Thursday, February 27, 2014

Recap of Remainder of 2/24/14 Board Meeting: Superintendent Search, Performance Data, Approval of a Project Manager and Skyrocketing HMS Mold Remediation Costs

Monday's Board Meeting lasted 4 hours 5 minutes, not including a bathroom break and adjournment into Executive Session in the middle of the meeting. Before we address the substance of the agenda items, we want to express our disappointment in the length of the agenda and the declining attention Board Members paid to important items as the evening wore on. Anyone who listened to the entire meeting, either live or via Podcast, will realize that the Board increased the speed at which it plowed through the second half of the agenda items and decreased the thoroughness of the questions asked or discussion held. Frankly, to hear the way the board handled the latter agenda items was embarrassing, because rather than take the responsible course and suggest that some of the agenda items be tabled, multiple items had absolutely no discussion as board members or Dr. Schuster stated that there was not even a need for some of the scheduled administrative presentations, or that the important MAP data and math performance data presentation by Dr. Russell could be shortened.  Such a lackadaisical approach to the agenda was, in our opinion, unacceptable because the community has a right to expect more care and consideration from its elected officials on matters that impact our students --  curriculum, budget and facilities.

So what else besides Dr. Moon's "presentation" was on the agenda?

Superintendent Search Firm Hired:

The evening kicked off with presentations by 3 superintendent search firms:  Ray & Associates Inc., BWP and Associates and Hazard Young Attea and Associates.  (Hazard was the firm that identified Dr. Schuster as a candidate in 2009.)  After hearing presentations from the three firms and adjourning later in the meeting to Executive Session to discuss them, the Board voted in open session to retain BWP and Associates.  During its presentation, BWP assured the Board that they could complete a superintendent search by July 1.  In fact, they were the only firm that said they could complete a search within 8 weeks and explained that the Board should shoot for a hiring date of May 31, 2014.  May 31 is apparently a date of some significance because the salary of an administrator on May 31, the day before the new Illinois Pension Benefit law takes effect, will be "capped" for some of the future pension benefits. As a result, the implication was that now is the time to search for a new superintendent because there may be a greater willingness by sitting superintendents to make a move, especially if their new salary will be higher than their current one.  In fact, BWP was the only firm who brought this information to the Board's attention.  In addition, BWP will "guarantee" the superintendent hire for a period of 2 years. If the superintendent does not work out, then BWP will conduct a "free" search for a replacement.  While the community has not seen the proposals that set out the search process, all three firms said the first step would be developing a superintendent profile and that at some point input from the community will be solicited.

In our opinion, the Board made the right choice.  BWP's presentation certainly seemed like the most thorough and they presented information that neither of the other firms did.  Their aggressive timeline may prove to be a positive, even if it means ultimately paying the new superintendent a higher salary than the one he/she is currently paid at another district, in order to entice them to come to D181.  We would suggest that the Board consider "freeing up some money" by eliminating one or more central administrators, because in our opinion, the central office has grown and grown under Dr. Schuster's watch and is now top heavy. At the March 10 board meeting, Dr. Schuster will be bringing forward her recommendations on administrator contract renewals and salary raises.  In our opinion, there are certain administrators who are not adding value or pulling their weight.  We won't name names or positions here, but we hope the board carefully assesses whether one or more of them should be eliminated. We firmly believe that by eliminating one or two positions, there will be between $150,000 to $320,000 in salary and benefits that can be used toward paying a highly competitive salary for a new superintendent with experience in a high achieving district and a proven, successful track record, especially in the area of curriculum.

We wish BWP good luck in this important undertaking and urge the Board to continue to proceed in a responsible and transparent manner, seeking the most qualified candidate to replace Dr. Schuster.

Next up was Dr. Moon's presentation, which we have already covered in our last post.

Superintendent's Report:

Dr. Schuster then presented her superintendent's report. ( Click to open report.)  The report covered a recent visit to FermiLab by many of our science teachers and an "explanation" on the double acceleration of some 5th grade students who commute each day to the middle schools for math.  Unfortunately, no details of the actual "process" or "standards" required to be identified or be eligible for this double acceleration were described in her report which simply stated that "[t]he decision to have a student attend math class at the middle school is a data-driven team decision and is often included as part of a student’s Individual Learning Plan."  

