13 Reasons Voters Are Rejecting GPS Incumbent Lily Tram

Election Season in Gilbert, Arizona: for Gilbert Public Schools, the utter stupidity of Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s attempts to affect the outcome of the election are surpassed only by the sheer brazenness of GPS Board President Lily Tram’s claims to have lifted GPS out of the gutter during her years on the GPS Governing Board. As you can guess, Tram’s boasts are so ridiculous, citizens have mightily trashed those claims.

Let’s get this show on the road: Thirteen Reasons to Reject Lily Tram’s Candidacy! Once again, this is one of those posts that wrote itself … so take it away, Exalted Voter:

Reasons why I WILL NOT be supporting Lily Tram:
1. Because Superintendent Christina Kishimoto is actively involved in Lily Tram’s campaign, which in a huge conflict of interest.
2. Because Lily Tram has become buddies with Christina Kishimoto and her loyalties have switched to her BFF and not our students, staff, or district.
3. Because Lily Tram fully supports Christina Kishimoto’s Strategic Plan and I think it’s destroying our once-great district.
4. Because I think our staff deserves more … like Prop 123 funds … and Lily Tram thinks they’ve gotten enough.
5. Because I don’t think that Christina Kishimoto should have been permitted to write her own contract extension a year before it expired, giving herself not just an extension, but a raise, and Lily Tram supported her and voted for it.
6. Because having Christina Kishimoto and Lily Tram control the board meeting agendas means that we’ve had things like public comment on the budget put off until the day before the budget was due to the state (just one example of many).
7. Because community schools are what made GPS great and our kids used to get the same education regardless of the demographic of our neighborhood. But Lily Tram and Christina Kishimoto think we need to replace our community schools with magnet schools.
8. Because programs have been cut and class sizes increased due to hard financial times, but Lily Tram and Christina Kishimoto show no indication of restoring programs or reducing class sizes now that more money is available.
9. Because Lily Tram supports spending more money on Chromebooks and less money on teachers, which means our kids are getting more entry level teachers and more screen time.
10. Because we have massive incompetence in several areas of district administration and Lily Tram doesn’t seem interested in holding Christina Kishimoto accountable for those staffing decisions.
11. Because Lily Tram claims that one of her campaign priorities is to address boundaries, but she’s following Christina Kishomoto’s lead to implement magnet schools first and address boundaries after enrollment has “stabilized.”
12. Because it’s common knowledge that Lily Tram knew about Christina Kishimoto’s *alleged* inappropriate relationship with a district employee and helped to cover it up for months. Again, friendship coming before Lily Tram’s responsibilities to this district.
13. Because Lily Tram doesn’t return emails to concerned constituents.
I’m just getting started. I could go on forever! I will NOT be voting for Lily Tram.

Westie performed an autopsy on the GPS 2015 all-mail election that Lily Tram thinks she won single-handedly: 

We’ve already discussed how the Superintendent’s leadership has contributed to the dysfunction of the Governing Board and its disconnect with a large swath of the Gilbert community. Now we have the 2015 divide and it is uglier than before, especially since the statewide school funding lawsuit has been settled. No matter: the usual suspects are still complaining that schools STILL don’t have enough money.

Check out Reason #4 to Reject Lily Tram above: Funds from Proposition 123 have been a political football. At the September 27, 2016 GPS Governing Board meeting, there was an attempt to INCREASE the stipend amount paid to teacher. The facts at the moment included that teachers STILL hadn’t been paid the stipends that had been promised to them from Prop 123 monies. Other Arizona school districts had long ago distributed Prop 123 monies to their teachers; GPS appeared to be holding those funds back for an October surprise to boost Lily Tram’s candidacy.

At the board meeting, President Lily Tram must have been incensed that one of her archenemies, Board Member Julie Smith, proposed to add to the stipend and pay Prop 123 funds to teachers immediately. Why in the world did the Gruesome Twosome of Tram and Kishimoto place this item on the agenda? Ridiculous claims and nonsensical rationale issued forth:

Kishimoto made it VERY clear that she doesn’t think the staff needs ANY more money. For teachers who want to know exactly what she thinks, check out about 2:20:00 into the meeting. She said that the $11 million already given to staff was the “most aggressive adoption” under this board and that it puts them “on par or ahead of their peers in other districts.” Sorry staff, according to her, you don’t deserve anything more than what they already gave ya.

Parliamentary silliness ensued:

Agenda Item 7.03 – Discussion and possible action for teacher stipend enhancement. Mrs. Smith motioned to give the teachers an additional stipend. Seconded by Mr. Colvin. Mrs. Julie [sic] spoke about giving the teachers an additional $250. Each board member made a comment on this item.

Dr. Santa Cruz motioned to table the item to obtain additional information. Seconded by Mrs. Tram.
Final Resolution: Motion Fails
Aye: Mrs. Lily Tram, Dr. Charles Santa Cruz
Nay: Mrs. Julie Smith, Mr. Daryl Colvin, Mrs. Jill Humpherys
Original motion to give the teachers an additional stipend is on the table.
Final Resolution:Motion Fails
Aye: Mrs. Julie Smith, Mr. Daryl Colvin
Nay: Mrs. Jill Humpherys, Dr. Charles Santa Cruz, Mrs. Lily Tram

Someone with half a brain figured out that having Lily Tram on record AGAIN voting against more money for teachers was not very smart in the run-up to Election 2016, when Tram’s seat on the board was already in peril. But, as the comment from a citizen quoted above shows, the superintendent and the governing board were not about to use the Prop 123 monies as promised. What to do so citizens can’t snip perfidious comments and post videos on Youtube to be mocked by thousands upon thousands of voters?

Simple answer, and quite typical of the dysfunctional GPS leadership under President Lily Tram: DESTROY THE TAPES! And it appears that’e exactly what they did. Displaying their shriveled cojones for the wrong reason, GPS hid a message where people were not likely to find it.

Please Note:  The Board Meeting video for September 27, 2016 was not properly saved and therefore was not archived.  A backup file was also corrupted. 

So there! Just try to find the 2:20:00 link to the video that the citizen had posted on social media!

Remember what happened to the Prop 123 money that taxpayers were assured would be used to increase teacher salaries? GPS found *other priorities* for more than half of that money:

Regarding Reason #12 above, you really have to wonder why Lily Tram enabled her BFF Christina Kishimoto in Kishimoto’s  *alleged* inappropriate relationship with subordinate Charles Stevin Smith.

Keyboard: Maybe they let Lily watch.
Westie: Nothing else makes sense. But that’s how GPS rolls these days. 

GPS Further Victimizes the ADHD Student Harassed by A Rogue Teacher

This is part three: how Gilbert Public Schools blithely violated the civil rights of a student who had been subjected to physical and emotional trauma by a rogue teacher. What GPS Chief Talent Officer Suzanne Zentner did to move this complaint off her desk harmed the child as much, if not more, than GPS teacher Bonnie Hickman’s disability harassment and bullying. As often is the case with GPS, we couldn’t make up anything more absurd than what these bumbling fools actually did in order to make the problem go away. 

The three posts in this series: 

GPS Protects a Rogue Teacher’s Disability Harassment of an Elementary Student  
Gilbert Public Schools Condones Disability Harassment of a Student  
GPS Further Victimizes the Student Harassed by A Rogue Teacher [you are here]

The child’s parents had two meetings to discuss the incident with GPS honchos. On November 24, 2015, the GPS Chief Talent Officer, Slimebucket Suzanne Zentner, unleashed an astounding decision that cleared Bonnie Hickman of wrongdoing, allowed Bonnie Hickman to continue teaching at Patterson Elementary School, and granted Bonnie Hickman’s demand to have the student removed from her class.

