Thursday, January 22, 2015

Needed: Dallas ISD Monthly Reports

The Dallas Home Rule Charter Commission has decided to not continue the process to change Dallas ISD into the Dallas Home Rule Charter District.  While that is a positive, everyone agrees that changes are needed in Dallas ISD.  During the Commission meetings the most common phrase spoken by everyone was "We need more information." 

While there is a glut of valuable data on the Dallas ISD and Texas Education Agency web sites for the very few people who know how to navigate those sites, an ordered monthly system of much more timely DISD reports is missing.  Monthly reports should be designed and then consistently attached to the agenda to be presented as part of the superintendents' report at each school board meeting.  

As issues evolve in DISD the format of monthly reports can be modified, with board approval, to meet such needs.  Here is a list of the variables that should be included in such a monthly report:
  1. Student movement that month including students entering or leaving DISD, or transferring between schools, with a demographic profile of these groups provided that includes reasons for the movement.  Include notice of any schools overcrowded that now have more students or any schools underutilized that are now with fewer students due to such movement
  2. Teacher movement that month including teachers hired and leaving DISD, or transferring between schools, with a demographic profile of these groups with reasons for the movement given. Include specific mention of the frequency of the use of substitute teachers by location with a separate tabulation by school of the frequency of substitute teachers not being available and a class having to be moved to other locations to spend the day.
  3. Reports of any testing results received that month with all the associated details to help in the assessment of performance.
These reports would be archived online with data also reported on ongoing spreadsheets so month to month patterns are easy to observe.  A new column for each months' data in such an archival spreadsheet would be simple.  It would quickly become the place to go for a quick study of progress in DISD.

Without a much more consistent system for transparency, reforms being attempted inside DISD have little meaning.  The potential for problems to be hidden and grow increases with the level of secrecy.
=================================================
Immediately after writing this blog I began to study the annual reports for DISD on which there is supposed to be a "public hearing" at 5:30 this afternoon.  I called to speak and was told I had to call yesterday.  Nobody else was signed up to speak at this "public hearing."  So I sent the following email to the DISD Board with the attached spreadsheet I created from the data in one of the reports that was supposed to be discussed today.  This data was not discussed at this evenings hearing and the hearing closed with the president's statement that "since there were no speakers the meeting is adjourned." 

Two in the audience had tried to sign up to speak today with no success due to the 24 hour rule.

From: BBetzen@aol.com
To: miguelsolis@dallasisd.org
CC: ecowan@dallasisd.org, elizabethjones@dallasisd.org, danmicciche@dallasisd.org, nbingham@dallasisd.org, lblackburn@dallasisd.org, joyceforeman@dallasisd.org, benutall@dallasisd.org, mmorath@dallasisd.org
Sent: 1/22/2015 2:29:46 P.M. Central Standard Time
Subj: Todays' 5:30 public discussion of TAPR Annual Reports
 

Dear President Solis and all DISD Trustees,


I regret that I did not call in time to address the Texas Academic Performance Report today.  I have been studying the report and have focused on the summary chart on page 3 of the report on DISD.  It is linked from the TEA web site found in the slides that are part of today's presentation.   Hopefully you will be addressing the significant decline in DISD student performance in all subjects compared to the State of Texas achievements from 2013 to 2014.

Attached please find that summary chart with one column inserted showing how much DISD fell behind in every subject from 2013 to 2014.  I will be present for the hearing if there are any questions, but I understand that your time schedule is tight, almost as if you expected there to be nobody from the public making comments.  

Some of you have been complaining in public that too little of the time at your meetings are spent discussing student achievement. I agree. This is a time to change that. 

I am very disappointed that it was not more clear that public comments could be made and when you had to sign up to talk. I called today and was too late. It is almost as if DISD Administration wanted to keep this hearing hidden so nobody paid attention to the declines in student achievement and the frightening data in these reports. 
 
Respectfully,
 
Bill Betzen, volunteer
www.Dallasisd.us
Dallas ISD Achievement Data
214-957-9739
Annual comparisons of DISD academic progress with Texas for the past 8 years are needed.
Dallas residents must have a much clearer view of the direction DISD schools are going.

 


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Reform Recommendations after "home rule" death

The evening of 1-20-15 the Dallas ISD Home Rule Charter District Commission voted 10 to 5 to end the process of changing DISD into a home rule charter district.  This image from the Channel 8 news that evening also shows the challenge in front of the Commission. 
Dallas ISD "home rule" effort ends, work to reform DISD begins

They must make recommendations to help DISD return to, and go beyond, the solid progress of 2008 through 2012.
 

