Saturday, April 12, 2008

Great Confusion and Sadness

I'm going to take a moment out of my usual type of "reflection on childhood" posting and tell you that I was shocked, mortified, and just generally stunned at what has become of the Fort Wayne Community School System.

I know that over the past 20 years, enrollment has tanked and I just assumed that it was that normal - people moving out to the 'burbs.

Then I see this data and I was speechless for a good five minutes.

Public School Rankings

I'm embarrassed.

There would be absolutely no way that I would enroll my son in the FWCS system as it is today.


This makes me incredibly sad. I went to Indian Village. It's on probation. Unfathomable.

And here's the Private School Rankings.

When my mother decided to switch us into the catholic school system, I went to St. Therese. BTW - she did this to ease her catholic mind not because she didn't think we were getting great educations in the FWCS system.

So St. Therese - it's listed as exemplary.

Another observation.

All of the public schools in the Waynedale area are doing horribly while the handful of private schools in the same area are shining brightly.


What has happened folks? How and why did FWCS become so broken?

I feel badly for these children. What kind of future can they expect to have if they attend a school that is sub-par?

And Fort Wayne - how can they expect to turn out "their own" professionals if these kids can't even cut the state's mustard.

No wonder these kids are resorting to shooting each other. Nine murders in one week - how many of those who perpetrated the crimes - how many of those people were a product of the FWCS system?

I'm just sayin'....


I'm back to being speechless again.

But then I bounce back and start reading the meeting minutes - just for 2008 mind you as I'm pretty tired and I need to sleep soon.

"Carol J. Coen commented on the district wide fund raiser that FWCS is holding for Riley
Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. Many Fort Wayne children use the facility in Indianapolis. If we collect one dollar per student, the district would become a Riley Miracle Corporation

I mean no disrespect to Ms. Coen - but who cares? I mean, it's nice that there is a fund raiser to support Riley but caring about the district becoming a "Riley Miracle Corporation"? Is this part of the new image that they're trying to build for themselves?

"Kevin Brown, Carol J. Coen and Stephen Corona shared experiences from their trip to
Washington, D.C. for the National School Boards Association, Federal Relations Network Conference in early February. There was much conversation about the reauthorization of NCLB legislation. They were able to visit with the staff of Senators’ Lugar and Souder and share specifics of Fort Wayne Community Schools concerns

I'm glad that they went on a field trip - but WHAT are the concerns? I don't find any list on FWCS website entitled, "Concerns We Have". I would love to see that!

What does it say when four months into the year - over 50% of the meeting minutes documentation is taken up with hires/fires/transfers/leaves of absences/retirements??? Why SO much fluctuation in personnel??

"Mark GiaQuinta thanked the Superintendent for the congratulatory letter sent to Bishop Luers on their state football championship."

You've got to be kidding.

"Chief Academic Officer Dr. Carol Lindquist provided an overview of the district process for enhancing academic effectiveness. Director of School Improvement Systems John Kline then reviewed steps taken by each school to create its plan for continuous improvement."

Awesome. How about posting them on the FWCS website and updating this information (the progress of) monthly?

Yes, here's the methodology they are using (which to me, seems a BIT overwhelming and which will do a great job of taking teachers away from doing their job but hey - what do I know - I just have a master's degree).

They were supposed to be done by March 28, 2008 (each school yet nothing has been posted on the FWCS website). They do have "generic" plans for Middle School - so maybe this means that one size fits all, and whether you are an exemplary school or a probationary school, your approach to improvement is still the same.


Something happened between the 2003-2004 school year and the 2004-2005 school year. A quick check of each school's snapshots comparing those two sets of year - half of FWCS dropped significantly from one year to the next (some by 20 points!!!) . Maybe someone can explain that to me.

Waynedale Elementary
Indian Village Elementary
Weisser Park Elementary
South Wayne Elementary
Frances Price Elementary
Nebraska Elementary (they tanked big time first, from 2002-2003 vs. 2003-2004 but then took another nose dive from 2003-2004 to 2004-2005)
Lindley Elementary
Lincoln Elementary
Merle J Abbett Elementary
Adams Elementary
Elmhurst High
Fairfield Elementary
Forest Park Elementary
Franke Park Elementary
Haley Elementary
Harris Elementary
Harrison Hill Elementary


I promise tomorrow's blog entry will be light and fluffy because too many of these depressing postings aren't good for any of us :).


Jeff Pruitt said...


I share your frustration. Like any large organization, failures are attributed to leadership and typically that stems from a lack of accountability.

We have a new superintendent that, 5 years down the road, is just now getting performance goals placed on her by the board. Nevermind that the goals aren't written as strongly as they should be - at least it's something.

So one has to ask - how can FWCS make improvement if they have no goals and no measurables to show progress? Well I think the obvious answer, and what you're seeing, is they can't.

If you want to see the kind of nonsense that goes on within the FWCS board then just look at my posts from earlier this morning. The board president is wasting his time spamming all the district's educators telling them what a great job the board is doing...