STATE OF HAWAII
BOARD OF EDUCATION
HUMAN RESOURCES COMMITTEE
Queen Liliuokalani Building
1390 Miller Street, Room 404
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Thursday, February 20, 2020
|Anonymous||Public||V.A. Committee Action on recommendation concerning appointment of the Complex Area Superintendent for the Nanakuli-Waianae Complex Area||Oppose/Comment|
|Angela Mariano||Public||IV.B. Update on work ensuring Board policies enable Board and Department to collect necessary teacher retention data and implement bold teacher recruitment and retention strategies (HR Strategic Priority 2)||Comment|
|Linda Elento||Public||IV.B. Update on work ensuring Board policies enable Board and Department to collect necessary teacher retention data and implement bold teacher recruitment and retention strategies (HR Strategic Priority 2)|
V.B. Committee Action on recommendation concerning amendments to the Department of Education’s plan of organization
Committee Chairperson Takeno stated that at the Committee’s September 18, 2019 meeting, he updated the Committee on the individuals whom he identified and selected to serve on the working group. So far, the working group has met twice, once on November 1, 2019 and again on January 31, 2020. Under the original timeline, the working group would present a report to the Committee and the Committee would approve all draft changes from the working group’s comprehensive report for public comment by April 16, 2020. After a public comment period, the Committee would recommend effective policy changes that sufficiently considered public comments for Board approval by May 21, 2020.
Committee Chairperson Takeno stated that the working group needs more time to develop its report, so he is modifying the timeline to change the date the working group’s report will be submitted to the Committee to May 21, 2020, and also the date the Committee will recommend effective policy changes to the Board to June 18, 2020.
V. Recommendation for Action
Unebasami detailed that Ann Mahi, CAS, Nanakuli-Waianae Complex Area, notified the Department of her intention to retire a year ago. She stated that Mahi has served in her position for more than a decade and has done significant work for the schools under her leadership. She noted that the Department was interested in ensuring a smooth transition to ensure that the transition did not disrupt operations or work schools are engaged in. She highlighted that the Department reviewed ways in which to strategically transition to a new leader. In order to ensure smooth transitions, the Department identified a new leader earlier in the process that could work with Mahi during the transition period. This ensures that the new leader understands the school community, needs, and conditions of success. Unebasami stated that the complex area is unique. She emphasized the importance of the Department coaching a new leader to find his or her own voice, build credibility, and build influence in the community and schools to support student learning.
Unebasami stated that the Department spoke with principals, met with complex area leaders, and created a profile of what the complex area would need in a new leader. The Department used this profile to drive interview questions. She highlighted that the Department’s screening committee recommended Thompson as the new leader for the complex area. She detailed that the Department reviewed its job description, Thompson’s resume, and conducted an analysis using his interview responses. As a result, the Department found that Thompson is the right fit for the position.
Thompson expressed appreciation for the Department’s process and engagement of communities. He stated that he understands the needs of the community and the needs of vulnerable community members. He stated that this understanding is important for moving forward and stated that he is committed to Kishimoto, the Board, public education, and students.
Committee Member Voss moved to approve the appointment of Sione Thompson as CAS for the Nanakuli-Waianae Complex Area. Committee Member Margaret Cox seconded.
Committee Member Payne stated that she worked with Thompson in the past when she served on the Commission. She noted that he faced many obstacles in his previous position and overcame these obstacles with grace, kindness, and aloha.
Committee Member De Lima commented that he is disappointed Thompson is transitioning to the role of CAS because charter schools benefited from his leadership. He expressed concern over the challenges charter schools face. He stated that the Commission needs a leader with empathy and Thompson showed empathy as he overcame challenges and helped schools to understand issues regarding resource development. He emphasized that the Department recognizes Thompson’s talent. Committee Member De Lima commented that in this new position, Thompson would work more closely with schools and have a direct impact. He stated that the complex area has many difficulties and stated that Thompson would need to review data and work with principals. He asked if Thompson reviewed the Department’s 2030 Promise Plan.
