Why there is no hope for Dayton Public Schools

There were two Dayton Day-Old News reporters sitting in on the Tuesday night business meeting of the Dayton Board of Education. I was there with camera rolling. There was Mario Gallin, the best candidate in the last election that the citizens chose not to pick. And there was the school board, minus the Treasurer who is on vacation, and Sheila Taylor, who apparently is dealing with some family issues.

Had Sheila been there, I would have called it Snow White (Lolli) and the Seven Mental Midgets. But, alas, we can’t call Lolli Snow white- we can just call them the Seven Mental Midgets.

At the warm up meeting they held last week, Lolli wasn’t there. John McManus asked about the $475K expenditure for some kind of silver bullet training program from the University of Virginia. They turned to Lynsa Davie, the new Chief of Schools Special Projects, who is making $117,040 for answers. I posted about this last week, using Mario’s summary from Facebook.

It was obvious that there would be questions coming at the business meeting. Davie had a week to prepare. Before we get to what happened a week later, let’s talk about presentations and DPS.

I’ve watched their own people go up and present the failings of the district to the board and public. I’ve seen incompetent presenters, meeting after meeting who use their slides much like a teleprompter- reading the content from the screen. I’ve seen every format known to man- with no brand consistency, no brand voice. I’ve seen videos that didn’t run. I’ve seen #PresentationFail so many times, I’ve almost gotten used to it in the DPS board room. I’ve even made a presentation to the Tech Steering committee about Pecha Kucha– and how the rigor of using a format of 20 slides, 20 seconds each- can put constraints on that force people to make the best of their presentations.

And, in my business (advertising), deals are won and lost with presentations. I recently spent almost 80 hours preparing a presentation for a prospective client, pulling together research, videos, facts, stats and visuals to sell them on our skills and value to their organization. The presentation ran 2 hours. I rehearsed, I wrote and rewrote parts, and the night before, I’d tested the whole thing with a dry run in real time. Presenting in business is serious business. Just having a typo on your slides can blow your credibility. In advertising we call it the pitch, and there are people who specialize in it. There are books written about how to do it.

For DPS, “Dr Davie” (Rev Dr Harris called her Dr- so she must be one) didn’t even try. Like clockwork, Jocelyn Rhynard called for the item to be voted on separately. McManus who was doing the treasurers job as pro tem, was busy taking notes. Lolli called Davie to the podium. This mess begins about 46 minutes into the DPS Facebook stream video. I’ve not had time to upload mine yet. DPS hasn’t uploaded to Youtube yet.

My Youtube coverage of the presentation- starts here:

She began her presentation with a colorful slide with 4 points:

University of Virginia

UVA Partnership

  1. Leadership Development
  2. Support and Accountability
  3. Talent Management
  4. Instructional Infrastructure

Purpose: to grow leaders to impact underperforming schools through professional experiences.

University of Virginia UVA Partnership Leadership Development Support and Accountability Talent Management Instructional Infrastructure Purpose: to grow leaders to impact underperforming schools through professional experiences.

Nice template.

Ok, first slide, it’s a template. Why the people from UVA weren’t here to pitch their process bewildered me, they’re the ones who will be collecting close to a half a million dollars. You’d think they have a canned presentation for this.

Let me also point out that all four of those things are things most districts expect their superintendent and staff to handle. That’s why you pay them the big bucks.

Slide 2 comes up.  Davie doesn’t present like a professional. She’s reading the slides.”Transforming Practices” all about the entire planning year.
Let’s be clear, if you need a year to plan how to teach, it’s called your student teaching year, and you’re an intern. A bootcamp for central office leaders is what we get for the first years installment. Really- we’re paying these “experienced professionals” to go to bootcamp? That’s where you send the rookies.

Oops- failed title. Your perfect slide title

And this one is titled “your perfect slide title”

Planning year, Summer Programs. Yet- year 1 is only 6 days and year 2 is only 3 days. Wow.

I’m laughing. Others are gasping. The board and superintendent- paying attention and eating every word.

The next one is the coup d’grace

#Presentationfail by Lynsa Davie to the Dayton Bored of Education and your presentation

It doesn’t have any real information it’s all template. No content. Davie says “I can’t see, how that look, it’s kinda small for me” and continues.

No one stops her and says, “do you have the right slides?” Or, maybe you should come back when you’re better prepared. Nope, they let her meander on, and we never really get to the stage 3 or four- because the next slide is also titled “your perfect title slide” and incomplete.

Presentation Fail

A photo you never want to be in.

In my business, you’d be fired. You’ve just failed. Your career is done.

At DPS, we go to Q&A- and then vote. 5 yes, McManus abstains, and Lolli gets to pay others to do what she’s supposed to do- for only 5 schools, for the next three years.
The two DDn reporters talked about the money, but they failed to mention Davie made the district look like amateurs. So it’s left to me.

Can someone tell me WTF Lolli is getting paid to do?

Because this is unacceptable. She hired this fool for $117,040 and she can’t check her presentation first?

And how these fools on the board- are trusted with your children’s education?

And here’s the kicker. All this stupid woman had to do, was go to the UVA website- and download their “brochure” which is really a 16 page powerpoint- give or take- and use that for slides. But, she’s incompetent.

thumbnail of UVA_School_Turnaround_Program_Brochure

PDF from Darden School. Click to download and view

We voted four new people onto this school board. We should demand our money back.

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.