Friday, February 11, 2011

New Topic: Your 3 Wishes for the MDUSD

At the suggestion of a reader earlier today, I'm opening up a new topic for discussion.

What is your vision for the best school district?

List 3 things that would show you that the district is doing a fantastic job, and not just okay.

As the reader suggested, perhaps as we begin to see ideas and the vision of others, we can break it down into what smallest thing(s) we can change to start moving in that direction.

Quick note, I think the visions and end results are great, though I'd love to also see these three things be actionable. Is one of your three things what it will look like, or how to get there? At this point we need all the good ideas we can get... Keep em coming.


  1. Thanks, MDUSD Parents! :)

    I'm still thinking about the other two, but I know the first development is a Parcel Tax that will fund music and sports. But not just any parcel tax, and not one for next year. One that specifically funds and only funds music and sports.

    I would want one that will fully fund the programs and will not be used for any other purpose but those two things. I would like to see this be a ten year parcel tax. Not a five year, or a seven year.

    If the District finds that they get a poll that says $99 won't pass, then I want them to find out HOW they can get the community to support one that costs $129 if that's what pays for the programs. And then I would like to see a thoughtful, well planned rolling out campaign to get people to volunteer, and people to vote. Not a hasty one.

    Small change would be to take more than one year to do the campaign, and to try to go for the November Election, and not a June one. If that's what it takes to make it succeed... So maybe a Parcel Tax for November 2012.

  2. I would like to add one thing about the brainstorming process:

    Don't discuss anyone else's ideas for right now, for practicality or reasonableness, or whether you agree or disagree.

    This is simply about what *You* would see as evidence of a District Wide Strategic Plan. Ideas can be discussed next week, if MDUSD Parents wants to start a different topic then...

  3. I would like to add my number 2 and 3, I think.

    A second parcel tax. I know, I know, that's why I put the "Don't discuss note above." I can see the objections already. I don't care. I'm putting it up there.

    I would like to see a second Parcel Tax to be run in conjunction with the first parcel tax, and is voted on at the same time.

    The second parcel tax funds whatever else needs funding that the music and sports doesn't. A program, administrative, building, landscaping, whatever parcel tax.

    That one can be for five, or seven or ten years. :)


    I would like to see a written five year, and ten year plan for the district that lays out in two pages that get emailed out by the Superintendent. Clear and concise enough that everyone will read, can be published by the newspaper, and lays out a clear, concrete picture of what a thriving district we will have.

    I would like Superintendent Lawrence to beg, borrow, or steal a lofty vision. I think that's why it is a great idea to solicit input from the community. What will tell you that you are looking at a lofty vision?

    To help him communicate his lofty vision, I would recommend the book, "Made To Stick" by Chip and Dan Heath. Wonderful resource for helping anyone learn how to communicate better. And we can always find a way to shine, even if we aren't natural born leaders.

  4. More choice schools. Not just ones for Back to Basics but ones for students who excel in the arts, music, sports, languages, drama, etc.

    Programs and sufficient funding and support for the 60% of the school population that is in the "average" range or not needing special assistance of one kind or another.

    Programs for those that are exceeding far above others. GATE does not cut it. We are doing a diservice to the above average students in our population because we have to fund/spend so many resources on so many below average programs and students.

    Make the sports clubs, daycares, etc., pay a reasonable use fee for the use of our facilities.

  5. I posted the link on Linda's comment from yesterday, but thought I'd stick it on here too.

    What struck me was the high expectations, when Adora showed the books her father read to her when she was little.

    And then the support when she articulated a dream. A laptop. A pathway to success.

    And then achievement.

    I noticed that Sequoia Elementary had an amazing science fair. I saw the project that the kids walked out with on their way home, when I was onsite to pick up a friend's children for her.

    Our home school's science fair had different expectations. It wasn't judged. One grade level didn't participate, and what went on to the district level was by lottery. If you followed the rules, then you were entered into the lottery. No incentive for a creative thinker to find reward for going the extra mile.

    Maybe if the *same* high expectations are laid out across the board for every school.

    How do we get the same resources available to every school, so that it doesn't matter if you don't have a computer at home, if you know you can work on it for an hour after school in the school library? With someone to help you?

  6. IMO I think the district is WAY to large. What would it take to break it down into several smaller districts? Would that give the surrounding communities more ownership? It seems that the better districts in the area are smaller and more supported by their communities....just a thought.

