And the survey asked…

Well, Dayton Public Schools didn’t hire Burges and Burges directly, they hired the Montgomery County Educational Service Center to do their public perception survey for them. Naughty naughty. This is how you skirt scrutiny and keep things underwraps- and avoid having to go to bid.

This is why Dayton residents should be able to sit on the MCESC Board- since DPS spends a lot of money with them.

Here are the survey questions. They ask for 20 minutes- but- the recording I listened to- the interviewer wasn’t typing- but- it dragged on for over an hour. Time is money- and I’m sure DPS via MCESC will pay a pretty penny.

As a professional in the marketing field- these questions are highly open ended- and a lot of personal bias can be introduced in the summation. This isn’t the normal statistical style.

The interviewer said they are surveying about 40 people- and they had talked to “leaders, clergy, and colleges”- but- no parents.

The questions:

MCESC- is doing a survey for DPS-

20 minutes- anonymous

Compiling results to give to MCESC

How do you rate DPS- right direction/wrong direction

If you could see 5 years into the future- what do you think DPS would look like?

What are the most significant issues facing the schools- and what can be done to move forward-

6 areas under this:

  • School safety
  • Educational quality
  • Declining Enrollment
  • Facility issues
  • Poverty
  • Charter schools

What about DPS teacher- how do you think they are doing?

What about others- Support staff- bus drivers, administrators, etc.

Do you think DPS students are working up to their potential?

How well do you think the schools communicate with their teachers, staff the community?

Does the fact that a majority of the school board are new members give you concern?

How can DPS communicate and market themselves better- and do you think this will turn around the enrollment decline?

Do you think the stakeholders, the mayor, local colleges, etc are doing enough to help Dayton Public Schools

Is there anything else you’d like to add or suggest to the Dayton Schools or Community Leaders.

They are wrapping up these surveys this week- and then scheduling in depth ones later. They are looking for “informed insight”- not just people who are reading things in the news.

Thank you to my sources for supplying me with transcripts of their interviews.

 

 

 

 

 

School board agenda posted: more exits

It’s Sunday morning- and the agenda for Tuesday came out “early.”

The last of the internal candidates for Superintendent in the last posted position search, Dr. Greg Roberson is leaving. He’s the head of OEC- and is reportedly going back to Mt. Healthy where he was hired in from. Rumors have DEA chief David Romick asking for Roberson’s position.

David Lawrence was bought out. Rhonda Corr was paid off. Dan Schroer is now the Superintendent of Springboro- which is cool, calm and collected- and passed a levy for the first time on the first try. We’re now out of options for superintendents who applied.

Charity Earley principal Peggy Burks is retiring, immediately. DPS loses one of their most effective principals.

The director of payroll, Nicole Berkely, is leaving the treasurers office- after an internal squabble over pay for calamity days.

Dr. Venita Kelley is out after a year as Director of Strategic Communication and Community Relations, where there were no strategic communications and community relations took a dump.

Debra Corbin, the assistant principal at Ponitz is on FMLA Intermittent through the end of the year.

There are also some contracts for coaches for spring sports (hint: it’s already spring) while other districts have already hired their fall and winter sports coaches for the next year. The lack of respect for both coaches and parents in these last minute contracts is epic.

Tito Reynolds is hired in as the new assistant treasurer for $93K a year. He’s coming over from the Montgomery County Auditors office- where he’s been since 2013. Probably a dem party insider, strengthening the hold of the Mayor on the schools budget (which is considerably bigger than the city budget). Ostensibly, this is to fill the position of Brennon Hattery who left to keep his sanity.

There is no mention of the second reading of the new policies on public speaking in the agenda- but former Board member Mario Gallin who monitors things closely posted this on her FB wall:

So, without officially voting on it as a policy change at the next DPS business meeting as scheduled, the DPS website has already instituted a citizen participation procedure change mandating that anyone wishing to address the board must fill out a registration form and submit it 15 minutes before the start of the meeting. This is actually more draconian than the anticipated policy change requiring forms be submitted 5 minutes before. I am particularly offended by the hypocrisy in the first line. This is from their website Home Page to About Us to Board Meetings, then scroll down.

CITIZEN COMMENTS
The Board values input from the community and as such, the public is invited to attend board meetings and given time to address the Board during the public hearing portion of the business meeting. This is an opportunity for community members to share information, express viewpoints and concerns. It is not a forum for resolving disputes. Members of the public wishing to address the board, must complete the registration form in its entirety, and submit it to the board office representative no later than 15 minutes before the start of the meeting.

This comes on the heels of changes to the ability of the community to use district facilities as promised during the levy campaign in 2002. Dayton citizens were told that if they agreed to fund the building of new schools, part of the reward would be the ability to hold community meetings, use the buildings for community events, utilize the gyms as a community space (particularly attractive as the City was closing rec centers). Not all neighborhood communities have taken advantage of this, but now it appears that they should not even ask. Several months ago, the District removed Building Usage Request form from its website, along with the guidelines for community use. Now, in order to make a request, you must create an “account” which requires you to upload a Liability Insurance form but has no instructions as to what that is or who to contact with questions.