Recommendations for Dallas ISD Change

1) Transparency


One of the most common statements made by commissioners throughout the past 7 months of these hearings was that "we need more information."  It is no accident that information is hard to come by from inside DISD.  The most critical recommendation the Commission must emphasize is increased transparency from all areas inside Dallas ISD. 

Transparency is an institutional problem with all school districts.  It has been repeatedly addressed by each successive reform effort in DISD.  It was recently addressed by Dallas Achieves 2005 through 2011. Sadly those efforts were generally ended by Mr. Miles who then also has never provided a monthly statistical profile of student achievement, staff and student attrition, and the multitude of variables that all affect student achievement in one way or another. 

It is long overdue for a permanent tradition of public transparency within DISD to be established with data posted for the monthly DISD board meeting and online for the public, and then archived online.  The report can have variables added by the DISD board as needs and focus changes.  Variables that reflect parental and community involvement though PTA and SBDM meetings should be added. 

The data should also go onto spreadsheets to be followed month to month.  Are the students of DISD making progress?   Are the variables that reinforce such progress also growing?

Any other recommendations for change mean little if transparency is not mandated by the DISD Board.   Such a tradition will help all other commissions and volunteer groups that follow to form more quickly and get to work more easily. 

Secrecy, beyond personal confidentiality, is rarely good. It is usually a warning sign.

Other recommendations for change will be posted here, but the secrecy affliction and massive staff turnover now within DISD indicates nothing is more urgent than transparency.  The public must know what is happening inside DISD.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

How Dallas ISD Middle Schools are doing

Below is a just completed report about DISD Middle Schools, listed in order by student poverty from the highest poverty level schools to the least, with the ranking by School Effectiveness Indices and the percentage of limited English proficiency students also given. 

Look at the schools with the highest poverty and highest LEP percentages who are also doing the best with the highest SEI scores.

The two middle schools with the most actively used School Time Capsule Projects for the most years are Quintanilla Middle School since 2005 and Greiner Middle School since 2009.  Student performance improves as students more actively focus on their own futures.  Actively planning for the future is one of the most powerful factors helping to overcome hindrances associated with poverty and limited English proficiency.  It is one part of a complex system needed for our students to embrace high expectations for themselves and excel!

I welcome questions.   bbetzen@aol.com

 
Notice that only two schools have higher poverty rates that Quintanilla and only 4 have higher LEP percentages.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Fall 2014 Dallas ISD Teacher & Administrator Climate Survey Results separately recorded

This is the complete set of teachers responses received 1-13-15 from an open records request.  After the chart on the 8,720 teachers who responded is the chart on the 520 administrators who responded including 209 principals.  While over 80% of administrators agree with the direction the district is going, only 39% of teacher's agreed.  The growing teacher turnover confirms not only that teachers are dissatisfied, but that the thousands of new teachers arriving each of the past two years to replace them were also quickly in almost perfect agreement with the teachers they replaced.   The leadership crisis and lack of appreciation of teachers continues.
District Total Fall 2014

Climate Survey Item Distributions: Teachers

Scale/item
       
Beliefs and Priorities
Strongly Agree
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
Strongly Disagree
Percent Positive
Number 
My campus currently bases its actions on the district's Core Beliefs.
54.1%
35.2%
7.7%
2.0%
1.0%
89.3%
8,752
The district's Core Beliefs will lead to success.
29.8%
37.8%
21.0%
7.5%
4.0%
67.6%
8,697
The key actions my school is working on this year are focused on what is best for students.
42.2%
33.8%
12.0%
8.2%
3.9%
76.0%
8,725
I understand my role in implementing the school's key actions.
51.0%
38.0%
7.1%
2.8%
1.1%
89.0%
8,717
I have the support I need from campus leadership to do my job well.
37.0%
34.1%
13.1%
9.6%
6.1%
71.2%
8,638
My campus leadership helps me understand recent changes in the school's focus.
38.2%
35.7%
13.3%
7.6%
5.2%
73.9%
8,622
How similar are your school's priorities to what you think they should be?
44.3%
24.1%
18.4%
7.8%
5.4%
68.4%
8,650
Overall, my campus is headed in the right direction.
35.9%
34.0%
16.2%
7.9%
6.0%
69.9%
8,740
Overall, the District is headed in the right direction.
15.2%
24.1%
27.8%
15.9%
17.0%
39.3%
8,720
*Scale for this item only: Very similar, Mostly similar, Somewhat similar, Not very similar, Definitely not similar