Thompson confirmed that he reviewed the Department’s 2030 Promise Plan. He stated that the five promises provide schools and complex areas with pathways and frameworks. Schools and complex areas have the opportunity to review data and understand the complexities of each community. He noted that he reviewed data for the complex area. Thompson stated that the 2030 Promise Plan helps schools to understand student success through various indicators. The flexibility it provides helps schools to move in the right direction. He emphasized the importance of recognizing bright spots and reviewing student success in a number of different ways. He stated that he would continue to review challenges and barriers to ensure the complex area meets graduation rates, literacy rates, and other targets.
Committee Member De Lima agreed with accentuating the positives and recognizing successes. He stated that principals need to convey successes and encourage students to continue work hard. He stated that the 2030 Promise Plan does not prescribe specific methodology for schools to employ. Committee Member De Lima commented that leaders need to recognize shortcomings in addition to successes in order to engage students, families, and communities to make progress. He emphasized the importance of helping students who struggle to make progress. Committee Member De Lima stated that he supports the appointment of Thompson and believes that Thompson will be supportive of the complex area, schools, and students.
Committee Member Kili Namauʻu commended the Department on its search and hiring process. She stated that the process is comprehensive and engages communities. She stated that she is looking forward to Thompson’s leadership based on his work with charter schools. Committee Member Namauʻu expressed concern regarding the lack of support for specific communities within the complex area and stated that she hoped Thompson has opportunities to grow Hawaiian language immersion programs and engage students and families. She noted that programs have not had support over the years and asked Thompson to focus on these populations and programs.
Committee Members Uemura and Cox voiced support for Thompson’s nomination. Committee Member Uemura commended the Department for including Thompson’s resume, the job description, and analysis in its meeting materials. He asked the Department to continue including this information for future appointments.
Committee Member Voss commented that the complex area has significant challenges in terms of teacher retention, school repair and maintenance, test scores, and graduation rates. He stated that Thompson’s work at the Commission included instilling hope in charter schools, building momentum, and creating a strategic plan. He asked what lessons Thompson learned during his time at the Commission that he plans to apply to his role as CAS. Thompson emphasized the importance of reviewing challenges and barriers and maintaining a positive mindset while moving forward. He detailed setting a vision and building a positive mindset. He noted that he recently attended a presentation from the complex area and reviewed feedback from students. He highlighted that student feedback resonated with him and emphasized the importance of changing students’ perceptions.
Committee Chairperson Takeno echoed similar sentiments regarding Thompson’s departure from the Commission and his ability to lead as CAS.
ACTION: Motion to approve the appointment of Sione Thompson as Complex Area Superintendent for the Nanakuli-Waianae Complex Area (Voss/Cox). The motion carried unanimously with all members present voting aye.
Committee Member De Lima moved to approve amendments to the Department’s plan of organization to change the name of the Office of School Facilities and Support Services (“OSFSS”) to the Office of School Facilities and Operations (“OFO”) in accordance with Board Policy 500-2, Plan of Organization, as described in the Department’s memorandum dated February 20, 2020. Committee Member Uemura seconded.
Committee Member Voss commented on possible future reorganizations. He stated that one of the Department’s challenges in staffing is recruiting qualified individuals. He noted that this challenge might remain regardless of name changes. He asked about the Department’s plans to address its staffing challenges beyond office name changes. Covell stated that the Department is reviewing chronic vacancies, re-describing positions, and regrouping positions. The Department would need to consult and confer any proposed changes but is currently reviewing which positions are vacant, which positions are important to immediately fill, and how the Department might be able to fill positions by re-describing some of these positions.
Committee Member De Lima asked if staff would need to change email addresses as a result of the name change or stationary. Covell stated that staff members’ email addresses would remain the same. She stated that the Department has been updating stationary and other items over a period of time.
