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Here are some interesting articles we received and discovered this past week…


Grand Rapids Schools Attracts 7 Firms to Conduct Superintendent Search

Quote from Article:

Seven executive search firms responded to the Grand Rapids Board of Education request for proposals to conduct a national superintendent search, officials said Monday, Aug. 5.

A few of the largest and well-known firms for education searches were among the proposals to help GRPS find its next superintendent. Proposals came packaged with price estimates ranging from $20,000 to $80,000.


School board president Kristian Grant told board members during the school board meeting to review the proposals and come prepared for a robust discussion of the candidates at their work session scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 12.


The board, assisted by the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) Executive Search Services, interviewed four candidates in March. Two finalists were invited back, but the majority did not think they met enough of the criteria outlined in the superintendent profile.


The seven firms that submitted by the 2 p.m. July 8 deadline include:

  • Ray and Associates Inc., is a Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based company that has assisted urban districts such as DeKalb County Public Schools, just outside Atlanta, GA and is currently working with Baltimore County Public Schools in Maryland. Proposed cost is $20,000.
  • McPherson and Jacobson LLC – an Omaha-based search firm has been conducting searches since 1991. The firm cites over 100 consultants nationwide – one-fourth of which are minorities or females. Last year, it helped West Bend schools in Wisconsin recruit the former Secretary of Education of South Dakota as its superintendent. Proposed cost $31,750.
  • Hazard, Young, Attea Associates – a Schaumburg, Ill-based firm with over 30 years of experience. References include Michigan’s Birmingham schools and Denver Public Schools. Former East Grand Rapid Superintendent James Morse (1981-2006) is a senior associate. Proposed cost $34,919.
  • Diversified Search Inc. – a firm based in Philadelphia, PA, formed in 1974, touts being the largest woman-founded retained executive search firm, cites officials with Atlanta Public Schools among its references. The company has offices in Washington, DC, and six major cities. Proposed cost $80,000.
  • Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP – a firm headquartered in Chicago that employs more than 1,400 in the Midwest. Baker Tilly provides a wide range of accounting, tax, assurance and consulting services by more than 3,600 staff members. Its public sector executive search service reportedly assists a wide variety of public and not-for-profit organizations. Proposed cost $26,500.
  • BWP & Associates – is a firm based in Libertyville, Illinois, that grew from a merger of three nationally known firms: Harold Webb Associates, PNR Associates, and The Bickert Group, Ltd. Its roots date back to 1977 under Webb. Proposed cost $25,000 plus expenses.
  • Robert Half Executive Search – based in Boston, the firm has a Grand Rapids office. Leaders say it has placed key executive leaders in organizations ranging from government agencies and non-profits to Fortune 500, mid-size, and start up companies. Proposed cost $54,000.

District Deeds Synopsis:


A REAL Superintendent Search by a diverse Board of Education.

According to its “At A Glance” profile page, Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) has “nearly 17,000 students with 2,700 employees, including 1,400 dedicated teachers.”.

The page also lauds the GRPS for offering “the largest selection of school choices in all of West Michigan, including neighborhood, theme, Center of Innovation, special education, and charter.”

As a San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) Stakeholder we are SHOCKED by the disparity between the outstanding GRPS due dilligence process in selecting a highly qualified school district Superintendent and the corrupt, illegal, overnight appointment of unqualified Elementary School Principal Cindy Marten by  crony Trustee Richard “Tricky Dick” Barrera in violation of the Brown Act.

The stark comparison between the SDUSD and GRPS is obvious.

The GRPS understands that they need the help of the SDUSD community Stakeholders to make the best selection decision

According to the 63 page GRPS Community Input Report:

This input was gathered in:

  • Five town-hall type community meetings across the community;
  • Over 30 small group or individual meetings with community leaders and organizations;
  • Staff and student meetings ranging in size from 12 to 50 participants;
  • Nearly 600 online surveys completed by a broad cross-section of the community.

The SDUSD Board of Edcucation under corrupt Tricky Dick Barrera DENIED community input in the selection of unqualified Cindy Marten. 

The GRPS understands that they need the help of professionals to full screen and select candidates.  Given the GRPS criteria for Superintendent, incompetent Elementary School Superintendent (ESS) Cindy Marten would not have even made the cut for an interview!

And why do you think that this process was implemented in the GRPS?

Most of the reason can be found in the diversity of the NINE member GRPS Board of Education are shown below:

Multi-cultural, multi-gender – in the GRPS, there are approximately 1,900 students per Trustee – FULL representation by area.

With a large, diverse Board of Education, illegal, crony Superintendent appointments by corrupt Trustees, like Tricky Dick Barrera, of incompetent candidates, like Cindy Marten, is not possible.