Why can't the Department of Curriculum publish the process and standards?  To do otherwise reeks of yet another subjective decision made without any real consistency and that most likely results in students being overlooked or perhaps even, over-identified. There may very well be students who NEED double math acceleration while in elementary school, but without transparency and a process that is spelled out for all families to see, the Department of Learning is sliding backwards to the unfair and questionable identification practices that were criticized by Dr. Moon in her January 2012 report used back then to place students into the gifted programs and advanced/accelerated math tiers.  Has Dr. Schuster and the Department of Learning Administrators learned nothing?

Performance Data Presentation:

Dr. Russell, the Co-Assistant Superintendent of Learning, next gave a "brief" presentation of the Winter MAP data, high school math data obtained on how last year's 8th graders are doing this year at Hinsdale Central, and math data on the 6th graders who "opted up" into a higher level of math than the test data would have placed them into.  All of the data can be found by clicking the following links: Winter Assessment OverviewNWEA Winter Report. Dr. Russell stated that he did see reason to celebrate the data.  In particular, he pointed to data that showed that 13 freshmen at HCHS who last year had opted up in 8th grade, taken a crash course in pre-algebra and then completed one year of algebra in 8th grade, were now in Honors Geometry and were getting A's or B's.  He pointed out that if they had not been allowed to opt up, they would not have had the opportunity to take Honors Geometry as freshmen.

We agree with Dr. Russell.  In the midst of all of the performance data, these 13 students seem to have proven that the old identification model in place under his predecessor was flawed. The decision to allow students whose parents believed could actually do the higher level math work to opt up, despite not having met the arbitrary cut-offs set by past administrations, was the right one, and one, in fact that Dr. Moon advocated for in her January 2012 report.

However, as former Board Member Yvonne Mayer pointed out at the end of the meeting during public comment,  beyond this group of 13 students, it is premature to draw any conclusions about the ultimate success of allowing middle school students to opt up. While the high school data showed that most of the students who opted up a level are receiving A's or B's (with a smattering of C's), the data also shows that the majority of these students are not in honors math at the high school.  Ms. Mayer explained that these same students might have been able to place into an honors track after freshman year if they had done well in Algebra, however, any parent who has had students at HCHS knows that once slotted into non honors Geometry, it is almost impossible to move into Honors Algebra 2 Trigonometry or Honors Pre-Calculus.  But more importantly, students who rushed through pre-algebra and Algebra 1 in Middle School will not really be tested until they begin Algebra 2 Trigonometry -- regular or honors -- as sophomores.  Only then will these students know if they have a solid algebra foundation that will enable them to succeed in that class.

So the verdict is still out as to whether allowing students to "opt up" in middle school math will ultimately help or hurt them.  We hope that the high school continues to provide D181 with math data on this group of students and that next year Dr. Russell reports on how this group of students performed in Algebra 2 Trigonometry.

As for the 6th graders' math and ELA data -- Dr. Russell presented data on how the students who opted up a level are performing.  The problem with this data is that not only does it show that there are "opt up"students who are not performing well, it is difficult to know whether or not these students have "mastered" the subject matter.  Last year, the standard to stay in an advanced or accelerated math or language arts class required a student to maintain a minimum of 80% in the class.  This year, Dr. Schuster lowered the standard to only 70%.  Last year, data that was presented to the board was the percentage achieved by students on tests and quizzes each quarter.  This year, no percentages are presented in Dr. Russell's report, just letter grades.  So what do these grades actually mean?  And what percentage was needed to get an A, B, C, D or F?  During the meeting, Board Member Garg did ask if the letter grades were only for the test and quiz scores.  Dr. Russell stated that this was correct.  Why then didn't he present the data in percentages, as was done last year?  Why did he switch to a presentation by letter grades?  In our opinion, something seems off with the administration's presentation -- almost like they are playing a shell game and constantly switching the balls one is watching until everyone gets so confused they stop asking questions.  Why do they keep changing the way the data is presented?  Why do they keep changing the standards?  This has to stop!

