletes from DECA and other charter schools could no longer play for the program of their choice. In other words, the district was reacting instead of being proactive. Yet, none of that is in the explanation being circulated on Facebook by new media relations head Marsha Bonhart:

Lots of discussion about Dayton Public Schools and the sports policy – and a lot of confusion. As director of public relations and media at DPS, please allow me to help everyone understand the bar is NOT being lowered – it’s being raised. Student athletes who carry a GPA between 1.0 and 1.99 will have to raise their grades each quarter AND pass five classes to remain eligible to play any sport. They must be involved in an hourly, Monday – Thursday academic improvement program that includes tutoring. They have to remain in the program for a year until their GPA raises at least to 2.0. If they do not show quarterly improvement and do not pass the classes, they will not participate in any sports. If their grades slip the next year, they are back in the program for the entire year, again.
The deal is, improve your grades, pass five classes or you don’t play. This is for grades 7-12, girls and boys. Questions? 542-3023 (937)

Note, this is on her personal account, not on an official district channel. The post on the site, which most people can’t navigate, is here, posted Aug 26th (the decision was made and announced Aug 22):

FAQ for New Athletic Eligibility Policy

DPS to encourage athletes to perform better in the classroom

To Our Parents and Community,

There has been lots of discussion about Dayton Public Schools and the new sports policy – and a lot of confusion.

As director of public relations and media at DPS, please allow me to help everyone understand the bar is NOT being lowered – it’s being raised. Student athletes who carry a GPA between 1.0 and 1.99 will have to raise their grades each quarter AND pass five classes to remain eligible to play any sport. They must be involved in an hourly, Monday – Thursday academic improvement program that includes tutoring. They have to remain in the program for a year until their GPA raises at least to 2.0.

If they do not show quarterly improvement and do not pass the classes, they will not participate in any sports. If their grades slip the next year, they are back in the program for the entire year, again.

The deal is, improve your grades, pass five classes or you don’t play. This is for grades 7-12, girls and boys. Questions? (937) 542-3023

Marsha Bonhart Neilson

Director of Public Relations & Media, Dayton Public Schools

Source: News | FAQ for New Athletic Eligibility Policy

Maybe the big news is that Marsha has a new last name?

Or that she tries to legitimize the lowering of standards as “he bar is NOT being lowered – it’s being raised”- which is straight out of a 1980’s style PR textbook, where you try to reframe the truth. This is a complete and utter #FAIL, days after the fact. If this is the best spin DPS can put on this dead on arrival PR nightmare, Marsha and her new boss should be next on the chopping block. See the three rules at the beginning of this post.

My main questions still remain: why is this study table policy limited to athletes? The district is in academic emergency, shouldn’t all students getting less than “C’s” be getting mandatory help? And, besides the discriminatory nature of this plan, last I heard, we didn’t have money to pay teachers more, so who is paying for these professionals to help guide our dumb jocks up to a 2.0? The district is claiming volunteers? Is that really the answer?

As with most cases DPS, we have to look at the root problems: poverty and low expectations. If you believe in expectancy theory, this lowering of GPA requirements reinforces a problem that the district is already fighting to overcome. The timing of this announcement should have been made before school started as well- which means, once again, we’ve started a school year out with controversy- much like last years RIF. This kind of leadership is only reinforcing perceptions of a district in turmoil. Competent leadership would know better- but we don’t have competent leadership.

No PR machine on the face of the earth can fix stupid. At this point, only voters can. Yet, even though he was the lone vote against this change, Joe Lacey still shouldn’t be on this board, he’s part of the problem that made this fiasco happen when he hired Rhonda Corr, which is the real reason this district has been mired in controversy for the last year.

 

DPS needs to fire the captain before the ship sinks

Every minute that Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) reign supreme under Rhonda Corr, the talent makes plans to leave. The board, unwilling to admit their massive failure of hiring Corr, of keeping Baker (while turning Darren Powell into the only fall guy), of the insane Reduction in Force mid-year, the questionable real estate deals negotiated by Adil Baguirov (and maybe Corr?), the botched buyout of David Lawrence (probably their only option for a superintendent), then the failure to investigate allegations that Baguirov didn’t even live in the district, then allowing him to somehow negotiate a bus deal, without action by purchasing (an insane violation of board policy) followed by the resignation and pending investigation into the short lived tenure of Rhonda’s hand picked Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Markay Winston….

and now- the envelope please…. Leaving the Dayton Public Schools

  • Dwon Bush is leaving the district to be an Elementary School Principal in Huber Heights- if her name sounds familiar, it’s because they tried to RIF her, and had a student make a compelling plea to keep her.
  • Vanisa Turney-Crews, an assistant principal at Kiser is leaving to be the Director of Curriculum and Instruction in Huber Heights.
  • Taylor Porter, who was Corr’s initial pick to be the principal at Meadowdale when the fan hit the shan, is going to Westerville to be an assistant principal.
  • Monica Utley, the principal of Fairview- gone.
  • Valerie Herdman, a future principal- gone.
  • Sam Eckhardt a superstar high school math teacher at Thurgood- leaving for Xenia. Math teachers are hard to come by.
  • Ralph Davis – is leaving, one of the key players in the Males of Color program.
  • And, because they haven’t had their new contracts boarded in their new assignments-  there are at least 2 more principals leaving Dayton and 1 more administrator.

The resignation deadline is July 10. There will be plenty more. And while next week there are going to be 2 meetings to negotiate a contract, Corr is the reason that talks got shelved until August.

As long as she’s on top, people are gonna go.

Best case scenario: The board investigates Baguirov, he resigns, Lee and Rountree step down early as they both clearly are tiring of the fight, 3 people who’ve successfully turned in petitions get picked randomly for filling in until the election.

The new board invalidates the Baker contract- fires Corr for cause, fires Hiwot Abraha who can’t get her work done on time, or run purchasing legally, brings back Darran Powell as Head Football Coach (we don’t have time for this sideshow) and gets down on their knees to ask Lawrence to step in as interim.

If they ask nice enough, he may even come in and count part of his buyout as pay until next June.

If they don’t stop the resignations, and get a tentative contract in place before July 7, 2017- or at least have a man with a plan, their may not be enough people to put on a show next year. My guess, is instead, we’ll see that Baguirov has successfully completed his mission- to turn the district into such a clusterduck that the State can come in and turn the whole district into a charter and hand it over to the alternate “school board” Learn to Earn Dayton, and make sure the right people get paid off.

The longer lists of resignations are coming. If you are planning to resign, feel free to contact me to be added to the list. Tell me where you’re going and why if you’d like the public to know what the Reign of Corr hath brought. [email protected]

Update: 1 hour after publishing- have unconfirmed reports of another star principal leaving, and one who is considered a grand dame- may be fed up and turning in her resignation as well if Corr isn’t removed ASAP.

 

https://esrati.com/who-is-dwon-bush-and-why-dps-board-should-be-fired-before-her/13261

https://esrati.com/who-is-dwon-bush-and-why-dps-board-should-be-fired-before-her/13261