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What is an "instructional coach?" and why is PUSD funding instructional coaches rather than real teachers?

Original post made by Boondoggle on Feb 14, 2013

I have been following the thread on PUSD.

It used to be that every time a buddy of a superintendent or administrator "retired," the "retired" person somehow magically ended up on the PUSD payroll as an "instructional coach" or as an independent contractor somehow affiliated with the PUSD Tri-Valley Teacher Induction Program Web Link without even the knowledge of the school board.

This is also where ex assistant superintendents wind up. Basically they show up in finance reports under Object 5880 or 5881 as Consultants in the General Fund.

Why doesn't PUSD hire people qualified for administrative positions? Why do they need "coaches?" Does PUSD just hire people based on who they know and not what they know?

Retired administrators end up as a "coach" for principals and assistant principals.

Retired teachers end up as a "coach" for teachers.

It would be nice if the Pleasanton Weekly would do some digging on this, and publish information on it. The Board is probably in the dark about this.

Comments (23)

Posted by john, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 14, 2013 at 10:58 pm

I used my current favorite search engine (Bing), and found:

Web Link

It seems that the new superintendent is using the coaches to teach teachers to teach lower performing students and non-English speakers. It seems to me that the new superintendent is focusing on these students at the expense of all the rest. Does anyone else agree? I'm surprised people aren't saying more about this, given the general hostility toward the district that I read on these forums.


Posted by Jill, a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Feb 15, 2013 at 7:47 am

As part of No Child Left Behind, the district is required to bring low-performing groups up to proficiency.

See: Web Link

Since teachers are the ones that need to get their students to proficiency, it makes sense to me that training/coaching/professional development for teachers would be beneficial. Of course, the training has to be good and not just perpetuate what's already not working.


Posted by Guest, a resident of another community
on Feb 15, 2013 at 8:52 am

The website that I was taking too was for the Tri Valley Teacher Induction Program. All newly credentialed teachers in the state of California have to go through this program (BTSA- Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment Program). This use to be a college program until SB 2042 came into play, which basically embeds certain aspects of teaching into their credential. I.E. they are qualified to teach ESL students. The coaches that teachers get isn't up to their control. They are usually placed, and sometimes can request a coach if they know someone.

I have been through it, and let me say this- it is boring and a waste of time. At the end of a regular credential program, students have to complete projects, or tasks. These tasks are then graded by the CTC, and all have to do with ESL students, students that are exceptional (the term they use for special ed students etc.) The BTSA program is good for building a network of connections, but other than that, it's like a teaching credential program 2.0.

O I think I forgot above. If a new teacher doesn't go through this program within 5 years, they Preliminary Credential can expire and they therefore can't teach anymore (unless if he/she tries to renew their preliminary credential.) After completion of the BTSA program, the credential becomes "clear".


Posted by Boondoggle, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2013 at 9:12 am

So what type of instructional 'coaching' did Clem Donaldson do for the many years he was on the payroll as a consultant after he 'retired?'


Posted by Diana, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 15, 2013 at 9:15 am

Clem Donaldson was the biggest waste of PUSD money EVER!!! He was hired as Casey's friend with no value to the district.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 15, 2013 at 9:45 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Diana, I didn't work with Clem, but he wasn't the biggest waste. The next name you mention, however . . . . we are still living with the damage he caused, in people and money.


Posted by local, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2013 at 10:51 am

Kathleen, hard as it may seem, Clem was worse. Actually he was not a waste but his mission was to screw the taxpayers out of as much as possible for himself and his friends. After he had the plan, the superintendent approved it because they were great friends and they both benefited. He learned out how to spike salaries for retirement and after his retirement, the superintendent hired him as a consultant to teach other district administrators in how to take advantage of the system. If you looked at Clem's last year of employment, he had $25,745 in "Other" income to spike his pension. After retirement he was hired by the superintendent to teach other administrators in how to do the same thing. Just look at the CalSTRS $100K club and you can see who all the graduates of his program were.


Posted by Boondoggle, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2013 at 10:59 am

Ahmadi is adopting the Clem Donaldson "instructional coach" farce that Donaldson himself created.

Here is the gag worthy Pleasanton Weekly article on Donaldson's supposed 'departure.' Web Link

Note the quote: "He also brought to us the idea of coaching, so that new teachers and administrators have a coach to work with during their first two years."

Donaldson actually never retired. He was hired immediately as an independent consultant, along with all his buddies who were also "retiring", to supposedly "coach" people.

Except the "coaching" was not about the kids, but it was about how to max out pensions.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 15, 2013 at 11:29 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Coaching is used in other districts; I have seen the value. That said, you have to have the money for it, and PUSD does not.

Sorry, but the commitments under which you will find Casey included the bond refinancings, the unsustainable raises to the salary schedule for three years straight, the signing of three-year contracts for administrators, borrowing from every fund in sight, and locking the new superintendent's hands. There is likely much more, and we and students will pay for many years to come.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 15, 2013 at 11:29 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Oh, and two very arrogant law suits the district lost to Signature.


Posted by local, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2013 at 2:49 pm

On the lawsuits, one of the board members during that whole time was Pat Kernan. He is an attorney and also got us in that problem by guaranteeing they had an air-tight case against Signature and belittling anybody at the city that tried to question any part of their agreement. Not sure if the public knows this but the current superintendent has hired Pat Kernan to be a lawyer for the district. He is currently doing legal work for the district. When will the district ever learn?


Posted by Diana, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 15, 2013 at 2:51 pm

I will concede that Casey wins if we are taking about most destructive to Pleasanton. But if the bar is biggest waste I still say Donaldson wins.