ACTION: Motion to approve amendments to the Department’s plan of organization to change the name of the Office of School Facilities and Support Services (“OSFSS”) to the Office of Facilities and Operations (“OFO”) in accordance with Board Policy 500-2, Plan of Organization, as described in the Department’s memorandum dated February 20, 2020 (De Lima/Uemura). The motion carried unanimously with all members present voting aye.
Committee Chairperson Takeno stated that the draft report from the Committee is attached as Exhibit A to his memorandum. He drafted this report based on Department recommendations and Committee member review of the policies. If the Committee approves, Board staff will send copies of the report to the Special Education and English Learner Task Forces and ask them to provide any comments to Board staff no later than March 23, 2020. These comments will be provided to Committee Chairperson Takeno and he will propose revisions to the report, if necessary.
Committee Chairperson Takeno recommended that the Committee adopt the report attached as Exhibit A and direct Board staff to provide it to the members of the 2018 Special Education and English Learner Task Forces for review and comment.
Committee Member De Lima moved to: 1) Adopt the report attached as Exhibit A in Committee Chairperson Dwight Takeno’s memorandum dated February 20, 2020; and 2) Direct Board staff to provide the report to members of the 2018 Special Education and English Learner Task Forces for review and comment. Committee Member Uemura seconded.
ACTION: Motion to: 1) Adopt the report attached as Exhibit A in Committee Chairperson Takeno’s memorandum dated February 20, 2020; and 2) Direct Board staff to provide the report to members of the 2018 Special Education and English Learner Task Forces for review and comment (De Lima/Uemura). The motion carried unanimously with all members present voting aye.
Committee Member Uemura moved to authorize the Department to commence a RIF for classified employees for the purpose of initiating collectively bargained reassignment and bumping rights for affected employees, as described in the Department’s memorandum dated February 20, 2020. Committee Member De Lima seconded.
Committee Member Cox commented that principals have expressed concern regarding the change in special education allocations. She stated that the Board and Department are encouraging inclusion but schools are having difficulties implementing inclusive practices because of the lack of special education funds. She stated that the Department might have allocated more funding to some schools and asked if the Department is reallocating funds to schools that did not receive as much funding. She stated that she wants to understand why the RIF affects educational assistants when schools need to continue to implement inclusive practices. She noted that she understands the purpose of RIFs but does not understand why these particular employees are affected. Covell explained that the allocation formula is based on student population. The RIF is based on need. She detailed that nine out of 2,000 special education educational assistants are affected by the RIF. The Department determines RIFs based on the needs of principals. Covell detailed that schools are able to repurpose allocated funds within special education. Schools have the flexibility to exchange educational assistants for special education teachers. She noted that complex areas hold back a percentage of the allocation to address issues in schools and are currently working to address issues.
Committee Member Cox reiterated that many principals have expressed concerns and noted that these concerns are in regards to a lack of special education funds and difficulties implementing inclusive practices as a result. Kishimoto explained that the number of educational assistants do not equate to inclusive practices. She highlighted that the 2030 Promise Plan provides schools with the Department’s expectations regarding inclusive practices. Inclusive practices include reviewing co-teaching models. She stated that some schools are ready to adopt inclusive practices while others are continuing to review ways to implement inclusive practices. She detailed that state-level special education teams are rolling out models and helping schools to move from current practices to new practices if current practices are not leading to positive outcomes. She stated that principals have more flexibility to staff around new models.
Committee Member Cox stated that she supports co-teaching but co-teaching requires additional funds because teachers need additional planning time. Oftentimes schools use educational assistants to implement co-teaching if schools do not have the necessary funds to retain special education teachers. She stated that the Department should review its entire process and review whether it should offer special education educational assistants additional training. She stated that she would like the Department to ensure that complex areas understand that special education allocations are for schools.
Committee Member Uemura asked about the percentage of affected employees the Department placed in other positions in the last five years. Covell stated that the Department reviewed RIFs over the last five years and was able to place 100% of its affected employees in other positions. She noted that there are many vacancies within special education and most likely the Department would be able to place educational assistants in some of these vacancies. She highlighted that the Department attempts to keep affected employees in the same geographic area when it moves them to different positions.
