A different perspective on Jeffco Schools’ new Superintendent

In the real world, performance counts. Performance is how individuals, teams and organizations are evaluated. Past performance IS a good indicator of future performance (doesn’t include the stock market).

So, as a retired Army officer in addition to having two decades of executive management experience in K-12 education related organizations, I decided to take a look at the past performance of Jeffco Public Schools’ new superintendent, Jason Glass, in his position as Superintendent of Eagle County Schools to see what we should expect.

I am not impressed.

Based on the publicly available data at the Colorado Department of Education (http://www2.cde.state.co.us/schoolview/dish/dashboard.asp), we shouldn’t have too high of expectations relating to improvements in the education performance of our kids. This raises the questions in my mind then of “Why was Jason Glass hired?” and “Is Jason Glass the best person for the job of Jeffco Public Schools Superintendent?” But more on that later.

First the data. Colorado, like many states, uses student growth, rather than student achievement, to make judgments about school quality.

Here’s 2016 Eagle County and Jeffco English Language Arts Growth data compared to the state average growth. Red cells indicate growth rates below the state average and green cells indicate growth rates above the state average:

As you can see, Eagle County ranks below the state average, and Jeffco, in almost every category in English Language Arts. While neither Eagle nor Jefferson County students do well in ELA growth against state averages, at least Jefferson County has a few bright spots.

But let’s compare Eagle County directly to Jeffco. Here’s where it starts becoming clearly evident that there is a problem.

  It is clearly evident that student growth rates in Eagle County generally lag behind student growth rates in Jeffco. How can we expect Jason Glass to improve our student growth if he has already shown he can’t do that in a district 12 times smaller than ours?

Let’s take a look at Math growth rates and see if we get similar results. First, in comparison to state growth rate averages.

  In Math, while we see a significant improvement for both Eagle County and Jeffco growth in comparison to state averages, that growth seems to be greater in Jeffco – and again, Eagle County lags significantly behind.

In a direct comparison between Eagle County and Jeffco we get the following:

    Once again, we can clearly see that student growth in Eagle County lags significantly below the growth in Jeffco.

Since past performance IS indicative of future performance, would we entrust the education performance improvement of Jeffco’s kids to someone who clearly is worse than what we had? And, if Jason Glass couldn’t improve education performance in a school district of 7,000 kids, how can we expect him to do that in a school district 12 times larger, with 86,000 kids?

I understand that Jason Glass is a prolific writer and is well respected. However, growth performance data suggests that we may be getting a ‘talker’ instead of a ‘doer’.

In the interest of improving education performance in our school district and for the sake of our kids, I’m surprised we couldn’t have found someone with a more results oriented background.

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