Based on community input, as a TUSD School Board Member, I would work with the Superintendent to:
1. Survey current district employees, students, and families to gauge satisfaction levels, collect input on current faults, gather ideas for solutions, and address complaints.
2. Invest in technology. Invest in communication. Collaborate with the community and media to share more effectively the amazing things that TUSD is doing, how some schools are thriving, and what the district is learning from those schools to improve district-wide.
3. Use community feedback to solve the discipline problem. Stop condemning and vilifying people who come forward; use their concerns to solve issues regarding violence and assaults in the schools.
4. Create a forum for parent and community input, empower parents, and use community experience and expertise as assets by forming community task forces.
5. Routinely reach out to parents and community groups for feedback and advice about how schools can improve.
6. Tie the Strategic Plan to the Unitary Status Plan (USP).
7. Revise the Superintendent goals to include measurable outcomes that depend upon notable improvement in quantifiable gains like student enrollment numbers, new hires, and employee vacancies.
a. Tie the Supt. goals to the USP, Curriculum Audit, and Comprehensive Magnet Plan (CMP). The CMP, for example, requires that:
i. A magnet school must be an A or B school as defined by the Arizona Department of Education school letter grade system.
ii. Students in magnet schools will score higher than the state median in reading and math on the state assessment.
iii. Students in magnet schools show higher growth than the state median growth in math and reading.
iv. Magnet schools will secure the growth of the bottom 25% of the students at the school at a rate higher than the state median growth of the bottom 25%.
v. Magnet schools will reduce achievement gaps between the racial groups so that achievement gaps between racial groups are less than those in schools not participating in magnet programs.
8. Open the budget for community inspection and input. Describe the budget in a handbook; explain the logic behind budget allocations so that the average reader can understand how and why money is being spent as it is.
9. Proactively address concerns about desegregation funding; spend desegregation funds on desegregating the district.
10. Revise and update the TUSD website to make it easier to find information, including the Unitary Status Plan. The USP should be as prominent on the website as the Strategic Plan.
11. Explore grants and other sources of funding to supplement budgets for diverse students with extraordinary needs, including refugees, English language learners, students living on their own or in foster care, etc.
12. Engage the community, as appropriate, to decide whether buildings that currently stand empty should be sold, leased to community groups, etc. Collect feedback to understand and gauge needs, desires, intentions to work together to make the best use of TUSD schools; invest in new, updated spaces.
13. Stop outsourcing, invest in employee morale, and defer to employee expertise.
14. Invest in solar energy.
15. Raise funding to each classroom from $.49 per dollar to $.70. Research grant, federal, and state sources of additional funding and apply for them.
16. Return control of site budgets to site leaders.
17. Stop hiring administrators. Replace the librarians, counselors, custodians, and others who have been cut. Put certified teachers who are not teaching back into the classrooms. Increase “blue collar worker” and substitute pay.
18. Hold administrators, particularly the Superintendent, accountable for student achievement rates.
19. Raise the average teacher salary to $50,000 per year; pay experienced teachers well for their experience.
20. Provide robust teacher support and development systems; empower teachers to replicate what is working in high performing schools.
21. Invest in technology, and use the technology to eliminate bureaucracy and red tape, simplify district processes, and communicate with employees.
22. Actively recruit students and teachers to the district; hold periodic hiring fairs.
23. Use other successful districts as examples, and work with other districts to improve.
24. Improve efficiency of the bus system by empowering current leaders to continue to step up and continue streamlining processes.
25. Populate busses with safety monitors and collect input about how to improve morale from the bus drivers and monitors.
Revise the Strategic Plan
Revise the Strategic Plan to include specific and measurable outcomes so any reader can tell when goals are reached.
Currently, the first point reads:
Strategic Priority #1: Curriculum: TUSD will design an aligned, articulated and well-administered curriculum that supports academically high standards of learning for all children, integrates college- and career-ready skills, incorporates fine and performing arts and is culturally relevant for our diverse student population. It will be reviewed and revisited regularly to meet the changing demands of our students and community.
In collaboration with the Superintendent and other board members, I would replace the first point as it is written above to, FOR EXAMPLE:
Strategic Priority #1: Curriculum: TUSD will ensure that there is available on each school’s individual website a curriculum map for each subject taught at the school, across grade levels.
Specific: TUSD will design an aligned, articulated and well-administered curriculum that supports academically high standards of learning for all children. Measurable: TUSD will provide curriculum maps. Achievable: The Supt. will work with principals and teachers to determine a schedule to fulfill this responsibility. Results-oriented: Parents will find the maps online, at each school website. Time-bound: The curriculum maps will be up and available for parent inspection by May 2017.
S: The curriculum will be reviewed and revisited regularly to meet the changing demands of our students and community. M: School principals will lead their staff in reviewing and revising the curriculum on a timeline set at the school level, posted to the school website. A: The Supt. will work with principals and teachers to determine a schedule to fulfill this responsibility. R: Parents and other community members will see updated curriculum maps each year, which reflect the changing needs of the students and the community. T: The maps will be available on school websites beginning in May 2017.
S: Students will graduate ready for college or for employment. M: TUSD will collect (and share on its website) data regarding college entrance and graduation rates and for post high school graduation employment rates, beginning in May 2017. TUSD will create a system to collect contact information for TUSD graduates, so TUSD can send graduates periodic surveys collecting information about college and work experiences. A: The Supt. will work with principals and teachers to determine a schedule to fulfill this responsibility. R: Reported data will show that students graduate at a rate of 80%, enter college or enter the workforce at a rate of at least 90%, report that they are equipped to work or study at a rate of at least 80%, and graduate from college in 5 yrs or less at a rate of 60% (I just chose these numbers at random as an example). T: Data will be collected beginning in March 2017. Data will be reported beginning in September 2017.
S: schools will offer courses in the fine and performing arts. M: List schools, will offer courses in the fine and performing arts. A: The Supt. will work with principals and teachers to determine a schedule to fulfill this responsibility. R: parents will find these courses listed and students will be able to enroll in the courses on school websites. T: completed on date . . . .
S: schools will offer culturally relevant classes that reflect TUSD’s diverse student population. M: TUSD will offer list courses, at list schools. A: The Supt. will work with principals and teachers to determine a schedule to fulfill this responsibility. R: Students will report that they are taking diverse courses with diverse students, as reported by teachers, and parents will find these courses listed and students will be able to enroll in the courses. T: completed on . . .
***The Superintendent should present the Board with a timeline, perhaps in February 2017, detailing the curriculum map completion goals and dates for each school.