In classic GPS misdirection, Suzanne Zentner said that the child was removed from Bonnie Hickman’s class at the request of her parents … but we know the official GPS report stated that Bonnie Hickman had demanded the child be removed from her class. Bonnie Hickman made that demand many times, very loudly and in front of about 12 other students, which was reported to Shawn McIntosh at the GPS White Castle (the district offices). The child’s parents did not know about Bonnie Hickman’s demand at the time.

Obviously, Bonnie Hickman was angry that she had been reported to the principal earlier; now other people on campus had been informed that she had hit a child. Would a rational person dispute that Bonnie Hickman acted like a bully? [The answer is NO.] Bonnie Hickman was determined to keep her job, pure and simple, even though she harassed and assaulted a student.

The child’s parents then discovered they had encountered a second bully in GPS: Suzanne Zentner *encouraged* them to engage in conversations with Bonnie Hickman “so they could see another side of her.” Never mind that the child and parents had seen the *side* that Bonnie Hickman presented in her classroom. In Zentner’s mind, it seems to have been all about protecting Bonnie Hickman and not about the damage done to a student who had the misfortune to land in Bonnie Hickman’s classroom. Listen to the conversation for yourself:

Suzanne Zentner did exactly what parents said she did: she attempted to bully parents into a mediation with Bonnie Hickman. Apparently Suzanne Zentner thought Bonnie Hickman was *delightful,* and by golly, she was going to ram that opinion down the throats of those parents and that child until they reached consensus by agreeing!

ADHDstigmaZentner made it clear the GPS wagons had already circled around Bonnie Hickman. Zentner’s goal, apparently, was to force the child’s parents into a position where they could be bludgeoned with educrat jargon and coerced into agreeing to a GPS plan that would cause their child further anxiety … for the child’s own good, of course. You can listen to Suzanne Zentner’s soliloquy for yourself, or just read this transcript:

[Bonnie Hickman] would very much welcome an opportunity to visit with you and you can see a side of her that maybe you had not realized or had exposure to. This has had a profound impact on her. She would like you to know her feelings and how she plans to personally handle the matter and that is something that we would welcome the opportunity to arrange… Hopefully as adults we can all sit around the table and have an opportunity to share our varying thoughts on the matter and try to put this behind everybody.

Perhaps Zentner wasn’t aware that Bonnie Hickman was ranting on social media about being *under attack.* Don’t take Westie’s word for it — one of Bonnie Hickman’s rants is shown in the image at right.

If this sounds like *Blame the Victim,* a common response when women report sexual harassment, including rape, you’re on the right track. In this case, GPS went all out to support Bonnie Hickman, a teacher who hit a child in her class, unlawfully told the entire class about medical issues of at least eleven students, taunted this student about her disability and medical regimen and then raged at the child when Bonnie Hickman believed her career would be ruined. Bonnie Hickman did not stop, she demanded the child be taken out of her classroom, she demonstrated how she had *touched* the child inappropriately and she further violated the child’s FERPA rights when she enlisted people to lobby the GPS Top Dogs to support her in spite of the fact that she had indisputably harmed a child physically and emotionally.

Parents had a succinct response to Suzanne Zentner [near the end of the recording]: 

Based on discussions we’ve already had about the bullying and disability harassment from the teacher, we’re not hearing anything about this teacher violating my child’s rights. She’s being pushed into a hostile environment based on her disability that interferes with her rights to participate in a harassment-free environment.

That’s the way things are done in GPS … if you know the *right* people or have the right er, *talents.* Recall that in GPS, when the superintendent was caught in an *alleged* inappropriate relationship with her subordinate, it was the subordinate who left the district under a cloud that will never go away (plenty of that cloud was created by his own screw ups, but we digress).

It starts at the top of GPS … protection for those at the top and their favorites. Never mind such silly inconveniences as employment law, disability law, district policies or even simple human decency when a child has been the victim of adult bullying … not with these guys!

Gilbert Public Schools: “We don’t need to obey no stinking laws!” 

Calendar alert! October is ADHD Awareness Month. If your child, or someone you know has ADHD, please help them through research, compassion and caring. There’s a special place in heaven for people who overcome disabilities to find love and success in their lives!

If your child has been harassed because of a disability, get invaluable advice here.

Gilbert Public Schools Condones Disability Harassment of ADHD Student

ADHDstigmaIn our last post, we related how Gilbert Public Schools blithely violated the civil rights of a student who had been subjected to physical and emotional abuse by an out-of-control teacher at Patterson Elementary School. Finding no solution at the campus level, parents attempted to work with GPS Chief Talent Officer Suzanne Zentner.  Her *official GPS solution* was to condone a rogue teacher’s disability harassment of an elementary student. You will be disgusted as the story continues.

As you can well imagine, the child began sobbing uncontrollably after Bonnie Hickman berated her, hit her and said, “I’m not going to lose my job over what you think happened.” Bonnie Hickman sent the child to the bathroom to wash her face. After trying to clean herself up the child went to her music class; the music teacher could see something was wrong and asked the student to talk to her.

The student told her just a bit; the music teacher sent the child to the social worker, who took a statement and called Patterson Elementary School principal Lucas Blackburn to campus (he was away, attending meetings). The social worker went to Bonnie Hickman’s classroom to retrieve the student’s belongings. Although there were about five students in the classroom, Bonnie Hickman stated, “Oh let me guess, she’s telling you I hit her.” They moved to gravel outside the classroom next to Bonnie Hickman’s classroom. Bonnie Hickman was intent on telling her side of the story to the social worker, to the point that she she demonstrated how she had *touched* the child in the classroom. The social worker was surprised by this demonstration and noted Bonnie Hickman’s physical contact was “not hard enough to hurt, but the contact was certainly inappropriate.” The report continues:

Then Mrs. Hickman said, “I want her out of my room. I don’t trust her. I want her out of my room,” and she started walking back to the classroom. I said, “Ok, let’s go get her stuff.” Mrs Hickman was just inside the doorway and I was just outside the doorway when she said loudly, “Do you want her whole desk or what?” I stated, “Just give me what she came to school with today. She [Bonnie Hickman] stated loudly, “I want her out of my class. I don’t want her back in here.” By this time, there were approximately 12 students in the classroom, feeling it was inappropriate to continue the conversation, I stated, “Bonnie, I cannot talk to you about this in here.” She stated again loudly, “I want her out of my class. I don’t want her back in here.” I stated again, “Bonnie, I cannot talk to you about this in front of students.”

Lest you wish to disparage this post as *fiction,* we’ll share evidence from GPS showing that this story is absolutely real. The school social worker wrote a report addressed to Shawn McIntosh, a Director of Talent Management, who apparently initiated one of the infamous *GPS investigations,* which historically are conducted under an attorney’s guidance <eye roll> so they won’t be considered public records. In the four page report posted here, events are stated as related and as told to parents by the child who was harassed, and were memorialized by an impartial professional on the GPS payroll. You will notice that names have been redacted; Westie had to supplement the GPS redactions because once again, GPS staff work was incredibly sloppy:

In the report we received, it was possible to read EVERY name of EVERY child quoted, contacted or tangentially involved … due to sloppy redaction. Additionally, some important redactions were not made; Westie fixed this to protect the children GPS couldn’t be bothered to protect. If you want to refute this, GPS, we’ll show you the sloppy staff work. Sheeeeesh.

The parents wrote: 

We believe what caused Mrs. Hickman to act so strongly against [our child] has been her violation of FERPA medical guidelines in her class-wide admission of students in the class that have ADD or ADHD, which she believed and accused [our child] of reporting. It is common knowledge in that classroom as to which students have ADD or ADHD, and those who are taking medication as a result. Likewise, though not naming specific students, she has referenced the fact that 11 of her students this year have ADD or ADHD on social media platforms. This disclosure has caused [our child] grief and anxiety, much of which is brushed off. At any rate, we don’t feel the disclosure of [our child’s] medical needs are Mrs. Hickman’s to disclose at her will.

