I guess I expected more from Jeffco’s Restart Plan. But, maybe on second thought, we got what I expected – not a lot of substance.

Yes, Jeffco got a lot of high-level concepts such as Remote Learning, Hybrid Learning, that the IT Department would work to get students machines and internet and that teachers and staff could take unpaid sabbatical, etc. But what employees didn’t get was an actual plan that would help them achieve the high-level concepts that were presented. I was particularly disappointed with the the most important section – Academics – which was essentially a whole lot of nothing.

Just as disconcerting was that there was a complete lack of any budgetary discussion in the document. How can you ask the Board of Education to approve a budget without any consideration of the almost certain added costs that Hybrid Learning will entail? That’s just incompetence and fiscal malpractice.

It is now nearly the beginning of June and approximately 80 days until school is scheduled to start. Time is of the essence. While I don’t expect Glass and the District to have all of the answers, I would have liked for the “Plan” to have included dates when some of those answers would be known. Waiting until sometime in July and the final ‘Plan’ leaves very little time for necessary actions to be completed by the people who will be tasked with carrying out those tasks. It also would have been more comforting to know dates of when certain things would be accomplished once school starts.

Here are some examples that would have made the ‘Plan’ more meaningful, including some tasks that should have already been started:

  • No later than July 1, identify staff who will be taking 1 year unpaid sabbatical
  • No later than July 1, identify staff who do not desire to work in physical school locations
  • No later than July 15, identify and contract with Guest Teachers
  • No later than August 1st, identify students who will solely participate in Remote Learning
  • No later than June 1, identify possible additional costs to run school meals and Grab-and-Go lunches simultaneously
  • No later than June 1, identify the estimated costs to set up screening stations in schools (thermometers, PPE, tables, personnel, training, etc)
  • No later than July 15, identify additional staff needed for things such as custodial, student flow control, busing etc.
  • By the end of the 3rd day of school, the IT Department will have identified all students in need of a Chromebook
  • By the end of the 3rd day of school, the IT Department will have identified all students who do not have Internet access from their place of residence
  • By the end of the 1st week of classes, all students will have a Chromebook
  • No later than August 10, all schools will have floors marked with student flows
  • And on and on…

I don’t have any doubts that Principals will make things work in their schools. However, by not having some centralized guidelines and deadlines, it only makes the jobs’ of principals that much harder.

On first glance, the Jeffco Restart Model, at 29 pages, looks impressive. However, once you take a look at it, it is mostly fluff and doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence, especially in relation to academics. Once again, this highlights the poor leadership at District level.