Not to get pedantic, but here's a few tips

After reading Superintendent Kirsten Vital's Oct. 18 My Word, "What our schools' strategic goals are for the year," it has become obvious to me why Alameda schools are said to be failing: the leadership apparently does not know how to plan for future events, nor describe well to the public how the plan will be enacted.

Perhaps a stint in graduate school is in order for the writer. Perhaps cracking a strategic planning textbook would not hurt, either. The My Word's title says it all: "What our schools' strategic goals are for the year." Wow.

Maybe some definitional clarification is in order. A "strategy" is a group of goals (what you want to accomplish) and objectives (how you will accomplish the goal, i.e. goal operationalization), that are expected to continue for a period greater than one year, and, typically, from two to five years.

A "tactic" is a group of goals and objectives lasting fewer than two years. It may be helpful also to describe the school district's members' roles: the board makes policy; the superintendent broadcasts policy, describes strategies and tactics and delegates to others the responsibility for policy implementation; staff describe goals and objectives and delineate triggers and contingencies in anticipation of unusual events; line personnel implement the objectives.


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What Ms. Vital has written are tactical objectives, not strategies. Is this editorial an example of anticipated micromanagement on the superintendent's part or evidence of an undereducated person's attempt at using jargon open to debate? Perhaps the Journal could follow-up on that question.

Marshal H. Mercer

Come to meeting on Sweeney park

Amy Wooldridge, the Alameda Recreation and Parks Department's director, has announced the date for the public to view and make comments on the concept design for the Jean Sweeney Open Space Park.

The Draft Master Plan is also available online at alamedaca.gov. Public comments can be emailed to ARPD@alamedaca.gov. Everyone is encouraged to attend the Recreation and Park Commission meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, during which the draft design will be discussed.

Also on the agenda is a report from Doug Biggs, Alameda Point Collaborative's executive director, on the "Beltline Feasibility Study for the Establishment of Production Garden" on Alameda Beltway to serve clients of the Alameda Food Bank. Come to the meeting and see your new, 22-acre park starting to take shape.

Dorothy Freeman, member

Jean Sweeney Open Space Park Committee

Shelter should not have put dog down

As much as I wish I could say good things about our animal shelter, which is run by the nonprofit Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter, it saddens me to know the things that take place there.

Let me start with the volunteer coordinator, who thinks she can talk to people any way she likes. I know for a fact they have lost people because of her, and it's only a matter of time before they lose more.

This place is run by people who don't even know the animals, but yet they kill them regularly. I know what you're probably thinking: "It's a no-kill shelter." No -- very much not true.

One dog that did nothing wrong fell victim just recently, and I truly mean he did nothing. It was said he was dog-aggressive, but yet he had been walked with another dog, and he was fine, no aggression at all.

If they don't like a dog, it's basically a death sentence for that dog. The most recent killing has created outrage among many people because he was an awesome, lovable guy that was used for trainings and was just an all-around great dog.

It's time everyone knows what's going on. I'm not writing to anger people who donate into not donating or for people not to support the shelter. My goal is hoping that we can get the incompetent people out of there and hopefully get people in there who know how to run a shelter.

Debbie Mcdonald

Shelter staff trained well, professional

I have been a volunteer (with felines) at the Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter since May 2012. Before this, I volunteered at the Berkeley East Bay Humane Society. I chose to sign up with FAAS when I learned that their new volunteer manager was the one I worked with at BEBHS. I was deeply impressed with her positive energy, organizational and communication skills and genuine commitment to helping animals.

Since working with FAAS, my respect and support has only increased for the shelter, staff and their mission to provide care for the animals brought there, with the hope that all animals will eventually be adopted into suitable, loving homes.

I have observed and learned that staff are very experienced, committed and attuned to all the animals at the shelter. They truly do their best to care for and socialize them. They are keenly aware of the need to educate their volunteers about the animals in their care and also protect them from harm. It is a sad fact that euthanasia is sometimes the most humane outcome for an animal. Some animals who are brought to the shelter are very sick, injured or have behavioral problems that render them dangerous to other animals and people.

When I underwent volunteer training, I was advised that euthanasia may, on occasion, be necessary. FAAS staff, and not volunteers or former volunteers, have the best and most experience, training, knowledge and judgment when having to make the painful decision to euthanize an animal.

I have enjoyed volunteering at the shelter, attending and participating in their fundraising and community outreach events and most especially hearing about successful animal adoptions. I adopted my cat, Misty, from FAAS. I will continue to proudly support their efforts to help the animals (and citizens) of Alameda. I hope the community will join me.

Mayumi Matson Hughes