The culmination of these violations all amount to what we believe is an inability for Bonnie Hickman to stay within guidelines, control her emotions, and maintain her professionalism, all standards which are defined in the Employee Ethics section of the manual, GBEB.

Throughout this investigation, [our child] was remaining in the same classroom, being subjected to further bullying from the fellow students who had heard Mrs. Hickman’s outburst relating to her. Had we known that Mrs. Hickman was aware that we that spoke to Mr. Blackburn, or that she had made her request to have [our child] removed from her classroom in front of students, there is no way we would have kept her in that classroom, as it was clearly a hostile learning environment that was a detriment to [our child’s]  learning capacity and anxiety disorders.

What happened next defies logic. Bonnie Hickman knew that violating the student’s FERPA and Education of Children with Disabilities rights was at issue. So she apparently appealed to friends and supporters, who came to Bonnie Hickman’s rescue, further violating this child’s civil rights. A random parent organized a “Support Mrs. Hickman” rescue, urging friends and supporters to email the GPS Chief Talent Officer and an HR subordinate on Bonnie Hickman’s behalf. Making things all the crazier (but par for the course in GPS) the random parent reportedly assured people that the victim, once again publicly identified and targeted for disability harassment, actually was *all smiles* and just fine.

How could the random parent have known WHICH child was involved, if Bonnie Hickman had not again violated FERPA by sharing the identity of that child with said random parent? *Support Hrs. Hickman,* indeed. Traumatize a child … again … too bad for the kid and now dozens if not hundreds of people who were told the name of the child.

Bonnie Hickman continued posting on social media, ranting that she was not going to let this child ruin her career. A percipient observation at the time: “It is an issue that isn’t public, which means either Bonnie Hickman violated FERPA again by telling one of them, or these loons are just blindly throwing their support behind Hickman without knowing what she is accused of.”  Sheeeeeesh.

Once random parents got into the act, obviously with Bonnie Hickman’s tacit if not overt encouragement, top level GPS administrator Suzanne Zentner, GPS Chief of Talent Management was roped in to shut down the public controversy. Suzanne Zentner’s next actions are just plain crazy and totally wrong in a situation involving a teacher harassing a student and engaging in inappropriate physical contact. Add in the fact that Bonnie Hickman singled out this child because she had ADHD, which was noted in her FERPA-protected records; now you can understand why Westie considers Suzanne Zentner to be such a slime bucket of a person in addition to being an utterly incompetent administrator.

The story will continue shortly. Stay with us!

Calendar alert! October is ADHD Awareness Month. If your child, or someone you know has ADHD, please help them through research, compassion and caring. There’s a special place in heaven for people who overcome disabilities to find love and success in their lives!

If your child has been harassed because of a disability, get invaluable advice here.

GPS Protects a Rogue Teacher’s Disability Harassment of an Elementary ADHD Student

Some people have forgotten that educating students is the purpose for which taxpayers pay a THIRD OF A BILLION DOLLARS in public funds to a group of public employees who have lost the trust and confidence of citizens. The story of how badly one child and her parents were treated shows exactly how craven the administration of GPS has become under Superintendent Christina Kishimoto.  “There ought to be a law!” citizens cry. There are laws, but GPS violates them with impunity. Kishimoto’s attitude: “So sue me.” 

One of the laws is FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which gives parents certain protections with regard to their children’s education records. These include report cards, transcripts, disciplinary records, contact and family information, and class schedules. To protect your child’s privacy, FERPA generally requires schools to ask for written consent before disclosing your child’s personally identifiable information to individuals other than you. In the situation discussed below, another statute, Section 504, Education of Children with Disabilities also applies, which GPS also violated without regard for the rights of this student and other students in the class.

The story begins with Patterson Elementary School teacher Bonnie Hickman’s open declaration on Facebook and in her classroom of how many of her students that year had ADHD. One of the students reported to her parents times where her teacher called her out in class for having ADHD, something which should have remained private — this was personal information protected by FERPA. The child also reported to parents that Bonnie Hickman called out other students, in front of the entire class, for their ADHD status.

Further, on many occasions, Bonnie Hickman questioned … in front of the entire class … whether or not those ADHD students had taken their medication. This attitude soon spread among students, who started asking those students identified by Bonnie Hickman as having ADHD if they had “taken their meds yet.” Other times, Bonnie Hickman publicly asked the student who was harassed for having ADHD if her actions in class were the result of not having taken her medications that day. Can you imagine being the child ridiculed by the teacher, in front of the entire class, because the teacher didn’t like something you said or did? Can anyone in their right mind claim this was NOT targeting a child over her disability? [The answer is NO.]

Unbeknownst to the parents who were hearing about this situation from their child, Bonnie Hickman was posting on social media on August 28, 2015 about her students [see image at right]:

Bonnie Hickman:
28 students…11 diagnosed ADD/ADHD (plus me). Yeah, it’s going to be an interesting year.
Jessica Archambault:
One tiny moment at a time. You will impact these kids because you are passionate about what you do. thank you.
Bonnie Hickman:
Yup…one moment is about the amount of attention span we have! So far so good though!
Michelle Stewart-Casillas:
Sorry B…. sending you some patience.
Bonnie Hickman:
Patience! Heck, we need prozac in the air vents!

The fact that Bonnie Hickman was in a position of power over all of her students made disability harassment not only possible, but utterly devastating for her victims. Do you imagine for even a minute that there was only one child in the classroom ridiculed and taunted over the protected personal information about their disability and medical conditions? Can anyone in their right mind claim this was NOT disability harassment? [The answers are  NO and NO.]

Parents reported the situation to Patterson principal Lucas Blackburn on September 25, 2015. At that point, parents just wanted to see the inappropriate comments and harassing behavior stop rather than make a formal complaint. A month later, when parents again approached Lucas Blackburn, he told them a meeting with Bonnie Hickman was already planned. These parents later learned that other parents had reported their concerns about harassment in Bonnie Hickman’s classroom.

Lucas Blackburn met with Bonnie Hickman on November 3, 2015; she took the next day off. When she returned to her classroom on November 5, 2015, Bonnie Hickman told students she had been absent because she was so upset that someone had reported her to the principal, and therefore, certain privileges would no longer be available, particularly to the ADHD students in her classroom.

While the class had free time on November 13, 2015, the targeted student asked Bonnie Hickman if she could assist with anything. Hickman replied, “No,” and asked the student to sit down and read. The child complied, but approached Bonnie Hickman a few minutes later with a question about the book she was reading. Bonnie Hickman replied that she couldn’t help the student just then, and in the student’s words, Bonnie Hickman “hit [me] under my back pockets” and told the child to sit down.

The student wrote a note and left it on Bonnie Hickman’s desk:

“Mrs. Hickman,
I’m sorry I might be sensitive, but that kind of hurt my feelings. You were telling me to read and I asked you a question about my book, you just hit under my back pockets. And it made me uncomfortable. Then you told me to sit down. I am so very sorry for my rudeness. I hope it is ok that I told you. Let me know in private if I was rude or oversensitive. I hope you forgive me.
My apologies,
Student Name”

Bonnie Hickman called the student up to her desk and stated that the child’s note offended her. Bonnie Hickman said, “I will NOT lose my job because of you. I know you were the one that told on me to Mr. Blackburn. You’re going to tell everyone I hit you.”

This was a very, very bad situation, but what happened after the top administrators of Gilbert Public Schools got into the act was just unbelievable. We’ll share more of this story in our next post.