  7. Anon 9:11am
    I am attaching a link to the entire document in regards to your post on the other thread. That may answer many of your questions.
    The top part of the section I printed on that post was intended as a pledge from the District leadership and ultimately part of a vision statement. The strategies were intended to provide input regarding strategic goals.

    Please understand that this was a wish list from a small group of parents. I firmly believe the strategic planning process must be a collaborate effort amongst all groups.
    I will paste this on the other thread as well.

  8. Thanks, Linda! I will read it later today. I am *loving* wish lists. They seem to open the way for miracles to happen. :)

  9. Great comments so far. We need more discussions about what's possible. We need more discussions of ideas that will help students succeed. This can lead to change. Build the list, cull it down, and focus on a set of goals that are achievable and that will provide the most support for our students. Thanks for the post Cathy.

  10. Gary,
    I too like this topic and appreciate your positive response. Can I suggest that rather than pare down the ideas that we expand the list to include everything we can think of.

    Goals and objectives should come after a strategic plan and if you choose to concentrate on just a few things right now MDUSD will be back to making decisions within a vacuum.

    Please don't misunderstand me, I realize that not everything, or even most things, can be done at once but without a comprehensive list, culminating into a plan, MDUSD really won't know what needs to be done first.

  11. I just meant to cull it down to a list of goals and objectives that can be accomplished. In any brainstorming session there are usually items placed on the list that are not possible. I only made the suggestion so that we remove what's not possible and focus on what is. Somethings may not be legal given the laws that we operate under. Other things may be too costly to properly implement. There are things that we need to change now and others that take more planning and longer lead times.

  12. I would love to see an Education Foundation set up to do fundraising for the entire district. So many PTA's, PTO's and PFC's are doing it on a school by school level, which is great, but does that make the playing field inequitable?

    I would like to see a school by school breakdown on what the true average funding for each student is. For example, if school A is Title 1, or some other identifying factor, exactly how much is that school recieving to educate the students. If school B has no extra factors, what is being spent there?

    My reasoning is that if School A is getting grant money, extra federal funding, etc, that may level the playing field against schools in more affluent areas where parents are funding the extra programs.

    I would also like to see a coordinated, massive effort to descend upon the State Capital, to make our voices heard, LOUD and CLEAR!!! Not sure who would be the proper leader to take this on, but we need an uprising similar to the Civil Rights Movement to get the education for every child in California that he or she deserves! And yes, I would be more than willing to be involved in that, just don't know where to start!

  13. Kristi,
    I understand the Las Trampas PTA out of Lafayette has always been willing to coordinate these kinds of events with others.

  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  15. Great to see this conversation taking place.

    1. Every school in the district reaches a level that eliminates the idea that there are "bad schools" in MDUSD. Test scores are not the only way to measure a school, but when a school has an API score below 650 and is going in the wrong direction (Bel Air, Meadow Homes) it is a real concern. Are those students being given every chance to thrive academically?

    2. MDUSD becomes a leader in implementing technology and saves money in the process. Every classroom is wired and every student has a tablet device (Kindle or iPad type) that contains the most current version of textbooks. We drastically slash the amount we spend on textbooks and always have up-to-date information. The Dent Center goes paperless and becomes more efficient.

    3. 90% + of students are proficient or advanced in math, English and science. In September, the Superintendent stated the District had surpassed the goal of having 56% of students exceed that standard in STAR testing. If a student got 56% right on a test, that would be an F.

  16. Anon @1:07
    that was just simply inappropriate, please either grow up or stop posting your garbage.

  17. True honors classes starting no later than 6th grade, if not earlier. It would have minimal cost (simply use the books from the next grade level) and it help would keep the bright kids from getting bored.

  18. Comments will be moderated overnight due to some troublemakers, so please continue to comment, but they will be made visible in the morning. Thanks.

  19. I think all blogs discussing education should have a rule. You cannot post a negative without a positive suggestion on how the problem could be resolved. What has been happening for far too long is that no matter whatbthe district or board does, it becomes an opportunity for certain posters to slam them for it. Given that there is no opportunity for revenue generation and given that what can be cut has been cut, this district is in a dangerous place and needs constructive not destructive commentary. So if you want to say something negative, at least have the decency to add something that can be a solution to be explored.

