To: District Leadership Team
From: Larry Nyland
Date: August 13, 2015
Providing schools and families strong systems that support academic outcomes and meet student needs is central to our district mission. As superintendent, I am committed to make the necessary changes to support our students, schools, staff and families.
As I and previous superintendents have noted – Seattle has many silos. We also have many policies which require multiple handoffs between divisions. Due to the complexity of our silos we sometimes fail to make the handoffs between silos in a fluid and transparent way. My intent is to clarify division roles in a way that makes it easier for staff and the public to find support.
Earlier this year I asked for two reviews: one for the legal department and one for the other divisions. Between these two reviews, more than 50 central office employees were interviewed regarding: organizational structures and functions, strengths and challenges, and perceived administrative needs. Recommendations suggested that we continue to align functions and provide clear pathways for decision-making and provide needed support to the Instructional side of the organization.
To that end, as superintendent, I am organizing the administrative team to:
Support the strategic plan
Build further capacity in central office to support schools
Provide greater possibilities for succession
Minimize added cost
Support and clarify key initiatives
Work toward customer service improvements
1. Make the shifts (re-org) for the 2015-16 year (now).
2. Evaluate results (Spring of 16).
3. Then, make necessary adjustments (June 2016)
Specifically, I will be making the following changes:
Increasing Teaching and Learning Support by elevating the existing Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning to an Associate Superintendent role and adding the new Chief of Schools position. This new Chief of Schools position will provide more coordination between schools, greater implementation of district goals, and increased support for parents and schools. The Chief of Schools also retains responsibility for leadership development. In addition, I will transfer to the Associate Superintendent of Teaching and Learning (from Operations) the Executive Director of Coordinated School Health and Positive Climate and consider added support for MTSS-B and Closing the Opportunity Gap. This will align those
functions with Teaching and Learning. Finally, the Director of Grants will transfer (from Business and Finance) – again to align categorical grants with the direction and focus of Teaching and Learning.
Consolidating Facilities and Operations by elevating the existing Assistant Superintendent of Facilities to Associate Superintendent of Facilities and Operations. The Assistant Superintendent for Operations (Logistics, Transportation, Food Service, Safety, Security, Crisis Team, Threat Analysis and Media Center) will become part of the Associate Superintendent team. This move combines the work of Facilities and Operations under one leadership team as is the case for most districts of our size. This will also allow for greater communications between enrollment services and enrollment planning.
Family and Community Engagement: is one of the three major goals of the district strategic plan. However, those functions remain scattered between Director of Equity, Director of Community Partnerships, Communications Office, the Ombudsperson and Customer Service. In order to strengthen our Family and Community Engagement efforts:
The Ombuds role will evolve to include customer service
The Chief Partnership Officer (renamed position) will be asked to further develop and coordinate the family and community engagement work
Creating a Student Civil Rights Compliance Office that will report to the Deputy Superintendent. This will allow us to better comply with the OCR, Title IX, Title II, and HIB requirements that we are currently working on. This entails the hiring of two positions (Student Civil Rights Compliance Officer and Accessibility Coordinator); reassigning the Title IX position and one investigator position from HR and Student HIB from Operations. This change is driven by the field trip settlement of $700,000, the recommendations of the Title IX task force, OCR/ADA settlement agreements and increases in student HIB complaints.
In other moves:
Purchasing will move from Operations to Business and Finance where it will align with Finance functions
Customer Service will move from Operations to the office of the Ombudsperson
Audit Response manager will move to the Deputy Superintendent office where there will be district-wide oversight in concert with the strategic priorities of the district
Continuous Improvement and K-12 School Operations will merge to better serve schools.
The Executive Director for Strategic Planning and Partnerships will be retitled as Chief Partnership Officer and be asked to bring clarity and coherence to:
o Teacher partnerships, evaluation, support and development, including Career Ladder Coordinators
o Family and Community engagement as outlined above
Legal department adjustments will await the final determination of the administrative leave for the General Counsel
Finally, I will appoint an Implementation Team to address any concerns or feedback you have as we implement these changes. On my behalf, they will work out details, collect feedback, make necessary adjustments, and help with transition plans of new roles.
Our schools are doing great work and we want to support that momentum. It is my hope that these changes will increase our ability to meet the needs of our 53,000 students, their families and our dedicated staff.