The Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education met in a work session in the superintendent’s conference room Monday to start developing goals before hiring the next superintendent.
The board installed newly-elected board members Ruth Veales (contested incumbent), Mark Mann (uncontested incumbent) and Jace Kirk (first term).
A.J. Crabill has been hired by the district to work with the board to process who they need in the next superintendent.
The following are notes taken during an hours-long process. They are not a transcript.
Election of vice-chair. Ruth Veales was nominated along with Gloria Torres. Rebecca Budd spoke in favor of Veales. Charles Henry spoke in favor of Veales because she is the member with the most seniority.
Carrie Jacobs gave nominating reasons are that Gloria Torres has a background in education reflecting the inside look at education.
Various members floated the idea of rotating the vice-chair position to give more of a variety of leadership on the board. Carrie Jacobs said that it was a good idea to take up in the policy committee.
Gloria Torres is the Vice-Chair for the next year.
A.J. Crabill, Governance Coach, led the board in a process for why board members were on the board in ten words or less.
Answers: Hope for students, joy about school, academic achievement (2X), community creation, Supt every student graduates,
Answers from others in side seats: Rhonda Schroeder, Principal, Arthur Elem: engagement, Melon: rich with opportunity; academic results; child’s potential becoming reality; increase leadership capacity;
Crabill: Why do school system’s exist? Veales: civil rights. Fair shake.
Crabill said the purpose of a school system is to “increase student outcomes”. “If anyone disagrees with that, then we can close up and go home early.”
Inputs, outputs, outcomes were discussed and definitions were explored.
Crabill’s slide: Other outcomes: a measure of school system results that are not student results
Student outcomes: a measure of a school system that are results that are student results.
In the process, most of the board members believe that most of the time is spent in other than student outcomes.
People believe that they have not been looking at outcomes enough.
Crabill: You can know everything there is about inputs, do you actually know anything about your children?
Principal Schroeder: Feel like I have to go through four people to be heard.
Torres: Leaders don’t know how to ask the questions that need to be asked.
Budd: Great Commitment was not student outcome oriented.
Without a vision, the people will perish.
Crabill: Children are not measured by adult intent.
Crabill has interviewed all of the board members over the phone and in person.
Crabill: “Losing strategy” is to hire someone to tell the board what their vision is.
• SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, results-focused, time-bound)
• Describes what students know or are able to do; a student outcome made SMART
• Must challenge the organization and require adult behavior change
• Boards ideally adopt 1 to 5 Goals and they ideally last 3 to 5 years.
Goals should be measurable within 3-5 years.
[Franklin Covey concepts]
Rebecca Kaye: Make sure that we are not accomplishing goals in bad ways. [Ref to Atlanta PS score-rigging scandals]
Crabill: Have to build a way to monitor.
At least 50% of the board meeting should be monitoring the progress of students.
Henry: All we have ever done is approve what the admin was doing. As a board, we haven’t put the onus on ourselves to put pressure on the admin to achieve. How do we communicate about student outcomes.
Crabill: This is a board meeting, not a superintendent’s meeting.
Recommend spending two days to work on this to reboot governance process.
1. Collaboratively setting student outcome goals
2. Identifying Non-negotiable student outcome goals
3. Monitoring collaboratively set nonnegotiable student outcome goals
Good governance is not exciting stuff. It’s repetitive. It takes discipline to keep measuring the same things.
Carrie Jacobs: I don’t think we monitor at all. Crabill agreed.
Monitoring calendar: A board adopted a multi-year schedule that describes the months during which specific progress measures are reported to the board.
Monitoring report: A report that provides evidence of progress to the board regarding their adopted goals.
A meaningful set of goals will be a great filter.
Staff morale is often a function of non-accountability and non-predictability.
Good governance means heavy doses of accountability and predictability.
[Back from break]
Crabill reflections open for discussion:
• Managed instruction
• Earned autonomy
• Performance empowerment
Gloria Torres: has actually been a principal in the district and knows the value of clear directives and how that sets a school free to run with their own process to meet that goal. But with no clear directive, no one knows what to do next.
85 schools that the board is responsible for in some kind of way including charters.
Assignment to board members: How many do you consider to be high performing, moderately performing, low performing?
A wide span of answers from zero to 23 on high performing.
Crabill: Abandon, abolish, leave behind, the notion that “this is my election district”, etc. But you have 85 schools that you are responsible for.
Crabill: You are fully responsible for every single school in every single district in the school district.
Mark Mann: I would rather see more growth than just passing a state test. Crabill agrees. It’s about growth.
As board members talk about what is a high-performing school there is a big difference in how they define that.
Charles Henry: It’s an indictment on us when a school gets an F grade.
Crabill: It is more informative to let school grades be an indicator of how this board is doing not how the students are doing.
Rebecca Kaye re-emphasizes that she was the only one to say zero because there is so much more that needs to be done in schools to bring them forward.
Crabill: to board: Your job is to say what the goals are of the community and then say to the supt go do that.
Veales: I’ve seen schools turned around in one year. It’s about leadership and empowering that leadership.
Mark Mann: I haven’t seen benchmark test results ever.
Crabill: What is one word you got out of this convo:
Veales and several others list: hope. One said “impatient.”
Jace: My takeaway is that this is a unique opportunity. Our city has kind of given up on us.
Lewis: Process forward.
Torres: We haven’t been able to have a common language. We want the same outcome.
Mann: I’m confident we can get together on goals.
RK: I’m afraid. I’m afraid we will go back to having the same conversations we have had all along.
RK: A lot of this bad habit stuff is being willing to grow and move forward. It’s about being comfortable with being uncomfortable.
**Transition: Shawn Hime, OSSBA: you have one employee that works for you, the Chief Education Officer. [superintendent]
Hime: You’re the what, the CEO is the how.
Mann: For twenty years we’ve hired superintends from the standpoint of “how can you fix it” and that’s not worked.
Legal counsel is engaged in the process of discussing the plan.
Veales: This is our opportunity to do it right. I’ve seen districts taken over and turned to charters and not done any better. If we don’t do it right this time then maybe somebody else is going to take it.
Hime: We are doing a nation-wide search now.
Hime: [Somewhat in disagreement with Crabill’s earlier comments] It would be best for you (board) to go through some of this process, but you want to have the new superintendent on board to finalize the goals.