    I agree - good post topic Cathy. Hopefully it generates useful items for the district to consider.

  20. MDUSD student here. Most of these ideas focus more on the individual schools than steps that should be taken by the school district.

    I agree with the ideas about increasing programs for the GATE students and adding honors programs starting in middle school. Many high achieving middle schoolers are extremely bored in classes that don't challenge them.

    On the same note, if there are honors classes there should also be slower-paced classes for stuggling students. Many students receiving low grades in mathematics go on to the next level without a solid foundation and only fall further behind.

    I would love to see more integration between different disciplines. For example, if a history class is discussing the arms race during the Cold War, a physics class could learn about the science behind nuclear weapons. Obviously not all topics could be integrated, and the idea would require a bit of planning, but a few connections throughout the schoolyear would create a fuller experience for students.

  21. I just posted my thoughts on the last thread, but have a suggestion for this one as well.

    Give the new board members a fighting chance to proffer their ideas. They may know more than you think. Who knows; they may turn out to be your three wishes.

  22. The more positive, we as the MDUSD family are, the more support we will get from our community.

  23. Back to three wishes... :)

    What would *you* like to see?

    More teacher pay? Great health benefits? Lower class size? Is your school beautiful, if not, what would you like to see it look like? An anti-bullying programs? Nice signage? Open libraries seven days a week and for an hour after school? School uniforms? No uniforms? After school classes in the arts and sciences? What kind of an honors class that would make it different from what is currently being offered?

    Specifics. Paint me your vision. I'm sitting here and I can't picture what your general concepts are. Make it as specific and concrete and tell me exactly what you would like to see.

    How many kids in a classroom. Are we talking back to 20, 24, or 28? In all grades, or just back to K - 3?

    How many staff assistants would you like to see back in the classrooms, or how many hours in the classroom per day would they come in?

    What kind of an anti-bullying program? A once a year assembly, a twice weekly assembly, a 20 minute a week class, posters, consequences? Tell me exactly what you think the perfect anti-bullying program district wide would look like to you?

    Would you like to see teachers make as much as in other districts? If so, which ones? Are we talking Lafayette, San Ramon, or Marin?

    Dream big! This isn't about culling or editing, it's about what would tell you that we have a fantastic school district and that you'd recommend to your sibling or best friend that you'd tell them to move here in a heartbeat.

    Give me your pie in the sky dreams. We'll talk what can or won't work later.

  24. I would like to see MDUSD generally embrace charters as operators of some schools, as a few enlightened districts elsewhere in the country have done. A district-run "Choice School" is great until the district decides to change it or close it. True choice means that parents get to see, and choose, other approaches to student learning. If a charter's model doesn't work for enough parents, then it goes away. If it is a success, then no "Central Office" can take it away. No single organization like MDUSD can possibly have all the answers or understand all of the latest innovations. Rather than pay so much for consultants who recycle their tired ideas from one client district to the next, how about inviting charter organizations to demonstrate innovation in real operating schools? Why not partner with them, rather than always fighting them in such a reactionary fashion? There are some exciting things going on in schools across the country that ought to be tried here. For example, there are models incorporating online learning with in-person, bricks-and-mortar classtime, where students actually get more personal attention and teachers spend more time on instructional tasks that really help students. (We tried to bring online language courses to Northgate, and after months of delay and obfuscation, the district still couldn't say whether such courses were permissable or not, let alone discuss any ideas for actual implementation. Some districts across the country are making it a "21st Century learning" graduation requirement for students to take at least one online course, but here, our district can't even decide if such real-world innovations are even permissable.)

    Public school districts are facing a genuine crisis of credibility, and MDUSD is a prime example. The voters who have to approve taxes for schools see an ossified, tradition-bound monopoly that is falling further and further behind the rest of the world in terms of quality, efficiency, innovation, and concern for the "customer". I would love to see our public school institutions embrace voices and methods from outside their own limited frame of reference. The current system is in a meltdown, and I am afraid that we don't have much time. It's time for the public school districts to admit that they don't have all the answers, that they need fresh perspectives and operating models, and that they need to give up some control (and yes, even some per pupil ADA revenue!) for the benefit of their constituents. The clock is ticking. They can dig in their heels and continue with more of the same, or they can have have an "Egyptian moment" and adopt more realistic and constructive attitudes toward the future.

