District Updates and Information – #112Leads

“You’ve only got 3 choices in life: Give up, Give in, or Give it all you’ve got!”– Anonymous

Through this blog, I share information about leadership, the superintendent position, education, policy, general trends in society, the future, and news and information about North Shore School District 112. In this blog post, I’m recapping some Long-Range Planning information driving success and change in the District! #112Leads is our Twitter Hashtag (click the link and see what’s happening at any time in all of our schools).

North Shore School District 112’s Long-Range Planning Actions

Our Long-Range Plan, Phase I is in full force! As we’ve shared in the past, the Phase I Long Range Plan was approved by the Board of Education at its meeting on Nov. 27.

The measures approved are as follows:

  • Investments in Northwood and Edgewood schools with costs not to exceed $75 Million
  • The use of up to $20 Million from the district’s fund balance
  • The issuance of $55 Million of Alternate Revenue Bonds
  • The formation of a citizen advisory committee  

Visit www.nssd112.org/Long-RangePlanning for more information and links to presentations, video archives of meetings, and more!

Facility Planning and Execution – In order to achieve fiscal responsibility and educational excellence, we must have a strong and responsible long-range facility plan that is flexible and yet fiscally responsible. Members of the Superintendent’s Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC)  have reviewed the work of previous groups and input from many — past and present — show as our current realities in the current recommendations. The point of the facility plan is the improvement of education for our students and for our communities. The use of alternate revenue bonds, to be paid for out of operating funds does not trigger or cause an automatic tax increase from the bond & interest fund which is a benefit to the community; and the use of reserves from the fund balances also do not increase the tax burden to the community. The plans are fiscally responsible and within the means of the School District. The Superintendent and Board will select five citizens for the Superintendent’s Citizen Advisory Committee for Construction Projects to provide advice and insights into the upcoming construction projects.

The chart below shows the major milestones and activities involved in this phase of the plan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our “WHY” – Equity/Equality – During our work and our recent study, we’ve talked a great deal about equity and equality. What is equity? Why is equity preferred to equality? Our aim is equitable educational opportunities for every child — equitable, not necessarily equal — equity is fair, equality is the same. Individuals need what is best for them. Our dream includes personalized learning opportunities for all children; it’s a lofty dream yet systematically and with fidelity to guaranteed & viable curriculum opportunities and expectations, with improvement, gains, and growth, it is possible. Our “WHY” is equitable educational opportunities and access for all students in all schools — every day! The eyes on the prize call for us to remember the prize is student success and educational excellence. The point of the facility upgrades is to improve educational input and output and working and learning conditions for our employees and students.

Last year the District operated 12 schools, this year and next year, the District will operate 10 schools. We’ll operate two middle schools: Northwood (students to attend at Elm Place), and Edgewood. Seven K-5 schools: Braeside, Indian Trail, Oak Terrace, Ravinia, Red Oak, Sherwood, & Wayne Thomas. And we’ll operate one preschool at the Green Bay Early Childhood Center (location of District Offices as well). Lincoln School remains closed.

District 112 Artwork – At the September 24, 2018, meeting of the Superintendent’s Long-Range Planning Committee, the land assets and historical artwork assets of the District were reviewed.  

The District has a unique collection of artwork and historic material throughout the schools. The Board and administration are committed to preserving the rich and unique history as it makes changes in facilities, land usage, and planning. Some of the historic artwork is in the form of historic Works Progress Administration (WPA), an example is “Flora and Fauna” on display at the Green Bay Road Early Childhood Center and Administrative Offices.

Looking Back/Moving Forward
The bullets below recap our community engagement and public meeting timeline as part of the District 112 Long Range Planning Phase I – Middle School Reconstruction & Modernization process. All of our meetings and presentations are posted and most meetings are videotaped and broadcast live. Our effort is for transparent, regular, public, relevant communication.

