Wednesday, October 11, 2017

October 2017 Newsletter

Hello TUSD Friends,

I hope this letter finds you well.  I am writing with another monthly update. 

1.     Academic achievement and data collection. I continue to request data—most recently, we received information about TUSD’s achievement gap.  It has not changed much, if at all, in the past 15 years.  I believe that a focus on data will change that, and I believe that we have begun moving in the right direction.  It takes time though. 
a.     The new Arizona State Board of Education school grading system is out, and TUSD’s schools were awarded every grade from A to F.  Now that we know what will be assessed, I am confident that many schools’ grades will improve next year.  As it is, the grades confirm what we already knew: there are wide differences among individual schools in TUSD.                                               
  • TUSD’s letter grades are attached.
2.     University High School faculty and administration, along with several committees and associations, have approached us about moving UHS from Rincon’s campus to its own site, potentially taking over Catalina High School.  I think it seems like a good idea, and I look forward to learning more about the possibilities. 
a.     I know that the Plaintiffs have concerns related to TUSD’s desegregation efforts and the Unitary Status Plan, but I trust that there is a way to honor the spirit of the USP and give UHS its own campus.  It does not make sense to have our highest performing high school in the basement of another popular high school—they have grown out of this set-up, and they are both too big.  It also does not make sense to me to have two other high schools, each on their own individual sites, that are under-enrolled.  Community members have reached out with ideas about what we can do to organize our schools more efficiently, and I hope you will continue.    
b.     I talk about UHS (and more) in a radio interview with Chris DeSimone on Wake Up Tucson, which is attached in case you want to listen.
3.     The Board will get together soon to discuss evaluating the Superintendent.
a.     What do you think of the criteria for evaluation on pages 8-12 of the NYSSBA criteria at http://www.nyssba.org/clientuploads/nyssba_pdf/supt-eval-write-06052015.pdf?  I like them, though I think our Supt. also needs to focus on creating a culture of accountability by putting strategies and systems in place that will ensure that policies are followed as they are written.  (The Board needs to make sure policies are written well and promote success, of course.)  Using data to evaluate and adjust systems continuously is essential.
4.     TUSD’s bond package— Prop 458—is on the ballot this November.  Vote YES to approve $180 million in bonds for TUSD facilities! 
a.     Though I am optimistic that we can find still other ways to be more efficient in our current situation, I hope that our community members recognize the value of investing in our schools—and vote yes.  
5.     I continue to work with our teachers and other employees, Tucson Education Association members, and determined educators to achieve better working conditions for our employees.  
a.     I hope everyone will continue reaching out to share your stories.  It is a pleasure networking with you to improve conditions.  As my mom used to say: it’s a process, not a happening.  But, eventually, it will happen.   
6.     I hosted a Sit & Chat on 9/30, and we talked mostly about UHS and plans for moving its campus—reasons why it is good and issues that may arise.  The next Sit & Chat is 10/21 (I postponed this week’s gathering for Tucson Meet Yourself). 
Please RSVP on Facebook (at https://www.facebook.com/sedgwickforschoolboard2016/). 
a.     Just FYI, I plan to hold Sit & Chats at noon at CeeDee’s Jamaican Kitchen on Speedway on:
                                               i.     October 28
                                             ii.     November 11
                                            iii.     December 2
                                            iv.     December 16 
If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to reach out.  I do not promise that I will respond immediately, but I will respond eventually.  I am working now, so life is busier than it was before.  Phew!  Your feedback is still very much appreciated. 

Thank you for your time.  Have a great week J

Sincerely,

Rachael Sedgwick

Sedgwick4tusd.com

No attachments here, but if you email me, I will send you any attachment you would like.  Thanks!

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