Jason Glass’s Lack of Leadership

Everyone knew it was coming. There’s no excuse for not knowing the answers to Board members’ questions. Yet, Glass and District staff miserably failed to plan for the recommendation to change school start times. 

Changing high school start times has been a topic in Jeffco for a long time now. My daughter sent a letter to the Board about this topic in the spring prior to Glass getting hired, so the discussion is not new. Many people talk about it and there are valid studies that show that it immediately improves the academic performance and health of teenagers. Multiple Colorado Districts have already shifted, and even more are considering it.

Jeffco, under Glass, even started talking about it in February 2018. A Committee was formed in July 2018 to develop recommendations by January 2019, with one of their stated objectives being: “The group as a whole will also consider how schedule changes could affect transportation, sports and other after school activities, student employment, and district budget”.

Yet, it seems that when the committee made their recommendations in February, Glass, and the committee, didn’t have answers to some Board members’ legitimate concerns, particularly as to what the actual costs, logistics and implementation would be. Also, Glass stated that “numerous” principals had concerns about the disruptive effects of the proposed time changes.

Are you kidding me?

This isn’t some “out-of-the-blue” unexpected recommendation. EVERYONE should have been preparing for this recommendation as the evidence is so strong for it. EVERYONE on the District staff, including Glass, should have been preparing for an implementation. Glass should have known, from his staff, EXACTLY what this would cost and should have already been budgeting for it in the 2019-20 budget. Yet, it seems, in a clear absence of leadership, Glass didn’t anticipate these legitimate questions and consequently didn’t direct his staff to perform the necessary planning that would have ensured a successful implementation in 2019-20. This is particularly disconcerting since other Districts have been able to make these changes in a similar amount of time. Real leaders, especially those who claim to have a “Vision”, anticipate and plan for changes. Glass didn’t! And the concerns of Principals? Don’t these Principals understand the benefits of these changes? Wasn’t Glass and his band of merry Community Superintendents talking to Principals about what could potentially happen to start times and start addressing those concerns in the plans they should have been making? Obviously not. Shouldn’t Glass, as the District leader, have just told the Principals that the evidence out weighs their concerns and that they have an obligation, a duty really, to do whatever was necessary to implement the changes? Again, obviously not!

And to add insult to injury, while Glass could find unbudgeted money in the 2018-19 budget to hire a second a SECOND Communications Director, a Bond Construction Communications Specialist and $400,000 for renovation of the 3rd floor of the Admin building he COULDN’T find enough money ($70,000 most likely spread out over 2 budget years) for a consultant to begin this year to help the inept District staff work through some of the issues raised by the Board!

All of this adds up to a clear and utter lack of leadership on the part of Glass on something that has a well documented direct and immediate impact on education performance, health and safety, which is now, most likely, years down the road.

What a joke! Glass’s actions, when it really counts, clearly demonstrate what type of leader he really is – weak and ineffective!

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