DCSD action list, central administration reorganization announced
Changes save district an estimated $2 million
CASTLE ROCK – After visiting nearly every school in the Douglas County School District, Interim Superintendent Erin Kane and her leadership team have unveiled an action list and a reorganization of central administration that aim to better address the needs of DCSD students and staff.
According to Kane, the action plan, which addresses items such as instructional philosophy, pay inequities,district support and school budgeting, was developed from the feedback collected from school leaders, teachers and support staff.
“Our guiding premise is that students, and therefore schools, are at the center of our work,” Kane said. “Our new organizational structure also streamlines central administration and support departments.”
Kane says foundational to the plan is having district leadership support schools in meeting three key elements:
- Striving for educational excellence
- Meeting the needs of their stakeholders (students, parents, staff and community members)
- Building a positive culture and climate
“Schools will have the freedom and autonomy to determine how to meet these three key elements, including ensuring that educational excellence includes content knowledge and skills as well as complex thinking and analysis,” Kane said. “We will be working with building and department leaders to collaboratively prioritize these actions moving forward.”
The action items below will be implemented by Kane and the senior leadership team.
“There is a lot to do and it will take time, but it is the right work for our school district, our staff and our kids,” Kane said.
While the onus is not on schools, school leaders and staff will help guide the work.
“While we cannot do them without input from our schools, it is essential to note that the burden of implementation will not be placed on our teachers or school staff,” Kane said. “Some of the actions are straightforward and others will be very challenging and take four to six months to tackle.”
District Senior Leadership Action List
This list is not in any particular priority order.
Action 1: Determine how to further define the three key elements: educational excellence (foundational skills, content knowledge, and complex analysis), stakeholder satisfaction (students, parents, staff and community), and positive culture.
Action 2: Evaluate district outcomes and curriculum through the lens of the three key elements above and develop recommendations for the superintendent and Board of Education as a foundation for the next Strategic Plan.
Action 3: Ensure the current DCSD teacher evaluation system (CITE) captures the true value of the cultural impact and professionalism of a teacher relative to the practices of instruction, planning and assessment, while also providing the freedom to use different types of instruction (including direct instruction).
Action 4: Collaborate with special education stakeholders to create a feedback loop to inform special education programming and initiatives.
Action 5: Analyze the school budgeting processes to identify gaps that exist for low enrollment and highly impacted schools and create equitable, sustainable solutions.
Action 6: Move to zero-based budgeting for central office departmental budgets, to ensure we are as efficient as possible with district monies, maximizing support to schools and staff (zero-based budgeting is financial planning in which all expenses must be justified each new fiscal year).
Action 7: Collaborate directly with school leaders to prioritize the work of our Human Resources department to support the needs of schools.
Action 8: Refine the market-based pay structure to create strategies that will simplify DCSD’s pay system with a focus on valuing people.
Action 9: Analyze pay gaps with other districts as well as those internal to DCSD (for instance, between long-time and new teachers) and recommend possible strategies to address the gaps.
Action 10: Refine systems to ensure operations and maintenance departmental priorities align directly with school-identified needs.
Action 11: Examine athletic, activities, and field trip transportation needs and make recommendations on ways to meet those needs.
As part of the effort to better meet the needs of the schools, Kane also announced some changes to the organization of central administration. Primarily, all of the schools will be overseen by Assistant Superintendent Ted Knight and supported by four executive directors of schools who will oversee the following regional areas: Castle Rock, eastern Highlands Ranch, western Highlands Ranch and Parker.
Kane says aligning schools by feeder is student-centered.
“Our DCSD students do not just go to one type of school, they move through a feeder system,” Kane said. “This allows our directors of schools to be aligned with students, families, and feeder communities and for principals to view the education of their kids from kindergarten through twelfth grade.”
MORE INFO: School organizational chart
Overview of Organizational Structure
The following is a synopsis of the roles of the district leadership team.
Steve Cook, Deputy Superintendent
Steve will serve as deputy superintendent. In addition to generally supporting the work of the superintendent, Steve is specifically in charge of School Support Services including personalized learning, safety and security, curriculum, career and technical education, academic systems, professional development and educator effectiveness.
Ted Knight, Assistant Superintendent, School Leadership
Ted will serve as assistant superintendent for all of our schools including elementary, middle, high and alternative. In addition he will support choice programming, athletics, arts and activities.
Bonnie Betz, Chief Financial Officer
Bonnie will continue to serve as the chief financial officer for the school district. In addition, she will oversee Human Resources as the search for a permanent Chief Human Resources Officer continues.
Gautam Sethi, Chief Technology Officer
Gautam will continue to oversee Information Technology. In addition, he will also support the operations leadership team. At this time the district has suspended the search for a Chief Operations Officer.
Nancy Ingalls, Personalized Learning Officer
Nancy Ingalls will serve in the position formerly known as Chief Student Advocacy Officer, which includes special education, gifted education, English language development, literacy intervention, early childhood education, health and wellness, and Title programs. Nancy will report to Steve Cook and serve as a key member of the senior leadership team.
Randy Barber, Chief Communications Officer
Randy will continue to oversee the district’s communications and community relations efforts.
Matt Reynolds, Chief Assessment and Data Officer
Matt will continue to oversee assessment and data.
Will Trachman, General Legal Counsel
Will recently joined us as our new General Legal Counsel. He will oversee the District’s legal matters and risk management
Reorganization to save district $2 million
The result of the changes is expected to save an estimated $2 million dollars this fiscal year, allowing the district to direct resources closer to its students. The district is currently working to prioritize the needs of schools, especially highly impacted schools.