Committee Member De Lima expressed concern that historically, the Department provided Committee members with additional information regarding RIFs, including information regarding which schools and positions would be affected. He stated that he would like to review this information prior to the Board’s general business meeting.
Committee Member De Lima commented that he is confident that schools employed a process to determine that these schools did not need educational assistants. He stated that schools create academic and financial plans and analyze which positions schools need and which ones are in excess. He emphasized the importance of CASs meeting with teachers and principals and engaging in discussions regarding placing educational assistants elsewhere. He stated that educational assistants assist students and understand students’ special needs. Moving educational assistants prior to a student transitioning or graduating might result in unintended consequences. He stated that he would like assurances that these kinds of discussions are ongoing and these RIFs are not negatively affecting students.
Covell stated that the Department would provide Committee members with additional information prior to the Board’s general business meeting. She stated that in the past the Department provided this information during the Committee’s executive session. Covell stated that CASs and principals engage in discussions and review changes in student population to determine necessary RIFs. She stated that the Department ensures that it understands schools’ needs, requests, and next steps.
Committee Chairperson Takeno requested that the Department share the outcome of the RIF at a future Committee meeting. He stated that he would like to know whether the RIF affected 45 employees, more than 45 employees, or less than 45 employees. He would also like to know whether the Department placed these employees in other positions or released them. Tom stated that the Department could share this information with the Committee in early July. Covell confirmed that the Department could provide the Committee with an update on the outcome.
ACTION: Motion to authorize the Department to commence a RIF for classified employees for the purpose of initiating collectively bargained reassignment and bumping rights for affected employees, as described in the Department’s memorandum dated February 20, 2020 (Uemura/De Lima). The motion carried unanimously with all members present voting aye.
Committee Member Payne stated that HB 1996, House Draft 2 (“HB 1996”) relates to the evaluation and compensation for the Superintendent. The Board may want to authorize its Legislative Ad Hoc Committee to take positions on this matter. HB 1996 proposes to require the Board to include evaluation of the most current strategic plan indicators as a component of the Superintendent’s annual performance evaluation and require improvements in at least one-half of those indicators for any salary increase for the Superintendent.
Committee Member Payne stated that the Legislative Ad Hoc Committee recommends that the Board approve the recommendation in her memorandum to amend the Board’s policy positions to oppose proposed legislation that restricts the Board’s ability to effectively manage and oversee the Superintendent by reducing the Board’s discretion in how it evaluates and compensates the Superintendent. She detailed that this legislation removes the Board’s responsibility and ability to make these determinations in its supervisory role. She stated that the Legislative Ad Hoc Committee did not anticipate this legislation but the amendment is necessary in order for the Legislative Ad Hoc Committee to testify on this legislation.
Committee Member Cox moved to approve the amendments described in Legislative Ad Hoc Committee Chairperson Payne’s memorandum dated February 20, 2020 to the Board’s policy positions it adopted at its September 19, 2020 general business meeting for the 2020 Legislative Session. Committee Member Uemura seconded.
Committee Member Voss stated that the Legislature had good intentions with this legislation. He noted that the Department’s progress on strategic plan indicators should be part of the Board’s discussion during its evaluation of the Superintendent. However, the recommended policy position is in regards to roles. He stated that it is not the Legislature’s role to dictate specific metrics by which the Board is to determine the Superintendent’s evaluation and salary. He stated that it is the Board’s role to determine evaluations and salary increase.
Committee Member De Lima agreed with Committee Member Voss. He stated that he believes that this legislation is unconstitutional and stated that he is in support of Committee Member Payne’s recommendation.
ACTION: Motion to approve the amendments described in Legislative Ad Hoc Committee Chairperson Payne’s memorandum dated February 20, 2020 to the Board’s policy positions it adopted at its September 19, 2020 general business meeting for the 2020 Legislative Session (Cox/Uemura). The motion carried unanimously with all members present voting aye.
Committee Chairperson Takeno adjourned the meeting at 10:14 a.m.