Calendar alert! October is ADHD Awareness Month. If your child, or someone you know has ADHD, please help them through research, compassion and caring. There’s a special place in heaven for people who overcome disabilities to find love and success in their lives!

If your child has been harassed because of a disability, get invaluable advice here.

Christina Kishimoto Turns a Blind Eye as GPS Violates Privacy Laws with Impunity

Let’s talk about laws that Superintendent Christina Kishimoto flouts: laws protecting the privacy of students and their parents in educational institutions, such as Gilbert Public Schools. Some of these laws are based on civility. However, in the GPS culture as it exists today, administrators and staffers in Gilbert Public Schools  do whatever they want, and they don’t give a flying flip about who gets hurt. After all, someone who has a disability or is homeless should get off Christina Kishimoto’s lawn!

In spite of mixed metaphors above, this is a serious subject, and GPS is doing great harm to vulnerable people. From all that Westie can fathom, it’s the culture of GPS to flip off and disregard any law, comment or criticism that Christina Kishimoto doesn’t like, such as Arizona’s Open Meeting laws. Today, we’ll examine how carelessness, laziness or just plain old orneriness determines what GPS puts into public records … which results in embarrassing and humiliating students, their parents and everyday citizens.

Green Bar reports, also known as vouchers, are published into the public sphere, and the GPS governing board approves those vouchers, most often without comment. One member of the GPS governing board is tasked with reviewing those vouchers before the board votes: that’s Board Clerk Jill Humpherys. Silly Jilly has made many excuses about how hard it is to do her job … man, it requires looking at NUMBERS and doing some critical thinking, and no one applauds, so to hell with it.

Before Silly Jilly Humpherys was Board Clerk, GPS staffers were really diligent about redacting student names, because board members reviewed line items and called out questionable entries. Now that Lily Tram is Board President, Silly Jilly Humpherys is Board Clerk and Christina Kishimoto is Superintendent, there’s a culture of indifference about releasing students names. With that introduction, you know we’re going to focus on evidence of violations of law shown in those vouchers, don’t you?

In recent months, GPS has been releasing the public records in those green bar reports in ways that violently trample personal privacy for vulnerable people. Some such victims are students with disabilities, some are parents who are reimbursed for transporting their differently abled children to schools (and saving GPS some big bucks by doing so). When the green bar reports show the name of the parent who is reimbursed for transportation expenses, it’s easy to extrapolate that their children have some sort of disability. Some people, including Westie, believe this violates privacy and flies in the face of civility. Do you really care if your neighbor down the street is transporting their disabled child to school? Why would GPS want to publicly reveal that information?

Sometimes, GPS posts the names of students in the green bar report. We are not going to show examples in this post; when GPS does this, it’s a repugnant violation of privacy. Even worse, it violates federal laws that protect personally identifiable information about a student. That law is FERPA, but it has no teeth because there’s no private cause of action for parents whose children’s privacy has been violated. The biggest deal is that maybe the federal government will withhold federal funds … and pigs will fly. You get the idea.

Examples of GPS detestable violations of privacy in June 2016 include a Psychoeducational Evaluation for a named student, “not to exceed $1,800.00.” There’s a transportation reimbursement not to exceed $700 to a parent whose child’s name is helpfully placed in parenthesis in the line item. Actually, there are several ways that GPS makes sure the child’s name is connected to a parent who was reimbursed for providing disability transportation.

There are several entries for “McKinney Vento” in the green bar reports. That’s not the name of a parent or child, that’s the name of a program that provides federal funding to states for the purpose of supporting district programs that serve homeless students. GPS has no compassion for homeless students; they just put the names of some of those kids out in public and make sure everyone knows they’re McKinney Vento kids. Sometimes, GPS tells you what school a homeless child attends. Are you disgusted yet?

These children and teens, 29,537 total, are enrolled in our public schools and many struggle daily, isolating from peers, missing class, repeating grades, and even dropping out of school entirely. The devastating impact of homelessness creates a wedge to social relationships and learning.

It doesn’t have to be a total invasion of a student’s privacy to cause irreparable harm; teenagers are notoriously easy to humiliate. An example: GPS told a story about WHY the parents received a refund in a Green Bar comment: “Parents pulled the student off the **** team due to grades.” No, the redaction isn’t a vulgar word, it’s just a type of team, but including it here might embarrass said student, who might have given a completely different reason to teammates and friends for being off the team.

More examples, going back to September 2015: nursing services for a number of GPS students, identified by name, school and cost of services provided to the student. Some are eight hours a day, five days a week at various GPS schools; most are listed as costing thousands of dollars. There’s another Psychoeducational Evaluation for a named student, “not to exceed $2,175.00.” Plus an IQ test for $300.00 for a named child. The list of  “student refunds” and “student lunch account” refunds name individual students and their parents.

GPS can do whatever Christina Kishimoto says (or turns a blind eye to), so suck it, parents and kids! There’s a densely worded policy that allows Christina Kishimoto to give away or sell your child’s personal protected information and you will never know about it.  A GPS permission form is sent out each year. Or not. It’s an opt-out policy, so good luck proving you never saw this form, parents! Obviously, anyone can set up bogus bank accounts or get a drivers license or do any number of nefarious things with the protected personal information parents gave GPS, expecting that such information would be actually PROTECTED:

Designation of Directory Information

During the school year, District staff members may compile nonconfidential student directory information such as: The student’s name, date and place of birth, address, telephone number, grade, school of attendance, most recent school attended, diplomas, awards and honors received, major field of study, and record of participation in officially recognized activities (sports and school events), such as weight, height, and team number.

According to state and federal law, this directory information as identified above may be publicly released without permission of parents. However, if you do not wish any or all of the above information released about your son/daughter, you may so request by signing the form at the bottom of this page and returning it to ____________, principal, within __ days. If this notification is not received, we will assume that your permission is given to use your son’s/daughter’s directory information as described above.

Even the GPS go-to attorneys warn against the kind of thoughtless, lawless  and cruel conduct that GPS has institutionalized as district policy. Here’s what GPS attorneys advise … advice that GPS and Christina Kishimoto ignore … because they can:

Personal Information

It is important that information that would personally identify the student be kept private. This means that information cannot be provided to the public if a person would be able to reasonably identify the student from the information provided.

When a complaint regarding student privacy arises, it must be handled appropriately. All complaints need to be taken seriously. Immediate action is required. First, steps must be taken to ensure that there is not a breach of security. Then, the complaint should be researched to determine exactly what the complainant alleges was improperly disclosed. Some complaints can be easily resolved, while others may be serious and require the involvement of the school or district’s attorney.   Administrators should have a plan in place to resolve complaints.

GPS doesn’t need parental consent to release this information, either. Because Christina Kishimoto says so. Suck it, parents and kids! The lawyers say otherwise:

Freedom of Information
Information is allowed to become public unless it falls into a protected category. Student information generally falls under the category of a protected interest, which is personal privacy. Providing personal information to the public could be harmful to the child, even if he is no longer a student. The files are deemed private forever. It is essential that only specified employees have access to school records.

Perhaps you can guess that Westie’s next posts on FERPA violations are going to be fugly, as opposed to the *minor* examples discussed here. Stay tuned!

Gilbert Public Schools Has a New Logo!

Communications is a real problem for Gilbert Public Schools; this hapless school district is in desperate need of true professionals to bring order to the current chaos. Since GPS can’t seem to manage its way out of a paper bag, it’s Westie to the rescue! 

GPS doesn’t understand *branding* or marketing or public relations, so we’ll start helping by giving GPS an image that is spot on. Announcing the NEW GPS LOGO and marketing slogan!

