In this episode, learn how an initiative and partnership called DMBreakthrough Teams implemented last year at the District 112 Dual Language elementary schools positively impacted student growth & achievement!
Over spring break, I went to New York with Oak Terrace Principal Lilli Melamed and Wayne Thomas Associate Principal Colleen Goodrich. In addition to learning at the conference, we were invited to present the results from an initiative implemented last year at both dual language schools, DMGroup Breakthrough Teams.
Having the opportunity to share, and specifically, hearing from Lilli and Colleen about the impact of last year’s DMBreakthrough teams 10-week program on multi-lingual learners in grades K-5 at their respective schools is incredible and made me very proud of our work, our students, and the District. Our session was titled “Learn how North Shore School District 112 (IL) supported their multilingual learners and achieved a higher percentage of students meeting their MAP growth goals after the Breakthrough Results experience.”
Our work with DMGroup to implement their Breakthrough Teams programs at our Dual Language schools last year was driven by that commitment to continuous improvement in learning. We are committed to creating conditions for equitable access to educational opportunities for each child every day. We are committed to creating conditions for teacher support and excellence every day. We are on a journey and proud to be focused on results.
En este episodio, aprenda cómo una iniciativa y asociación llamada DMBreakthrough Teams implementada el año pasado en las escuelas primarias de lenguaje dual del Distrito 112 impactó positivamente el crecimiento y el rendimiento de los estudiantes.
Durante las vacaciones de primavera, fui a Nueva York con la directora de Oak Terrace, Lilli Melamed, y la directora asociada de Wayne Thomas, Colleen Goodrich. Además de aprender en la conferencia, fuimos invitados a presentar los resultados de una iniciativa implementada el año pasado en ambas escuelas bilingües, DMGroup Breakthrough Teams.
Tener la oportunidad de compartir, y específicamente, escuchar a Lilli y Colleen sobre el impacto del programa de 10 semanas de los equipos DMBreakthrough del año pasado en estudiantes multilingües en los grados K-5 en sus respectivas escuelas es increíble y me hizo sentir muy orgulloso de nuestro trabajo, nuestros estudiantes y el Distrito. Nuestra sesión se tituló “Aprenda cómo el Distrito Escolar 112 (IL) de North Shore apoyó a sus estudiantes multilingües y logró un mayor porcentaje de estudiantes que cumplieron con sus objetivos de crecimiento MAP después de la experiencia de Breakthrough Results”.
Nuestro trabajo con DMGroup para implementar sus programas Breakthrough Teams en nuestras escuelas de lenguaje dual el año pasado fue impulsado por ese compromiso con la mejora continua en el aprendizaje. Estamos comprometidos a crear condiciones para el acceso equitativo a las oportunidades educativas para cada niño todos los días. Estamos comprometidos a crear condiciones para el apoyo y la excelencia de los maestros todos los días. Estamos en un viaje y orgullosos de estar enfocados en los resultados.
In the 2021-2022 school year, we chose to implement a robust planning and results-oriented project at both K-5 dual language (Spanish/English) schools in the District, Oak Terrace and Red Oak. Our main work has always been to create conditions that support student growth, learning, and teacher collective efficacy. In this post, I’m sharing some images that show graphically how incredible the student growth, learning, and performance was in this 10 week initiative last year.
The results focused approach, led by a team from strategic partner DMGroup (from Boston, MA), helps teams of leaders, teachers, and educational support staff refine their sense of urgency and target professional efforts to impact student growth and learning. We worked with DM Group on a number of challenging projects over the past few years (reopening in COVID, Student Services/EL audit, MTSS planning and implementation).
Firstly, in District 112, our motto is Inspire, Innovate, Engage; and we firmly believe each child can learn and grow – every day. We stand firmly for equitable access to educational opportunities for each child every day. We take pride in the excellence of our teachers, administrators, support staff, parents, and Board.
When we learn how to do better – we do better. When we make a mistake, we own it – explain it – and learn from it (and take efforts not to repeat it). After the devastating impacts of the COVID global pandemic (on society, learning, social connection, etc.) we reached out to experts in strategic leadership to see how we could improve and enhance our impact on learning to help our students emerge successfully.
The point of working with the DMGroup on Breakthrough Teams comes from their motto: “Successful Change Programs Begin with Results”. The focus of the initiative is to focus on results – not barriers; not challenges; not the “why nots;” not the “yea buts;” but results. Let’s make an impact.
They acknowledge psychological, organizational and cultural (org. Culture) barriers such as: “I’m doing all I can;” “It’s overwhelming;” “It’s not MY problem;” etc… . And then share a team of strategic consultants to support the existing organizational structures and help guide questions to and for student learning/growth and teacher learning/growth to work around, through and over those barriers to ultimately bring them down.
The cool part about working with the DMGroup on Breakthrough teams is that we had the opportunity to take existing structures (teacher team planning/group thinking time) student learning (using assessment tools), instructional coaching (District teacher leaders), administrative collaboration (co-designing and considering solutions) all to help us do our work better.