This article and GRPS Input Report clearly verified the facts that District Deeds put forth in our 6 part “Anatomy of a Failed Superintendent” series (and subsequent articles) after Marten was hired.

The incompetent Marten educational, operational and financial management disaster and irreparable damage done to Students is proof for ALL Stakeholders that we need to vote out of office the current corrupt SDUSD Trustees as soon as possible and get Marten FIRED!

We congratulate the GRPS for their extensive collaboration with the community and their professionalism to select a highly qualified executive search firm to the best candidates.

We are ashamed and outraged that we cannot say the same about our own corrrupt SDUSD Board of Education and “Superintendent”.

Complaining About Students Is Toxic. Here Are 4 Ways to Stop

Article PDF: Complaining About Students Is Toxic. Here Are 4 Ways to Stop

Quote from Article:

As a teacher, I spent many mornings waiting in line to make copies for my lessons that day. Coffee in hand, I competed with my fellow waiting colleagues in the Misery Olympics of Teaching: We’d banter back and forth about whose teaching life was more miserable.

Some of those complaints were about our own lives, like this: “I was in grad class until 10 p.m. last night and then I had to grade 30 essays.” But invariably, part of our griping was about our students. For years, I’d say things like this: “My third period class is driving me crazy!” or “When will Ben ever stop talking?” or “Why won’t my students turn homework in?!”


Sound familiar? Complaining about students happens in teachers’ lounges and copy rooms all over the country. Teaching is hard work. But complaining about students is not only toxic for teachers’ feelings about their work (and therefore their longevity in their jobs). It’s detrimental to students.

Now my job is to support instructional coaches in their work with teachers, and I get to hear to what pre-K through high school teachers say when they are meeting with their coaches. I am caught off guard more often than I would expect by negative comments about students from even the most otherwise positive teachers. Here’s a sample of the comments I’ve heard recently: 

  • “I have two kids who are really big babies. They always need my attention. I don’t think they can do it on their own.”
  • “I just don’t think this will work with Daniel; he’s one of my older kids.”
  • “You know this is a Title I school, right?”
  • “These kids just aren’t motivated.”


Why is complaining about students detrimental?

  • It reinforces low expectations. By complaining about students, we reinforce the idea that they’re not capable of meeting high expectations. 
  • It absolves teachers of responsibility to reach all students, and blames students instead. As the instructional leaders of our classrooms, we need to be reflective about what changes we can make that will help all students engage and learn better. By blaming students, teachers fail to grow; instead, they are defensive when given feedback. 
  • It creates distance between students and teachers. Complaining about students with other teachers can create an us versus them mentality. 
  • It creates a toxic work culture. Complaining breeds negative feelings about our work. When I’m repeating a message that students aren’t motivated and there’s nothing I can do about it, I start to feel less motivated myself to teach my best lessons every day.


4 Strategies to Counter a Culture of Complaining

#1 – Consider your vocabulary.

This isn’t about political correctness. It’s about simply treating students the way we would want to be treated. Here are a few words and phrases to eliminate that reflect low expectations of students: 

  • They are babies
  • They aren’t motivated
  • They have an IEP
  • They are low-flyers
  • This generation
  • Their parents aren’t engaged

#2 – Take the one-week complaint-free challenge.

Try not to say anything negative about a student for a week. Take time to notice the moments when you want to complain, and how you feel when you cut out the complaining.

#3 – Call out your colleagues when they complain.

I often felt that complaining was the norm at my school, and I now regret not taking a more active role to confront that culture directly. When you hear educators complaining about students, make an active choice to sit it out. Even better, find a direct but kind way to call it out. Try, “I know we all love our students. Instead of focusing on the negative, what’s something you’re thankful for about your students today?” And this shouldn’t fall only on teachers—school leaders can play a key role here by setting clear expectations for how teachers and staff should talk about students.

#4 – Replace complaining with joy and thankfulness.

Find something positive to talk about. Consider what conversations will bring about more equitable outcomes for students, more joy for you and your colleagues, and closer relationships within the school community. Talk about what you are thankful for, how you’ve seen students grow or challenge themselves, or even ask questions to get you know your colleagues better.

District Deeds Synopsis:

Distict Deeds was hesitant to post this article for a few reasons.

We understand that complaining in the workplace is not unique to Teachers…it is common across ALL professions.

We understand that all Teachers are human and get frustrated and dismayed by some of the reactions of Administration, Parents and Students.

We recognize that, as a parent, we have said or felt many of the same things outlined in the article that are not good for our kids.

We were afraid that this article might push Teachers to NOT complain about serious issues that need to be rectified in the SDUSD, like student bullying on their campus, or inequitable practices by the SDUSD Central Office Senior Staff.

