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Monday, April 22, 2013

Hayward's Superintendent Offers Vision He Likely Wont Be Around For

HAYWARD SCHOOL BOARD | In the midst of Dr. Donald Evans's likely departure as Hayward's superintendent of schools for the same job in Berkeley, he produced a short presentation Saturday to a meager attendance of just a few dozen, many district staff or elected officials, on the district’s vision and progress.

The town hall comes at an odd time for Evans. He recently was announced as a finalist for the superintendent of Berkeley Unified School District; therefore any vision he lays out now he wont likely be around to help further implement. Evans offered no reason for seeking a new position. “They’re personal reasons,” Evans told The Citizen.

Evans may not say why he is leaving, but the district had previously been plagued by turmoil over an affair between two former board members and controversial dismissals of some of its principals. Also despite Evans’s efforts to highlight positives of the district Saturday, it still remains one of the lowest performing in the county and is still racked with financial issues. Evans only spent a mere 18 months with the district before deciding to seek employment elsewhere.

But Evans pressed on with his town hall. He claimed that Hayward’s school district has been missing a vision for years and recently offered a clear path to better education in the district. “Students will be prepared, challenged and motivated in a 21st century learning environment that develops the physical, intellectual and emotional success of all learners,” said Evans. The three R’s are the common principles of the district’s vision, Rigor, Responsibility and Results.

Evans said new instructional framework, dual language immersion programs and school district learning academies, like last Summer’s Algebra Academy or the CAHSEE Academy, helped create a college preparation environment for students. Evans talked results highlighting the district’s rise in Academic Performance Index (API) scores since 2008 for 10 schools. He also praised the district for being positively certified for its budget, meaning the district can pay its bills this year, although deficit spending still remains a major issue with the board.

Evans noted the negative impression of Hayward’s schools without pointing fingers at anyone but asked for the community to accentuate the positive. “We like to talk about the negative a lot, but we need to celebrate the positive things happening” said Evans enthusiastically. The superintendent wouldn’t elaborate on who he was referring, but Hayward Mayor Michael Sweeney has been one of the more caustic critics of the district over the past few years..

The mayor recently railed against Hayward’s schools for still being the worst performing in the district despite the slight uptick in API scores. Sweeney said because of the dismal API scores the value of Hayward’s houses are kept low. “Your homes could be worth $100K more!” exclaimed Sweeney at his State of the City address earlier this year. “We’re the lowest performing school district in Alameda County. This is a big problem.”

One attendee, Kirk Williams, a PTA member, criticized the district’s Youth Enrichment Program heavily. He called it, “glorified paid babysitting,” and how he has to correct the tutor’s misinformation provided to his kids when they return home. “I gotta spend three hours re-teaching them everything they were just taught because it's wrong,” said Williams. Evans offered no response, but Lisa Brunner, a school board member, offered defense to the program saying that some schools have better mentoring programs than others. However, Board President William McGee agreed full heartily with Williams. “He’s right, it’s completely broken and we need to do something to fix it.”

Even though Evans wanted to highlight the positive aspects of the district, like increased API scores, better budget management or staff recognition rewards, Williams said he thinks the district spends too much time celebrating one small victory, like a high-scoring child, rather than paying attention to a rash of other problems that signal a broken system. “It’s like we celebrate the one kid who eats asparagus over eating ice cream but the nine other kids are still eating ice cream,” said Williams. McGee agreed with this. Evans will give his second town hall this Saturday.

12 comments :

is all same nothing changes for hayward

Now we will have another binder, full of "visions" for turning around HUSD, that will join the others gathering dust on some shelf in the district office. But Evans can take his copy with him and point to all he did to try to right the wrongs in HUSD. It makes for a good impression with a district looking for a new superintendent. It leaves HUSD's students and teachers with another bad taste in their mouths.

Alright Shane Bond, look at the title of this article. Notice anything misspelled?

I wonder what Dr. Evans can really offer Berkeley other than a new slogan, logo and office restructuring...that's what less than two years on the job gets you. Ironic that Dr. Evan's dissertaion explores the causes of principals leaving their jobs at difficult schools after short tenures...welcome to Berkeley Dr. Evans...

A new vision or a chance for letting the mice play while the cat's away. Is the board aware of M & O director and asst. taking district vehicles home on a regular basis and they live outside the district and even yet, another county? Who's watching who?

We finally get a good supt and he leaves. Where did they get the principal for the Adult School from? Every time Dr. Walker ask him a question about the budget he says I don't know. He makes himself look like he is just collecting a check and driving to LA every weekend. The Adult School allows program managers to work when the school is closed as well as clerical staff. They have a full time guidance counselor that is really working the load of a a part-time counselor, a program manager that makes as much as VP, and a principal that has no idea on how to manage a budget. His answer to budget questions is,"I have only been here for one year". The Adult School is badly needed just cut the fat the clerical staff that are paid year round as well as program managers ,and a guidance counselor and principal that work when the school is closed.

I do not think the Berk Unified School Board read the EB citizen

I question a superintendent's worth when they spend 55 days out of the district; especially a district that is struggling like HUSD.

good ridens to the sup that enjoys 100 days off with pay

It’s time for HUSD’s Board of Supervisors to step up and create stability in the leadership of the school district. Although the Board has a long term plan in place, it cannot be effectively achieved with continuous turnover in senior management. Every superintendent brings their own style and has their own vision for how things need to operate. In other words, they make many changes that affect long term operations but they do not stay to see them through. The next person comes in and realizes they need to make their own changes and this ineffective cycle continues.

The Board needs to select Superintendents that will build a solid foundation and guide the school district into the future, not just use HUSD as the door mat they wipe their feet on before opening a new door. It is obvious that Dr. Evans used this position to gain experience and secure his title as a Superintendent while waiting for the door to his next opportunity to open.

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