Thursday, January 8, 2015

Superintendant's Monthly Report must have consistent, complete data on DISD performance.

Dallas needs a consistent set of monthly reports made during monthly board meetings using the same set of variables to expose changes within DISD.  Monthly changes must be known.  Once designed, these reports should also be completed going back to 2005 so that annual patterns over the last decade can be seen and used in the interpretation of current data.  How is DISD changing?

1) What are student turnover numbers?  How many are coming and going?  How are DISD demographic variables changing, such as the percentage in poverty? Where and why are students moving?  Which schools are different demographic groups attending?   What is the demographic profile, and school enrollment history, for applications and rejections for each of the magnet schools?

2) What is student achievement?  With all the testing there should be ongoing reports as to progress, problems, or gaps that should be reported on.  Demographic patterns, if there are any, should be exposed.

3) What are the teacher turnover numbers?  Resignations?  New hires?  Vacancies?  Why are teachers leaving DISD?  What is being said during separation surveys?

4) How many days each month do students spend with a teacher who is not certified in the subject being taught?  Where?  What is the profile of students most affected?

5) Most critically, how often is a teacher absent with no substitute teacher available to cover immediately at the start of the day?   How many hours does a class remain without a substitute teacher, having to be placed in another classroom or in a cafeteria or gym for supervision by other staff?   How many days each month does this happen?  How many children are affected?

Again, for each of the 5 areas above, is any geographic area within DISD, or demographic segment within DISD, more affected than another?  We all should know!
Monthly reports given during the "Superintendent's Report" should include the data to answer all these and many more questions. These printed reports should be available at each board meeting and also attached to each board meeting agenda as an attachment for the Superintendent's Report.

There should also be one additional monthly meeting at which the superintendent and trustees answer questions directly from the public about this data as well as other issues within DISD.  Times when questions directly from the public are answered have almost disappeared from DISD.

Public transparency by DISD must improve so that any improvement claimed by DISD will more easily be understood, and believed.