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Posted on Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 7:45 a.m.

Ann Arbor school board praises Superintendent Patricia Green for 'fabulous' and 'ambitious' goals

By Danielle Arndt

The Ann Arbor school board sat wide-eyed, but nodding and smiling, as Superintendent Patricia Green went through her list of goals and priorities for the upcoming school year Wednesday night.


Ann Arbor Superintendent Patricia Green passes out and flips through a variety of sample reports from her previous districts. One of her goals is to move Ann Arbor schools to a more comprehensive and consistent format for reports.

Danielle Arndt |

The student achievement piece alone had 21 steps and in total, the list of things Green would like to accomplish in 2012-13 filled five pages.

“I want to thank you for this very comprehensive list,” said Board Trustee Andy Thomas. “If we can get to all of these in the next year, well, it’s incredible how ambitious this is and the number of areas this is touching.”

Trustee Susan Baskett said putting things in writing and documenting what needs to get done is part of what she loves about Green.

The Board of Education met Wednesday at Skyline High School for its annual board retreat. At the meeting, it hashed out both superintendent and board goals.

Although Green's mega list made it easy for the board, the trustees gave their approval with some feedback and suggestions.

One of Green’s first goals for the new school year will be developing a calendar of board reports.

Her vision is to schedule the reports for the year upfront. Some will become annual updates, such as a student achievement report, which likely will take place in October for the previous school year, as that gives the administrative team ample time to analyze and process the data, she said.

Green brought with her a number of sample, data-intensive and bound reports from her previous districts for board members to look over, stating she wants the Ann Arbor Public Schools to adopt a similar format for reports.

One of the first reports the board will receive in the new school year is a technology report, which will include a plan for implementing the first year of the district's technology bond, Green said.

Another goal is launching the Peaceable and Respectful Schools student leadership program that she has been speaking about since December. Green said the district was awarded $15,000 from the Ann Arbor Public Schools Educational Foundation for the program. A community member made a donation to the AAPSEF specifically for this student leadership initiative, intrigued by the social justice component of it, Green said.

Alesia Flye, deputy superintendent of instruction, has identified mentors at the high schools who are “ready to roll.” The program will involve working with young students to teach them about discipline. Elementary buildings will get a flag to fly outside their schools when they have experienced a day with no discipline referrals or misbehavior. Certificates also will be distributed rewarding the good deeds pupils do, Green said.

“Going deeper” into the parent communities will be a real focus of Green’s in her second year as superintendent of AAPS. She mentioned attending more Parent Teacher Organization meetings and the creation of a “Superintendent Parent Liaison Committee,” which would be a structured committee of PTO representatives with bylaws that meets monthly with Green and does some “hands on sharing of information.”

“This is one of the most successful things I’ve used in other school districts,” Green said. “Often the parents on this committee end up leading the parent advocacy in the community and getting the word out and communicating with other parents.”

Vice President Christine Stead cautioned Green a little about starting a Superintendent Parent Liaison Committee.

“I worry that then we will have one other entity that could be driving some of the workload of the administration,” she said. “I just want to make sure we are getting work done and when setting priorities, we don’t have another group coming in to give ideas. Because I already feel like there are a lot of groups.”

Stead suggested perhaps something more “ad hoc” in nature, such as announcing to the community when Green will be visiting a building and letting people know they can stop by to speak with or ask a question of the superintendent — similar to open office hours with a professor in college or coffee hours with a legislator.

Stead said she doesn’t want parents to think they have to have been a member of a PTO for five years or so to have access to the superintendent.

Another group Green proposed creating is a “Curriculum Senate” comprised of central administrators, select principals, Student Intervention and Support Services staff and other instruction coordinators. The purpose would be to bring consistency and communication to curriculum reviews and decisions in the district — “to bring all players to the table,” she said.