Long term practice has been to offer these facilities at no cost, as long as the building custodian was on duty during the week, usually until 9 or 9:30 pm. Weekend use did require the users to pay for a custodian for 4 hours at $30/hour. Sundays were a bit higher.

That also apparently has been scrapped. Rumor has it that in addition to a security deposit, fees will be charged according to which room in the building is being used and what equipment is required. I did talk to someone who tried to find out what those fees are, and they were told that fees would be assigned after the application was submitted.

There has been no public announcement or discussion of these changes at all.

Thankfully- I’m not the only one paying attention to the board.

Turnover is a major concern in this district. Until a steady hand takes control, expect to see a lot more people leaving for greener pastures.

 

 

 

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.

 

Dayton Public Preparatory to launch Fall 2018

Starting Tuesday, April 3 2018 at noon, an alternative charter to Dayton Public Schools will begin accepting preliminary applications from parents of Dayton Public Schools students, and parents who have been choosing charters and parochial schools to avoid the constant chaos of DPS.

There will also be an area for DPS employees to privately register their interest in joining this new soundly run alternative to DPS.

When the sign ups cross over 60% of students, and 75% of staff, the alternative charter will ask the state board of education to place them as the primary operators of the district, accepting full responsibility for the failings of existing leadership to bring order to the district.

Dayton Public Preparatory Logo

The leadership team started organizing Dayton Public Preparatory as an alternative in the wake of the non-action to remove Dr. Adil Baguirov from the board even after his residency was clearly in violation of all board policy. The ridiculous glowing review of former Superintendent Rhonda Corr just previous to their buyout of Corr moved the timeline up from fall of 2019 to fall of 2018. Further actions, including the turmoil caused by incompetent communications surrounding the eventual announcement of the closing of one school was the final straw.

The team behind Dayton Public Preparatory is proposing a totally different approach to education in Dayton, very similar to the proposals in the video that I released in December of 2016: “There ain’t no “F” in Dayton”- to include only 2 bell times, transportation for all students at all grade levels, year round schools, longer school days with much shorter instructional time per-day, and higher expectations and standards. Details will be released on the sign up page on April 3rd.

The new organization will essentially take-over the existing district, with state support, instead of the previous interventions with power handed to other organizations that have no more experience than the failing districts had before- see Cleveland, Youngstown and Elyria for examples of State failure to improve schools via intervention.

While the organization will not have a public school board, much like the Dayton income tax supported “Learn to Earn” folks, they will fully comply with all requirements of the laws and rules governing public school systems, and will have a three year window to successfully move the district from failing to Annual Yearly Progress with a D average.

All union contracts will be honored, however, instead of working a 1080 hour school year, employees will be expected to work a standard 2080 hour year for the same pay. If the district moves to a C average, all pay will increase 25% for anyone at the building level. Administrators pay will remain the same.

The leadership team includes highly skilled and proven executives that are well known to the community. The superintendent will have had over 20 years experience in the district, the head of business operations and HR also has over 15 years experience with the district as well as at a much larger district and the DPP treasurer never had the turmoil the current treasurer has had in her last 2 years.

This new district management team promises top to bottom cultural transformation of the district, with in service training beginning in July of 2018 with school to open on the year round full-time schedule in August. This will not be public education like any other in the United States, it is set to be a new model for urban and

Their names will be released to all who have signed up as interested after the signups reach 5,000 students and 400 teachers, which is expected to take less than 2 weeks.

Sign-up at https://daytonpublicprep.org after noon on April 3rd.

There has been a major commitment of funding from several national educational foundations based on the boldness of this plan, totaling pledges of $62.3 million dollars to date. Additional funding is still being sourced and some is contingent at how quickly the new organization reaches its sign-up goals. A local philanthropist has been briefed and is willing to step in with additional funding anonymously, to match the funding of national organizations dollar for dollar when this team gets state approval.

National backers include:

Full disclosure, my firm has been involved in talks with the founders of this organization since January of 2017, 2 weeks after I released the video. We have not been compensated for our work thus far, but, have been awarded a contract to begin when the threshold for announcement is reached. The contract is for the same amount we bid to manage DPS marketing in 2017, but were rejected by the board and district for the highest bidder.

 

 

 

Beloved principal removed. Turmoil continues in DPS

Today, newly minted Superintendent Libby Lolli descended on Belmont High School and removed Principal Melanie Walters from her job, 6 weeks before the end of the school year. Walters had already tendered her resignation at the end of the school year.

Despite the building being stretched beyond capacity- Walters hadn’t been given additional teachers or administrators to handle the influx.

She was moved to Ponitz to be an assistant principal there- in the midst of an investigation into missing Career Tech Education funding. Same pay, less responsibility.

The two previous assistant principals at Ponitz had been removed after the teacher dragging incident.

It is unclear at this point who will be in charge of Belmont.  Walters was loved by her students, and respected by staff.

There have been rumors of Wright Brothers Principal Shauna Welch being moved to manage Belmont- although that will damage Wright Brothers, which is still reeling from being changed from an elementary school to a middle school 2 years ago.

Why now? In the last two days, an image has been circulating on Facebook as “news” that Walters and former superintendent Rhonda Corr had been married on March 22, 2018. Is this retaliation?

I wish the newly weds well. Love is a hard thing to find. Especially in Dayton.