Gilbert Public Schools: S.H.I.T. Happens Here
Scholarship, Honor, Innovation, Technology

Notice that this new logo introduces a concept that is totally lacking in the hierarchy of GPS, starting with the governing board and continuing to the administrators residing in the White Castle: HONOR.  When was the last time you associated the word honor with GPS? We thought about wrestling with the word INTEGRITY in the new GPS logo, but it would be a bridge too far for now. In the past two years, have any of those Top Dogs in the White Castle shown any familiarity with the word INTEGRITY?

You can see why we figured that adding HONOR would be such a stretch for the current crop of GPS Top Dogs, but going for INTEGRITY would be just too much for these bumbling fools.  We’ve all seen how Christina Kishimoto pats herself on the back and takes credit for all the work that other people do, and rewards only those persons in her line of sight. It takes a *special* kind of manager to be so obtuse, but Kishimoto’s got it down pat: lots of resources for the special few, and kicking out kids who cost too much or might bring down the district’s ratings. The top priority of the current group of scalawags and carpetbaggers in the White Castle seems to be the *national reputation fixation* that’s so important to Kishimoto. Sheeeeesh.

Communications failures are nothing new; that’s one of the big reasons Christina Kishimoto was fired from her last job as superintendent on a 7-0 vote. Let’s look at contemporaneous reporting from 2011 about Christina Kishimoto’s failures in Hartford, Connecticut, before she was hired on a 3-2 vote to be Superintendent of Gilbert Public Schools. What was her biggest failure? Communications. In her own words:

Kishimoto: I think the piece that I would agree with, that we often hear about that we did not deliver on as strongly and need to correct very quickly is our whole communications plan that’s the backbone of our school reform work. We did a lot of communication, but in a very piecemeal manner and not necessarily with a full communications team or a full-fledged communications plan. 

Communications is the Achilles Heel for GPS, current marketing failures are intrinsically related to this concept as Kishimoto repeats her personal history without learning from it. Anything to do with marketing Gilbert Public Schools isn’t even on the horizon until Kishimoto figures out what she’s selling in terms of what GPS can offer students and their parents.

For example, in pursuit of new marketing ploys and inept communications practices GPS has a new “Full Time Multi-Media Journalist.” Introducing Eduardo  [or Ecuardo, depending on which GPS document you see] Hernandez, whose new salary officially is $47,476.00. This being GPS, you never know how many *stipends* and *bonuses* are handed out in the Line-of-Sight Management that prevails in the White Castle, so his total pay might be a whole lot more.

[Go ahead and weep, GPS teachers … this dude is paid more than you are. Since he’ll be in Christina Kishimoto’s line of sight who knows how many wonderful bonuses and promotions are in his future?]

Want to see what he does for a living now that he’s ensconced in the GPS Temple of Doom? Here you go: For GPS’ Transportation staff, safety begins before school does!  Here’s another apostrophe pretender, apparently hired by the inept GPS Director of Communications to make herself look better in comparison. You could ask if the new community relations staffer is being paid by the word, which would be completely justifiable given the text of his article linked above, but we already told you Eduardo Hernandez has quite a hefty annual salary. So does his boss, Irene Mahoney-Baloney-Paige, even though she’s proven her ineptness in countless ways. BTW, dude, we hope GPS gets your name right on your paychecks! You might be luckier than the many GPS employees who STILL are not being paid all they’re owed. Sheeeeesh.

[GPS teachers, if you prefer a good crying jag to simply weeping, we totally understand.]

UPDATE: Now we know why GPS wanted to get some *good news* out in public about the GPS school bus fleet: Arizona school buses failed almost 30 percent of safety inspections in 2015. You know Westie will dig into this heaping pile…

Things are so bad in the White Castle, Christina Kishimoto decided to send Irene Mahoney-Baloney-Paige to *finishing school* at the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce *Academy.*  Christina Kishimoto must be banking that no one will ask HOW or WHY attending the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce finishing school contributes to the GPS mission of educating students. At least, that will get Irene Mahoney-Baloney-Paige out of the Community Relations office a lot. GPS probably is paying Irene Mahoney-Baloney-Paige’s $800.00 tuition fee, so keep a watch on those Green Bar Reports!

Earlier this year, when the board was pretending to consider how to use new funds from Proposition 123, many members of the community were telling the GPS board and superintendent that the new budget proposed by Christina Kishimoto was wrong for the district. The *official* GPS administration response: telling teachers to quit writing to board members.

Here’s a sample of what teachers and community members were writing, which is far superior to what the GPS Communications Department puts out:

Please put prop 123 funds where they were advertised to go … to teachers, support staff, and our classrooms. New positions in the district office are not a priority. A videographer is not a priority! A $100,000 Marketing plan is not a priority. Salaries and class sizes should be the priority!
Please do not pass the proposed budget as submitted. Our staff and our classrooms deserve to be a priority. Adding district-level positions is not our priority.
$100,000 for a marketing plan is not a priority (or even necessary, period!).
I really think you need to stop the district spending flood gates and readjust the priorities. The past year’s spending has produced nothing but issues and even more spending. For example the Chromebook purchase turned out to be the biggest waste and most of them are damaged or don’t charge anymore. Now GPS has to go out and spend even more money to buy new Chromebooks with no guarantee that they will be any better. Our communication and marketing department staff has proven to not be qualified for their positions. They have produced many materials with many errors and poor quality images that reflect poorly on our district and its not working. As a result, we are losing more and more students.
I know many have contacted your over the Proposed Budget. One of the items listed I am concerned about is the $100,000 for a marketing plan. For the last two years many have shared concerns regarding our PR department, with little to no improvement. Please look over the existing Marketing Plan. It seems very little of it has been executed over the last two years. What has been executed has been questionable quality. Social media is free and we can’t seem to get that right.
WE ALREADY KNOW WHAT WE SHOULD BE DOING. Why would we pay someone to tell us that we should be posting student and staff accomplishments on social media? It’s FREE, it’s easy, and we know we should do it. BUT WE’RE NOT DOING IT.
Yesterday, I took the third GPS parent survey in a couple months. First an email survey, then the phone survey, and now another email survey. Is anyone else wondering the same thing as I am? If this administration is so concerned about knowing what we think, why did this Superintendent kill the long-standing Parent Superintendent Council? She inherited a group of 41 parents who were involved in their school communities, who sat in a room with the superintendent and assistants once a month specifically for the purpose of sharing information. Previous administrations knew what we thought — because they asked us. Two-way communication. It was good and it was FREE. But because this Superintendent has intentionally isolated herself from parents, she’s now spending time and money to conduct survey after survey to find out what we think. Or perhaps it’s not about finding out what we think, but instead, being able to say that she’s “improving communications” in order to get her performance pay.

Folks are going to continue jumping ship and leaving GPS. Nothing is going to get any better until Kishimoto and her minions finally accept that without honor as part of the equation, GPS has nothing to offer. Zip. Nada. Zilch. When public employees have no concept of of their word is their bond (i.e. HONOR), no one in the community will believe them. No one wants their children to be educated in such an immoral environment.

Below is a larger image of the new GPS logo. Use it when ever and where ever you wish! Email Westie if you want the new GPS letterhead.



Happy Birthday – Westie Connect is Four Years Old!

As always, we are truly grateful to our audience for hanging in and hanging out with us. This birthday, just like those in the past, comes with the same old stuff from Gilbert Public Schools:  wrongdoing by a coterie of self-important educrats in ways that boggle the mind. With rampant secrecy and self serving behavior, GPS is bound and determined to continue violating laws [with little or no consequence … sheeeeesh] and commencing with even more than the *usual* profligate spending of public funds to benefit a favored few. 

