Second Consent Order Reports
Filed November 15, 2016
Defendant, Huntsville Board of Education (the “Board”), files this day its second, annual Consent Order Report with the Court. The Board has filed this notice to help the Court, and the citizens of Huntsville, better understand the many documents that compose this Consent Order Report. This notice provides context and explains notable features of nearly every document in the Consent Order Report.
As the Court is well aware, the Consent Order (Doc. 450) requires a variety of reports. Nearly all reports require data from the preceding school year, which, for this year, began July 1, 2015 and ended June 30, 2016. Unlike last year’s report, the data in these documents are from year 1 of the Board’s implementation of the Consent Order.
The first year of implementation was a learning experience for the Board, the City of Huntsville, the students and their families. There are many aspects of this year’s report – such as student discipline data – that the Board believes are aberrations. The first year of implementing any change is difficult, and the Consent Order required many changes. Additionally, many of the difficulties associated with these changes were exacerbated by a number of factors present for the 2015-16 school year:
- Issues driven by the interactions of newly blended student populations;
- Confusion and reluctance on the part of the faculty, staff, and administration concerning the boundaries set by the Consent Order; and
- During at least the latter half of the 2015-16 school year, the City of Huntsville, like the rest of the country, experienced the issues associated with the political season being in full swing.
Despite the aforementioned challenges, the Board remains steadfast in its commitment to a faithful and successful implementation of the Consent Order. This commitment to the Consent Order is evident in the Director of Strategy and Innovation’s work. First, although not required by the Consent Order, the Board developed and revealed a new website prior to the start of the 2016-17 school year. This new website is more user-friendly, and the Board believes the new website will be more effective in conveying information to students and their families.
Additionally, under the guidance of the Director of Strategy and Innovation, central office administrators worked to operationalize all parts of the Consent Order. To do so, every central office administrator worked with the Director of Strategy and Innovation to develop procedures, forms, and other guidance documents for implementing every section of the Consent Order. The procedures and supporting documents were designed so that all the steps necessary to successfully implement the Consent Order would be contained in formal, streamlined procedures. In other words, the procedures were designed so that even if all new employees took over the implementation of the Consent Order, the transition would have only a minimal effect, if any, on implementation. The development of these procedures was an enormous task. As a frame of reference, the development of procedures began shortly after the Court’s entry of the Consent Order and continues even today.
Importantly, the Consent Order Report shows some areas of success and promise. Like last year, the creation of this report required extensive work to collect the necessary information and to compile the information into a reportable format – the latter being a central focus of this year’s report. Board employees performed this daunting task while simultaneously working to implement the Consent Order. It is the Board’s hope that this filing will provide the Court and the Huntsville community a meaningful update of the Board’s implementation progress.
More Information About Each Consent Order Report
As part of its Consent Order Report Filing, Huntsville City Schools also files a cover document that provides more details about the reports. This document is called a "Filing Notice," and it includes clarifications, pertinent background information, and any other information that HCS thinks will help the Court and the public better understand the work that it is doing to implement the Consent Order. Before clicking on the invidual report category links below, it is recommended that you read the cover document. To access that document, please click the following link: