According to a recently released report titled “Comprehensive System Review of EPISD” (read all 999 pages here), “This board hired Juan Cabrera as the new superintendent in the fall of 2013, and one of Mr. Cabrera’s first decisions was to have a comprehensive system evaluation conducted to determine where key strengths and weaknesses exist in the system”.
The district has placed a link to the report prominently on the home page of their web site.
Before we start
Let’s first admit that very few of us know how to read a report like this and compare our district to others. We should understand that in an organization as big as EPISD policies and rules are not always understood by everyone, much less obeyed.
EPISD may have done pretty well in the review.
Not the way it looks though
It seems to me that the report has more to say about what they observed that was not good than it does about what good it found.
For example in “STANDARD 1: The School District Demonstrates Its Control of Resources, programs, and Personnel” the report lists these five findings:
Finding 1.1: The structural configuration of the El Paso Independent School District does not match its success metric.
Finding 1.2: Evidence of planning was found in the El Paso Independent School District, but planning processes, plans, implementation strategies, actions steps, and communication protocols are inadequate to provide a clear focus with which to guide district initiatives, program direction, and system operations.
Finding 1.3: Board polices are difficult to navigate and lack content and sufficient specificity to provide [t]he adequate quality control needed for effective management of curriculum and other district functions. (Brutus’ note–evidently the report writers have some problems with quality control too).
Finding 1.4: Job descriptions are inadequate in scope and in the ability to clearly communicate rules and responsibilities associated with curriculum design and delivery. The organizational chart does not meet audit criteria and is inadequate to reflect sound general management of the school system. The lack of a clear organizational structure is impeding communications across the system and contributing to a sense of organizational distrust.
Finding 1.5: Critical human resource management system functions are weak in their capacity to support instructional priorities of the school district. The teacher appraisal process is inadequate to inform improved curriculum delivery, district planning, or decision making. Policy direction is weak in establishing clear criteria for making personnel decisions concerning teacher transfers and ineffective teachers.
Believe it or not, there are four more standards that were reviewed.
What does this mean?
The fact that the district has published this report so prominently has me wondering. Often the district is not forthcoming with uncomplimentary information. Then again maybe they want us to know what needs to be fixed.
Is our non-elected board of managers going to do something with this report? Are we soon going to learn about steps to improve the situation?
Is this an effort to get public support for changes that the district thinks the unions will fight?
Since most of findings 1.1 to 1.5 address administrative issues are we about to see an overhaul at the top levels of the district?
The findings document things that many have been saying about the district.
What will happen next?
We deserve better