After just three months officially on the job, the new Dallas Independent School District superintendent presented the school board with a list of 32 improvements he says the district needs.
Superintendent Mike Miles said the list is the work of his new cabinet with input from teachers and administrators.
The first three improvements focus on the new philosophy and culture Miles says the district needs -- creating a culture focused on continuous improvement, raising the level of accountability and developing a culture of instructional feedback to better support teachers and principals.
The rest involve details of human resources, operations, budget, technology and administration to run good schools.
"The hard part now comes in what we're going to do about it, so that five years from now, some other group is not sitting here bringing you the same list," Miles said.
He said he would return to the board with a few weeks with an action plan to implement the improvements.
National Education Association Dallas President Angela Davis said it is too soon to tell whether Miles can accomplish what he says.
"I think on some of the points he's hit the nail on the head," she said. "But then some of them, like the custodian staff, I think he's just missed the boat completely, because they're shorthanded."
Board members were generally supportive but some agreed that recent budget cuts and drastic staff reductions are a factor in making the improvements Miles wants.
At the same meeting, members were very pleased with a presentation by the new principal of Seagoville High School, Delinda Castro. She described changes in standards for teachers and improvements that helped boost student attendance.
"You need a principal who is great and who is able to think out side the box and not tell why you can't do something, but here is how we're going to find a way to do something," Trustee Nancy Bingham said. "It's not easy telling somebody, 'Hey, you're just not doing what you need to do."
Castro said Seagoville High needs much improvement in academic performance. Trustees praised her approach to the challenge.
"It's very encouraging that you guys are hitting hard and hitting fast and really trying to affect change quickly, so I congratulate you on that," Trustee Elizabeth Jones said.
Miles said the work underway at Seagoville High School is a model he wants copied elsewhere.
"This is how you do it," he said.