If we are going to talk about Signature and arrogance that is a different game. Signature still has not paid school fees for 28 homes because of a back-room deal made by Buster McCurtain. The public was told there was a letter of explanation that would not be released but is locked in the safe. If there was justice they would have lost the law suit but they had better lawyers
Did we ever hear about the outcome of suing the lawyers for malpractice? I may have heard that PUSD won a settlement that only paid for the lawyers. I would like to know the details of that one.


Posted by Mike, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Feb 15, 2013 at 4:11 pm

I'd like to suggest coaches be hired to teach district employees that their value is a function of their contribution to the district rather than their pockets.

Mike


Posted by Nomad, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2013 at 8:03 pm

I second Mike's idea!


Posted by Shed a Tear, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2013 at 9:51 am

You let third-world immigrants flock into the country, you eventually become a third-world country. Calfornia is leading the way. Comparing California in in the 2010's to California in the 1960's makes me want to puke. We used to be the most robust state in the nation, now we are the laughing stock of the nation. However, they won't be laughing to long, as the nation is whole nation is headed toward bankruptcy in our journey to third-world status.


Posted by I'd like to suggest, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 19, 2013 at 9:57 pm

And I would like to suggest that the district hire parent coaches because some in Pleasanton are whack jobs.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 20, 2013 at 7:54 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Parent coaches are not necessary; all you need are staff/administrators who will listen and act on the concerns being raised. Even an unreasonable of parents is looking for a solution for their child. There is usually at least one grain of truth in the concern/complaint. If it gets addressed, you create an advocate.


Posted by Kathleen, you do not know, a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 21, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Kathleen, you are incredibly wrong and have obviously not spend quality time in our schools. For the most part, parents want their child to sucede. BUT the few parents who do not care tend to raise children who are the problem. And this is the difficulty of the education system - they can only do so much and if the parents won't buy in, that's it. Game over.

My son was harassed by another boy in 1st grade. The school did an amazing job and took care of the situation. When the parents were told their child needed therapy, they declined and said it was because he was a boy. Parents failed, not the school.

There is not one grain of truth in every concern/complaint has a grain of truth. Have you ever sat in on a meeting with a parent who is drunk and claims their child is the victim of bad teachers? Have you ever sat in on a meeting where the parent smiles while they are told by the teachers that their student is depressed and needs therapy? Have you ever sat in a meeting where the parents are divorced, yell in front of their child what incredibly losers the other is, and then blame the teachers because the child is failing? No, you have not. Hence, you have no clue what you are talking about.


Posted by Boondoggle, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2013 at 9:45 pm

Whoever is "Kathleen, you do not know" - sounds like you are an attendee at interesting meetings at PUSD. Also the word is "succeed," not "sucede."

If teachers at PUSD are telling parents their child needs therapy and are depressed, they are completely out of line. Or if you are a parent telling another parent their 1st grader needs 'therapy,' then you are out of line. Teachers are not mental health professionals, nor are they capable of diagnosing mental health issues, nor are they qualified to determine who should or should not receive various types of 'therapy.'

But back to the original thread...

I don't understand why PUSD is re-implementing the Clem Donaldson created 'revolving door' approach for so-called coaches.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 21, 2013 at 10:03 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

"Wrong," I didn't say there aren't great teachers and administrators who resolve issues quickly and with great care. And now you are an advocate, and that's wonderful. I didn't say there aren't parents who don't follow sound advice; and that's unfortunate. But there are parents I know personally who are not having the same experience you did. And I talked to many parents over the years who called the superintendent's office completely frustrated at their inability to get issues resolved at the site level.

I've worked with many amazing, talented, and dedicated people; and thankfully, they are in the majority. But the less positive stories fall on both sides of the line.


Posted by Boondoggle, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2013 at 10:25 pm

Nice post, Kathleen. Have you notice that whenever there are threads critical of the PUSD, there seem to be posts calling parents names and saying they are drunk and saying the parents are the failures?

Of course, the parents aren't the ones that stole $8 or $9 million of taxpayer money on cash - out refunding and won't tell the public what happened to it.

By the way, someone pointed out to me today an article called "Bad Superintendent" about a scandal in New York with $8 million missing that was featured in New York Magazine. Here is the article Web Link

This sure sounds familiar:
' "You're not going to find many superintendents who live like Frank, because we're afraid to," another Long Island school superintendent says. "You don't want to appear overpaid. He lived the opposite way. He acted as if he was entitled to it—to the car, to the clothes, to the money."

During working lunches, Tassone would go on about how the school district should act like any private corporation with an $80 million budget. "He thought the salaries of administrators should be as high as possible," says Piemonte. "That these jobs had a great deal of subtlety and required education. He'd say, 'Look at the CEO of IBM—they're making zillions and we're making $200,000.' " '


Posted by Christine, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2013 at 10:54 pm

"Parent coaches are not necessary; all you need are staff/administrators who will listen and act on the concerns being raised. Even an unreasonable of parents is looking for a solution for their child. There is usually at least one grain of truth in the concern/complaint. If it gets addressed, you create an advocate."

And because of that single grain, and its exactly equal on both sides, I don't want more of my tax dollars being spent. Truly. I mean really, truly.




Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 21, 2013 at 11:33 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Christine, you really have to find something else to talk about. My position on how I would support a local parcel tax is clear and doesn't need to be rewritten every time you decide to post. Everyone is paying more via Prop 30--money that most likely won't reach Pleasanton. You would need to write the Governor about that.


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