Also among Green’s goals for herself and her administrative team are:

  • Offering other schools Ann Arbor’s professional development and legal and human resources expertise as revenue enhancers for the district
  • Actualizing personalized learning plans, starting with developing the infrastructure and professional development necessary to bring personalized curriculum to the classrooms
  • Improving the budget process with zero-based budgeting, in which every expense is justified; technology, and a better multi-year budget
  • Partnering with the University of Michigan to bring in well-known educators and behavioral psychologists for teaching the staff about social and emotional learning
  • A focus on implementing the district’s new anti-bullying policy, which was passed in May
  • Continuing to put into action her plans for eliminating the achievement and discipline gaps
  • Carrying out the board’s direction with the transportation working group that is analyzing the future of transportation at AAPS
  • Studying the district’s alternative education programs, especially the Roberto Clemente Student Development Center, and other need-based programs to determine their effectiveness
  • Developing an action plan to increase graduation rates across AAPS
  • Creating the framework for an observation-based evaluation process for teachers

Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at


Rudra N Rebbapragada

Sun, Aug 5, 2012 : 4:25 p.m.

TOOLS FOR LEARNING : I am glad to read that attention would be given to social, and emotional aspects of learning. The emphasis seems to be that of achievement goals. I want to know the learning goals and the tools that are provided to help learning. There is a basic tool that all students need to perform the task called learning. The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 1, verse #7 reads: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction." I see this statement as a tool that could be used to impart learning skills. We have to recognize the problem of mental lethargy, mental inertia, and mental laziness that obstructs the ability to grasp information. To begin instruction, the teacher has to begin with respect, devotion, and humility and communicate this attitude to the students.


Sun, Aug 5, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Why don't we have the actual document here or at least a link to it? Annoying.

Madeleine Borthwick

Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 1:32 p.m.

@Itchy---I don't know if any of the board members know of this, but I can vouch for the fact that we noon-hour supervisors at Burns Park are well aware of this. I've heard other teachers, whose identities I will protect with my last breath and who have no reason to make this up, what our super's priorities really are. sadly, those priorities have far more to do with her feathering her own comfortable nest than with how our children are doing. may our children forgive us.


Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 11:50 a.m.

What were her goals for year 1? Did she those?

Dog Guy

Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 1:49 a.m.

"Fabulous" goals, if my dictionary is to be trusted, are "barely credible" and "exaggerated" and "mythical". You can't beat the AAPS for fables.


Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 1:06 a.m.

How can you fit that many brown noses in one room.... amazing.....

Madeleine Borthwick

Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 1:38 p.m.

motorcycleminer, when it comes to keeping one's job, you'd be surprised what people will do. I think it's a matter of survival. just saying.

Joe Kidd

Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 8:52 p.m.

Once again a story on AAPSs with no input from any teachers. The teachers are in the trenches but all we hear about is lofty goals by administrators, not the people who can tell us where and what the problems are. Perhaps they fear retaliation.

Madeleine Borthwick

Fri, Aug 3, 2012 : 1:36 p.m.

Joe, I can assure you that they do. I work at one of these schools in A2, and I've heard it from a couple of teachers whose names I will not disclose for that very reason. the threat of retaliation is very real. I'm sticking my neck out simply by typing this but I'm tired of seeing what I've seen and keeping silent. enough is enough.

Joe Kidd

Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 8:46 p.m.

I don't see anything here about lowering the number of students in the already over crowded classrooms. One teacher told me last year that they may have 30 students in classes this coming year. That is far too many for a teacher to be able to assist students who are falling behind. I knew we would get further double speak from this over paid super. Lofty goals but no information on how to do it.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 5:07 p.m.

I completely disagree with Aleysia Flye's recommendation that a school that doesn't have misbehavior gets to fly a flag. That's unrealistic goal setting, and reward incentivizing on her part, although the individual certificate thing is a good idea for a job well done by a child. In any given school that has at least 300 kids in it, there's going to be things happening, kids are kids, and I would never believe that a school full of kids gets to fly a flag for no disciplanary or behavior events is truth telling, nor would that be a problem or a goal in the first place. The goal is improvement and better behavior management of the adults towards the children.

Joe Kidd

Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 8:49 p.m.

I fear this flag idea is going to put pressure on teachers to stop reporting students who misbehave. I have seen unbelievably disruptive students in AAPSs with no support for the teachers to end the disruptive behavior.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 5:24 p.m.

I also wondering if the kids would really "care" if the flag was flying or not. Especially in the older grades.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 4:52 p.m.

Sorry to say, but going to PTO meetings would be like singing to the choir. The parents that are involved are not the problem. They have the ideas, care about education and should be listened to. The parent/guardian communities which need focus are those that do not attend meetings and lack involvement in their child's education process.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 2:23 p.m.