  • New Superintendent started on July 1, 2018
  • Thought Exchange I (online community engagement) – July 3-July 15, 2018
  • Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC) Meetings July 28, Sept 12 & 24, & Oct 4, 2018
  • Thought Exchange II (online community engagement) – August 8-August 22, 2018
  • FAKO Telephone Polling – August 7 – 11, 2018
  • Board meetings with informational updates: ○ Regular Meetings July 17, August 21, September 25, October 2, October 23, November 27 ○ Finance Committee October 2, 2018 ○ Facilities Committee October 9, 2018, ○ Joint Facilities & Finance Committee October 30, 2018

In addition to the construction projects and land usage, the District is also planning for the implementation of before and after school programming options at all seven K-5 schools starting in the 2019-20 school year. This would mark the first time that all elementary school buildings would have before and after care options for families.

Phase II, the modernization of the elementary schools and the dissolution of land assets will be considered, contemplated, and planned in the next few years. The chart below highlights the timeframe for the next phase. Meantime, the District will focus on teaching, learning, student success, and continuous improvement!

In the next few months, the District will also share success metrics and the data in support of the positive return on the investment from the focus of a guaranteed & viable curriculum. The data supports that our teachers are teaching and our students are learning and we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing: Inspiring…Innovating…Engaging all students every day!

If you would like to be informed about District events, please visit www.nssd112.org/News

You can also find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nssd112/ and on Twitter @NSSD112 and at #112Leads, the District Hashtag

Check out our newest form of communication the Lighthouse 112 Podcast https://anchor.fm/michael-lubelfeld

Spring 2019 Video Update – English audio Spanish Subtitles – #112Leads

“Greatness is not primarily a matter of circumstance; greatness is first and foremost a matter of conscious choice and discipline.”
– Jim Collins, Great by Choice

We are very proud of the past year’s worth of work in North Shore School District 112! Daily, for all, we Inspire…Innovate…Engage; with this post, I’m sharing a 5-minute video message about the state of the District – Spring 2019 – as always, comments and feedback are welcomed and encouraged.

Here is the LINK in case the player does not open in full screen: https://youtu.be/NvztRKNIjzs

What does a superintendent do? What’s my mission?

“There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
– Nelson Mandela

In my adventures in leadership, and in my travels to other school districts, regions, states, and nations, I’m reminded of my “why”. My purpose as a leader is to advocate for school children.

Beyond the articles I publish, books I write, presentations I make, meetings I lead or attend, the bottom line and the “why” for it all is to advocate for and to support students. Many years ago I formed my educational philosophy — over the many years in public education I have refined, reflected, reinforced and remembered my philosophy and my “why”.

The opportunities I have are incredible and I am humbled by the support and guidance from so many mentors, coaches and friends who help me become a more impactful leadership each and every day. My mission and drives and values govern my work. Who I am, from where I come, and why I’m here all meld together to impact and imprint upon those I am called to serve and those I have the privilege to serve.

My school district has a mission, our schools have missions, the partner companies with whom we work have missions. Often I ponder my mission. I work with leaders all over the state, nation, and world to help them form and reform their missions. Mission/Vision/Values/Goals – these are blueprints and components of excellence. School Boards work with superintendents on District and community mission, vision, values and goals as a normal course of governance and leadership. At the end of this blog post I offer an idea of my mission as a leader.

As a public school superintendent I have an unusual job, out of the 300 million Americans, I am one of less than 15,000 public school superintendents of schools, so there are not too many other people who actually do what I do for a living. Many of us in education are called to serve and are called to teach and are called to lead. Like my colleagues and peers, I enjoy my job, work harder to be better every day, and I often find the work/life balance to be an elusive goal. Often people ask what, in fact, do I do every day. Am I a teacher? Am I a principal? Am I a counselor? Am I a mediator? Am I a transportation director? To a certain extent … yes to all of the above. I would like to believe that my role is more like an orchestra or band leader than as a “boss”. When I visit with youngsters they often suggest that I’m the “boss of the principals”; I respond that while I do get to tell the principals what to do, I’m more of their friend and partner in making sure we take care of the teachers, staff, and students every day. My hope, aim, and mission is to support and nurture and sustain environments of excellence. As I have written in other blog posts and publications, I measure excellence with multiple metrics and benchmarks of success. To me, like many others who have led before me, and as Peter Drucker is credited with: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”.  We leaders will get to implement strategies and tactics and plans and goals but with positive culture we get to lead — with positive culture we get to see success — with positive culture we can accomplish anything we set out to accomplish.

