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Sutherland for Schools blog

No very large Enrichment Opportunity Classes

by Ann Sutherland on 08/14/18

Dr. Washington reported late yesterday that there are no excessively large classes and that the EOC classes (as of yesterday) exist only in five high schools. Here are the numbers as of Monday 8/13:

Carter Riverside:  4 teachers 3-22 students; 1 teacher 23 sstudents
Arlington Heights:  3 teachers:  1 with 7, 1 with 6 and one with 5
Diammond Hill-Jarvis:  1 with 4 students
Western Hills:  1 with 5 students, 1 with 2 students
Paschal has major issues and these classes will be balanced, according to Dr. W.
Currently:  1 teacher has 2 classes of 32 and 31 students; one has 45 and 22 students; one teacher, not yet hired, has a class of 64 students; one has 16 students; 1 has 41 students; 1 has 41 students; 1 has 32 students and one has 36 students.  After these classes are balanced, no teacher will have more than 31 except one will have 36.

This data is from online enrollment only.

Just revealed! HS "Enrichment classes" of up to 100 students for core teachers

by Ann Sutherland on 08/11/18

I received this truly shocking comment.  Making teachers manage study halls?
With talk of record-keeping, lesson plans, grades, etc. . . . . This is unthinkable.
I am asking Dr. Scribner for explanation and will post what I learn.
Hello Dr. Sutherland - As I am sure you know the new 8 period day for high      
school requires that we all have Enrichment Classes (a type of study hall??).   
Anyways I have over one hundred students in two of these classes and must       
therefore meet in the library of our school for those class periods (on top of  
5 full classes of English). I hope that you can investigate this matter, as     
many other teachers are having classes to large to fit in their classroom. I    
have also heard that we will be required to do some sort of teaching/curriculum 
and grades. If this is true it adds another 100+ students to my workload which  
will cause me hours and hours and hours of extra work. I hope that you can help 
us teachers, 2018-2019 is going to be a rough year. 

About those FWISD/Palazzolo appeals

by Ann Sutherland on 08/11/18

Like many others, I have been mystified about all the appeals FWISD is issuing, often without board foreknowledge or vote.

It turns out that the prerogative to appeal lies with TASB (Tx. Assn of School Boards).  This is because they are the ones that are liable under the terms of our then-existent liability contract.  We paid the co-pay of $100,000 long ago and they are responsible for the additional liability.

Old-timers will remember that TASB cancelled our insurance policy when we refused to settle for a pre-trial amount of less than $1 million.

While some of the Fort Worth board slept

by Ann Sutherland on 07/18/18

--$30 million moved into the central office from the schools over two years.  This is equivalent to the entire teaching staff of three FWISD high schools, though a lot of this money went for things other than staff (including $9.7 million in curriculum contracts)

--$47 million taken from the bond into operations outside of school control from the 4017 bond election, unannounced to the public, to reduce the two projected deficits.
--Over 100 teacher reductions cuts in secondary core classes for the 17-18 year, 
--Adoption of the 2018-19 budget cutting another 153 secondary teachers, many of whom are "on surplus" and still being paid.

The staffing cuts resulted in an increase of 12 in the number of Improvement Required secondary schools--500%.  Wonder what will happen this coming hear after the continuing cuts?

Thanks to the support of President Jackson and 1st VP T.A. Sims, there were three votes against this budget. 

Maybe next year there will be more votes against it.  Classroom cuts and the misuse of publicly-voted bond funds should be at the top of 2019 board election.

My letter to the Star-Telegram re the FWISD budget

by Ann Sutherland on 07/07/18

Here is my response to last Sunday's S-T editorial criticizing us for agreeing to vote against the budget.  The S-T published it.

I am responding to your June 26 editorial criticizing the three of us who voted against the budget.  I do not agree that discussions and agreements made by a minority of board members are improper.  This is how better decisions are made. 
Information provided to the public does not meet legal requirements, including required notices to the public, the comparison of the budget with the 2017-18 budget, and a number of other items. 
There are huge increases in the central office budget while staffing of our secondary school core classes is being decimated. 
FWISD is spending money which exceeds our income, redirecting bond money to lessen the deficit.  Staff has refused repeatedly to present budget projections for the coming years, but if this spending continues, we will be unable to replace equipment which is wearing out, including our bus fleet, and our reserves will dwindle to zero.

Our budgeting problems from an expert

by Ann Sutherland on 07/03/18

I received this comment which deserves its own post.  See my response below.

The reason principals are not involved is Finance planning model is not metric  
based.  Steps to smart school budgeting 1) Calculating initial funding using    
enrollment, poverty and mobility rates, teacher with prep, 2) Send out School   
toolkit for minor tweaks and then 3) Finance decides if they accept tweaks.     
Saint Paul Public Schools has developed the only Smart School Budgeting metric  
based solution in the requires integration of people, process and       

I watched the board meeting on June 26 and it was amazing how little data was   
given for the community to transparency

If principals are not engaged in process, they will not be interested in making 
smart school budgeting better

Will be glad to show the board the Smart school budgeting model built for Saint 
Paul Public Schools.