Positive Culture and Environment
Strongly Agree
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
Strongly Disagree
Percent Positive
Number 
I would recommend this school to others to work here.
33.9%
30.2%
17.7%
9.4%
8.8%
64.1%
8,733
I usually look forward to working each day at this school.
32.3%
35.7%
17.1%
9.1%
5.9%
67.9%
8,724
I believe I work in an environment of support and respect.
34.7%
33.0%
15.5%
9.4%
7.3%
67.7%
8,721
Discipline is enforced consistently and effectively at my campus.
25.0%
30.6%
19.3%
14.2%
10.8%
55.6%
8,730
Unruly students are not permitted to disrupt the learning environment.
24.6%
29.8%
17.6%
15.8%
12.2%
54.4%
8,726
The campus I work in is clean, safe and free of physical hazards.
42.1%
37.3%
10.5%
6.7%
3.3%
79.4%
8,726
If I were offered a comparable position with similar pay and benefits at another district, I would stay with Dallas ISD.
22.3%
20.2%
24.1%
13.3%
20.1%
42.5%
8,726
I am satisfied with the recognition I receive for doing a good job.
29.4%
31.8%
19.4%
11.0%
8.5%
61.2%
8,738
Morale at my school has improved this year.
23.9%
24.1%
25.2%
12.2%
14.6%
48.0%
8,684

Culture of Feedback and Support
Strongly Agree
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
Strongly Disagree
Percent Positive
Number 
My campus leadership helps me improve the quality of my instruction.
33.7%
35.7%
14.9%
9.8%
5.9%
69.4%
8,743
The instructional feedback I get helps me improve the quality of my instruction.
33.2%
35.7%
15.4%
10.1%
5.7%
68.9%
8,735
I have sufficient opportunities and encouragement to develop my leadership potential.
33.0%
33.3%
17.6%
9.9%
6.4%
66.2%
8,721
The PD sessions at my school this year helped me improve instruction.
25.7%
34.2%
20.9%
11.8%
7.3%
60.0%
8,716
My team experiences with colleagues (e.g., grade-level teams, PLCs) this year helped me improve instruction.
36.1%
38.2%
15.1%
6.9%
3.7%
74.3%
8,731
My school has an effective instructional leadership team.
34.0%
34.5%
17.9%
7.9%
5.7%
68.5%
8,684
College-Going Culture
Strongly Agree
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
Strongly Disagree
Percent Positive
Number 
Teachers expect most students in this school to go to college.
38.0%
37.0%
14.9%
8.3%
1.8%
75.0%
8,731
Instruction in this school is focused on helping students get ready for college.
38.9%
37.9%
12.9%
7.4%
2.9%
76.8%
8,722
Teachers in this school feel that it is a part of their job to prepare students to succeed in college.
44.8%
40.6%
10.2%
3.3%
1.1%
85.4%
8,725
Teachers at this school accept nothing less from students than their full effort.
42.7%
37.3%
12.6%
5.5%
1.8%
80.0%
8,722
Teachers at this school do not let students give up when their class work becomes challenging.
41.8%
40.7%
11.9%
4.3%
1.3%
82.5%
8,717
Teachers at this school give students feedback to help them understand how to improve.
44.9%
43.1%
9.3%
2.0%
0.7%
87.9%
8,709

To what extent is each of the following strategies used to promote a college-going culture at your school?
To a great extent
To some extent
To a small extent
Not at all
Number
 
 
 College posters, banners, and pennants are visible in hallways and other common areas.
61.7%
28.0%
8.8%
1.5%
8,731
 
 
 Classrooms contain displays emphasizing the importance of college education, colleges attended by teachers, etc.
42.1%
39.9%
15.5%
2.5%
8,721
 
 
 College materials and information are readily available to students.
34.7%
36.4%
21.2%
7.7%
8,691
 
 
 College graduates, such as alumni or professionals, are invited to classrooms or assemblies as guest speakers.
23.7%
31.7%
27.2%
17.4%
8,694
 
 
 College representatives and recruiters visit the school to speak with staff and students.
20.6%
26.0%
26.3%
27.2%
8,685
 
 
 Student activities focused on college and career planning take place on campus.
27.7%
32.2%
26.7%
13.5%
8,680
 
 
 Family information activities relating to college and career planning take place on campus.
22.4%
31.2%
28.4%
18.0%
8,664
 
 

Core Beliefs
To what extent does each of the following beliefs guide day-to-day actions at your school?
To a very great extent
To a great extent
To some extent
To a small extent
To a very small extent
Percent Positive
Number 
 Our main purpose is to improve student academic achievement.
62.2%
27.4%
7.9%
1.7%
0.9%
89.6%
8,703
 Effective instruction makes the most difference in student academic performance.
60.5%
28.7%
8.4%
1.6%
0.8%
89.2%
8,692
 There is no excuse for poor quality instruction.
60.5%
27.6%
8.8%
1.7%
1.4%
88.1%
8,676
 With our help, at-risk students will achieve at the same rate as non at-risk students.
53.7%
27.6%
13.3%
3.2%
2.2%
81.3%
8,681
 Staff members must have a commitment to children and a commitment to the pursuit of excellence.
63.8%
26.3%
7.4%
1.6%
0.9%
90.1%
8,687