As for the elementary schools' MAP growth data, the math data for third grade was better than last year.  One or more board members stated that even the 4th grade data seemed promising. The focus of the MAP data was to show the percentage of students in each grade that met their growth targets.  The problem is that there was no analysis of the 4th grade math MAP data to determine if students who met their growth targets were amongst the 25% of students in that grade who were recommended for the after school math tutoring in order to master 4th grade math concepts while accelerated in 5th grade math.  Without that type of detailed analysis, how much importance should really be placed on student's "growth target" achievement on one test?  Even Dr. Russell stated that MAP is just one indicator.  But when will the Department of Learning present the board with data on other "indicators" of performance?

The Assessment presentation began quite late in the evening.  While some board members asked questions, once again, in our opinion, there was little to no "discussion" by the board members about the data, before they moved on to the Consent Agenda.

Consent Agenda and Board Reports:

The Board next approved the Consent Agenda. Buried within the consent agenda, and without any public discussion, came the approval of a "Project Manager."  The report was prepared by Interim Building and Grounds administrator Sue Kamuda, who came out of retirement last month to return to work at D181.  (Click to open report.).  Ms. Kamuda will only work through March 21, and "[d]ue to the recent restoration work at Hinsdale Middle School, a need has arisen for someone to coordinate and monitor many projects."  While we do not argue that many projects lie ahead for HMS, we question why the Board did not publicly discuss exactly what this "project manager" would be doing, what qualifications the person should have, what the job description would say and why the current buildings and grounds staff are unable to do the work.  In fact, there has been no public reason given for Ms. Kamuda's hiring in the first place.  Why is that?  The Board is responsible for ensuring that our tax money is well spent.  If there is a need to expand the buildings and grounds department by another two administrators -- first Ms. Kamuda and now the overlapping project manager -- why aren't they asking the administration to explain why the current staffing numbers were insufficient?  Again, there may be good reasons, but there does not seem to be any transparency in decisions that are made via consent agenda since there is no public discussion before the items are voted on. We are not asking the Board to discuss individual personnel decisions in public, but we are asking them to publicly discuss the need to add positions and grow the district budget.  

Monthly Financial Report and Buried Shocking Mold Remediation Cost Report:

One thing that taxpayers expect the elected Board members to do at each business meeting is discuss the "Monthly Financial Report."  Typically, Assistant Superintendent Frisch reviews the Treasurer's report, Fund Balances and Fund Summaries.  Since January, HMS Mold Remediation costs have also been publicly discussed during his reports.  Monday night was different.  Due to the lateness of the hour, Mr. Turek informed Mr. Frisch that no presentation was needed after stating:

"We know you're good, we read 'em, so it's late, it's late, it's late buddy." To which Dr. Schuster then stated, "Could we just jump to questions and you guys all read it? Is that all right?" No one objected. No board member had any questions.   So that was the end of the Monthly Financial Report.

All we can say is Wow!  Pathetic!  Embarrassing!

Didn't the Board think the community might be interested in the Mold Remediation Cost report?  Wasn't even a brief discussion of this called for especially since the costs (that will NOT be covered by the insurance) have now skyrocketed from the $655,000 costs reported last month to over $1.8 MILLION?  And those costs do not include the needed roof replacement or soffit work!

Talk about a total lack of transparency!!   Did the Board and Administration think that no one in the community would notice these costs?  And yet the Board had NO QUESTIONS? None of them? Couldn't they at least have asked for this item to be tabled for discussion until the next meeting at which perhaps when more awake and alert, they could have reviewed this staggering cost data?  The Board's refusal to discuss this cost data is simply shocking to us.  The Mold Remediation cost data can be accessed by clicking on the following link: Cost data.  When costs triple in less than one month, we expect the Board to publicly discuss them.  We hope you all agree.  Perhaps if even one Board member reads this blog, they will ask for this item to be put back on the next Board meeting agenda!


After listening to the entire 4 + hour meeting, we were left feeling quite unsettled.  There are many critical issues that this Board must address and make decisions on in the next few months:  hiring a new superintendent, negotiating the next teachers' contract, reviewing Dr. Moon's report when it finally arrives, discussing how it is going to fix the obvious flaws in the Learning for All Plan, making decisions on mid and long term plans to address the facilities needs at Hinsdale Middle School, approving foreign language and new math curriculum, to name a few.  Each one of these items will require serious and thoughtful consideration.  Each one of these items will require buy in from parents, teachers, students and all tax payers.  To get buy in will necessitate full transparency and accountability by the Board.  To get buy in will require information and explanations that are not "moving targets."

