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Douglas County School District Interim Superintendent Erin Kane

Erin Kane is the Interim Superintendent of the Douglas County School District, Colorado’s third largest school District, serving approximately 67,000 students.

Kane brings a broad range of experiences to her latest role with DCSD. As the Executive Director of American Academy, she has built a charter system with a third campus expected to open in 2017. Kane previously spent time in the high technology industry in project development, project management, education and consulting. She earned her engineering degree in applied mathematics and computer science from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

The Superintendent’s responsibility is to ensure accomplishment of the Board of Education's goals and vision for the District.
 
 
 
Superintendent Evaluation

2017 Superintendent Evaluation by the DCSD Board of Education

Superintendent's Message

+ October 2017

+ August 2017

+ June 2017

+ March 2017

+ January 2017

+ October 2016

+ September 2016

Interim Superintendent Goals
In October, the Board of Education met with Interim Superintendent Erin Kane, setting the following goals for SY 2017-2018:

 

GOAL 1:  Focus on Climate and Culture throughout DCSD

Objective: Create and foster a work environment that will increase employee satisfaction and reduce turnover*.

  1. Examine DCSD’s Core Values, solicit feedback from students, staff, committees and the community and recommend a refresh to the Board of Education.
  2. Continue to promote organization-wide practices around cultural norms and communication. Measure by the responses to communications to employees and parents as well as by personal conduct.
  3. Follow board policy regarding the chain of communication for staff, parent, and community grievances.
  4. Continue to meet with stakeholder groups and be willing to listen to and compile updated feedback.
  5. Demonstrate transparent communication. Send the board regular updates with an honest view of the status of the district. Be honest about mistakes and challenges. Communicate honestly and regularly with staff, parents and community. Clearly communicate challenges and how they are being addressed.
  6. Focus on climate and culture in the operations group. Survey the group in the winter and again in the spring to look for improvements.
  7. Continue to improve organization turnover. Measure by looking at the number of employee resignations (by group) known at the end of the school year as compared to the number of resignations known at the end of the last two school years.*

*Understanding that the financial reasons for turnover (pay not competitive) cannot be resolved at this time.

 

 

GOAL 2Lead a Stable Transition through the Interim Period

Objective: Bring stability to the district and leave DCSD in a better place than it was prior to September 2017.

  1. Collect additional feedback from school leaders to determine how we did on the original action plan
  2. Create a new Action Plan, based on the updated feedback from schools.
  3. Create and execute a plan to address each item in the new Action Plan.
  4. Continue to communicate expectations during this interim period.
  5. Create a document outlining the responsibilities and budget managed under each leadership position in the current organization.
  6. Once a superintendent search is underway, establish a transition team.

 

 

GOAL 3:  Plan for the Potential of a Mill Levy Override and Bond Election in 2018

Objective: Develop a financial and communication plan for a 2018 bond and mill levy override initiative.

  1. Prepare and communicate two budget scenarios for the 2018-19 school year, depending on the outcome of a potential bond/mlo initiative
  2. Continue to work with the Joint Committee to assist them in their efforts to provide a recommendation to the Board of Education.
  3. Develop a comprehensive funding communication and outreach plan.
  4. Continue to educate school, district, and community leaders on the realities of state and local funding.
  5. Make recommendations to the Board of Education with respect to prioritized uses of potential bond and mill levy override dollars.

 

 

GOAL 4:  Make a Recommendation to the Board of Education with Respect to Educational Excellence and Pay for Performance

Objective: Collect stakeholder feedback and use in the preparation of recommendations.

  1. Analyze the Community Survey results to use in recommendations.
  2. Collect and compile additional feedback from all stakeholders, including educators, parents, students, staff, and community members.
  3. Develop a recommendation around defining educational excellence to inform the strategic plan and BOE end statements.
  4. Develop a plan for measuring educational excellence.
  5. Develop a recommendation for the future of pay for performance and compensation in DCSD.

 

District Senior Leadership Action List
This list is not in any particular priority order.
 

Action 1: Define the Three Key Elements

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

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: DCSD Teacher Evaluation System

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).

Update:
CITE is in the process of being updated by a group that includes representatives from every level and region, as well as special education and specials. Recommendations to the Board of Education are forthcoming and include rubrics to reflect growth-oriented conversations between an administrator and a teacher, regardless of teaching style and creates a new ratings system.