This school year, how often have you:
10+ times
3-9 times
Once or twice
Never
Number
 
 
Observed another teacher's classroom to offer feedback?
5.9%
19.6%
32.4%
42.1%
8,726
 
 
Observed another teacher's classroom to get ideas for your own instruction?
8.4%
25.6%
34.8%
31.2%
8,709
 
 
Gone over student assessment data with other teachers to make instructional decisions?
25.7%
45.8%
20.4%
8.1%
8,717
 
 
Worked with other teachers to develop materials or activities for particular classes?
46.7%
33.1%
14.3%
5.9%
8,721
 
 
Worked on instructional strategies with other teachers?
45.3%
35.3%
14.8%
4.6%
8,706
 
 
I review assessment data:
Weekly
Every 3-4 weeks
Every 6-8 weeks
A few times a year
Never
Number
 
Independently
64.1%
21.3%
8.1%
5.4%
1.1%
8,495
 
With teachers in my grade level
29.8%
34.1%
17.4%
9.6%
9.2%
8,458
 
With teachers across grade levels
11.6%
21.3%
18.3%
24.7%
24.2%
8,587
 
With my principal
10.0%
26.5%
24.7%
23.6%
15.2%
8,565
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Factors Influencing Morale
Percent identifying
 
 
 
 
 
Workplace environment and school culture
59.5
 
 
 
 
 
Feeling appreciated and respected
56.1
 
 
 
 
 
Student progress and success
47.1
 
 
 
 
 
Workload, working hours and schedule
34.0
 
 
 
 
 
Student behavior or discipline
28.3
 
 
 
 
 
The degree to which you feel successful
21.2
 
 
 
 
 
Your relationship with colleagues
20.5
 
 
 
 
 
Your relationship with your immediate supervisor
16.3
 
 
 
 
 
Salary and money issues
12.5
 
 
 
 
 
N= 8,778
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Note: Staff could choose up to three factors, so total percentages exceed 100%.
 
 
 
 
District Total Fall 2014

Climate Survey Item Distributions: Administrators

Scale/item
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Beliefs and Priorities
Strongly Agree
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
Strongly Disagree
Percent Positive
Number 
My campus currently bases its actions on the district's Core Beliefs.
81.5%
15.2%
1.7%
1.5%
0.0%
96.7%
519
The district's Core Beliefs will lead to success.
73.2%
23.6%
2.3%
0.8%
0.2%
96.8%
518
The key actions my school is working on this year are focused on what is best for students.
86.5%
11.0%
1.5%
1.0%
0.0%
97.5%
519
I understand my role in implementing the school's key actions.
88.6%
10.6%
0.6%
0.2%
0.0%
99.2%
517
I have the support I need from campus leadership to do my job well.
71.6%
22.9%
2.9%
1.6%
1.0%
94.5%
310
My campus leadership helps me understand recent changes in the school's focus.
75.5%
18.1%
4.5%
0.6%
1.3%
93.6%
310
How similar are your school's priorities to what you think they should be?
88.3%
8.8%
2.3%
0.6%
0.0%
97.1%
521
Overall, my campus is headed in the right direction.
74.2%
20.8%
3.8%
0.8%
0.4%
95.0%
520
Overall, the District is headed in the right direction.
45.4%
35.4%
11.7%
4.9%
2.7%
80.8%
520
*Scale for this item only: Very similar, Mostly similar, Somewhat similar, Not very similar, Definitely not similar
Positive Culture and Environment
Strongly Agree
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
Strongly Disagree
Percent Positive
Number 
I would recommend this school to others to work here.
76.6%
19.2%
2.9%
1.3%
1.0%
95.8%
520
I usually look forward to working each day at this school.
74.2%
20.4%
2.5%
1.7%
1.2%
94.6%
520
I believe I work in an environment of support and respect.
73.0%
21.2%
3.3%
1.7%
0.8%
94.2%
518
Discipline is enforced consistently and effectively at my campus.
67.3%
28.8%
2.9%
0.6%
0.4%
96.1%
520
Unruly students are not permitted to disrupt the learning environment.
66.5%
29.0%
2.9%
1.2%
0.4%
95.5%
520
The campus I work in is clean, safe and free of physical hazards.
68.2%
27.4%
1.9%
1.7%
0.8%
95.6%
519
If I were offered a comparable position with similar pay and benefits at another district, I would stay with Dallas ISD.
56.9%
22.5%
11.5%
4.6%
4.4%
79.4%
520
I am satisfied with the recognition I receive for doing a good job.
61.5%
26.9%
7.9%
2.9%
0.8%
88.4%
520
Morale at my school has improved this year.
60.9%
25.8%
9.3%
2.5%
1.6%
86.7%
516
College-Going Culture
Strongly Agree
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
Strongly Disagree
Percent Positive
Number 
Teachers expect most students in this school to go to college.
56.3%
34.7%
6.4%
2.7%
0.0%
91.0%
519
Instruction in this school is focused on helping students get ready for college.
60.0%
33.6%
4.6%
1.7%
0.0%
93.6%
518
Teachers in this school feel that it is a part of their job to prepare students to succeed in college.
61.4%
32.4%
4.1%
2.1%
0.0%
93.8%
518
Teachers at this school accept nothing less from students than their full effort.
57.5%
33.6%
5.0%
3.7%
0.2%
91.1%
518
Teachers at this school do not let students give up when their class work becomes challenging.
55.2%
35.9%
5.8%
2.9%
0.2%
91.1%
518
Teachers at this school give students feedback to help them understand how to improve.
55.3%
37.9%
4.7%
1.9%
0.2%
93.2%
515
To what extent is each of the following strategies used to promote a college-going culture at your school?
To a great extent
To some extent
To a small extent
Not at all
Number
 
