ArabicChinese (Simplified)EnglishFrenchItalianRussianSpanishSwahili

Tag Archive: Governance

  1. September 2015 Board Watch Report Card

    Leave a Comment

    Below is the twenty-fourth Board Watch report card based on volunteer assessments.  The current report card reflects assessments from June through August of 2015. Overall, the School Board received a C+ average.

    Volunteer for Board Watch.

    Board Watch Report Card September 2015

     

     

     

    • Overall: The overall grade is a 3.25 (C+), which was the same grade as the previous Report Card. The grades were calculated from 23 surveys from 13 different volunteers.
    Minimum Score     Grade
      5.00  A+
      4.67  A
      4.33  A-
      4.00  B+
      3.67  B
      3.33  B-
      3.00  C+
      2.67  C
      2.33  C-
      2.00  D+
      1.67  D
      1.33  D-
      1.00  F
    • Focus and Mission: The score is a 2.86 (C), which decreased from a C+ on the previous Report Card. On average, volunteers reported that the Board only spent about half of its meeting time managing time effectively, focusing on ways to achieve the district’s goals, and prioritizing student outcomes.
    • Transparency: The score is a 3.83 (B), the same grade as on the previous Report Card.  On average, volunteers agreed that they felt welcome at the meeting and understood the information presented and the rationale behind the Board’s actions.
    • Conduct: The score is a 4.24 (B+), the same grade as on the previous Report Card.  This means that on average, volunteers reported that few Board members used sarcastic or disrespectful verbal or nonverbal communication.  They reported that most of the Board handled differences of opinion respectfully.
    • Role Clarity: The score is a 2.13 (D+), the same as on the previous Report.  This score reflects that on average, volunteers reported that the Board spent less than half of its meeting time focused on how the district is making progress toward achieving its goals and using policy to create solutions to Board member concerns.  Volunteers said the Board spent more than half of its meeting time focused on the details of agenda items (i.e., when items occur, who participates, etc.).
    • Competency: The score is a 3.22 (C+), the same grade as on the previous Report Card.  On average, volunteers reported that only about half of Board members were prepared for meetings and appeared to use research, district data, existing policies, and other facts to inform their opinions.

    A Deeper Look at the Scores 

    Compared with the previous Report Card, volunteers observed a slight increase in comments referencing existing policies and seeking solutions/measuring progress.  Volunteers also observed an increase in Board Member comments communicating a lack of respect for fellow Board Members and/or district staff.  Specifically, volunteers suggested that when Board Members disagree with others, they should do so in a respectful way.

     


    Recommendation – Focus on Policy Making; Time Management

    The Board received its lowest grade in Role Clarity.  This grade reflects volunteer observations that the Board spends relatively little time focused on (1) how the district is making progress toward achieving its goals and (2) using policy to create solutions to Board Member concerns.  Although volunteers did observe the Board making comments about the needs of specific groups of students, they did not observe the Board addressing equity in a manner reflecting their role as policy makers.  We encourage the Board to use its time together to discuss progress toward goals and policy solutions that will result in more equitable access to opportunities for all students in the district.

    During this reporting period, volunteers also observed a lack of good time management during the meetings: starting late, returning to items previously discussed, and asking questions that could not be answered at the time.  Additionally, volunteers commented that in some instances, they believed meeting protocols and regular rules of order were not being followed.  These issues may be preventing the Board from focusing on its overall equity goals of maximum achievement for all students and equitable distribution of resources to address the needs of all students.

     


    Links to Videos of Board Meetings Covered by this Report Card

    Watch the Board meetings that our Board Watch volunteers attend to better understand the grade the Board received.

    Agenda Review Meetings.

    Legislative Meetings.


    Since the launch of Board Watch in January 2009, A+ Schools has issued 24 report cards on Pittsburgh School Board governance practices based on observations of meetings by trained volunteers.

    The Sepetember 2015 report card is the seventeenth report card to be issued using the new reporting form (Version 2.0) introduced by A+ Schools in 2011. Version 2.0 reflects higher expectations for the School Board’s governance and allows for more specific feedback and recommendations from Board Watch volunteers.


     What You Can Do

    More Information

  2. June 2014 Board Watch Report Card

    Leave a Comment

    Below is the twentieth Board Watch report card based on volunteer assessments.  The current report card reflects assessments from March through May.  Overall, the School Board maintained a B– average. 

    June2014_webReportCard

     

    Minimum Score     Grade
      5.00  A+
      4.67  A
      4.33  A-
      4.00  B+
      3.67  B
      3.33  B-
      3.00  C+
      2.67  C
      2.33  C-
      2.00  D+
      1.67  D
      1.33  D-
      1.00  F
    • Overall: The overall grade is a 3.46 (B-), the same letter grade as in the previous Report Card.  The grades were calculated from 15 surveys from 16 different volunteers. 
    • Focus and Mission: The score is a 3.24 (C+), which is the same grade as in the previous Report Card.  On average, volunteers reported that the Board only spent about half of its meeting time managing time effectively, focusing on ways to achieve the district’s goals, and prioritizing student outcomes.
    • Transparency: The score is a 3.65 (B-), decreasing from a B on the previous Report Card.  On average, volunteers agreed that they felt welcome at the meeting and understood the information presented and the rationale behind the Board’s actions. 
    • Conduct: The score is a 4.31 (B+), decreasing from an A- on the previous Report Card.  This means that on average, volunteers reported that ­few Board members used sarcastic or disrespectful verbal or nonverbal communication.  They reported that most of the Board handled differences of opinion respectfully. 
    • Role Clarity: The score is a 2.53 (C-), remaining a C- and continuing to be the lowest grade.  This score reflects that on average, volunteers reported that the Board spent less than half of its meeting time focused on how the district is making progress toward achieving its goals and using policy to create solutions to Board member concerns.  Volunteers said the Board spent more than half of its meeting time focused on the details of agenda items (i.e., when items occur, who participates, etc.). 
    • Competency: The score is a 3.24 (C+), decreasing from a B- from the previous Report Card, which means that on average, volunteers reported that only about half of Board members were prepared for the meeting and appeared to use research, district data, existing policies and other facts to inform their opinions. 

