Florida Keys blackboard jungle strategic climatology

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There is a Key West’s Truman Waterfront & senior living center shuffle post today at goodmorningkeywest.com, which you should be able to reach by clicking on that link.

Meanwhile, from Larry Murray yesterday:

Larry Murray

Date: Wed, 17 Jul 2013 08:10:37 -0700
From: citizenlarry007@yahoo.com
Subject: Strategic Plan and Climate Survey
To: captecoed@aol.com
CC: robin.smith-martin@keysschools.com; ron.martinsb@keysschools.com; John.Dick@KeysSchools.com; andy@fishandy.com; skinney@keynoter.com; tschmida@keysnews.com; keysmyhome@hotmail.com; mark.porter@keysschools.com


I thought that your comments regarding the process for the Strategic Plan as reported in today’s Keynoter were quite accurate. You are quoted as saying that the process is “largely in-house personnel dominated and old-guard sponsored.” You go on to observe that Superintendent Porter “failed to reach many elements of (the) non-school community who pay taxes.”

I would add to your observations that Superintendent Porter,

Mark Porterin assembling “community” participation, conspicuously and consciously refused to accept any volunteers that he viewed as critical in any way of the School District or his administration. I would suggest that in so doing Superintendent Porter demonstrated a predilection to isolate and silence his critics. Anything that emerges from the Strategic Planning process is bound to be biased and unreliable because of how Porter chose the participants.

I might also note that the Strategic Planning Committee is scheduled to meet next Monday after a six week delay. The whole process has been strung out interminably and the results of the first phase, seven community meetings, have generally been ignored. The Strategic Planning Committee that is to meet in a few days has yet to receive the results of the “Action Planning Committees” that they are to assemble into a final Strategic Plan. As is so often the case with the Porter administration, there will be a last minute rush to complete this project. Superintendent Porter’s administrative approach reminds me of the old military cliché: “Hurry up and wait.”

As for the Climate Survey as reported in today’s Citizen, Superintendent Porter demonstrates his capacity for “spin”. Among other things, Porter is reported to observe that “the survey results may be skewed by lukewarm participation rates from groups such as Lower Keys residents.” He says this despite the fact that participation by Sugarloaf School, the only public school in the Lower Keys, was among the highest. Porter had the same problem in assembling his Strategic Planning team. He seems unable to distinguish between the Lower Keys and Key West, preferring to lump them together despite their obvious distinctions.

To his credit, Porter concludes that the results of the Climate Survey present “significant challenges”. If there is a hallmark of his first year as superintendent, his repeated observations about “challenges” could well be that hallmark.

Dr. Larry Murray
Fiscal Watchdog and Citizen Advocate

Larry also replied to yesterday’s post Surprise, surprise! in independent survey, 60 percent of Florida Keys students report being bullied at goodmorningfloridakeys.com:

Date: Wed, 17 Jul 2013 08:18:02 -0700
From: citizenlarry007@yahoo.com
Subject: Re: psychiatric evaluations
To: keysmyhome@hotmail.com


I have always shared your concerns regarding bullying in our schools. I may not have expressed it as loudly or given the priority that you have, but I view it as a very significant problem.

At the Key West Chamber of Commerce forum during last year’s campaign, I was asked specifically about my position on bullying and responded as clearly and comprehensively as I could. Unfortunately, most of the forums that we all participated in relied on questions others determined and I do not recall bullying as one of their priorities.

Perhaps the Climate Survey will bring bullying the attention that it deserves. Superintendent Porter talks about the “significant challenges” emerging from the survey and maybe he will make bullying one of the “challenges” that he addresses in his second year.


I wrote back:

Hi, Larry –

The KW Chamber forum was the one I missed, spaced it out while I was working on the email to the school board about the two different ways, one easily rigged, the other not easily rigged, to select the new superintendent the next day. The point, to head off a back-door rehiring of Jesus Jara. As it turned out, maybe I should have been at the Chamber forum instead.

Ed Davidson’s stock fell way down for me after the HOB drama was all over but the shouting; much to do about little, it seemed to turn out.

I didn’t read the Keynoter article yet, will pause to do that …

Porter job evaluations finally released, comments mixed
Posted – Wednesday, July 17, 2013 09:35 AM EDT
The Monroe County School Board has given Superintendent Mark Porter what amounts to a B-minus in his first 11 months heading Keys public schools.

Board members conducted their evaluations in June and Porter made them public Monday.

The evaluation form asks 52 specific questions — many of which board members didn’t answer based on what they say is lack of information — pegged to a five-point scale of 1, not acceptable; 2, developing; 3, proficient; 4, accomplished; and 5, distinguished.

The board members gave Porter an average score of 3.51. The individual marks:

Chairman Andy Griffiths, 3.58.
Vice Chairman Ron Martin, 3.65.
Ed Davidson, 3.33.
Robin Smith-Martin, 3.46.
John Dick, 3.55.
In addition to scoring Porter the lowest, Davidson’s evaluation contained the most critical comments, particularly regarding Porter’s ongoing strategic planning process, which Davidson contends is “largely in-house personnel dominated and old-guard sponsored.”

He wrote that Porter “failed to reach many elements of [the] non-school community who pay taxes.”

Griffiths only gave numerical scores for 12 of the 52 questions, by far the lowest response rate on the board. He noted on the form that in many cases associated with specific performance measures, it’s “too early” to judge.

For instance, on the specific goal of Monroe County remaining “an A-rated school district,” Griffiths wrote that it’s “too early to know the results” because the state Department of Education has not yet released its latest letter grades for schools.

Griffith praised Porter’s human resources and writing skills.

Martin, who gave the highest marks, made few comments on his evaluation, mainly pointing out that Porter has a strong “work ethic” and needs to fill “key positions” in the district administration.

Smith-Martin had no comments on his evaluation form. Dick criticized the whole concept of evaluating based on unknowns, writing that “the process is ongoing and until it’s completed this evaluation is not an accurate judgment.”

Porter graded himself on a three-point scale, saying he doesn’t believe he has had time to become accomplished or distinguished in any specific area since his hiring to the $150,000-per-year job in August. He’s on a three-year contract.

His self-evaluation score is 2.51. Like Dick, Porter said the evaluation process is “difficult to apply to a mid-year evaluation as many of the specific measurable outcomes and results are based on annual accomplishments for which little if any relevant mid-year data is available.”

Porter identified areas needing improvement, including more visits to schools and classrooms and articulating the district’s agenda in a “compelling manner. I would like to increase formal written communications [like] newspaper columns as one way of improving in this area.”


OK, I read it.

Porter gave himself a letter grade lower than the school board members gave him.

Strategic planning is hard for me to wrap my mind around, sounds like noise to me. I’m an action/results enthusiast, regardless of who’s on board, old guard, new guard.

I told Ed Davidson he wasn’t going to get much done if he got on the school board, but I give him credit for making the other school board members and Porter uncomfortable.

I still say the SD needs to be taken over by the state.


Larry replied:

Porter used a 3 point scale whereas the Board used a 5 point scale.

I wrote back:

Ooops! My flub.

See no reason to wait on climate survey to find out about bullying the survey revealed like Columbus “discovered” America.

Columbus discovers



About Sloan

That's what this website is about, also goodmorningkeywest.com and goodmorningbirmingham.com. If you can't get a publisher to take on your wacky musing, you do it yourself.
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