The DMGroup Breakthrough Teams program is focused on 10 weeks of intense, targeted, focused planning, ideation, succeeding, failing, learning, and re-ideating. The District, the School and the Teams work together to make the best decisions with the information at hand in real time on behalf of the learning. It’s an amazing professional experience – and, in D112, it yielded groundbreaking results for kids (and teachers) last year at Red Oak and Oak Terrace Schools.
We focused on our dual language schools with multi-lingual students in the District’s historic and long running magnet/choice instructional program. English Learners in the District have traditionally had challenging performance on standardized assessments, and the focus on their learning and needs, first, with this innovative program, proved that every child (regardless of “box to check”) can learn and grow in the proper conditions. We helped our teachers create the proper conditions and focus, and we co-created professional planning space to establish a results orientation. And the results justify and support this effort.
As mentioned, in this post, I’m sharing some slides that show graphically how incredible the student growth, learning, and performance was in this 10 week initiative last year.
On April 11, at an upcoming school Board meeting, I will share a detailed presentation with two of my colleagues, Lilli Melamed (Principal at Oak Terrace School) and Colleen Goodrich (Associate Principal at Red Oak School last year and Wayne Thomas school this year).
In June, we’ll share this year’s results from this year’s Breakthrough Teams experience at the five K-5 schools with traditional (English only) education, in grades kindergarten, first grade, and second grade.
Thanks for reading the blog! Check out the podcast, our upcoming board meetings, and general District communications as we share our journey of leadership, experiences, learning, growth, and results oriented focus.
As a longtime member of a professional organization for superintendents, District Management Council (DMGroup), I am attending a conference—the DMGroup Superintendent Strategy Summit.
This conference focuses on how to leverage best practice strategies in educational leadership and management – we’re in it for students, staff and communities. It is a convening of leadership. I am one of 45 superintendents at this conference. In addition, there are 43 district and building leaders, 25 sector leaders (state chairs, etc.), representing 18 US states in 50 school districts. Conference sessions focus on sharing new insights into student supports, accelerating learning, strength leadership and strategic budgeting. This includes reviewing a Harvard Business School case study focused on the Chilean Mine Crisis to enhance our abilities to impact the communities and schools we serve.
Over the last few years, I have reached out to DMGroup for strategic consulting advice. For example, our ability to remain open during COVID was supported by very clear, direct, strategic, and thoughtful collaborative processes and planning based on DMGroup insights. As you will recall, in September 2020, NSSD112 was able to open with half-day in-person schooling, which proved to be a lifeline and far better for our students and community than being fully remote at that time.
NSSD112 is committed to continuous learning and improvement. This includes regularly reviewing our programs, services and processes to ensure that we are utilizing best practices in teaching and learning, as well as operating efficiently and cost-effectively. Over the past few years, we have conducted audits of our cybersecurity protections, technology service, equity, student services and internal financial controls. We proudly accept the findings from these thorough reviews, “warts and all”, as we lead with purpose, passion, and professionalism.
Our work with DMGroup to implement their Breakthrough Teams programs at our Dual Language schools was driven by that commitment to continuous improvement in learning. We are committed to creating conditions for equitable access to educational opportunity for each child, every day. We are committed so creating conditions for teacher support and excellence every day as well. We are on a journey and we’re proud to be focused on results.
This year, I am proud to have two members of the NSSD112 leadership team joining me to present about the results of our DMGroup Breakthrough Teams Results implementation last year at the District’s two K-5 Dual Language (Spanish/English) schools—Oak Terrace Principal Lilli Melamed and Wayne Thomas Associate Principal, Colleen Goodrich. As you will recall, Ms. Goodrich was the associate principal last year at Red Oak School and, this year, she was named Illinois Assistant Principal of the Year! As a superintendent, one of the greatest job roles is the development and support of other leaders.
Hearing from Lilli and Colleen about the impact of last year’s DMBreakthrough teams 10-week program on multi-lingual learners in grades K-5 at their respective schools is incredible and made me very proud of our work, our students and the District. Their session was titled “Learn how North Shore School District 112 (IL) supported their multilingual learners and achieved a higher percentage of students meeting their MAP growth goals after the Breakthrough Results experience.”
In an upcoming blog post, I’ll share more details about those student achievement results, including data and infographics from our presentation and process details, as well as updates on this year’s DMBreakthrough Team experience in grades K, 1, and 2 in five of our District’s elementary schools.
Busy, Focus, Internal Moves, Green Bay, Phase 2, Phase 3, Learning & Teaching, Board Updates, and more!
From the episode:
We’ve been busy in District 112 – this year, the 2022-2023 school year has been full of downs, ups, and successes, and change. We started very emotionally as part of the Highland Park community after the unspeakable tragedy at the parade on July 4. We pulled together as a community with multiple government, school, social services, private sector, and individual citizens stepping up in many ways to begin a healing process that will be a model for our nation.
