Gilbert Public Schools and Sneaky School Design Maneuvers

Wouldn’t it be nice if the Gilbert PUBLIC SCHOOL system was actually responsive to the PUBLIC that pays its bills?

Wouldn’t it be nice if the Superintendent of the PUBLIC school district gave a speech on the state of those schools in a public venue where members of the public were actually invited to attend? GPS takes business out of the public eye at every opportunity, this time to another private religious university, at an event hosted by a private foundation, to discuss what’s going on in the public school district. You even have to RSVP to attend the State of the Schools 2015 speech — but notice there’s nothing on the announcement about how much it will cost you to find out how GPS schools are doing these days.*

Notice who is buying breakfast: an architecture company called orcutt|winslow. Wonder who will get the contract for the new GCA campus?? Haven’t we seen all this before? No no, GPS, say it ain’t so!

Oh gee, GPS hasn’t announced their new construction plans … but they put “construction” into board goals and such, just in case.

You didn’t know the GPS Governing Board adopted their goals for the 2015-2016 school year? For all you loyal employees who expected salary equity and raises to be a priority, you’re going to be chasing that unicorn and rainbow for a long, long time. Here are the goals the GPS Governing Board adopted:

1. Establish a baseline district ­level Academic Data Dashboard that can be utilized as a district “report card,” which will be used to annually report on student achievement growth and success based on key performance indicators.
2. Utilize the 2014-­15 Demographic Study to identify future priorities related to enrollment, space utilization, construction, and school design. Establish an on­going process for periodic review of demographic data.
3. Identify a permanent location for Gilbert Classical Academy and finalize a comprehensive plan to support full implementation of the school design.

They’re using edu-jargon, again, to confuse and misdirect the masses. “Data dashboard” sounds really fancy, but creating it is not a complex task, especially not in this day and age. GPS has all kinds of expensive hardware and software from last year’s Great Buying Spree; you have to wonder why none of the Powers That Be ever figured out how to assemble all that data. Westie still wonders why the top *educators* in GPS can’t write a decent sentence. Or paragraph. Or email message. Sheeeesh.

GPS Governing Board Goal Number 1 is really run on and deficient in comma usage. It looks like it’s just a series of edu-jargon buzz words. The GPS Governing Board is pretending all this technology is something new, but it’s not. And it’s not really effective in fixing the problems in education:

If a private company is failing to make a profit, no one expects that state-of-the-art data centers, better productivity software, and new laptops for all of the employees will turn things around. Yet, that is exactly the logic of so many attempts to fix education with technology.

GPS Governing Board Goal Number 2 might have one too many commas, but the real import is that the board is committed only to “establish an ongoing process” rather than actually DO anything about fixing district boundaries and such. Notice how Superintendent Christina 3-2 Kishimoto slipped in the word “construction” in that statement. In the video clip below, listen to Julie Smith lay down the law about construction. Listen to Christina 3-2 Kishimoto flip her off  brush off her comments.

GPS Governing Board Goal Number 3 is going to cause fireworks … AGAIN. Listen to Board Member Julie Smith explain how GPS administrators have talked and talked and talked about a new campus for Gilbert Classical Academy, but nothing has come of it.

Here’s a phrase that should warn the public that Christina 3-2 Kishimoto has some nefarious plans she hasn’t unveiled yet: “school design.” You’re going to hear this again and again, but by the time you understand what Christina 3-2 Kishimoto means by that phrase, it will be too late to do anything about it (that’s by design). School design is part of the reforms that will be rammed down the throats of residents of the Town of Gilbert, financed by Gilbert taxpayers.

You need look no farther than Hartford, Connecticut, to see what is about to unfold. The Hartford Board gave new Superintendent Beth Narvaez a great evaluation, but they still bash Christina Kishimoto for the harm she did to that school district. We’re already seeing the same old stuff here in Gilbert: more district administrators, less communication with parents and an incredible level of arrogance in general.

“As a ‘change agent’ Beth shows a great deal of insight, innovation and creativity,” taking steps that have “energized staff and helped improve the relationship between central office and the schools,” the board said. It described her new plan to accelerate change at the neediest neighborhood schools, where educators have pleaded for support, as a “promising step to achieving better outcomes for all learners.” The board also pressed Narvaez to carry out “significant cultural and organizational changes.” That includes a mandate to deepen communications with the community “for real dialogue and collaboration,” and continuing to reorganize her central office “to be more responsive and more capable.”

Last year, Narvaez brought in a few new people to her top administrative team and shuffled others in response to an internal report in October that criticized the office as fragmented. “Beth came into an organization with little appetite or capacity for real community engagement, as well as a very top-down and opaque method of dealing with parents and community stakeholders,” stated the board, which often faulted the administration under former Superintendent Christina Kishimoto.

On Tuesday night, the board spent 2 1/2 hours in a private meeting to discuss her job performance and later voted to tack on an extra year to her original three-year contract with annual 3 percent raises. Narvaez, whose salary is $257,500, said later that the board was being “really thoughtful.”

One other thing to note: new Hartford School District Superintendent Beth Narvaez is a Harvard-educated, self-described “equity warrior.” Wow – GPS needs salary equity now more than ever, since Christina Kishimoto has been at the helm for more than a year. Hey GPS employees: we kept telling you that raises were not a priority for these clowns. As far as equity for students, you need look no farther than the push for a new campus for Gilbert Classical Academy for 1% of GPS students.

Watch out whenever you hear the words *School Design!* Christina 3-2 Kishimoto wants to develop a national reputation, come hell or high water. Just do what you’re told, Governing Board. And pay up, taxpayers.

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Big Fat Asterisk: Isn’t it cute that the 2015 State of the Schools speech is occurring in October just before the election on the override and bond issue? For example, the President gives the State of the Union addresses in January. Last year, the State of the Schools speech was delivered before the Town Council pretty close to the traditional beginning of the year (February 5, 2015, to be exact). But this is GPS – a hundred years of tradition unhampered by progress.

Keyboard: Westie, you know that’s not fair. Christina 3-2 Kishimoto invented the State of the Schools speech just last year. It’s not a GPS tradition yet. It’s still a gimmick.


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