Last night’s meeting was over by 8:30 p.m., leaving Board members milling about in the Board room, wondering what to do with the rest of the evening–not! Like my colleagues, I hightailed it home in time to see the family before bedtime.
Still, there were a few items of interest on the agenda. First, an update on the strategic plan, and the priorities (long- and short-term) the Board jointly developed with the Superintendent and senior staff at our annual retreat on September 18. At our 2010 retreat, there seemed to be so many essential, high-priority initiatives (the special education redesign, the quality middle school inititative, and the implementation of the SIG grants and Superintendent Zones, for example) that it was hard to narrow down the work. But 13 individual priorities is too many for any organization, let alone a cash-strapped school district, so everyone recognized that we needed to reframe the work and focus on fewer, broader initiatives. Staff then proposed three broad categories for our long-term work:
- Create a strong instructional core;
- Implement supports and interventions; and
- Build a high-performing, school-focused central office.
At the retreat, the Board was supportive, but asked a number of follow-up questions about how we will measure progress, prioritize short-term activities, and align our budgeting to activities that are achieving desired outcomes. Last night, Deputy Superintendent Richard Carranza and Special Assistant Orla O’Keeffe (now tasked with managing ongoing strategic initiatives for the Superintendent) gave us an update on how the Superintendent is responding to those questions, with a more fleshed out series of annual goals to be presented in December.
There were also a few contracts of note:
- The district will lease the long-empty Nourse Auditorium (in the 135 Van Ness administration building) to City Arts & Lectures while the Herbst Theater undergoes construction. The lease will generate $2,500 per month in income plus improvements like new seating and lighting to be made by the tenant.
- Goalview (the software the district adopted in 2007 for computerizing Individual Education Plans for students in special education) is being phased out for a less-expensive and less cumbersome product, the Special Education Information System (SEIS).
The Board will not meet Nov. 8 because of Election Day; instead we will meet on Nov. 15. That meeting will be the only meeting of the full Board for November.