  25. 1. More choice schools. Competition makes everyone better. I was reading this blog and watched the 20/20 episode from about 5 years ago. This whole idea about making everything equitable sounds like communist Russia. Competition is what makes our country great. It is what gives you competitive cell phone plans, and cheap TV's. Competition really does force improvement.

    2. Smaller class sizes. 31 students in my daughter's 1st grade is overwhelming. I've volunteered a few times and I just don't know how the teacher manages. She is amazing, absolutely. But I can't help but think this "good" teacher would be "phenomenal" if there were fewer kids to divide her attention among.

    3. Consolidate some schools. No, I don't mean bigger class sizes. But we have such inconsistency in the size of our schools. There are elementary schools with only 350 and some with 600 +. I think we need to be more efficient with our resources and only run schools that have 500+. Demographics have changed, populations have shifted. I think that fact requires attention.

    Finally, I'd like to make one observation. At the school board meeting held at MDHS, a friend sitting next to me pointed out all the banners on the wall were from the 50's 60's, a couple 70's and then abruptly stopped. Did you know that MDHS was an excellent high school back in the 60's?!?! Many of our schools were back then and seem to have gone downhill. So, I'm going to say it, and I hope it doesn't keep this comment from being posted. The biggest change from then until now is the constant influx of non English speaking children. There it is. It is our school district's #1 problrem. Of course there are bigger issues involved that are not part of this discussion. They are here, they need to be educated. But I don't beleive our district (and probably many others in the state) have really figured out a way to address this problem. Having ELL in our classrooms is at the detriment of the English speaking children. We need to figure out this problem or we will see no improvement. Regardless of whether we get our 3 wishes.

  26. Sorry, here's the link to the blog I was referring to.

  27. The board retreat yesterday was a giant leap in the right direction. It allowed the board members to get to know each other so they can work together better and with the superintendent. They met with a governance consultant and please don't complain about his fee because he was excellent and his assistance is essential to the decisions before the board right now! CC Times was there and should write an article but these are some points that I'd like to share:

    In the 21st century, a school board has been reduced from 5 jobs to only 2 jobs: (1) providing direction, which is a strategic plan, and (2) student achievement. The board was told to prioritize its agenda: "you don't have time for anything that doesn't have to do with student achievement." All other jobs have been delegated to the superintendent: structure (budget etc), engage the community (communications), and accountability.

    The school board's role should follow "trustee mentality": serving the best interest of the public in the entire school district and in addition serving the best interest of the staff, because staff achievement drives student achievement. The district is responsible for allowing the staff to be the best they can be.

    The consultant suggested the board schedule workshops which are public but where the board can discuss ideas without the pressure of voting on an action item. Some districts hold workshops at every other board meeting. The board seemed to like the workshop concept and although there are emergencies right now with school closures, the budget and pink slips, the board and superintendent did schedule a strategic planning workshop on March 29, and a "school climate, discipline and classroom management" workshop on April 26.

    Apparently new board members receive no formal training. The board president offered instruction but it seemed to be haphazard. This retreat provided really essential training that they should have had in December. MDUSD would benefit from creating a policy for training new board members before the next election.

    I like what the superintendent shared as his dream legacy for this district:
    "Focus on every child & what the system needs to look like to prepare every child for the challenges beyond HS.
    "All administrators use the filter 'Would I want my child in the class/school'
    "If the answer is yes identify specifically why
    "If the answer is no have ability to either coach to improve or move on..."

  28. Anon 8:22 Based on your post, If I can parphrase a great American: One small step for the Board, a giant leap for MDUSD.

    And I would add that there is training for Board members:

    Doctor J

  29. Mr. Lawrence's first point in his "dream legacy" -- "Focus on every child & what the system needs to look like to prepare every child for the challenges beyond HS." -- sounds quite similar to various other platitudes that have supposedly guided MDUSD in the past. It's a nice sentiment, but really, has anyone ever suggested doing otherwise? If it took a day-long retreat to reach that conclusion, a longer retreat might be in order.