Is this Board of Education up for the challenges that lie ahead?  Time will tell.


Anonymous said...

Due to the many serious issues facing this district we need to have board meetings once a week.

Anonymous said...

This board is do dysfunctional in its leadership they can barely get their act together for the meetings they hold every two weeks. Schuster and Turek set the agenda that is deliberately packed full knowing fatigue will set in after 3 hours or more and all requests will be approved with quick votes and no discussion. She has always and continues to play him like a fiddle.

Anonymous said...

Or have committees (that aren't hand picked by Dr. Shuster) to help weigh through all the information, decisions that need to be made.

Anonymous said...

Board meetings once a week is a non starter. Do you realize the number of hours these board members already spend each week on the district? Is D181 the only thing they have in their lives? Ask any of them to estimate the hours spent weekly, I guarantee that most of them spend way more time on D181 than you would believe. Everything will work out in time.

Anonymous said...

I am an angry parent who does not believe everything will work out in time. Are you kidding? We have already wasted 2 plus years on L4A and children continue to suffer. If all board members were spending hours of time reading and asking thoughtful questions, we wouldn't be in such a mess. Take a look at the questions asked by board members on Boardocs in advance if meetings. How many board member names do you see, one or two? Let's be honest, the majority of these guys aren't reading or processing what's really going on. If they were, we would here a lot more discussion and Schuster and Schneider would be stopped from doing any more harm to our kids.

Anonymous said...

"Everything will work out in time"....that's a pretty lackadaisical way to approach your job considering that you have a big problem with the plan that you approved that even Dr Moon said wasn't her recommendation. If you don't want to spend the time to get it right for the students, then step aside and let someone else come in who has a vested interest in doing what is right for the children of this community.

Anonymous said...

It will all sort itself out with time - I have no words! The boe voted for this plan without doing their homework and did not supervise the administration. They were in a huge hurry to dismantle the old system. Where is the urgency? What is the plan? How will community members be chosen for the curriculum committee? Our children have lost 2 years of time - we have no time to waist. If anyone on the boe is not prepared to put the time in now then they must step down. We are in crisis mode and yes we need more boe meetings. This is the board's plan and they need to fix it. And can we please discuss how unethical it is that Clarin is negotiating his own wife's contract!

Anonymous said...

Remember that only 4 of the current 7 board members voted for this plan.

Anonymous said...

That is a majority.

Anonymous said...

5 of the 7 boe members have not supervised the administration and have turned a blind eye to parent concerns. This is on them.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that the 3 new board members plus Hennigan could override the plan.

Should it be stopped before a new Superintendent is named? Probably not. The new Superintendent will most likely scrap it anyway.

Anonymous said...

It should be stopped NOW!

Anonymous said...

I admire and applaud the teachers who are confiding to parents and asking us to speak up for them. I also appreciate those who speak up on this blog. But I wonder why more teachers don't ask parents to speak up for them? As we listened to the last board meeting, my husband and I became really concerned about all of the glaring problems our district is facing - and mold wasn't even brought up. We felt like President Turek was extremely out of touch with the community and want to know how our district could have been allowed to sink to such a level. Are we to believe that teachers really are that supportive of the administrators and the BOE? Something does not add up.

We moved to HInsdale because of D181's facilities and reputation. We knew the teachers and administrators were some of the highest paid in the state, and we were fine with that. We thought they deserved it because of the wonderful experiences that our friends and coworkers' children had in Hinsdale schools. But obviously, things have taken a terrible turn for the worse these last 2 years.

We all are working hard at our jobs so that we can live here. We also are paying our taxes and D181 registration fees NOW. So, why do board members and administrators expect our children to WAIT for their educations? Should we WAIT to send in our tax and registration fees until we see them taking our concerns seriously? Do administrators want to WAIT for their paychecks? If our children are being asked to wait, then administrators should be asked to put their lives on hold, too.

Our children are not computers, sinks, or cabinets. They are relying on adults to work together to make their lives better, not worse. The board voluntarily took on the honorable role of public servants but they do not appear to be taking their jobs seriously at all.

