Monday, March 23, 2009

Principals Must Be Held Accountable for SLT's

Dear Parents, Educators and Community Leaders,

Comptroller William Thompson testified at the Assembly's School Governance Hearing in Brooklyn yesterday. Part of his testimony expressed concerns about School Leadership Teams.He stated his office was "shocked" to learn that most parents do not even know what SLT's and CEC's are.He quoted an OFEA SLT survey last year which showed that nearly half that were surveyed did not have a functioning SLT. He went on to say that where they do have a functioning SLT, principals too often fail to work collaboratively, as State law requires, in preparing school budgets and developing a CEP.

The Comptroller recommended that principal's be evaluated, in part, on their record in developing an effective, collaborative School Leadership Team.

Today's NY Daily News reported on Mr. Thompson's testimony. In the last sentence, it states, "to help shore up parental involvement,Thompson said principals should be held accountable for creating effective school leadership teams".

Principals must be held accountable. In the revised draft for SLT Regulation A-655, required by the Pollicino decision of the Commissioner, there is no real accountability. Appealing to a district OFEA official and/or a District Leadership Team that meets infrequently, does not provide effective conflict resolution when principals are not cooperating with the process. We must remove the clause that gives principal's final determination on the CEP if consensus is not reached and provide a more effective measure for conflict resolution that will insure accountability.SLT's should also have access to the school's Galaxy Budget System, which would provide transparency concerning school spending and better able SLT's to align the budget with the CEP. I urge District Leadership Teams that are reviewing the draft A-655 on SLT's to demand changes before endorsing the document.

In addition, we need to restore SLT's ability to collaboratively develop the school budget, which was in place until A-655 of Dec. 2007.We can do that by strengthening the language of the law (2590-h-15 and 2590-r) which is up for renewal in June. I hope Assembly Member Nolan and State Senator Oppenheimer will push for SLT law strengthening as heads of their respective education committees.

James Calantjis
718 458-4237

Sunday, March 8, 2009

CR100.11 2008 Biennial Reviews of SLT's by DLT's

Dear Education and Parent Leaders,

The NYSED requires that District Leadership Teams complete the Biennial Review concerning the District 100.11 plan for shared decision making for School Leadership Teams.The Review asks the DLT's to answer six questions relating to CR100.11 concerning their SLT's and then to fill out an evaluation as to how well the SLT's have implemented these objectives in their districts.The ratings are from A-E: A-not addressed,B-Inconsistent Implementation,C- Minimal Implementation,D- Moderate Implementation and E- Consistent Implementation and success.

The five categories are:

1) Educational Issues subject to shared decision making
2) Involvement of all parties.
3) Means and standards used to evaluate improvement of student achievement
4) Accountability for decisions
5) Dispute resolution process
6) Coordination of State and Federal Requirements for Parental involvement

I attempted to get this information from a FOIL to NYCDOE first. They eventually sent me only the narrative portion of the Reviews that the districts were suppose to answer concerning each of the six points. They left out the evaluation data of the SLT's for each district. I re contacted them for the missing data and I am still waiting.

I sent a FOIL to the NYSED a few weeks ago for this information and received it promptly.

I have compiled the results of the Biennial Review evaluations of SLT's on a spreadsheet. Please contact me for a copy.

The Biennial Reviews also include the signature pages of those who participated on the District Leadership Teams.

This Review is from Spring 2008. The next Review will be in January 2010.

In reviewing the results, you will find that most of the districts did not accurately rate their SLT's. You would be hard pressed to find an SLT that is functioning with the involvement of all parties in shared decision making. Yet, all but three of the districts gave ratings of D (moderate implementation) and most gave an E ( Consistent Implementation and Success). Districts 9,23, 30, gave themselves a B ( Inconsistent Implementation)or a C ( Minimal Implementation).

Most of the districts were more realistic in their rating for "educational Issues subject to shared decision making", with most giving their SLT's a C ( Minimal Implementation).

The following districts gave themselves an E( Consistent Implementation and success) in all six categories:
Districts 8,16,17,18,27.

Districts 9 and 23 seemed to be the most critical in their evaluations

I would like to hear from individuals from these and all districts about the ratings that were given.

Thank you.

James Calantjis
SLT Empowerment Alliance
718 458-4237

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

SLT Legislation Proposal by Jacob Morris

TheSchool Leadership Team Website Responsibility Act

It has come to the attention of the members of this legislative body that the original intent of the legislation that went into effect in 1996 regarding School Leadership Teams and their empowerment so that they could effectively collaborate in the discharge of their lawful responsibilities, which included communicating and disseminating information to the constituencies they represent, has been outmoded by the impact of new technologies (especially the Internet) on our Society, Families, and Schools.

Given our desire to improve effective parental involvement in education, which has been decisively proven in multiple scholarly studies as leading to the improved academic achievement of their children, we herein mandate that SLT's, DLT's and their constituent members be given the collaborative responsibility to have input as to the content of their respective School and District Websites, for their calendar & course/teacher email access as well as extracurricular, and the professional development training necessary to meet that responsibility.

This amendment will enhance the partnership between Families, Schools, and the Communities they are located in by improving Transparency, Accountability, Communication, and most of all the flow of Information that Parents need to help their children do well, in School and in Life, and affirm their potential.

SLT Legislation Proposal by Jacob Morris

The SLT Empowerment Discretionary Training Funds
Restoration Amendment

It has come to the attention of the members of this legislative body that the original intent of the legislation that went into effect in 1996 regarding School Leadership Teams and their empowerment so that they could effectively collaborate in the discharge of their lawful responsibilities, has been eviscerated in reality by the NYC Board of Education. This voiding of the intent of the enabling legislation has occurred through the mechanism of the school administrators total diversion of the SLT's discretionary training funds. Originally, the SLT's were empowered to make their own decisions on what training they needed from an excellent and extensive group of third party training providers, as set forth in a Vendor Catalog approved through the RFP process, and published by the NYC Board of Education.

While the stipends for SLT members remain in place, many of those members wonder what real input they have into their school's “Comprehensive Educational Plan” that they have the designated responsibility for, because their ability to decide on their own training has been taken away from them.

Therefore, given that it is clearly understood in the intent of the original enabling legislation that the school is the fundamental unit of governance in our public education system, and being desirous of improving effective parental involvement in their children's education, which studies have shown leads to the improved academic achievement of their children, we herein mandate that the original intent of the legislation be honored and that sufficient discretionary training funds be restored to both individual School and District Leaderships Teams so that they can decide on the appropriate professional development for themselves within a team framework.

It is through this mechanism that we will return to the essence of participatory democracy by enabling grass roots voices to be heard with the goal of improving collaborative decision making. Often administrators need to hear about problems before they can began to address them, and parents need to not be alienated by having enough confidence in our Public Education System to believe that their time is not wasted or participation ignored, and that their professionally developed voices will at least be heard by the appropriate administrators.