When's the last time the AAPS BOE gave one of their superintendants a real, honest appraisal. A salesman once told me to be aware of user recommendations because, "No one will tell you they have an ugly baby." The BOE wants the community to believe that they made the right choice by hiring Pat Green, so don't expect them to give a critical evaluation. Supplying a "to do" list is commendable, but lets report the results a year from now.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 1:48 p.m.

"This is one of the most successful things I've used in other school districts," Green said. "Often the parents on this committee end up leading the parent advocacy in the community and getting the word out and communicating with other parents." Superintendent Green makes my head hurt.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 1:53 p.m.

So let's pay the parents who are leading and not the bloated aaps administrative staff


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 1:44 p.m.

Goals are easy to write. I've seen books worth of goals written by the AAPS. Buying pre-made programs, hiring consultants and setting up committees are also easy ways to make it look like you are doing something. this time, please follow-up and report on the *outcomes* of these various ideas.

Albert Howard

Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 1:42 p.m.

Is Green trying to impress the board or the parents?


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 8:04 p.m.

Madeleine.... Who else knows about these issues? Do any board members know about this?

Madeleine Borthwick

Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 5:41 p.m.

Albert, ultimately neither one. I work at Burns Park elementary as a noon-hour supervisor, and some of the things that I and my fellow noon-hour-supervisors have seen happen are enough to make a grown man cry. Kids that have behavioral problems that are not disciplined because Green wants to move on to a better-paying position, and in order to do that she wants to leave the district with a spotless record, i.e., no disciplinary action, no suspensions, nothing that might tarnish her "spotless(?)" record. so. there are kids here who come to school every day, terrified of what might happen to him/her. Green does not care ANYTHING about our children. of that I am convinced. What we need is a superintendent who will put the needs of our children above feathering her own already-comfortable nest. if this gets me fired, so be it. I stand by everything I've said. Ms. Green, shame on you.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 1:31 p.m.

Ms. Stead sounds like she is not interested in real input from school families. A Parent Liaison Committee or PTO-based group is the first thing I have heard from Ms. Green that gets to the heart of many complaints about the AAPS administration; the lack of transparency and reporting, the limited input allowed into school board decisions, being out-of-touch with the needs of students. It seems like many new perspectives on our schools would be brought forth by a group like this. It might even serve to better inform the board, and the public, and thereby shorten the meetings! The Ann Arbor Public Schools community has decent PTO organizations that could be strengthened by this relationship, which would in turn help strengthen the schools. Perhaps Ms. Green sees that PTOs are fast becoming responsible for many of the school enrichment activities that were once part of the general budget, without them, our students would not have the broad experiences that make for a complete education. Ms. Stead: Why would you think that someone would have to be an experienced PTO member or long-time active parent to be concerned about our schools? This statement shows the elitism prevalent on our board. If I am the parent of an AAPS student, I am de facto part of the Parent Teacher Organization; the question is, will I choose to embrace or ignore that relationship?


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 9:05 p.m.

I will wait for a more comprehensive reporting of events before I comment in the future. I agree that parents should have increased access to the superintendent and school board as long as it is a productive conversation and forward thinking, and not a series of gripe sessions. One gripe session is ok though...or is that what public commentary time at board meetings is for? *joke*


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 5:19 p.m.

I interpreted Ms. Stead's completely different. It sounded like she didn't want parents to think only those involved in PTO, etc had access to the Super. Also, it sounds like she is saying adding another group just to look proactive may not be the best way to go. What would be more beneficial, forming a group that meets once a month rehashing the same old things or letting parents know when the Super will be visiting their school if they would like to meet her. I guess I interpreted her statements more along the lines of "too many cooks spoil the broth". But i could be wrong...

Christine Stead

Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 2:56 p.m.

The SPLC would be based on a parent organization already formed. My advice was to expand the opportunities for parents to have access to our Superintendent, so that parents that were not already part of a parent group (e.g., PTO) would also have opportunities to engage and be heard. I believe the SPLC is a good idea and I am looking forward to its formation and contribution. Our administrative team worked very hard this last year on many things. We want to make sure we are implementing and achieving results based on much of the foundational work from Dr. Green's first year. This will require focus on all of our parts, while still having the capacity to respond to issues as they arise. Feedback from our community, parents and students is always appreciated, encouraged and needed. We will continue to improve our district with more feedback and community engagement. I am very much interested in this, as is our administrative leadership team.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 1:26 p.m.