    A Deeper Look at the Scores

    Since the beginning of the Board Watch program, A+ Schools has only calculated scores for meetings where at least three volunteers have observed and submitted evaluation forms.  We do this to ensure a fair representation of observations from multiple volunteers.  For the Legislative Sessions in April and May, only two volunteers were able to attend each meeting, due to illness and other last-minute schedule changes.  Thus, we did not use scores for those two meetings to calculate the final grades. 

    On an optimistic note, the Board received its highest per-meeting scores in Conduct, earning an A- for the Agenda Review meeting on March 19 and an A for the Agenda Review meeting on May 21.  It is encouraging that volunteers observed most School Board Members acting respectfully toward one another during meetings.

    A deeper look into volunteer observations of Board member comments and questions during this reporting period shows that about 73% of comments and questions were in reaction to individual agenda items, including specifics of who, what, when, where, and why.  About 11% of comments were identified as solution seeking or related to measuring progress (either how to measure it or what progress has been made toward achieving district goals).  In order to increase its grade in Focus and Mission, the School Board could spend more time during discussions monitoring the extent to which the district is making progress toward achieving its goals.


    Recommendation – Revisit Goals and Gather More Information

    As we recommended in the previous Report Card, we ask the School Board to revisit its goals and share your priorities with the public, whether they remain the same as the current set of Core Beliefs and Shared Goals and Commitments, or whether they change.

    Additionally, we recommend School Board members to take the time to become informed on topics about which they will make decisions.  The majority of volunteer comments for this reporting period centered around Board members taking initiative to become more informed on school procedures, meeting procedures, and the content of the agenda items.


    Since the launch of Board Watch in January 2009, A+ Schools has issued 20 report cards on Pittsburgh School Board governance practices based on observations of meetings by trained volunteers.

    The March 2013 report card is the eleventh report card to be issued using the new reporting form (Version 2.0) introduced by A+ Schools in 2011. Version 2.0 reflects higher expectations for the School Board’s governance and allows for more specific feedback and recommendations from Board Watch volunteers.


     What You Can Do

    More Information

  3. September 2013 Board Watch Report Card

    Leave a Comment

     

    Volunteers find little progress by Pittsburgh School Board in recent report card

    Board stuck at Overall B- on Board Watch Report Card

    September 2013 Board Watch Report Card

    Highlights

    The Pittsburgh School Board received an overall grade of B- on its September 2013 report card —

    Minimum Score     Grade
      5.00  A+
      4.67  A
      4.33  A-
      4.00  B+
      3.67  B
      3.33  B-
      3.00  C+
      2.67  C
      2.33  C-
      2.00  D+
      1.67  D
      1.33  D-
      1.00  F

    the same overall grade the Board received on the previous six report cards issued since February 2012. Here’s how the grade breaks down:

    Overall: The overall grade remained at a 3.35 (B-), the same grade as in the previous Report Card. The grades were calculated from 15 surveys from 10 different volunteers.

    Focus and Mission: The score is a 3.47 (B-), remaining a B- from the previous Report Card. On average, volunteers reported that the Board spent just over half of their meeting time managing time effectively, focusing on ways to achieve the district’s goals, and prioritizing student outcomes.

    Transparency: The score decreased slightly from a B+ to a 3.72 (B), which means that on average, volunteers agreed that they felt welcome at the meeting and understood the information presented and the rationale behind the Board’s actions.

    Conduct: The score is a 4.04 (B+), remaining at a B+. This means that on average, volunteers reported that some Board members used sarcastic or disrespectful verbal or nonverbal communication. They reported that some of the Board handled differences of opinion respectfully.

    Role Clarity: The score is a 2.40 (C-), remaining a C-and continuing to be the lowest grade. This score reflects that on average, volunteers reported that the Board spent less than half of its meeting time focused on how the district is making progress toward achieving its goals and using policy to create solutions to Board member concerns. Volunteers said the Board spent more than half of its meeting time focused on the details of agenda items (i.e., when items occur, who participates, etc.).

    Competency: The score is a 3.12 (C+), remaining a C+ from the previous Report Card, which means that on average, volunteers reported that slightly more than half of the Board members were prepared for the meeting and appeared to use research, district data, existing policies and other facts to inform their opinions.


     

    Recommendations – Supporting Policies of Educational Equity and Excellence through Envisioning Process

    In the June Report Card, A+ Schools urged the School Board to guard and promote educational equity and excellence for all of Pittsburgh’s students as the district continued its Envisioning work.

    We encourage the School Board to prioritize decisions that will result in our district remaining financially sustainable and result in schools better serving our most vulnerable students. The School Board should keep this priority in mind when considering the soon to be released Envision recommendations and when passing a new budget at the end of the year . We understand that the decisions before you are going to become increasingly more difficult. We urge you to work through these difficult decisions with dignity and respect for each other and the district administration and to put the needs of our students first.


    Since the launch of Board Watch in January 2009, A+ Schools has issued 17 report cards on Pittsburgh School Board governance practices based on observations of meetings by trained volunteers.

    The September 2013 report card is the ninth report card to be issued using the new reporting form (Version 2.0) introduced by A+ Schools in 2011. Version 2.0 reflects higher expectations for the School Board’s governance and allows for more specific feedback and recommendations from Board Watch volunteers.


     What You Can Do

    More Information