In the past year, GPS has racked up some incredible charges to taxpayers, spending thousands upon thousands of dollars of public funds, for CATERING — mostly for Superintendent Christina Kishimoto and her Top Dogs in the GPS administration, but also for the GPS Governing Board. Catering for the Governing Board probably would add up to more money if there were more than five people on the board. They must love to eat! The GPS staff especially enjoys the superintendent’s meetings at restaurants at public expense. Lower level admins mimic their boss. Even Student Funds have been used to pay for staff meals! Some standouts:

*** Speaking of stuffing faces at taxpayer expense, Silly Jilly Humpherys was so impressed with Christina Kishimoto’s third annual convocation, Silly Jilly took photos of the muffins served at the event and featured them on her Facebook page.
*** Generous Christina Kishimoto also spent $3,557.00 [no purchase order, either!] for *signature pins* at her convocation. Nothing is too good for GPS employees, right?
*** Superintendent Christina Kishimoto spent $218.82 for flowers for her coronation  convocation. We can’t have board members attending this outdated assembly without wearing corsages and boutonnieres!* Again, Silly Jilly Humpherys put photos on her Facebook page so you can determine for yourself if those corsages  did anything at all towards educating students, which is the mission of Gilbert Public Schools.
*** Somehow, that *non-public* coronation event became a political beauty pageant for various political candidates who kiss Christina Kishimoto’s ring (the one in her back pocket).
*** Favorites among GPS employees (mostly Top Dogs) traveled near and far as part of their usual taxpayer-funded extravaganzas. Hello, Tucson! Hi there, Baltimore! Napa Valley for the win! ¡Muchas gracias, Albuquerque! You get the idea…

Even though voters passed Proposition 123, which GPS and other educrat organizations advertised as essential for putting more money into teacher salaries, the GPS board had other plans, and there was nothing the public could do about it. Here’s how Lily Tram crafted the GPS  governing board’s budget for that bucket of money:


Funny thing, there were bits and pieces of Million Dollar Proposed Expenditures that fell short of the total amount of funds that supposedly were available. What’s a few hundred thousands of dollars when they get siphoned into slush funds controlled by the Superintendent or Her Designees? Yep, *Her Designees* are official in GPS now … *Her Three Votes* said so. Anyway, it’s all irrelevant because the board is laser focused on Christina Kishimoto’s *national reputation fixation.* Everything in GPS was devoted this past year to giving GCA a new campus, even as its national rating plummeted. You didn’t really believe Kishimoto’s guesstimates of just a few Million Dollars for this Great Mesquite Junior High School Annihilation boondoggle, did you?

Everything GPS touched seemed to turn to ___(fill in the blank)___. None of the big initiatives worked. GPS lost more than 500 students that the carpetbagger crew expected to enroll in August 2016, and they don’t know why.  Kishimoto spent $MILLIONS of DOLLARS on Chromebooks for all and new payroll technology, but GPS still can’t figure out how to pay employees the wages they are owed. GPS admins seemed to have no concept of the irony as they bragged about Kishimoto’s new and improved website. Silly Jilly Humpherys wanted to send all the idiots in GPS to work at Walmart. Christina Kishimoto bragged that the Hostage Clause binding employees to the district worked; in the end, GPS simply didn’t list all employee losses in the usual public records, so the local news media assumed employee losses were a thing of the past. Too bad this was never true. In fact, GPS started the new school year with an unprecedented number of classroom vacancies because smart educators know better than to cast their lot with these GPS morons. Slime Bucket Suzanne Zentner found new and improved ways to disguise the slippery slope decrease of employee experience levels in HR reports. Was it just a coinkydink that her little feat of legerdemain also made it difficult, if not impossible, for GPS employees to compare notes on what salary levels were awarded new hires? Especially after that wage inequality had become a HUGE morale buster in the past two years?

Christina Kishimoto, whose contract had another year to run, was gifted a completely new three year contract by her Rubber Stamps … with a nice fat raise that was cutely hidden in the *fine print* of all the legalese that promises she can get away with murder and still be superintendent. Thanks, Lily Tram! Silly Jilly Humpherys giggled her way through board meetings and ignored her duties as board clerk (all those big numbers!) but she sternly lectured the community when the superintendent was called out for her *alleged* improper relationship with a subordinate … who apparently was promoted and given a big fat raise that was never approved by the governing board. These events occurred some time after Christina Kishimoto kicked her disabled husband to the curb. Good Old Charlie Santa Cruz, elected as the loudmouth gang’s great hope to knock some sense into GPS, spectacularly failed to do as he was charged by the electorate as he struggled to string together enough words to make a complete sentence. To be fair, Charlie’s still searching for the balls he lost somewhere along the way.

When will GPS shed this mantle of corruption and focus on educating students? ¡Cuando Colón baje el dedo! And if you complain about Christina Kishimoto’s *alleged* inappropriate relationship with her subordinate, or criticize anything else she has done as GPS superintendent, she’ll cry. So take that, you meanies!

Happy Birthday to Westie! There’s still a lot of work still to be done. Here, have some cake. [No, Christina, you already had yours.]

*Big Fat Asterisk: Kishimoto and her gal pals are now more than ever in serious need of fashion advice. The sad thing is, these apparel offenders come from six-figure households. They can afford better [many teachers and most support staff cannot afford to indulge in high fashion, we know]. The bottom line is that showing up at an event looking like you just rolled in from working in your yard is not respectful. Maybe Adelaida Severson could tutor those GPS women, or at least share the name of her personal shopper.

Gilbert Classical Academy: It’s not just state rankings that are falling!

With the focus on a new home for Gilbert Classical Academy consuming all the oxygen at the White Castle of Doom (i.e. GPS district offices), you would expect that GCA must be thriving and accomplishing magnificent achievements worthy of great praise. It’s not. This mindless pursuit of more, more and more money for GCA just happens to suit Gilbert Public Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s wild-a$$ed quest for a *national reputation* so she can move on to greater things in life. 

GCA’s decline in terms of SAT scores has been staggering. The good folks at Phoenix Business Journal have been keeping tabs on the rankings of high schools throughout the state of Arizona for the past few years. From the link, you can access ratings going back to 2012, which show a loss of almost 200 points on the SAT (not that most reasonable folks believe a child’s future should be so dependent on one standardized test):

The stats show consistent declines in statewide rank as well as average SAT scores:

~ In 2012, GCA ranked #4 in the state with an average SAT score of 1904.
~ In 2013, GCA ranked #5 in the state with an average SAT score of 1832.
~ In 2014, GCA ranked #10 in the state with an average SAT score of 1793.
~ In 2015, GCA ranked #12 in the state with an average SAT score of 1719.

In a map showing the top 10 public high schools in the Phoenix valley, GCA doesn’t even appear. Yeah, we all know that GCA operates like a charter school by throwing out students who might bring down ratings  but GCA doesn’t even come close to achieving what the top rated charters accomplished, as shown in these rankings.

Christina Kishimoto’s maniacal focus on making GPS a district of magnet schools is based on her ridiculous quest for a national reputation, destroying neighborhood schools in the process. Citizens of Gilbert will see their children’s bright futures fade as Kishimoto and her Rubber Stamp Board focus on lavishing money and perks on Top Dogs in the district staff … and on GCA.

Charter schools have made it to the top of the rankings, and their progress over the past few years (at least, according to Phoenix Business Journal) has been steady and unassailable. Gilbert Public Schools, on the other hand, has lost students and staff at unprecedented rates, while the GPS Governing Board blindly follows the path laid out by the superintendent.

That path, however, hasn’t led to glory, although you would never know it by the way Kishimoto brags about the smallest *accomplishment* that occurs on her watch.

“Hey, I held an employee health and wellness fair!”
“The exciting new website …. never mind.”
“I was nominated for businesswoman of the year by my pals at the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce!”
“One day, parents will come to my parent university, since I built it (with your money).”
I discovered the Internet!  I bought 30,000 Chromebooks and by golly, your kids are going to use them!”