Now let's see if those goals can be accomplished BEFORE MS Green and her staff of non teachers get another raise. Pay for performance and not lofty goals.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 1:13 p.m.

I'm all for fabulous and ambitious goals. What I would REALLY like to see the Ann Arbor News do throughout the year is track progress being made for each of the stated goals. This needs to be tracked using the initial set of goals as written, instead of revised goals which may try to sneak in during the course of the year. I believe that the superintendent should be supported in her efforts to improve the school district. I also believe that the citizens should be supported, as well, by the superintendent. She makes an awful lot of money so I think it's fair that the expectations of the community should be set high. With contracts, such as she has, it's all too easy to just sit back and collect the cash; this seems to leave the citizens too exposed, in my opinion. Longer term, I'd like to see a comparison of administrative pay versus other districts in the state and country. Having someone local in that position would be preferable, again in my opinion, rather than try to lure people from out of state with hefty compensation. I'm not trying to sound negative here, but I think it's fair to now expect to see tangible results now that she has been on the job for a year.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 5:51 p.m.

LOL - AAPS pays a higher wage to administrators than Chicago or LA does. Getting a complete report of pay vs. other districts is difficult.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 1:12 p.m.

Green said the district was awarded $15,000 from the Ann Arbor Public Schools Educational Foundation for the program. A community member made a donation to the AAPSEF specifically for this student leadership initiative, intrigued by the social justice component of it, Green said. From Wikipedia - Social justice is based on the concepts of human rights and equality and involves a greater degree of economic egalitarianism through progressive taxation, income redistribution, or even property redistribution. Also from wikipedia - Economic egalitarianism is a state of economic affairs in which equality of outcome[1] has been manufactured for all the participants of a society. It is a founding principle of various forms of socialism, communalism and cooperative economic organization So this is what we want for our children? Work hard, become a doctor or business owner so we can then take a big chunk of what you earned and give it to others to make it fair? What is fair about that? This isn't justice, this is injustice being perpetrated upon our kids. Why would I want my child to go into debt to become a doctor and then not enjoy the fruits of their labor and THEY could decide where they wanted to donate money to. I know the government has done a wonderful job of handling our tax dollars but I just can't buy this notion. Answer per President Obama: "because they didn't do it themselves, someone helped them along the way" and they just need to give back a little, and then a little more, and a little more.................This is our school system, it feels like it is getting close to what you might learn in a Russian or Chinese school. Wake up folks, unless this is what you want for your kids, drones who work for the government that is getting larger by the day or free to earn what you can and give it to who you would like..............


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 12:05 p.m.

I note the 5 page list is not included here. I did not find it on the AAPS website. I will reframe my comments when I see the whole list, I can only comment on what is in this article. I note NOTHING in this article takes about financial transparency. We already know from the other article this morning that the AAPS board wants to raise yet more tax money for the schools. Two years ago the board ordered the district to post the checkbook, the administration did a half hearted effort for a while then stopped. The board has ignored this issue. Financial statements issued by the district are poor at best. The better source of information ends up being the state databases. If you want more tax money, you need to connect with the community and explain where the curren money is going. Even if you are going to try to sneak in with a May vote and hope for only school employees to vote.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 8:38 p.m.

Will you translate the document from "Greenspeak" before publishing it? I bet it's a doozy.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 5:49 p.m.

Ms. Arndt - Thank you. As usual the AAPS board and administration are transparent and willing to be forthcoming to the community (NOT). I suspect you will get the list in May or June of 2013, and it will be revised from what was presented, so that the goals will have been met. But thank you for trying.

Danielle Arndt

Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 4:46 p.m.

It occurred to me that I should clarify my previous comment. I simply asked Patricia Green for a copy while at the meeting. I have not been formally denied the document. I submitted an FOIA for the goals this afternoon and will share the complete list with readers when it becomes available to me.

Danielle Arndt

Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 4:19 p.m.

DonBee, the news media requested a copy of Patricia Green's goals that she passed out to board members but was told the goals are "preliminary" and that she does not release "preliminary" or draft documents.