As you know these next few days WPS will undergo a DESE District Review. The purpose is to examine the district’s operations against a set of standards and indicators that cover six areas: Leadership and Governance, Curriculum and Instruction, Assessment, Human Resources and Professional Development, Student Support, and Financial and Asset Management. These reviews are required by MA law. I have reviewed the documents on the DOE website (http://www.doe.mass.edu/apa/accountability/dr/ ). All of the protocols, as well as reports from previous District Reviews are on this page. The only person named in the reports is the superintendent. but other staff members may be identified by role. Based on the reports I scrolled through I did not see any information that could identify a particular staff member. The ones that I did read outlined the positives, and negatives, and made suggestions for new programs, positions, and professional development strategies that should be added. While it will be uncomfortable having our "dirty laundry" aired, the specific suggestions for improvement that are made will provide concrete arguments to support adding funds to the school budget. The one scary thing is that the DESE Review team has the ability, based on its findings, to designate a district as "level 4" --although MTA has stressed that this hasn't happened to any school districts in the past 3 years.
The DESE team is made up usually of former superintendents, and they will be spending much time in the Administration conference room reviewing documents, and interviewing administrators, and town of Weymouth finance and HR personnel. Parent groups, and elected officials will also be interviewed. They will visit schools to interview admin teams, selected teachers, and other staff members. They will be visiting classrooms (especially Math, Science, and ELA), to get a sense of the type of instruction WPS provides---small group, higher order thinkng, tiered instrction---as opposed to evaluating the lessons or teachers they observe. Classroom visits will last about 20 minutes. Refer to pages 22-24 in the Protocols for more information.
Some teachers and other staff members may have been asked to participate in specific meetings. These meetings are focused on the six standards, and if you were chosen it is likely because you have particular experience or information about these areas. All teachers are invited to participate in their building focus group with members of the review team. No evaluators are allowed present in these meetings. Your principal has sent out information as to the time and place of your building focus group.
Please let me know if you have questions or concerns.
Best of luck, these next few days.
Just a few quick things tonight--first, I had the wrong date in my last email. Our Rep Council Meeting is Tuesday January 28th. Donna Buckley, our MTA Rep, will join us, and will be meeting with the grievance committee afterwards, so I am going to make a strict effort to keep the agenda items moving along.
Also, I put in a request at MTA for guidance concerning the DESE review next week. Apparently the woman who handles such matters has been very busy, but she promised to send me some helpful information this weekend, and we have a phone conference scheduled for Monday. Keep your eyes out for another email from me with any helpful advice I receive.
And, since some of the DESE review building discussions are happening at the same time as our Rep council meeting--we need members who are not Reps to step up and attend these meetings with DESE. There are definitely strong voices in the WEA, and many of you have been unable to make the commitment to being a Building Rep, so now is your chance! High School members: your meeting with DESE will end just before our Union meeting starts...right downstairs in the IWS room/021. What a perfect opportunity to drop by. As always, the first 10 minutes of the meeting are reserved for members who are not Reps to call to our attention any questions, concerns, or issues they want known.
Lastly, at some point next week your principal should be sending you a link to the Mass TELLS survey. This is an opportunity to share our thoughts on the teaching, learning, and leadership conditions at our schools. Questions pertain to conditions such as class size, discipline, technology, and professional development. As I will explain in my report at the meeting, Dr. Salim has reached out to consultants to perhaps help us create a joint labor-management-school committee problem solving committee. How would a committee such as this know which problems most urgently need to be solved? How will the school councils know which goals should be included in the school improvement plans? Only schools with at least 50% participation will have their results reported. In 2012 when the survey was last conducted only 2 of our 12 schools (Johnson and Nash) had over 50% respond. Three of our schools had 0 responses. Building Reps, please contact your principal if you do not receive the codes next week. The survey is open now until February 18th.
Out of respect for our Chapman Reps, Officer, and EBoard member I decided to postpone our meeting to next week. A 7th grader passed away unexpectedly late last week, and the little boy's wake is tomorrow afternoon. Tomorrow will surely be a rough day, especially for our middle school teachers and district counseling team. Please know our thoughts will be with you tomorrow.
In addition, it is looking like we will be having some challenging weather tomorrow. I know there are some other things going on January 27th, but for those who can make it will be addressing the same agenda items.
At 3:50-4:00 will be open for any member to stop by and ask questions or make a comment.
• Approval of the Minutes from November 15 (Ydana)
• President’s Report: District Capacity, and DESE review
• Treasurer’s Report (Val)
• Professional Rights, update (John)
• Communication, New Website! (Mike Miller)
• School Committee, (Mike Murphy)
• Units B and D updates (Rich and ML)
• Special Committee Updates (Maggie Murphy, Joni Cederholm, Cheryl Taylor, Melissa Faulkner)
• Approve ByLaw Changes Art V, VI, and VIII
• Status of interim executive board members
• Message in support of New Bedford HS
• MTA President Candidates
Updates and Concerns
• High School
More information/agenda items to follow, but before you all leave to enjoy a 3-day weekend, I wanted to remind everyone we are meeting on Tuesday, January 21st at 3:50 in room 021 at Weymouth HS. Donna Buckley, our MTA rep, will be attending.
President - WEA