More about the damage done by magnet schools, which is becoming all the more evident as GPS showers Gilbert Classical Academy with attention and millions of dollars while watching enrollment plummet at Gilbert Junior High School and Mesquite Junior High School:

The magnet system is further segregating the school systems by worsening the regular public schools in neighboring areas. What must not be forgotten are the existing schools that the less successful and less motivated students are left to attend, and the damaging effects that they face as a result of the magnet school system. Even when a magnet school has no such highly selective admissions criteria such as test scores, most of the students are select: with very few exceptions, students with failing grades, or records of bad behavior or truancy, do not get selected in magnets.

It is the parents’ responsibility to locate the school, assess its offerings, and, from there, make sure that the student fits the criteria to win admission. Interestingly, “another study…found that parents of low socioeconomic status could not participate as often as middle-class parents, due to commuting problems and inflexible work schedules.” Parental involvement as the means for children to enter the magnet school is not a reliable tool. Resting solely on the initiative of the parents, admission has meant only the best and brightest are chosen and the rest are left behind, in isolation.

We’re already seeing the devastating effects on Mesquite Junior High School as part of the Great GCA Annihilation of that traditional campus. No more popular electives … Christina Kishimoto has decided GPS needs ANOTHER school specializing in Athletic Training! Obviously, students at Mesquite Junior High School, which ranks on the lower scale of socio-economic status in the district, won’t be able to attain academic excellence in the range that will boost Kishimoto’s national reputation, so who will notice when GPS sticks it to those poor  brown  lesser kids?

Getting to what really  matters about Christina Kishimoto’s *school design* mantra and its inevitable failure: 

Designed as a thematic approach, the curriculum of a magnet school generally focuses on the areas of math-science or performing arts programsMagnet schools that draw upon the most successful and highly motivated schools are also thriving on their creed to provide better and specialized education that cannot be attained in an ordinary public school. Given the hopes that these highly motivated children will produce test scores that will attract more dedicated students, it is important to note that the magnet schools have failed to do this.

Unfortunately, magnet schools have directed their focus toward one subject, grouping similar students, but because they focus on the one major topic, students are failing to gain an education that is equivalent to that of a regular high school regardless of race. Despite the attempt to create an environment that focuses on its academic prowess and providing students with an education that is specialized and unique regardless of race, magnet schools fail to meet their expectations in the main areas of philosophy and purpose, admission and entrance to the schools, and curriculum.

A parent nails it: 

When Kishimoto says it’s what the “community wants” what she means is that it’s what SHE wants and she doesn’t give a &$#@ what the community wants. Time to wake up, GPS board member Jill Humpherys. Kishimoto’s been pushing magnet schools ever since she got here and she’s had your full support. The “community” has been yelling for 2 years that we want comprehensive schools where our kids get the same education regardless of our neighborhood or income level. We’ve always had schools that had unofficial specialty areas, but they’ve always also offered well-rounded programs to address the needs of all students. That’s what made Gilbert great. When will this admin figure out that they’re causing the mass exodus by these decisions?

So what’s next for GPS? Kishimoto will build schools for gifted students … because Silly Jilly Humpherys wants them. “Let’s warehouse the gifted kids, like we ship off the Special Education kids! This way, gifted students will know just how *special* they are.” Pay attention, citizens of Gilbert, Arizona: birdies chirp that students and staff at Canyon Valley School will be moved to the dilapidated campus that GCA vacates … so the Canyon Valley campus can be *reformed* as a gifted academy. As we’ve seen many times, Christina Kishimoto is hell-bent on *reform* … those  poor  brown  lesser kids don’t deserve the campus they have now, so we’ll give it to the gifted kids! In other words, the  poor  brown  lesser kids won’t even notice the squalor that GCA students described:

Kids’ reports included mice sitting on the flag pole in the classroom during the Pledge of Allegiance. Roach infestations, along with ants and spiders. Big spiders. Mold issues that have not been addressed. Floors so decrepit, masking tape defines the places to NOT step because your foot will go through the floor. The portables are falling apart, and students can punch holes in walls that are barely held together. Their chairs break with such regularity, one GCA student said it’s a game to see whose chair will break next.

Earth to Jill Humpherys: there’s more than just a slight chance that those  *fabulous* GPS gifted kids will find themselves at serious risk when they go to college. Like GCA students, they’ll have an academic upbringing as *special snowflakes* who were pampered at school as long as they made the grades expected of them. One university’s experience is a cautionary tale, showing what could go wrong in an educational environment like what GPS is going to build, come hell or high water:

East Carolina University is offering a new program for its students: “Adulting.” The idea is to teach kids coping skills, including how to deal with the trauma of getting a “C” grade. That’s the generation arriving at college now, unable to cope with a rotten roommate, or rude remark. We raised them to depend on adults to solve their problems, so it’s no surprise that that’s exactly what they’re doing.

More about Lily Tram and the Looming GPS Magnet Schools Implosion

The Governing Board President of Gilbert Public Schools recently let the cat out of the bag in her campaign to retain her seat on the board: Lily Tram clarified for everyone in Gilbert, Arizona (and parts of Mesa, Arizona that are in the GPS district boundaries) that Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s grand *school design* scheme is simply a warmed-over version of MAGNET SCHOOLS.

Yep, that failed vision of education reform, magnet schools, is coming to GPS with a vengeance. Say goodbye to your neighborhood schools. They’re going to be replaced with magnet schools, because Christina Kishimoto is going to be superintendent until 2019, thanks to Lily Tram’s *bleedership* on the GPS governing board.

During the quiet summer months, Tram rammed through a new contract for Kishimoto, even though Kishimoto’s original contract had more than a year left to run. Now it’s obvious that Tram and Kishimoto have seen the writing on the wall: Tram’s seat on the board is at risk because she double-crossed GPS employees about increasing salaries of teachers and support staff, commonly known as putting dollars into the classroom. Nope, Tram had other priorities! Now, her priority for GPS is MAGNET SCHOOLS!!! To attain this abhorrent goal, Tram had to ensure Kishimoto wasn’t fired when her contract ended. Apparently, that writing was on the wall, as well. So Kishimoto has a new contract and Alex Nardone, Chief of Staff, (whose position in GPS was justified for just one year when Kishimoto arrived in 2014), is still here and they’re both continuing to make *great progress* in ruining a once stellar school district.

Click the image above for an expanded story of how magnet schools have morphed into something that was never intended:

We should recognize that it never made sense for one warehouse of a school to hoover up such a big chunk of the city’s whiz kids. Better to spread gifted and talented kids across a wide range of schools offering different instructional models, each of which will do a better job of meeting their students’ needs … none of which, hopefully, will pride itself on its “eliteness.”

Apparently, Kishimoto didn’t tell Her Rubber Stamps, especially Tram, that magnet schools SUCK! They don’t work as advertised, but they consume countless of millions of dollars as some corrupt school district superintendents burnish their reputations so they can get higher-paying jobs. The key is for said reputation-burnisher to get out of the magnet school district before the truth becomes known:

When educational leaders decided to create magnet schools, they didn’t just get it wrong, they got it backwards. They pulled out the best and brightest from our communities and sent them away. Schools adapted, and quickly. We tightened security, installed metal detectors, and adopted ideas like zero-tolerance. And neighborhood schools, without restrictive admission policies based on test scores, quickly spiraled downward — somewhat like an economy.

Now, hundreds of millions of dollars later, we are no closer to meeting the needs of the struggling student, but the system has created collateral damage, namely the great middle, who are forced every day to go to class in a school that is more unchallenging, unwelcoming and dangerous than it has to be.