So to the question of what do I do for a living, I guess I would be proud to say that I orchestrate positive cultures in and around schools and communities.

As a public school superintendent in Illinois, I am one of 850 leaders who work every day in a state with a history of supporting public schools since the 1820s and a mindset at times and a structure set at times that appears to be stuck in the 19th Century.

As I contemplate and write about my “why” and as I work with the Board of Education that selected me for hire to lead their school system of 4000 students, 500 employees, 10 schools and a legacy of excellence, I’m reminded of my calling to serve and my passion to support educational access for ALL students with supporting ALL staff in their quest to make positive impacts on students. Back to what does a superintendent do … she or he is the communications person, curriculum person, financial person, civic engagement person, chief advocate for children person … the list goes on and on. Ideally the superintendent has a team or staff of outstanding leaders (like I do) who can handle the day to day responsibilities, but, at the end of the day, like Harry Truman is credited with saying “The Buck Stops Here”. It’s the responsibility of the superintendent to maintain and sustain a productive and professional relationship with the Board of Education.

A cornerstone in American democratic tradition is the local government. In Illinois school board members are unpaid elected volunteers who selflessly serve their communities as the stewards of the public schools (assets, liabilities, decisions, taxes, etc.). Their job responsibilities are awesome – the rewards are many yet the time and challenges are many too. In Illinois most Boards have seven members and the Board is supported by the Illinois School Board Association. In addition to the seven member Board that employs the superintendent, other elected officials have major influence on the operations of the school district and the community education. The superintendent, therefore, works with the mayor (and staff), the other local governments (health department, county, park district, police, fire, etc.). The superintendent also works with the state Board of Education and the local senators and representatives.

As I review lists of proposed bills in the Illinois General Assembly I ask the internal question about the impact — will this proposed bill advance the cause for all children? Will this proposed bill advance the ability for school leaders to support education for all children? Will this proposed bill cause happiness and new structures for the students we serve. Sadly, to those questions, lately, most of my internal dialogue reveals that, no, the proposed legislation will not advance productive education … so in my role as “advocate in chief” for the school District, I dutifully reach out to our state representative and state senator in an effort to share the superintendent’s view on proposed bills. All from the lens of my mission – for ALL children to have equitable access to excellent educational opportunities.

Every few years Illinois has municipal elections. This month there were school board and other municipal elections. In my School District, two long time Board members retired from Board service and one of the incumbent members ran for re-election. The incumbent Board member and two of the three non-elected candidates were elected (the results are unofficial until the end of the month, but this is the prediction based upon preliminary results). So with just about one year into my five year employment contract with the Board of Education, it’s likely I will start year two with two new members of the Board.

Board of Education/Superintendent relations are essential for the positive, productive, and professional implementation and sustainment of culture, mission, vision, values, beliefs, and goals for all students and all staff. I’m proud that the Board I serve is committed to professional growth and learning. I’m fortunate that the Board I serve is dedicated to student and staff learning and community engagement and success. I’m happy that I get to serve for and with a Board of dedicated, selfless volunteers who are drawn to serve for the betterment of their community and the children we have the opportunity to teach in our classrooms every day!

Since October 2014 with my good friend and professional leadership partner Nick Polyak, we have been moderating a chat on Twitter called #suptchat. This once a month professional development opportunity addresses topics of interests and concern for superintendents, educators, educational leaders, policymakers, and anyone with an interest in the topic. Twitter is free and public and open to all. This month we focused on Board/Superintendent relations. Part of my mission is to connect leaders with and to one another so that we can enhance and strengthen the work we do on behalf of students, teachers, and community. The archive of the most recent chat is linked:

So, in closing this blog post, I’ll end with a response to the question: “What’s my mission?”

My mission is to create leadership opportunities for others so that our society may be enriched through learning, personal and professional growth, and support and improvement for our free way of life and to support the advancement of a globally connected and mutually respectful world community.


Archive of #suptchat on Board/Superintendent relations:

Interview with District 112 CFO Chris Wildman – #112Leads

“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”
– Benjamin Franklin

Sharing the latest episode of Lighthouse 112, the Podcast of North Shore School District 112!