Action 4: Create feedback loop for special education stakeholders

Collaborate with special education stakeholders to create a feedback loop to inform special education programming and initiatives.

Action 5: Solutions for low enrollment and highly impacted schools

Analyze the school budgeting processes to identify gaps that exist for low enrollment and highly impacted schools and create equitable, sustainable solutions.
Update:
Highly Impacted funding was tripled this year to $1.65 million. Click here for detailed information
 

Action 6: Zero-based budgeting

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).

Zero based budgeting and cuts to administration allowed a savings of $28 million -- $20 million in 2016-17 and $8 million in 2017-18. Each department had to build their budget based on what they need, not what they were given in the prior year.  The results of this process will be shared with the Board of Education on June 6th. Click here for detailed information

Action 7: Support the needs of schools

Action 7: Collaborate directly with school leaders to prioritize the work of our Human Resources department to support the needs of schools. The Human Resources team work regularly with executive directors, building principals and department supervisors to gather information regarding staffing, employee relations, compensation and benefits needs. All decision making is done in a collaborative way and includes all stakeholders.

Action 8: Simplify pay system

Action 8: Refine the market-based pay structure to create strategies that will simplify DCSD’s pay system with a focus on valuing people. Condensed the bands to fewer pay ranges, from six to three, and increased starting teacher pay to $39,000 to be competitive with other districts.

Click here for the Board of Education report.

Click here for detailed information.

Action 9: Address pay gaps

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: Align operations and maintenance priorities

Action 10: Refine systems to ensure operations and maintenance departmental priorities align directly with school-identified needs.

In response to Action Item 10 defined by Interim Superintendent Kane in November, 2016, the Operations team immediately started a process to gain a full current state understanding of building needs. Over the last four months, O&M has met with principals to discuss the pressing capital needs, work orders, and alignment with the Master Capital Plan.

We are happy to report that we have met with 58 schools as of May 25, 2017. We have a few more schools left to visit, with our goal for completion in the next two weeks. During these conversations we have identified a series of just do it projects, capital need projects and other areas of opportunities to better support students in the classroom.

The major items identified through these meetings with principals, admins and building engineers are repairs to HVAC, carpet, and bathroom components. With this list in hand, we worked internally with our leadership team and created a list of 84 projects addressing the feedback received that will be started in the next three weeks.

Given our financial picture we currently can’t immediately address all of our capital needs, but we do plan to make the most impact possible with the limited funding available at this time.

Action 11: Activities Transportation Needs

Action 11: Examine athletic, activities, and field trip transportation needs and make recommendations on ways to meet those needs.

Over the last year, the Transportation department has worked diligently to maintain current level of general transportation services to our schools. Some of the biggest challenges to support requests for field trips at the start of school year were linked to staffing shortages and route changes. Additionally, our special education transportation needs have continued to grow putting additional pressure on the Transportation department resources.  

The Transportation Field Trip Department supports students for athletics, activities, field trips, and other school events.  There are  24 Field Trip buses and 13 trip drivers, who support events for all 64,000 students in the district. During the 2016-2017 school year, more than 9,800 trips were completed, which is an increase of more than 3,000 from the prior year. 

Several other changes made late into this year have allowed the Transportation department to support school trip requests without adding any extra assets. School route drivers have been used to supplement trips during the middle of the day and after bus routes. Internal costs of field trips charged back to schools were reduced this year based on feedback received and needs of the schools.  

In addition, we upgraded our routing software, which allows trip buses to be routed more efficiently and enables visibility of available drivers. We have also embarked on a hiring blitz for the summer and will continue to hire drivers until we reach capacity.

 


Speaking Engagements
Interim Superintendent Erin Kane and her team enjoy meeting members of our community. Recently she has been working to speak to local groups about the state of the Douglas County School District, including the challenges the district faces and possible ways for the community to support our students and staff.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017, at 5:00 PM
Castle Pines Chamber of Commerce @ Castle Pines Library

Monday, October 2, 2017, at 6:00 PM
Zonta International, Women's Empowerment Group @ La Dolce Vita

Thursday, October 5, 2017, @ 6:00 PM
Meadows Community Association

Schedule a Visit

If you would like to have the interim superintendent or another member of the Douglas County School District's leadership team speak to a community organization, contact our Parent & Community Liaison. She will help to make arrangements.

Nate Jones
303-387-0126
Community Relations Specialist