Major Reorganization of Central Administration Will Focus Teams in Support of Principals and Teachers

October 25, 1999
A major reorganization of the central administration is being detailed to the Board of Education this evening [Monday, October 25, beginning at 9:45 p.m.] to support comprehensive changes needed to improve student achievement and close the performance gap among students when disaggregated by race and ethnicity.

The restructuring, which is being brought forward by Superintendent of Schools Jerry D. Weast, is designed to provide more support for principals and teachers by streamlining the organization, improving responsiveness to schools, and achieving greater accountability.

The MCPS restructuring will follow a "matrix organization" model from private industry that aligns all central office resources with the requirements of the schools. Under the leadership of a new structure involving community superintendents, integrated project teams will focus on improving school performance. This design will provide increased flexibility to respond quickly and effectively to changing school conditions and school performance needs.

A related educational plan is being developed to maintain high academic standards and student performance, accelerate instruction, improve achievement of low-performing students, and close the achievement gap. An outline of the plan will be presented to the Board of Education on November 9, 1999.

The reorganization is based on three areas integral to the overall success of the school systemimprove school performance and accountability, transform the culture of the school system through organizational development, and improve business operations and financial resources. The new structure will be divided into three major areas: education, organizational development, and operations, each under the leadership of a deputy superintendent or equivalent.

Individuals from schools, central offices, and the community were involved in helping develop the reorganization plan. The plan will eliminate 33 positions (20 administrative and supervisory/executive and 13 supporting services) and create 35 new positions (20 in the first category and 15 in the latter). Weast said he anticipates further position changes and financial savings in the Fiscal Year 2001 budget.

"The ability of the school system to respond rapidly to the needs of schools and to adapt with flexibility to changing circumstances, not only in the deployment of staff but also in the allocation of resources, will be the hallmark of this new organization," said Weast.

Summary of the Reorganization Changes

Focused instruction, support, accountability

The centerpiece of the reorganization is the concentration of all academic and education programs and services in support of schools. This effort will be led by the Office of the Deputy Superintendent for Education (currently deputy superintendent of schools). The offices of Instruction and Program Development (OIPD) and Pupil and Community Services (OPCS) will report directly to this deputy superintendent. Specialists, supervisors, teachers, and coordinators in these offices will be part of integrated project teams assigned to focus on under-performing schools and students.

The Office of School Administration (OSA) will be completely restructured. It will become the Office of School Performance and Accountability, composed of six community superintendents reporting directly to the deputy superintendent for education. The community superintendents will be supported by school performance directors overseeing teams of instructional and operations staff. The current associate superintendent, seven directors of school administration, two principals on special assignment, and two other OSA administrative posts will be eliminated to create these new positions.

New organizational development

Organizational development is the second major component of the administrative restructuring, with the focus on establishing an organizational capacity for change and developing a high-performing and diverse workforce. The new Office of Organizational Development also will focus on helping employees meet rigorous performance standards and will have the talent and expertise to work successfully with a highly able and multi-cultural student body.

The office also will organize comprehensive continuous improvement efforts throughout the system, including successful models from the private sector. The establishment of this office (at the deputy superintendent level) provides the leadership necessary to implement and sustain change across a large and complex workforce. This position will be created by upgrading the vacant position of associate superintendent for supportive services. The office will be responsible for aligning and integrating the units currently responsible for Staff Development, Personnel Services, Employee Assistance, Association Relations, Human Relations, and Safety and Security.

Streamlined business operations

The third component of the reorganization is the consolidation of all finance, business, and support activities into the new Office of the Chief Operating Officer in order to streamline the organization and create greater efficiencies of operational functions to support students and staff.

This change will combine and restructure the functions of the offices of Financial Management, Global Access Technology, and Supportive Services. (Several units within these offices, specifically those currently responsible for Personnel Services, Safety and Security, and Employee Assistance, will be transferred to the new Office of Organizational Development.) The Office of Global Access Technology will be converted to department-level status, with the elimination of the position of chief information technology officer and the creation of a director position.

In addition, the Office of the Chief Operating Officer will assume responsibility for all legal services. Other consolidation of functions will be recommended to reduce the number of departments reporting directly to the chief operating officer. The entire restructuring of these functions will be guided by the goal of focusing these resources on the needs of schools.

Integrated project team -- the matrix organizational model

The focus of resources on the needs of schools will be facilitated by a "matrix organization" that aligns all central office resources with academic, operational, and performance requirements of schools. The matrix begins with community superintendents who will lead the new Office of School Performance and Accountability. Each community superintendent will have two integrated project teamsone focusing on instruction and student performance, and the other focusing on business practices and operations in schools.

School performance teams will have shared responsibility and accountability for improving the proficiency, productivity, and academic equity of schools. These teams will be composed of supervisors, specialists, and coordinators from units including Academic Programs, Organizational Development, Enriched and Innovative Instruction, Title I, Instructional Technology, ESOL, Pupil Services, and Special Education. Community superintendents may shift, trade, and assign positions to address priorities as determined by school and student performance.

The school operations support teams will be responsible for ensuring that schools receive quality business and support services operated in an efficient and timely manner. Each of these teams will be made up of supervisors and coordinators from the departments of Personnel Services; Management, Budget and Planning; Planning and Capital Programming; and Supply and Property Management; the divisions of Transportation, Plant Operations, Food and Nutrition Services, Safety and Security, and Maintenance; and from Global Access Technology.

Staff on all teams will be supervised and evaluated by both community superintendents and their department directors. All community superintendents will be housed in a single office to assure collaborative and joint decision making.

Improved research and communications

Two changes are planned for the Office of the Superintendent of Schools. The first is necessary to make use of data and research as a fundamental component of all efforts to improve academic achievement and workforce effectiveness and efficiency. The Department of Educational Accountability will be restructured as the Department of Applied Research and Evaluation to focus resources on the use of data and information for educational reform, innovation, and success. This will include information derived from original research and the findings and best practices of other school districts.

The second change is necessary to engage employees, parents, community leaders, and the general public in transforming the school system. The Department of Information will be expanded and become the Department of Communications, with a focus on improving internal and external communications. The department also will coordinate the current units of Instructional Television and Electronic Graphics and Publishing.

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