If a board member can not handle the job -step off. It really is a big responsibility that requires a great deal of work. But not living up to your promise to represent us and our children is much, much worse than quitting. It borders on treason and parents will not stand for it.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with last comment. Parents also need to step up, but many believe it is a waste of time trying to get through to this board. We already knew Turek, Nelson and Yaeger were unreachable, now we can throw Clarin into the mix. Didn't he say, in public before the election, that he would recuse himself from teacher negotiations because his wife is a teacher? Why is he now on the negotiation committee? We can't believe a word he says either.

Anonymous said...

How come the BOE is willing to hold emergency board meetings for mold but not for curriculum issues? The curriculum issues are just as serious. We cannot continue to ignore them and put them off. We are hurting children with each passing day. I see no urgency on the part of the administration and BOE. However, parents and staff are frantic. We need action NOW!

Anonymous said...

Clarin also said before the election that he didn't think acceleration was appropriate for all students.

Anonymous said...

To the anonymous person who asked why more teachers don't ask parents to speak up more, I have worked in the staff for almost 8 years now. Let me just say it's not because we necessarily support the administration. Quite the opposite. Many people have mentioned how the board have dismissed our problems, suggestions and comments for years.

Plus, there is a major fear of retaliation among the staff. There have been many times when we've had staff meetings with the principal, or central office administrators who have started off comments with, "I'm probably going to get s**t for this, but…"

I've heard some people ask "Well, if you hate it so much, why don't you just move to a different district?" Unfortunately, changing districts isn't that easy. Not only is there a lot of competition for teaching positions, other districts won't touch you with a 10 foot pole if you have a masters degree and experience. As you may know, many districts have a salary system where teachers with more education get paid more than teachers with less education. Why would a district want to pay $60,000 for a teacher when they could pay another teacher just $40,000? It doesn't really matter how good you are, it's how much you cost. While there are exceptions, many teachers just don't think they'll have a snowball's chance in hell to get a job in other districts.

Although, I have to admit, I do have one concern with this blog: many of you say that many people on the board & administration drink the "Schuster can do no wrong" flavored Kool-Aid. While there's no denying she and the board have caused some problems, it seems many people on this blog have drunk the "Schuster can do no right" flavored Kool-Aid. I have seen a few good things about Dr. Schuster. Whenever we see each other, she says, "Hello, << my name >>, how are you?" and actually waits and listens to my response. In my 8 years of experience in this district, she is the fourth superintendent I've served under, but the first to remember my name and actually spent time to hear what I have to say. Also, she was in one of my colleague's classes a few days ago, and Dr. Schuster leant her one of those pendant microphones and speakers for a few days so that the class could hear the teacher better. While these are minor things, but Dr. Schuster isn't totally bad.

Something I'd like to see more of on this blog is praise for not just the teachers, but the board and administration. If for nothing else, but to let them know NOT to change that aspect and what to look for in a new superintendent. Plus, there have been a few comments on this blog where parents have said, "If I knew about this blog earlier, I would never have moved here." That makes me sad because despite the bad, there's also a lot of good in this district. I don't want to scare people off if they would have stayed if they knew the good as well.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last post. Although we have huge curriculum and facilities issues that need to be dealt with now, I am thankful for:

1. Doug Eccarious - he listened to parent concerns and came up with an innovative approach to staffing. Although I believe class sizes will still be too high, I applaud him for listening and caring

2. Bridget did a great job at communication during the mold crisis. Although I wish the board summaries were more two sided, I am thankful that she is now posting links to them in the newsletter.

3. We have amazing teachers and principals and staff - they are the true heroes in all of this. We are fortunate to have such caring professionals looking after our children. Our new principals have really done an amazing job under difficult circumstances.

4. Dr. Russell tries hard and is dedicated to the district. Although I think he was promoted too fast, he is very caring. I would not want to see him go.

5. We have wonderful music, art and PE programs.

6. We have wonderful MRC directors.

7. Garg and Henneghan are outstanding.

Gary Tietelbaum said...

HMS Parking Question - We have a child at HMS

Can anyone help me better understand why cars are parking on the sidewalk at HMS ?

No doubt, parking is hard, but is that any excuse to park on the sidewalk.

I'v mentioned this to the police but it appears that selective enforcement remains in effect and the brotherhood of defined pension obligations contine to enjoy mutual admiration.

So what gives here on this child endangerment issue?

Anyone ?

HMS Parent said...