    His subsequent points raise an interesting question, though: how many MDUSD employees choose, or chose, to send their children to MDUSD schools? I can think of several talented MDUSD teachers and principals over the years who cared enough about education, and knew MDUSD well enough, to make sure that their own children got their education elsewhere. (It's worth asking the question to educators at your own child's school. In candid moments, I have gotten some pretty enlightening responses.) I understand that the Superindent's children attend MDUSD schools, which is admirable, but I wonder how frequently people in the district "eat their own cooking", so to speak. Sure, the district has to recruit from outside its boundaries, but still, they mostly recruit people from the world of education, and those people probably understand the relative merits of the various districts in our area. It would be interesting to know how many chose to live in MDUSD.

  30. Doctor J,

    I know CSBA offers training for board members. I assume everyone believes the board has training in December, before attending public meetings and making cataclysmic decisions. Too bad you weren't there to witness the meeting yesterday. We were more than surprised to hear that at least one board member still needed the most basic training. At least one long-term board member needs more training too...

    Happy Valentines Day!

    Anon 8:22

  31. Back to three wishes:

    Stay on topic, we are digressing.


  32. Annon 8:22 Yes, Gary has previously announced he did not finish the CSBA training because he did not believe in limiting his role. Perhaps this consultant will influence him otherwise. Time will tell. Its hard to change the stripes of a Zebra. But I am willing to give him a chance to reform. As for whether or not I was at the meeting, since you don't know who I am, and I don't know who you are, you will just have to speculate as to my attendance or not.
    Doctor J

  33. Dr. J,

    As a frequent contributor, I thought you'd enjoy this exercise.

    Let me take a stab at your three wishes:

    1. Fiscal frugality:
    A sincere, devoted effort to fiscal frugality that focuses on absolute minimum expenditures for the near future (ie: one administrator only to conferences and then report backs to others who are unable to go.) How would you pick which administrator goes?

    2. Strategic planning.
    What would this look like to you?

    3. Not sure what your final wish would be. But I'd love to know.


  34. @"grin" I have been pondering the question since it was posted and now your 'tease'. My first inclination was to respond to your sugestions for me. But I think I will organize your suggestions as follows into my feelings.
    1. Absolute integrity, abosoulte honestv and total openness with NO HYPOCRISY. No more financial shell games, no more spin, and no more hide the ball. On Friday when the Board posts the agenda, and there is a personnel recommendation, the name should be included. This would have prevented Nugentgate. Chevrongate would have been avoided. Buttercupgate would have been avoided. And almost the rest of the controversies. Don't tell us the district saved $50,000 on the SASS reorganization when it didn't. If you have an acutal or potential conflict of interest, it should be announced and proper proceedures followed.
    2. Strategic Planning. Its a process involving ALL stakeholders -- the process is just as important as the ultimate plan. Its not a Supt plan, or a single Board member. It becomes a community plan, and will require MDUSD to involve all the local communities and their leadership. A detailed Strategic Plan along the lines of the North Carolina plan or Seattle plan, tailored specifically to MDUSD and not a copy cat plan. The process is very important, and will result in a unity that this district has not seen in decades.
    * Fiscal responsibility and frugality. This really is part of #1 and #2. I understand the differences between general funds, categorical funds, the bond funds. I think the Supt should stop all conferences and travel on a general order. Then any dept that wants to attend a conference would have to petition the Supt for limited permission. Anything under 120 mile of the district is NOT overnight. Limit of one person per conference and the Supt can approve who that is based on recommendation of the Asst. Supt or department head. There may be even limited exceptions where two people go. But we start from zero and justify on a limited basis. Remember everytime that a staff member is at a conference, there is district work back at home that is not being done. Cut down the consultants -- SASS spent $183,000 on two part time consultants. Now maybe there is good justification for them, but the staff report didn't indicate so. The staff reports to the Board should have substantial justifcation for each increase in expenditures. The legal department has over $600,000 on outside lawyers. Yet, our General Counsel is managing school affairs -- Maintenance and Bussing. Seems like a waste of resources. Lets get 2000 billable legal hours out of each of our attorneys like law firms require and maybe hire one more and save a few hundred thousand dollars. Those are just some examples. Every expenditure should be examined. We spend more on hotels than we do on pencils and paper in the classroom. There is something wrong with that picture.
    3. Board Responsiblity. I have been saying for years that the Board's job is to set policy and judge the performance, holding the Supt and staff accountable. Apparently the new consultant hired [great example of where a consulant is needed and well worth it] thinks it is too. Board, get trained. Gary would rather go to solar training than Board training. How ironic. Lets fix it Gary. Lets get the board on a new track, and stop the micromanaging.

