PPS Proposes PK-8 Parental Involvement Plan

7:49 am

The school district has proposed a time line and process for parental involvement in the PK-8 transition. Here is the text of an e-mail sent from PPS administrator Sara Allan to PTA representatives:

Dear PTA representatives,

As announced by Superintendent Smith in early March, PPS has kicked off an action team to develop a consistent model and set of standards around what successful PK-8 and middle schools need to look like within the PPS system. This team, led by Harriet Adair, Area Director of the Grant Cluster and interim head of the Office of Schools, has been charged with the development of a district wide plan for PK-8 education by June. The goal of the plan is to ensure that all PK-8 and Middle Schools are building a robust program that enables all students to leave 8th grade ready to be successful in high school. The team is comprised of principals from all levels of PK-12, as well as representatives from district support services. See the attached slides (36KB PDF) which outline our team’s charter in more detail.

We greatly appreciated hearing your thoughts regarding the current strengths and challenges facing your PK-8 schools back in February, and your input has helped to shape the team’s workplan. We would like to set up a process to have parent representatives from the PK8 and middle schools engage in the
development of the plan as the team moves forward. The PPS internal team is meeting to specify the beginning elements of the plan in the next few weeks. As such, we want to set up several points for parents to respond and give input. We hope to develop a rough strawman of a PK-8 program model in the next couple of weeks which we could then share in written format online by the end of the first week of April. We could then set up a parent input session in mid to late April to gather specific comments on it. We’d then go back and do more work and do another session, likely in mid-late May.

Stay tuned for more information about upcoming meetings. In the meantime, any ideas or feedback you have before we get together face to face about the
process or the focus of the team’s work are welcome. Feel free to contact me by email, or phone at 503 916 3047.

We look forward to working together with you.

Sincerely,

Sara Allan

Sara Allan
Director
HR Operations
& Organizational Development
Portland Public Schools

sallan@pps.k12.or.us
p. 503 916 3047
f. 503-916-3110

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Steve Rawley published PPS Equity from 2008 to 2010, when he moved his family out of the district.

filed under: K-8 Transistion

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20 Responses

  1. Comment from Zarwen:

    Classic PPS–implement a decision, THEN make a plan!

  2. Comment from Terry:

    Sara Allan’s still around? Wasn’t she a one-time Broad Foundation intern?

    It’s time for a thorough purge of Phillips’ neoliberal acolytes before any talk of equity can be taken seriously.

  3. Comment from NMLeggett:

    Terry,
    I can’t speak of the past, but Sara did help me on some issues I had with other district staff. She found me out after a school board meeting. Listened honestly to my groups concerns. Then had two communication issues resolved. Motives got me, but she’s certainly can be friendly and useful resource. Our problem are systemic, but there is a bush beneath the weeds.
    Nicole Leggett

  4. Comment from Zarwen:

    Nicole,

    Just FYI, this same Sara Allan has been documented lying to school board members about some issues during the “Sellwood Conversation” of 2006. Maybe she was saying what her superiors told her to say, but she’s the one who actually said them–in a public meeting. I am glad she helped you, but I would never trust her on anything important.

  5. Comment from Anne T.:

    Garnering parent support for their agendas is a key tenet of the Houston school reform movement. They are very specific about it. Read Don McAdams’ book Fighting to Save our Urban Schools and winning. McAdams is a consultant who works for Broad, has had many contracts with PPS, helped get Phillips hired here. He’s a former Houston Independent School District Board member, and was a colleague of Mincberg and Rod Paige.
    It is very disarming when people like Sara Allan actually appear to help you, to be sympathetic to the parents’ point of view. But from what I have seen, it is a very calculated tactic for getting parents behind certain reform packages. In this case I think the reform is to make mega-schools, union-busting and ensuring that consultants and real estate developers get huge monetary rewards. In their lingo this is called “developing close working relationships with community and business stakeholders.”

  6. Comment from Zarwen:

    Anne,

    Given that McAdams has a longstanding relationship with Vicki Phillips (and others), why wasn’t she trying to enlist parental support in the first place, back in ’05? Why have they waited so long to work on that crucial piece?

  7. Comment from Whitebuffalo:

    Hmmm, McAdams is an interesting guy. To by honest I hadn’t heard of him before. Not sure I want him around. Check him out:
    (his organization) http://www.crss.org/
    (his bio)
    http://www.crss.org/staff.htm

    He claims to have done the following in Houston: Among the changes he helped institute in the school district during that time were the implementation of school accountability, district decentralization, the establishment of charter schools, the outsourcing of most HISD business functions to private contractors, more flexible personnel management policies, an academic core curriculum for high school students, a new elementary school reading curriculum, promotion standards, and other improvements in education and management.