The reason we decided to post this article is not for judgement of teachers in their school site workplace.

Our hope with this article is for ALL SDYSD Stakeholders to understand the many professional and societal pressures and responsibilities that Teachers face every single day at work with our kids and reading this helps them to cope with those challenges in the most supportive and understanding way.

Teachers: Keep up your hard work and be fearless in reporting issues that negatively impact your ability to provide the best possible education for our kids.

As a Parent and SDUSD Stakeholder, that is the best we can ALL hope for!!!

Going the Extra Mile for School Choice


Quote from Article:

For families living in neighborhoods with low-performing schools, choice-friendly policies open up an array of options. Students can seek out district or charter schools with stronger academic programs, or look for schools that match their unique interests or needs. The concept is simple, but families who want to take the school-choice route may find that getting students to and from school presents a significant roadblock.

Considering a school some distance from home means weighing the costs and benefits to student and family. Traveling outside the neighborhood can entail earlier wake-ups, lost time en route, unruly fellow travelers, and missed transit connections. For choice to be worthwhile, the payoff has to outweigh the drawbacks. Transportation must be affordable and safe so that all students, regardless of their location or resources, can attend their school of choice. And on the municipality’s end, the cost of providing transportation must be sustainable. All of these factors play into the discussion on the benefits of choice.


In 2017, Matthew Chingos and Kristin Blagg of the Urban Institute convened a group of researchers to analyze students’ school choices and travel to school in five cities—Denver, Detroit, New Orleans, New York, and Washington, D.C.—where families are able to select from among many charter and district schools (see Table 1). Our team found that a large number of students in these cities take advantage of school choice, and that it often provides them with important academic benefits. Traveling for these benefits, however, does come with some costs to students and their cities’ education systems and at times reveals conditions of unequal access. Cities are hungry for innovative solutions to the transportation challenge.


The five cities we examined have adopted a number of different policies for providing transportation for students who opt out of their neighborhood school. In New Orleans, New York, and D.C., students who choose another school can still receive district-provided transportation. In D.C., all students, regardless of their distance from the school, receive free transportation to school on public-school buses or via free access to public transit. In New Orleans and New York, transportation support depends on how far away students live. In Denver, students who exercise choice and live and enroll in any school in specific transportation zones served by Success Express, a dedicated shuttle-bus service, receive free transportation. In addition, most charter schools offer public school-bus transportation to students. In Detroit, students who select a different district school or a charter school are not guaranteed transportation, but some charter schools do offer it.


Even a small travel burden would be pointless if students did not gain any benefits for it. Examining three of the five cities—Denver, Detroit, and New York—we explored the extent to which students who exercise choice tend to select schools with higher performance or attractive academic offerings. In each of these cities, we found that students who choose to travel for school do get something for their effort.


In Detroit, students who opt for schools of choice select those with somewhat higher accountability ratings, lower absentee rates, and, for students who started at the school in 9th grade, higher graduation rates. For example, 9th-grade students in Detroit who opt out of the closest school end up selecting one that has an accountability rating that is, on average, 5 points (out of 100) higher, a graduation rate that is 9 percentage points higher, and an absenteeism rate that is 3 percentage points lower, relative to the other schools in the city. In Denver, incoming 9th-grade students who demonstrate the greatest willingness to travel for school, a group we call “super-travelers,” choose schools that have graduation rates that are, on average, 23 percentage points higher and that have seven fewer incidents of discipline per 100 students

District Deeds Synopsis:

Despite the numerous examples of student success provided through a robust facillitation of School Choice shown in this article, the SDUSD ESS Cindy Marten and crony Trustees led by “Tricky Dick” Barrera continue to eliminate SDUSD School Choice through reduced busing, limited choice enrollment windows and an anti-Charter political position.

Marten, Barrera, Beiser, Evans, McQuary and Payne continue to jam dangerous, underperforming “schools in every neighborhood” down the throats of the neediest students and families.

Those actions by Marten and the Board doom the education of a generation of neediest students.

This elimination of choice for ALL students by the current Superintendent Marten, Trustees and senior staff is racially inequitable, educationally disatrous and morally/ethically reprehensible.

Superintendent Marten, Trustees and senior staff…


Now for our Quote of the Week:

“I never wonder to see men wicked, but I often wonder to see them not ashamed.”  ― Jonathan Swift

Have a great week!!!



  • Your family has been injured by the San Diego Unified School District, go to the District Deeds Complaint Forms page to find instructions to fight for your Civil Rights!

Please Click the Link Below and sign the Petition Today and READ the COMMENTS to Support the REMOVAL of Marten by SDUSD Stakeholders!

FIRE San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten Immediately!

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