FAQ about Administrative Reorganization
Superintendent Dr. Joylynn Pruitt-Adams shared a new organizational chart for administration. It will be implemented for the 2019-2020 school year and does not include the role of principal. This FAQ is a compilation of some of the most common questions we’ve received about the reorganization. (Posted May 2019)
What is the rationale for the restructuring?
The departure of Principal Rouse presented the opportunity to think creatively about how the district’s organizational structure could further advance progress on the strategic plan. Two key factors underlying the changes are the district’s strategic goals for racial equity and balanced budgets. The restructuring enables the district to meet the need for a new, equity-focused leadership position while keeping costs neutral and the number of administrators the same. The board has approved the new position of executive director of equity and student success, which will report to the superintendent.
Another advantage of the new structure is that the superintendent has assigned each of the strategic plan goals to a specific administrator. Previously, oversight of the goals has been more diffuse, with various implementation committees working on different pieces of the plan. This change will help ease the boundaries between building and district, and move the school toward being a single, more integrated team all focused on its core mission: serving students. While this new structure is, admittedly, somewhat unconventional, it is a forward-thinking one that presents a unique opportunity for transformation.
What administrator roles are being changed?
The assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, Greg Johnson, is being promoted to associate superintendent. Some of his current duties will be reassigned, because he will be assuming many of the responsibilities traditionally held by the principal. The senior director of Human Resources is being promoted to assistant superintendent, and the executive director of equity and student success is a new position. And finally, the titles of assistant principals are being changed to director positions, and they will take on some duties of the now-associate superintendent as well as some of the previous principal responsibilities.
Who will be the face of the school?
The responsibility for representing the school will continue to be divided among the executive cabinet, with the superintendent, the associate superintendent, and the executive director of communications and community relations all designated as spokespersons. In terms of being a presence at school events, various leaders in addition to the superintendent and associate superintendent will be visible, including executive director of equity and student success, and the directors of student learning, student support, student activities, and athletics.
It seems like the superintendent is really the administrator of the school. Do we actually need multiple additional administrators?
Yes. Running a district the size of OPRF—which is comparable to the size of a small college—involves myriad administrative responsibilities that are too much for one person to handle. A partial list includes:
Serving on government and other committees for two different villages
Enacting policies and directives from the Board of Education
Overseeing curriculum development, implementation, and evaluation
Evaluating approximately 220 classroom teachers
Managing the district budget and all fiscal oversight
Overseeing daily operations (campus safety, buildings and grounds, construction, maintenance)
Creating the master schedule for 3,400 students enrolled in more than 1,100 class sections
Running summer school
Working with partner colleges and universities
Investigating incidents of employee or student misconduct
Leading human resources and all hiring for 500 employees
Overseeing special education
Planning professional development programs
Managing all technology for staff and students
Implementing state testing
Gathering and analyzing achievement data
Writing and administering grants
Leading counseling and social work services for students
Supervising academic support programs
Overseeing student discipline
Running 80 clubs and activities
What are the new/changed responsibilities of the former assistant principals/new directors?
Duties that have been reassigned or are new include evaluating curriculum, managing grants, overseeing certain strategic plan goals, implementing professional development on racial equity, implementing restorative justice practices, reviewing disciplinary appeals, evaluating academic support programs and staff, and organizing Black Professionals Day. They also will have oversight on key school functions, such as open houses and parent-teacher conferences.
Will there be a director for each grade level, like the assistant principals at Julian Middle School?
No. At the high school level, students’ primary contact and support person is their counselor as well as, for some students, their social worker. Classroom teachers, activity sponsors, and coaches also play a direct, one-on-one role in creating a sense of connection and belonging for our students. Directors do interact with students, but their responsibilities are bigger picture and focused on working with the folks just mentioned to improve teaching, learning, and equity at the whole-school level.
To whom will division heads report?
The director of student learning.
Who is the person with whom principals from other districts will interact?
The associate superintendent will be the point of contact for other principals.
Will there still be a District Leadership Team (DLT) and a Building Leadership Team (BLT)?
We most likely will be reconfiguring our leadership teams, but this is a detail still to be worked out.
What’s the chain of command—where does the buck stop? Who is the bottom line decision maker on core strategic elements, such as curriculum, hiring, operations, etc.?
Key decision-making responsibilities are spread among various administrators, but ultimately, the superintendent has final authority over the school district.
What will be the associate superintendent’s availability to speak to parents—can I simply go to school and ask to speak with him?
When addressing a question or concern, you should first seek to resolve the issue directly with the person involved. For instance, if you have a teacher concern, you should try to resolve it with the teacher before escalating it to the teacher’s division head. For a more general issue, such as safety, you would bring it to the appropriate administrator, in this case the chief operations officer. Administrative assistants can help direct you to the appropriate party.
To ensure that the appropriate person is available to speak with you, please make an appointment ahead of time. While administrators’ designated work hours are 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., they generally work longer days and often can accommodate parent/guardian schedules outside this time frame.
In the new plan, who is responsible for leadership around the vision for the school?
The superintendent has assigned each of the strategic plan goals to a specific administrator. Previously, oversight of the goals has been more diffuse, with various implementation committees working on different pieces of the plan. This change will help ease the boundaries between building and district, and move the school toward being a single, more integrated team where everyone is focused on the core mission and vision: serving students and providing equity and excellence for all.
Can the equity position encompass student advocacy?
Yes. Every adult in the school should be an advocate for students.
Why not include principal in the associate superintendent’s title?
What are traditionally thought of as responsibilities of a principal will not be housed in a single office. Instead they are being divided among several people, including the executive director of equity and student success and the directors of student learning and student services.
Will there be too much on the associate superintendent’s plate? How is his role being shifted?
There is no doubt that the duties for the associate superintendent to be are being increased, which is why he has been promoted. But he also will oversee a team of multiple directors, who will absorb some of the day-to-day work responsibilities he has now, such as overseeing grants (a significant behind-the-scenes task), textbook adoption, curriculum evaluation, etc., as well as take on some of the duties of the principal.
Why weren’t teachers and community involved in this decision?
“Board Policy 3:30 Organizational Structure” specifies, “The Superintendent shall develop an organizational chart indicating the channels of authority and reporting relationships for school personnel.” The current restructuring builds on an administrative reorganization that was initiated last year, in order to meet the superintendent’s responsibility for organizing the district in a way that best supports the goals of the strategic policy.
Over the years and in the process of developing the newly approved racial equity policy, we’ve received a wealth of input on the need for a director of equity. We also have had a great deal of feedback that the district needs to be more nimble in its approach to student learning and decision making and that improvement in student experiences and outcomes needs to happen swiftly. We believe the new structure will address those teacher and community concerns while remaining fiscally responsible to taxpayers.
Why is the associate superintendent making curriculum decisions with little input from teachers?
We’re not sure where this perception comes from, because 50 teachers are serving on curriculum committees this school year. As part of the new curriculum review process, which was developed collaboratively with a team of division heads and teachers, these 50 teachers are evaluating curriculum, gathering feedback from fellow teachers and students, then working with their colleagues to create the plans for curriculum development. Teachers are the ones driving key decisions about curriculum.
How does this structure compare to other schools? What is the expected goal versus keeping the former structure?
There’s no doubt that this is an unconventional structure, unlike that of our comparison districts except for Evanston Township High School, which has an assistant superintendent/principal. With each strategic plan goal now assigned to an administrator, rather than disparate implementation committees, we believe it will more effectively help us achieve the district’s goals while infusing equity throughout all our work.