In this episode of Lighthouse 112, District 112 Chief Financial Officer Chris Wildman shares a bit about his personal story and the operations of the District. Chris shares what he is most proud of this year and what he’s working on for next year. Chris also shares some awards and recognitions that his leadership has yielded in the proud stewardship of the DIstrict finances and operations. Finally, Chris shares how he stays current and at the front edge of leadership in school finance.

Measurement of Success – #112Leads

Let’s all strategize how the job can get done, versus informing each other why it can’t be done.”– Melissa Gonzales

So what is success? How do we know we are successful? What are the elements of success? What are the metrics? How do we show a positive return on investment (ROI) or academic return on investment (AROI)? How does the public know that its public school system is successful? How do superintendents show success in leadership? These are some of the questions I’m pondering and writing about today!

Nations measure success through economic measures like jobless rates, gross domestic product, imports/exports, crime, etc. For-profit businesses measure success via profit margins, efficiencies, production, etc. Libraries measure success using measures such as book checkouts and attendance at events. Doctors measure success using diagnosis, recovery, health metrics. Success for someone improving their health can include frequency of exercise, weight loss (or gain) muscle mass. Success for a NASCAR racer can be speed, time in the pit stop area, fuel efficiency. There are many ways we can measure success! According to the dictionary (online via Google), success is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.

Spring (which is finally here in the Northern Hemisphere of Earth) is the time in Illinois public education for evaluation, annual reviews, testing, essentially the time we measure our success. We measure the accomplishment of our aims and purposes.

As a system and systems leader, as a school superintendent, as a public school leader, it’s an ongoing effort to implement a multi-faceted measurement of success and to report and share what success actually is with respect to our public school district.  When looking at the success of our school system, we look at multiple measures and metrics.  We look at culture and climate, we look at engagement, we look at satisfaction, we look at creativity, we look at growth and gains and we also look at student achievement. These are many of the metrics and measures we use to measure success. We analyze these measures to determine if we are fulfilling our mission, vision, goals, aims, and purposes.

During the year we take surveys, report the data gleaned from the surveys, make and share action plans related to the surveys, measure again – see where we gained, see where we still need to gain and “rinse and repeat”. Our organization is committed to continuous improvement and the collection, sharing, review, interpretation, and acting on data is a core part of our journey of continuous improvement.

Examples of our success measures include Organizational Culture (as shown in the image, 72.41% of all employees who took the survey (72.41% of 438) report that they are highly engaged and satisfied working in North Shore School District 112. This is a baseline metric since it’s the first report on the 15 dimensions of culture measured. For example, we’ll now measure our success in terms of organizational culture using subsequent administrations of this survey instrument (next will be in April, following in August, etc.). We measure, share data results, plan actions around dimensions of culture, re-measure, re-share and continue the process of improvement. 

Our continuous improvement model does the same for student engagement, implementation of the 4Cs (Communication, Creativity, Critical Thinking, Collaboration). Student achievement, student growth, financial projecting, fulfillment of plans, etc.

We look at growth and gain metrics (how well did our students show growth from point a to point b to point c) and how well our students perform on achievement tests. We then measure or compare their success to national, state, local “norms” — what are other students scoring on these tests or assessments as compared to our students similarly situated.

Back to the original questions posed in this blog post … So what is success? How do we know we are successful? What are the elements of success? What are the metrics? How do we show a positive return on investment (ROI) or academic return on investment (AROI)? How does the public know that its public school system is successful? How do superintendents show success in leadership? These are some of the questions I’m pondering and writing about today!

In North Shore School District 112 we measure success through various metrics (many shared in this post). We take the data gathered and make people-centered decisions to Inspire…Innovate…and Engage our students, staff, administrators, Board members, community, and the world!

Please follow along with our journey:

If you have not yet downloaded the District app, please do so. If you have not yet viewed the curriculum department informational video, please do so. If you have not yet listened to the Lighthouse 112 Podcast, please do so too – you can listen on multiple platforms (iOS (Apple), Google, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, and more). Be sure to check out #112Leads on Twitter. Our Long Range Planning web pages have been updated as well!