 
 College posters, banners, and pennants are visible in hallways and other common areas.
67.5%
27.5%
3.7%
1.4%
517
 
 
 Classrooms contain displays emphasizing the importance of college education, colleges attended by teachers, etc.
55.9%
36.4%
7.4%
0.4%
517
 
 
 College materials and information are readily available to students.
52.6%
37.6%
8.8%
1.0%
513
 
 
 College graduates, such as alumni or professionals, are invited to classrooms or assemblies as guest speakers.
49.1%
36.2%
12.6%
2.1%
517
 
 
 College representatives and recruiters visit the school to speak with staff and students.
42.1%
35.5%
15.5%
7.0%
516
 
 
 Student activities focused on college and career planning take place on campus.
51.8%
35.7%
10.1%
2.3%
515
 
 
 Family information activities relating to college and career planning take place on campus.
47.8%
35.8%
13.9%
2.5%
517
 
 
Core Beliefs
To what extent does each of the following beliefs guide day-to-day actions at your school?
To a very great extent
To a great extent
To some extent
To a small extent
To a very small extent
Percent Positive
Number 
 Our main purpose is to improve student academic achievement.
85.3%
12.2%
2.3%
0.2%
0.0%
97.5%
518
 Effective instruction makes the most difference in student academic performance.
83.8%
13.7%
2.5%
0.0%
0.0%
97.5%
518
 There is no excuse for poor quality instruction.
82.0%
14.7%
3.1%
0.0%
0.2%
96.7%
517
 With our help, at-risk students will achieve at the same rate as non at-risk students.
80.2%
16.1%
3.3%
0.2%
0.2%
96.3%
514
 Staff members must have a commitment to children and a commitment to the pursuit of excellence.
80.7%
16.2%
2.1%
0.8%
0.2%
96.9%
517
Principal-Only Items
Strongly Agree
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
Strongly Disagree
Percent Positive
Number 
My Executive Director helped me become a better instructional leader.
61.7
24.4
8.6
3.8
1.4
86.1
209
The data meetings were a good use of my time.
34.4
39.7
13.4
9.6
2.9
74.2
209
The feeder pattern meetings were a good use of my time.
51.2
33.0
8.6
5.7
1.4
84.2
209
Overall, I am satisfied with the support I receive from the division.
58.9
28.2
8.6
2.4
1.9
87.1
209
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Factors Influencing Morale
Percent identifying
 
 
 
 
 
Workplace environment and school culture
68.3
 
 
 
 
 
Student progress and success
58.3
 
 
 
 
 
Feeling appreciated and respected
49.9
 
 
 
 
 
The degree to which you feel successful
37.4
 
 
 
 
 
Your relationship with your immediate supervisor
23.0
 
 
 
 
 
Your relationship with colleagues
18.4
 
 
 
 
 
Workload, working hours and schedule
17.9
 
 
 
 
 
Salary and money issues
10.9
 
 
 
 
 
Student behavior or discipline
8.6
 
 
 
 
 
N= 521
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Note: Staff could choose up to three factors, so total percentages exceed 100%.