SACS accrediation findings for FCBOE

Thu, 02/26/2009 - 4:47am
By: sniffles5

The January FCBOE called session meeting minutes are finally up, one month later.

The highlight is the preliminary findings of the SACS accreditation team:

As expected, the SACS team found we had motivated students and great teachers. Anyone surprised there?

Of particular interest was 5 areas for improvement identified by the SACS team:

  1. Construct a detailed plan for building and maintaining the technology infrastructure and a professional learning plan to prepare the stakeholders for successful utilization of the technology for 21st century classrooms.
  2. Provide differentiated instruction using research-based strategies pervasively and consistently throughout all classrooms to meet the diverse needs and learning styles of students.
  3. Develop a system-level assessment plan for each grade and all subjects that includes the expectations for use of each assessment and its purpose.
  4. Review, discuss and monitor state assessment data for subgroups relevant to the school system. Similarly, data on higher levels of achievement should be reviewed, discussed and monitored.
  5. Revise existing Strategic Plan to prioritize areas of greatest need for the purpose of creating a more focused and manageable plan. The district plan and school improvement plans must be clearly and concisely articulated, aligned and monitored.

I found items 1 and 5 particularly telling:
In bureaucratese-speak, the SACS board is basically telling the board that their technology plan is severely deficient, and the so-called "Strategic Plan" is a joke.

I have been railing about these two particular issues for several years now, and it's good to have outside professional vindication of my position.

The board simply does not manage to the "Strategic Plan" (example, our leased computers are fully funded for the future beginning in 2006), it is an unprioritized 160 page wish list of desired expenditures and wishful thinking. As such, the "Strategic Plan" is simply a dusty historical check list, rarely updated and even more rarely consulted.

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Spear Road Guy's picture
Submitted by Spear Road Guy on Tue, 03/03/2009 - 8:13pm.

You would think with all the mismanagement the SACS would kick them in the pants. What gives?

Vote Republican

Submitted by RT Tugger on Thu, 02/26/2009 - 9:01am.

Thanks, Sniffles. You have consistently been an informed critic of our BOE. I appreciate the information you pass on to the rest of us and your well-reasoned comments. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn't it the responsibility of the superintendent and the assistant superintendent(s) and their (very large) staffs to come up with the strategic plan? The BOE then approves it, correct? Then the superintendent and his (extensive) staff are supposed to oversee its implementation, right? If SACS is telling Fayette County that our strategic plan is unfocused and unmanageable and that the district plan and school improvement plans are unclear, too long, poorly articulated, poorly aligned with each other, and poorly monitored, then doesn’t this speak VOLUMES about the (very highly paid) leadership in this school district? Wouldn’t the creation of a sound strategic plan be one of the primary jobs of the superintendent and his staff? It seems to me that not only have our BOE members led us down a road to financial crisis, but now SACS has found that our superintendent and staff are poor planners as well. I think it’s time for major changes at the top. We are not getting our money’s worth.

sniffles5's picture
Submitted by sniffles5 on Thu, 02/26/2009 - 9:47am.

From what I understand, and I could be mistaken, the county slapped together a "strategic plan" back in 2006 because it was a prerequisite needed to become a "School Board of Distinction". Once it was written, it was filed and forgotten until 2008, at which time they added a few more items to the "wish list".

The plan itself is a mess. You can tell there were at least eight authors, one for each functional area of the county, and it was stitched together with no cohesive theme.

Many of the second-level managers who put this plan together cannot distinguish between a strategic goal and an operational goal. "Get 3 employees re-classified to higher pay grade" is not a strategic goal.

One example: back in 2006, one of the high priority items in the technology department (I am assuming it was a high priority because it was listed near the top of the wish list) was to re-code the county's website in PHP and scrap the existing HTML code. Reason? There was NO business reason for doing this, the programmers wanted to stay current with "hot" technologies and spend their days keeping their skillset current at county expense. This is not "Strategic", folks...this is a lack of management control!

If you read all the way through that 160-page monstrosity (and I did..twice), you'll get a sickening feeling that there is essentially no forward-thinking vision by upper management. That could be partially excused in times of rapid expansion, but we've had four straight years of slow growth/no growth and upper management of the board of education just does not seem up to the challenge.

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