‘No excuses’: HISD superintendent Miles pushes for ‘high-performance culture’ in district

HOUSTON – Houston Independent School District Superintendent Mike Miles held a meeting Wednesday with his leadership team to introduce his plans on how to make the district a “high-performance culture,” along with his goals for improving accountability amongst teachers and administrators.

The private meeting, which allowed no cameras or an invite to the public, was an introduction to a series of meetings Miles hopes to have with the district’s senior staff and leaders, he said.

Miles discussed several issues that he believes are hindering the district from performing as a “high-performance culture,” which essentially means a district that is overperforming in all areas. He added that in order to achieve that, it starts with a strong leadership team.

‘We are in a situation requiring bold change and acting urgent,” Miles expressed when asked if he believed HISD was in a crisis-type situation.

Miles has previously spoken about becoming a district of innovation, which would allow the district to better adapt its education programs and schedules to meet the needs of students and families.

During Wednesday’s meeting, he addressed wanting to increase the number of instruction days, which would take school days to 180 or 185 instead of the current 172.

“I’m hoping that we raise the number of student-teacher contact days to 80,” Miles said on Wednesday.

He also addressed his concerns with attendance, from both students and staff members, saying there should be consequences for unanswered behavior.

Miles, the former superintendent for Dallas ISD, seemed very forthright in his approach to his staff members. When asked about the New Education System and its efficiency, Miles said it has proven to be beneficial when executed properly, noting his time with DISD.

“Dallas’ leadership team handled the bullet very efficiently, very effectively, making the right decision. We figured things out,” Miles said. “We had leaders in the various schools relying on the district, not going outside of it, but following their chain of decision-making. We all had a sense that this was urgent and essential. So, those are the things I look at when you have a high-performance culture -- can you perform well in a crisis.”

Miles, who is focused on transforming the district to becoming a high-performance culture, said although the district has a long way to go, leaders, staff members and teachers will ultimately have to make the choice on whether they are on board or not.

“The whole concept of culture in a high-performance is choice, to begin with, that’s one piece of it and probably the first piece of it, especially for leaders,” Miles said. “It’s not about buying in on any specific thing, it’s about buying in on the vision and a high-performance culture of HISD that we are trying to create.”

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