The system as it is stratifies communities. By the time they graduate high school, many of the brightest kids already feel alienated from their neighborhoods; after all, they spend the majority of their day somewhere else.

Even former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan calls the magnet school efforts a failure in terms of desegregating urban schools:

Duncan said the department poured millions of dollars into magnet schools, public schools with a specialized focus or curriculum designed to draw a diverse group of students. Some, like those in Hartford, Connecticut, are making a big impact, but the program largely failed to make a noticeable difference integrating the country’s schools. “I don’t so much blame those districts and schools,” he said. He posited that perhaps his department didn’t ask grant recipients the right kinds of questions, or didn’t give the money to the right places … The country “can and should do more” to integrate schools, both by race and income, he said.

Let’s look at Hartford, Connecticut, from whence Kishimoto hails, to see how magnet schools made “a big impact,” in Arne Duncan’s words. We already know the end of this story. Countless students are *counseled out* or fail out of magnet schools, and they transfer to comprehensive schools. GPS has been running this same scam in Gilbert Classical Academy for the past ten years, and boasting about how GCA ranks nationally AFTER culling the crop of students each year. There’s a reason school districts engage in this misleading and despicable practice, and the folks in Hartford know it well:

The school where students are enrolled at the end of their fourth year of high school is accountable for their graduating or not. To illustrate this, picture a comprehensive high school and a magnet high school both starting with a class of 500 students. Both successfully graduate 80 percent, or 400, of those students. After their second or third year, though, 100 students who are getting behind at the magnet school transfer to the comprehensive high school.

Because they are behind, they do not graduate within four years from the time they started high school. The comprehensive high school would be reported as graduating 400 of 600 students or a four-year cohort graduation rate of 67 percent. The magnet school would be reported as graduating 400 of 400, or a four-year cohort graduation rate of 100 percent.

After assessment of the entire system surrounding the magnet programs, one may conclude that magnet schools are better defined as another segregated school within a segregated system.  A Refining of Magnet Schools: The Segregated System.123HelpMe.com. 15 Aug 2016      

A school district in Florida provides a cautionary tale for citizens concerned with Kishimoto’s *school designs* for Gilbert Public Schools. Read the whole series of articles and weep — this is what Tram and Kishimoto plan for GPS: 

On Dec. 18, 2007, the Pinellas County School Board abandoned integration. They justified the vote with bold promises: Schools in poor, black neighborhoods would get more money, more staff, more resources. They delivered none of that. This is the story of how district leaders turned five once-average schools into Failure Factories.

Vote for Westie for Superintendent on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. 

Tram Spills the Beans About *School Design* … It’s Just Magnet Schools

Election season has become quite partisan and personal in Gilbert, Arizona, and this year is no different. Three open seats on the Gilbert Public Schools Governing Board are on the ballot in the November 2016 election, a situation that Superintendent Christina Kishimoto is desperate to control so she can continue to have a rubber stamp for her destructive policies, programs and politics … and keep that taxpayer money gravy train chugging along. 

Every once in a while, a politician screws up and lets the truth out. That happened this year when the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce held a forum featuring candidates for school board in the Gilbert and Higley school districts. It seems to be a tradition that the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce starts their electioneering really early. So early, not all candidates have filed their election papers making them official candidates for the GPS Governing Board. But that doesn’t bother the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce … they put their thumbs on the scales and don’t care who is watching or which candidates they *accidentally* omit. Election year after election year. Sigh.

Current GPS board president Lily Tram apparently wrote her own talking points for the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce. Most people already know Tram isn’t very literate, as Tram’s talking points prove anew. What’s surprising is that Westie hadn’t realized how much Tram is simply a disingenuous mouthpiece for GPS superintendent Christina Kishimoto and her inept staff. Yes, we had our suspicions about who was driving this bus, but Tram’s talking points gobsmacked ole Westie with the highly unusual candor in addition to the usual inanity. Now we all know exactly what Christina Kishimoto’s plans for GPS are … straight from the horse’s mouth.*

Tram spilled the beans about Kishimoto’s grand scheme of *school design,* the words that her sycophants burble every time one of them gets promoted or hired into an administrative position in GPS. Who knew that *school design* is just *magnet schools* warmed over? Now that Tram is basing her campaign for reelection to the board on letting Kishimoto turn what used to be *neighborhood schools* into *magnet schools,* we finally learn what those words mean! Thanks, Tram!

What are the top two (2) priorities you would push to accomplish during your term as a member of the Governing Board?

Lily Tram:
1. Intra-district choice – Intra-district choice can be created with school design (old school terminology would be magnet schools). Intra-district choice will provide opportunities for students to learn and experience a skill, field or interest early on in education. It can provide a jump-start or foundation in the field of interest and prepare the students for career or college ready.
2. Review school boundaries – school boundaries should be reviewed every few years to identify schools with low or over capacity and potential growth or decline areas. GPS should continue the periodic demographic studies and trend analysis/projections, work with the Superintendent on boundary adjustment recommendations, and communicate and engage with employees, parents and the community on proposed boundary changes.

The first iteration of magnet schools, of course, is Gilbert Classical Academy, which is the recipient of unknown sums of millions of dollars in the Great Mesquite Junior High School Annihilation. We’ll be taking bets on whether or not construction overruns will push the tab into eight figures before it’s done. That’s pretty much a given, since Christina Kishimoto has told the board she doesn’t need no stinking Construction Manager at Risk to keep the project costs on track. Nope, it seems to be part of the plan that cost overruns and change orders (the stuff that makes for guaranteed profits for contractors) are in the future for Kishimoto’s Favored Few. Again.

Showing how much fun ordinary people can have during election season, let’s watch the principal of Mesquite Junior High School, Dan Johnson, grovel before his boss, Superintendent Christina Kishimoto, and the members of the GPS Governing Board. Most people think *grovel* is a figurative reference, but Dan Johnson shows that is not always the case … he actually gets on his knees to be at the *proper level* to talk to the august assemblage about getting rid of the most popular courses at Mesquite Junior High School so that the *new and improved Gilbert Classical Academy* can have gas lines for their STEM classrooms. It’s a done deal, Mesquite folks. You never had a vote, and you won’t get to vote on what happens to Mesquite Junior High School.

This is all about the GCA Ascendancy as Dan Johnson sacrifices his school to Christina Kishimoto’s *school design* fixation. Dan Hood at GCA is telling his constituents (the loudmouthed GCA parents) pretty much everything that is happening in the GCA takeover of Mesquite Junior High School … they’re getting everything they had on their wish list and lots more, it appears. Dan Johnson seems to be keeping mum about the details of the Great Mesquite Junior High School Annihilation, most likely because he’s close to having an open revolt on his hands. That’s the kind of thing that happens when you sell your soul, Dan. As you watch the video below, you might feel like crying in your beer to see a grown man prostrate himself literally and figuratively before his masters:

Thanks, Tram! The public owes you big time for clearing up confusion about what Kishimoto intends to do to this once-stellar school district. We didn’t ignore your comments about changing school boundaries. We know that Kishimoto already bought the software and intends to put that project into the hands of her band of scalawags and carpetbaggers. Since the Great GPS Board Retreat, we know that boundaries and school design are the #1 goal of the governing board for 2016-2017. Weep for your neighborhood schools, citizens of Gilbert, Arizona.

It’s invaluable to know that those old traditions of neighborhood schools and boundaries that were done *the Gilbert way* are going the way of the albatross, sacrificed for Christina Kishimoto’s national reputation fixation. Thanks again, Tram! By the way, we’re really, really, really impressed that the board listed *increased visibility* as a goal. We’ll do all we can to help your visibility!

Big Fat Asterisk: Confess: you thought it would be a different part of anatomy, didn’t you?

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