To the last 2 anonymous posters, the first who complimented Dr. Schuster for being nice and the second who pointed out that Dr. Russell is caring. I am glad the superintendent has been nice to you and knows your name. I agree that Dr. Russell is dedicated and caring. However, personality does not always equate with strong or appropriate administrative skills. "Public friendliness" does not always match up to a different persona that surfaces when the administrator is confronted with an argument or position he/she disagrees with. D181 needs administrators who are experts in their field. For curriculum and assessment, that means more than management skills needed to run an elementary school. For the superintendent, it means more than the ability to smile while delegating work and allowing administrators to impose their personal vision on the district.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Tietelbaum:

Cars are now allowed to park on the sidewalk because the front drive is no longer the school bus drop off and pick up zone. Ever since the bus circle was built and the angled parking was added to the front drive, cars have been allowed to park along the sidewalk of the front drive. The problem is that when cars pick up and drop off their kids, unless the cars mount the sidewalk, there is absolutely no room for cars to pull through as they pick up their kids, or for the angled cars to back up and exit. I agree this creates a safety hazard, but that is just one of several that exist at HMS. The worst, in my opinion is allowing students to jay walk across Garfield rather than enforcing the cross walk rules. Parents should remind their kids how dangerous it is to run across the middle of the street. Also, since there is a car drop off zone, parents shouldn't let their kids out in the middle of the street, to save time by not entering the driveway, nor should they create a second drop off zone on 2nd. I've seen several cars almost crash into cars that cross Garfield on 2nd and then let their kids out right by the driveway exit. Everyone needs to work together to make sure our kids are safe and no accidents happen.

jay_wick said...

Re: Is there a real crisis in the district?

The mold issues were addressed only when the undeniable mess was obvious after a pipe froze in the sub-zero temperatures. The district skirted some of the on-going issues that had been lurking in unexposed parts of the building for too long. There appears to have been less of a "cover up" than a failure to comprehend the seriousness of the issue. Maintenance staff lacked the knowledge or authority anticipate or appropriately escalate / remedy the problem(s).

In some ways the issues that have came to the fore over the curricular changes are similar -- kids whose parents have taken note of the failures of the present system have forced the district to make "band-aid" fixes like tutoring. This is NOT really addressing the "root cause" of the issues -- there was not enough TIME given to fully understand the problems that would come from de-grouping students, accelerating too many students at too early an age, failing to give teachers adequate training in the demands of additional content and punting on in-service sessions that would have equipped staff with methods of instruction that may have supported student success.

These things CAN be fixed for next year IF the BOE directs staff NOW to do the needed research about how to appropriately choose acceleration for children that can handle it / use valid methods to identify which students will thrive, determine the appropriate class sizes / ability grouping to ensure adequate teacher contact with students, give teachers needed additional depth of knowledge in content areas and provide appropriate support for instructional methods.

The sad reality is that for parents and community members that understand the changes in standardized testing that are looming with the Common Core we understand the very likely result -- the district may experience a "pipe burst" catastrophe IF the BOE allows the district to continue down the current path: kids cannot be expected to demonstrate mastery of more specific knowledge if the staff is struggling to tread water while the goalposts are shifting!

Yes our district is blessed with an abundance of dedicated teachers, great resources for art, music and other areas that neighboring districts have slashed. Currently LOTS of parents willingly put extra time and money into getting kids help outside the classroom. Our test results are buoyed by all the benefits that come from parental awareness of the current hot topics in education. Despite these advantages we cannot expect the complacency and lack of awareness of the BOE to continue -- many districts in Illinois, most much less financially secure than our own, have poured resources into increasing the depth of knowledge of staff as well as getting staff additional in-service time for the kinds of methods needed to support more demanding curricular standards. A shrug and some happy talk over "successes" will not mask the gaps that are opening up in what is expected of the children or their teachers under Common Core... Toss in the confusion that reigns in what the goals of our districtwide math acceleration really are and only more failure lies along an unadjusted path.

The time is short -- coupled with the pressing demands of finding new leadership, determining an appropriate path forward in the face of overly "buzz word driven" changes that have impeded student success as well as "blind man's bluff" style budget decisions odds are we might soon wake up to not just "rot covered" test results but even more widespread dissatisfaction . A coherent understanding of where we are at and where our BOE expects the staff to lead are essential if there is any hope put the district back on track...