KISD Becomes As Efficient As the Federal Government

Glad to see Dave Lieber is back writing about KISD, so much better than Bud Kennedy. If we could only get him back on the NE Tarrant County beat…..

Two fast-growing school districts, each with 31,000 students, are using dramatically different methods to communicate internally among teachers, principals and administrators.In the Keller school district, Superintendent James Veitenheimer has unveiled a Process Improvement/Communication plan that requires the 3,600 employees to follow a rigid chain of command when they have a “problem, situation, issue.”

Those are words used in a flowchart with 20 boxes that depicts the new plan. The chart is the only printed document released by the district.

If a teacher, for instance, wants more textbooks, he or she is no longer allowed to call or e-mail the textbook coordinator at central administration. The teacher now has to write or call the principal, who must pass the message on to the executive director at the secondary, middle or primary level. That administrator is allowed to pass the request to the appropriate administrator.

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We’re trying to create the processes that get the answers back faster, more accurate and more consistent in a system that has doubled in size,” Veitenheimer says.He says the system is working. Calls are being handled within 24 hours of the request to a principal.

His goal is to collect data on problems “before something really dramatic happens.”

Like what?

“Before the system implodes on a person or a department or something like that. All of a sudden the phone is ringing off the hook and you can never get through because everybody’s calling.”

Larry West, the United Educators Association manager who represents 1,000 Keller school district employees, says the new plan is limiting communication.

“Effective communication doesn’t really filter well through layers,” he says. “These are human beings, not machines. Machines are linear.”

Cara Jacocks, an instructor in organizational communication at Texas Christian University, says of the Keller plan: “They’ve bureaucraticized communication.

“In a large school system like this, it might be more beneficial to give the teachers more decision-making power as opposed to ‘I can’t make a decision now. I have to talk to this person and this person has to talk to that person.’ ”

The Watchdog is interested in hearing from school district employees about effective communication techniques that work.

Go read the whole thing.

If you are a teacher in the district please email Dave and let him know your feelings, even if you disagree with me. Believe me when I tell you that Dave will follow up on this situation. If you are new to these parts, ask an old timer about Roofing contracts and KISD and how Dave and two upset parents changed the direction of the district.

Thanks to a reader for making me aware of this today.

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One response to “KISD Becomes As Efficient As the Federal Government

  • Randy Leake

    There is no doubt the district is trying to squash all informaiton that is to go out to the public with this structure. I have to agree with Cara Jacobs we need to allow our teachers the automomy to make more decisions and empower them to do so. When this occurrs it is a win win. There is no one better than our teachers who understand what is needed in the classroom and at the grass root level.

    In my opinion the next change coming will be the Board and Superintendent will appoint a Czar of Communication. Sound familiar??

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