  8. Comment from Anne T.:

    McAdams and Phillips’ idea of parent support and ours is very different. Their idea of parent support is to recruit people who will support their agenda, to turn dissatisfaction into a movement for their agenda. I attended a small schools conference and heard the head of the Center for Excellent Schools give a lecture about it. He even put up a power point slide about parental despair.
    I saw Phillips come into Edwards and try to butter up parent leaders, telling them they could “lead their people” through the closure and merger at Abernethy. (Funny, she never asked me to help her out.)
    A perfect current example is the buyoff of a lot of the Hollyrood and Lincoln and Rieke parents. By promising them brand new schools they will gain support for their agenda–a bond that will line the pockets of local developers, and consultants from all over the country.
    And speaking of consultants (don’t yell at me for digressing, Steve, I cannot help it), look at how much money is pouring into consultants from Houston and Pennsylvania, from Magellan to Marilyn Crawford to those Houstonians who consulted on a discipline program implemented at George Middle School among others.

  9. Comment from Anne T.:

    Re: McAdams and Broad. Remember that our school board routinely goes to Broad seminars for their training. When people from NSA pointed out the Broad agenda was for privatization, School Board members protested saying they were free to disagree with the training.

  10. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    Digress all you want, Anne, I find it informative. Remember, I’ve only been paying close attention to this stuff for just over a year.

  11. Comment from Terry:

    Broad –and by association Sara Allan– support charter schools. Charter schools are the first step toward the privatization of public education.

    That’s reason enough to purge the district of any Broad or other neoliberal influences.

  12. Comment from Whitebuffalo:

    Terry,

    Can you explain what you mean by “neoliberal”. I’ve seen it used a couple of times lately and I don’t see the connection between privitization, charter schools and liberal or neoliberal.

  13. Comment from Terry:

    Neoliberals –”new”liberals– believe in the power of an essentially deregulated free market to solve many of our social ills. They also believe in market accountability, an especially pernicious and dangerous notion when applied to public schools.

    Read this post I wrote about Vicki Phillips for a definition in the context of PPS.

  14. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    “Liberal” as in liberal markets or neoclassical liberalism. That is, the laissez-faire capitalism that preceded and has superseded Keynesianism since the mid seventies.

    Not to be confused with social liberalism, with which neoclassical capitalism is at odds.

    See also the Chicago School of economics led by libertarian economist Milton Friedman.

  15. Comment from Whitebuffalo:

    Ok, fine. I guess whenever I hear “liberal” I relate it into politically liberal (left in the left to right scale). In always tend to believe that the politically liberal are more apt to support public education than those on the right that tend to push for charter schools, vouchers, etc.

  16. Comment from Terry:

    You’re right, Whitebuffalo. But the tendency of late has been for nominal liberals to buy into the ideology of market accountability for schools. And of course, school choice.

    The undermining of public education from the putative left may be a more serious and intractable problem than the more obvious right wing (and libertarian) attempts to demean and then privatize our schools.

    That’s why I am careful to identify myself as a progressive, not just a liberal Democrat.

  17. Comment from Anne T.:

    http://neighborhoodschoolsalliance.org/node/79

    This is the link to the Neighborhood Schools Alliance Press Release of 2-06 that describes the ideology of the Broad Foundation and PPS’s involvement with Broad.

  18. Comment from Anne T.:

    Sorry, forgot to mention that just after we authored that press release we learned about neo-liberalism. So if we had to write it again today, it would read “Why is the PPS School Board attending seminars at neo-liberal think tanks??” Then we could have a lively debate with the Board about the problem with neo-liberalism.
    The other point I would have made is that the board has used right wing think tank ideologies to drive its decisions too. Heritage Foundation documents were used to design the Jefferson reforms.

  19. Comment from Whitebuffalo:

    Terry,

    You’re right. It would be almost a lost cause if the traditional allies (center and left) bought into the “free-market is our friend” as it pertains to schools. Not sure how they think that running a school like a business is going to succeed in educating kids better. Businesses exist for one reason and one reason only–to make money. Greed will trump learning.

  20. Comment from Neisha:

    Didn’t Ted Kennedy co-author NCLB? Or am I remembering this wrong? In any event, it’s pretty bad out there in terms of Democrats supporting some of these “reform” efforts, like charter schools and high stakes testing for 3rd graders.