Attorney General subpoenas entire

by Ann Sutherland on 06/28/18

Today the FWISD received a demand from the Texas attorney general asking us to provide a complete copy of our human sexuality curriculum, noting that in at least one case (McLean 6th grade), the district denied parents access to the curriculum.  

The letter is addressed to "Ms. Tobi and Dr. Scribner" and can be viewed at 

Preliminary results FWISD IR schools

by Ann Sutherland on 06/26/18

IR Schools

FWISD as a whole "passed" the STAAR exams .. .  I hesitate to accord these schools as "failing" since there are a lot of causes which are not measured--and, more importantly, are outside the district's ability to control.  But here they are:

004 Diamond Hill?Jarvis HS 51
005 Dunbar HS  53
006 Eastern Hills HS  53
016 O.D. Wyatt HS 57
043 Wedgwood 6th 1 58
048 William James MS  53
051 Meacham MS 50
052 Meadowbrook MS 1 57
053 Monnig MS 1 50
054 Morningside MS  51
056 Riverside MS  57
059 J.M. Jacquet MS 49
061 Leonard MS  50
064 Glencrest 6th  49
067 Rosemont 6th   58
135 Van Zandt?Guinn ES  47
151 Natha Howell ES  55
152 Oaklawn ES  53
159 Versia Williams ES  58

Restorative Discipline doesn't seem to be working

by Ann Sutherland on 06/16/18

You may remember that after a FWISD climate survey revealed that over half of our teachers fear either verbal or physical assault, we quit getting reliable data on teacher opinions about classroom climate.  

I just discovered a newsletter about schools which centers on things teachers are particularly interested in.  This link is testimony about the failure of President Obama's new discipline policy which doesn't seem to be working.

A longer article with more references is

Farewell to Sammy Monge

by Ann Sutherland on 06/15/18

Mr. Monge retires at the end of June.  I've had my beefs with him but he did some great, and unheralded things which deserve note.  Most notable was the oversight he provided during Dr. Scribner's early tenure.  Thanks to Mr. Monge and others, the district continued to operate during these early months.  

Sammy has great scope:  sitting through those board agenda review meetings, I could not help but be impressed not only with his grasp of each of those scores of agenda items but also his ability to present each of them clearly and briefly.

So thanks, Mr. Monge.  Enjoy your retirement--you've earned it.

More central office staff

by Ann Sutherland on 06/07/18

FWISD recently disclosed that in the 17-18 year, they ADDED 12 positions to the central office staff plus 6 more to maintenance.

More next year.  

Decimating our secondary teaching force: 181 teachers placed on "surplus list"; more coming . . .

by Ann Sutherland on 06/07/18

Dr. Scribner is on track to better Julius Caesar, who liked to murder one-tenth of the soldiers when he conquered a neighboring territory.  But we are decimating our own teaching force.  Worse, we are targeting some of our most experienced teachers.

The district has sent me a list of these 181 teachers with their ethnicity and years of service. Of the 181,
--34 have resigned
--6 retured
--12 were transferred, and
--124 have not been placed as of 5/24/2018.

Racial breakdown:
45 African American
24 Hispanic
1 Native American
3 Other
100 White

Most have only a few years of service.  However, of the 141 who did not retire or resign, 17 (12%) have over ten years of service.

It is universally acknowledged by education experts that, within the school, teachers have the most impact.  Principals have some, and central office "helpers" have none.

This is inconcievable to me; but more important, secondary teachers should be warned that they may be among the next 300 slated for the exit.

Press excluded from visiting failing FWISD school

by Ann Sutherland on 05/23/18

KERA is doing a series on failing schools but when they tried to visit John T. White, access was denied.

"Why are you doing this to our children?"

by Ann Sutherland on 05/21/18

Why are cuts being made?? I was very proud of my granddgt for choosing orchestra at xxxxxxxx middle school which hasn't been cut,yet, how much was cut from sports? Why are you doing this to our children? 

Here is my weak answer:  There is no legitimate excuse for cuts of this size.  

It all started last year when staff decided, without board deliberation or approval, that we would achieve a high school student:teacher ratio of 25:1, with teachers teaching 6 core teachers (7 non-core classes).

OK, so let's do the math.  Staffing ratio for core classes is 150 for 6 classes.  That's 25 students per class.  So apparently these mathematically illiterate central office staffers thihnk we are going to have every one of the classes staffed at 25 students?

President Jackson and the board are going after this.  Watch.

May 15 staffing data for 2018-19 secondary schools available

by Ann Sutherland on 05/17/18

Staff still proposes to reduce secondary school staffing by 153.5 teachers, despite INCREASES in secondary student enrollment.  The data is available on my information page.

Please let your board members know how you feel about these reductions.  Central office functions were increased by $32 million in the current year even as the class sizes increased.  Further  additions are proposed for the next year.

There are NO TEACHER OR PRINCIPAL participants in the preparation of the budget and the board has refused to establish a budget committee.  Thus the budget is 100% created by central office staff.

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