The end of an eventful year
One year ago today, I heard the name Andres Alonso for the first time. I had been chasing erroneous tips that an administrator in Philadelphia was a top candidate to be the next Baltimore schools CEO. On the morning of June 13, 2007, my phone began ringing off the hook as the well-kept secret of Alonso's pending appointment was broken.
Since then, his name has appeared in 218 Sun stories and 118 blog entries (not counting this one). Whether you like his administration's policies or not, I think we can all agree that it's been an eventful year. Dr. Alonso has hired and fired more central office administrators than I could keep up with (tried as I might), paid students for improving test scores, bagged school water fountains in favor of bottled H20, created six middle/high schools, overhauled the system's alternative schools, discouraged suspensions for non-violent offenses, decentralized the system's budget, given principals autonomy, closed a $50 million budget shortfall, eliminated 310 jobs, made it tougher for elite magnet schools to kick kids out, clashed with the teachers union over planning time, and contracted with community-based organizations to improve parental involvement.
He has said repeatedly that he's committed to being in Baltimore for a decade. So, one year down, nine to go.
To those of you in BCPSS, congrats on the completion of another school year (and a belated congratulations to those in other systems that have already let out). We hope over the summer to keep up the terrific dialogue we've had this year on InsideEd. As the news (presumably) slows down for the next few months, let us know what issues you'd like to see debated on this forum.