    Doctor J

  35. I would love to see more charter schools, Higher pay for good teachers and to be able to get rid of the ones that do a bad job. I think we all need to get back to the basics.
    I would love to see the distict made smaller....give WC schools to WC and Pittsburg to pittsburg.

  36. Kirk Berger, the consultant hired by the Supt to facilitate last Saturday's board retreat was very enlightening about the role of the board and the role of the Supt. it certainly is the antithesis of the way Gary has governed for the last 15 years. Does Gary agree with Mr. Berger ? do the other board members agree with berger?

  37. Thank you, Dr. J,

    Also for recognizing that it was a friendly tease.


  38. Mr. Writer,

    Your turn... You can post anonymously if that helps.


  39. @grin. The tease is always welcome, especially on Valentine's Day.

  40. how many MDUSD employees choose, or chose, to send their children to MDUSD schools? I can think of several talented MDUSD teachers and principals over the years who cared enough about education, and knew MDUSD well enough, to make sure that their own children got their education elsewhere. (It's worth asking the question to educators at your own child's school. In candid moments, I have gotten some pretty enlightening responses.)

    My MIL is a retired schoolteacher (back East, not her in CA). She sent all 3 of her kids to private schools because she could see first-hand how poorly her district served bright students. We pay a lot of lip service to the notion of "differentiation within the mixed classroom" but in practice it doesn't happen. When there are three dozen kids of wide-ranging ability including special ed and ELL's in one class and tremendous pressure to get the low-achievers to pass the STAR tests, the bright kids usually get the shaft.

    A not insignificant number of the families with bright kids choose to leave MDUSD for neighboring districts, private schools, or homeschooling if they are not lucky enough to get a slot in one of the "choice" schools. MDUSD needs to do a better job at serving this student population.

  41. So Anon 9:54, would you rather see classrooms that are focused on higher achievers? How do the private schools handle the low achievers?

    Am I correct in restating your wish?

    #1: MDUSD needs to provide more interesting, challenging programs for higher achievers.

    #2: (By extrapolation): We need to focus less on getting low achievers to pass testing, and more on higher achievers on learning.

    #3: More choice schools.

    Feel free to correct me. I am just fooling around here. :)

    not necessarily more homework, though, I take it.) - Sorry, that's my own spin on it, just because I know that GATE kids often get more homework, not necessarily more interesting projects.

  42. Anon @ 4:05- as I mentioned earlier in the thread, I'd like to see true honors classes starting no later than 6th grade, if not earlier. I would *LOVE* to see an exam high school similar to Lowell High in S.F. but given the budget crunch, a new high school is likely out of the question. But instituting honors classes within the existing schools would have only minimal costs.

  43. Hmmm. Great idea! Thank you. :)

  44. Hello,

    Great thread. I'm a secondary-school teacher in the district, and here's what I'd like to see:

    1. More at-school planning time for teachers. At least one extra hour, scheduled into the day, where teachers could collaborate, critique, and gather resources for interdisciplinary, engaging, hands-on lessons that will inspire and challenge kids. Ideally, I'd like to see the Johns Hopkins medical school model, where teachers can give each other feedback on lessons. That feedback would both challenge and support teachers to be better at lesson design, assessment, and management. This would be ongoing for all teachers, not just newer ones.
    I don't see any substitute for this in terms of improving our schools.

    2. More innovative schools and methods. I'd love to see public charter schools with magnet programs, technology classes, student choice, independent research projects for GATE or high-achieving students, etc.

    3. More parent accountability in terms of attendance. There are weeks when half of my students are gone on family trips, vacations, or for mysterious, unverified reasons. It is extremely difficult to move on with concepts when half your class hasn't even shown up.
    Saturday school make-up? I don't know, and I'm aware that this is a sensitive issue for some. Just thought I'd point it out.

    Thanks for sponsoring this dialogue. We need more conversations like this.

  45. That's a wonderful three wish list with very concrete suggestions. Great ideas. Keep them coming, please! :)

  46. 1) A COMPLETE Instrumental Music Program grades 3-12

    2) A usuable performing arts center in each high school (400+seats)

    3) Class sizes down where they are manageable, and a district that teachers want to join, because of good pay, and a level of respect from the district administration