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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. [1] They turned to Lynsa Davie [2], the new Chief of Schools Special Projects, who is making $117,040 for answers. I posted about this last week [3], 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 [4]– 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 [5] 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. [6]

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 [9]

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 [10]

PDF from Darden School. Click to download and view

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

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed [11]! If you wish to support this blog and independent journalism in Dayton, consider donating [12]. All of the effort that goes into writing posts and creating videos comes directly out of my pocket, so any amount helps!
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Thomas E Ruddick

Leet’s see what some other systems have decided about this program.

Thomas E Ruddick

Evidently, like all management fads in education, when it doesn’t work it’s not their fault, it’s the school that hired them.

““The turnaround progress over two years is not where we wanted it to be,” Robinson said, citing administrators turnover last year causing chaos.

Robinson said district leaders spent too much money on external providers and operated too many school buildings. He said there has been only a marginal gain in student achievements.”


Thomas E Ruddick

A detailed study of an earlier school turnaround iniative–which failed state-wide. I always thought Arne Duncan was a bad Secretary of Education, tho’ I’m confident that DeVos is worse.



I worked for DPS late in my life for 8 years as an Instructional Paraprofessional. I was moved to Louise Troy Elementary in 2010 when the district started a pilot literacy program there called Leveled Literacy Instruction or LLI for short. Louise Troy was supposed to be Pre-K through 4th grade. We implemented the program and started to show real proven progress from the first semester to the second semester. Without warning, someone down at Ludlow decided that the program wasn’t working well enough for our Kindergarten and 1st graders despite the progress that we had documented at Louise Troy. After awhile someone told us to box up our materials as the district was trying to sell those materials to other districts. It was also decided that we would become a Pre-K through 5th grade school the following year. It was never the same for Louise Troy. The biggest problem that I saw time and time again in the district is that they would not stick with a program long enough to see it bear fruit. Change was the only thing that was constant in the district. The district had and probably still has a habit of chasing grant money. They would implement a program that came with grant money and as soon as the grant money ran out, they would scrap that program, no matter if it was showing promise or not, and implement a different program that came with grant money and so on and so on and so on. Louise Troy is now a Pre-K through 6 school and the idea of Louise Troy being a place for a pilot program for literacy lasted maybe one and a half school years. That, in a nut shell, is the story of too many schools in the Dayton Public School District. So very, very, sad.

Bob Penoppy

The fact that you think ‘underperforming’ is a typo when it’s actually correct (saying ‘impact under[meaning beneath] performing schools’ wouldn’t even make sense) and devoted a large section to that mistaken belief is bad enough. The fact that nobody has noticed and commented suggests either nobody’s really reading you anymore or nobody cares enough about what you wrote. I’ll let you decide which is worse.

As I’ve mentioned before, you HAVE to have noticed the major drop in comments here in the last year or so, often zero and rarely breaking into double digits. This used to be a worthwhile place to find some news, but this hard-on for DPS because they won’t let you play in their sandbox (and take your inexplicably expert opinion on virtually everything) has made you and this site into something of a one trick pony. That’s truly unfortunate because you certainly have more potential.

Julie Mervar

This is utterly embarrassing! How reckless they are with taxpayer’s dollars and how poorly they educate and mold our children.. how much they pay poorly educated administrators.. the authoritarian mindset and way of operating… The damage they are doing to our community… it is criminal!

Paying somone six figures in overheard costs when they pay so little in direct costs (to teachers) is shameful. And this is the sort of work those individuals produce?!? It’s insulting. How much longer can schools go on paying so much money into administration costs? When will it finally become unacceptable to pay idiots six figures per year just to embarass us with our own money? Will we ever get back to actually investing in the teachers and children?!?

Enough. Cut out all this bullshit and stop wasting dollars on administration and idiots. Start teaching our children. $475k to explore teaching how to teach?!? No. Bring value back to our community. Produce scholars instead of criminals. Free up some of that administration money so you can become appealing to good teachers and get them to stay. Stop being a daycare and start being an educational system.

Julie Mervar, M.b.a., HR
Belmont High School, 1999
Financial Specialist

Bubba Jones

>>> The next one is the coup d’grace <<<

Uh, I think not!! For you, Mr. Esrati, it's the "coup d'-disgrace" that you're not smart enough to how intellectually superior that Ms. Davie and the rest of the Board are compared to you. If you had half a brain, you'd realize that the slide you have posted is NOT a template -it is actually her words translated into (pig-)Latin. Being bi-lingual, the Board knew exactly what she was trying to convey. Too bad you're too intellectually incompetent to realize this.

And, if you truly had the years of advertising and copy writing experience that you claim to have, you would know that there is no more perfect title for a PowerPoint slide than "Your Perfect Slide Title". How much more perfect can it be? It already has the word "Perfect" in the title!!! Sheesh, Esrati – get a clue!!

Seriously though, this link should be forwarded to the State so that those in charge in Columbus can see what kind of idiots are "in charge" in Dayton so the State can go ahead and initiate the State takeover sooner rather than later. It's going to happen anyway, so let's just get it over with.

Dave C

State takeover of DPS – NOW!

[…] If you need to see both the reminder of why I stopped trying to follow DPS and how the 3 year bogus contract was awarded to the University of Virginia with an incompetent presentation to the former board- see this post: Why there is no hope for Dayton Public Schools […]

[…] Foley was itching to leave the meeting so he could get on the road to Columbus to see his girlfriend. McManus pulled me aside and said “That was the best presentation I’ve ever seen” which made me laugh. This was dumbed down and down and dirty. In my business, presentations for work can go for hours, be incredibly well planned and be filled with primary research and presented by people who have practiced for weeks. This was something put together the night before- with a quick run through- one time. Of course, after being fed a constant stream of dreck at DPS board meetings, where people should have been fired on the spot…. (seriously, watch this presentation for a $400K project, where the DPS staffer still has “My perfect title slide” and “Lorem Ipsum” greeked text in her deck.) […]

[…] had “greek text” on them- and “your perfect title slide.” See this post: Why there is no hope for Dayton Public Schools. Turns out the program didn’t even meet Lolli’s expectations, she canned it after 2 of […]


[…] swore off covering this trainwreck after I saw a staffer make a presentation with “your perfect title slide” and greek text- and no one …– one that went off the tracks fast- costing the district hundreds of thousands with nothing […]

[…] If you need proof that her IQ is just as low as Rev Harris- “The time guy” you need to watch the video where she voted to spend a half a million bucks with the University of Virginia base…. At this point- she’s the only one of her class of dunces who will run again (Al-Hamdani, […]