The school district is in a positive, strong, and forward-looking position. With your overwhelming support, we passed a bond referendum with 72% “yes” votes – a remarkable vote of confidence for your future! We have been hard at work designing Ravinia School and Indian Trail School for summer construction. We also have a Central Production Kitchen in the mix; we’ll soon be able to provide quality hot lunch meals to each student at a reasonable price and with far higher quality than our current production capacity allows. Modernized repurposed schools, equitable food access, and support from the community – it’s a proud time in our elementary school district – we’re beyond grateful for your support.
“What each of us must come to realize is that our intent always comes through.”
– Thurgood Marshall, First African-American Supreme Court Justice
Another trip around the sun … another year full of hope, dreams, opportunity, and possibility, another “do-over” for us all! Over time, I have written about the power of the “do-over” that we in education get each July (the new school year). On January 1st, around the world, we each get another “do-over.”
So … what will we do over? What hopes, dreams, opportunities, and possibilities should we put forward? It’s a powerful contemplation – a powerful window with which we get to look through the world. It’s pretty awesome to be able to rest, recharge, and re-do all that makes sense. In my profession, it’s all about creating conditions for educators to support and enrich youth — we teach, we create learning spaces for children and young adults, and we create the future (I know … it’s a bit lofty — but we in education work in the profession that creates all other professions, we’re at the foundation of humanity). Perhaps I’m being a bit dramatic on the first day of the new year, or perhaps I’m embellishing our impact as educators; perhaps, I’m right!
In my personal and professional career in public education, 2023 marks my 31st year of service as a public school educator (teacher, school administrator, district administrator, and I’m finishing my 13th year as a public school superintendent). In the year of my country, we’re entering our 247th year as a free nation. It’s the 13th year of the iPad … 2023 is many things to many people. From the new AI tool, when I entered the search query: “what does the year 2023 represent, I received the following machine-generated response:
The year 2023 is the 2023rd year in the Gregorian calendar. It is a common year, meaning it has 365 days in total. 2023 is the 23rd year of the 21st century and the 4th year of the 2020s decade.
I share the AI (artificial intelligence) response as an interesting “statement” as to what’s going on “technologically speaking.” I (or anyone) can enter a search query, and this new tool can generate a “Human-Like” chat with me about just about anything. So … I’ve been an educator before the internet, during its birth, before Google … and so on. In our 2017 book, The Unlearning Leader: Leading for Tomorrow’s Schools Today (Rowman & Littlefield), Nick Polyak and I wrote, in chapter 1,
Times have changed. Ten years ago, superintendents and principals used the U.S. Postal Service to support communication and leadership. They used paper memos and inter-office envelopes and even voicemail. Teachers would send a paper newsletter home each week. Communication today is instant and immediate. Today’s superintendents, today’s teachers, and today’s students are connected 24/7 and are able to communicate with blogs, audio, video, text messaging, e-mail, and any number of social media applications like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Remind, Voxer, Snapchat, etc. The past ten years have shown significant changes in terms of consumption of information and “fingertip” access. Yes, times have changed. Communication has changed, but the importance of communication in support of leadership and innovation remains the same. Today’s superintendent knows how to leverage the power of technology to harness effective and impactful communication. Today’s teachers share learning examples in real time.
This was a reflection on communication from 2006-2016. Now, 7 years later, with exponential growth and change in technology, communication tools, “fingertip access,” and the worldwide global pandemic (and related trauma, change, silver linings – all of the above), there have been even more powerful real-time examples of how teachers and superintendents can enhance and improve their abilities to communicate and to lead.
The most important thing is transforming our minds, for a new way of thinking, a new outlook: we should strive to develop a new inner world.–Dalai Lama
If you are reading this book, we can say with near certainty that you make critical decisions and problem solve every day. Oftentimes when we are pushed into making a critical decision there is not a singular answer that can satisfy the problem at hand. Instead, you call on your prior experiences, the input of trusted colleagues and mentors, and the input of your affected stakeholders.
What we are certain of is that as a leader you will be faced with problems and issues in the future that seem unimaginable right now. The world is changing at an exponential rate. Understanding that fact is crucial, and understanding how to successfully navigate those problems and issues is what will make the unfinished leader ultimately successful.
So, as we embrace the changes, both known/predictable and unknown/unpredictable, with the dawn of the year 2023, I share a sense of wonder, excitement, anticipation, and hope for the good that we as a human race can offer, that we as educators can create, and that we as writers can share with the world! It’s always time to “unlearn”, remain “unfinished,” and embrace the “do-over” as the calendars clear for 12 more months.
Finally, in our 2018 book, Student Voice: From Invisible to Invaluable (Rowman & Littlefield), we conclude with a call to action, so as we embark on 2023, as a long-time public school educator, I suggest that the resolutions we should have in addition to Unlearning and remaining Unfinished, should be to elevate student voice and agency in your public school system. In conclusion,
This book is about one thing – building upon the kids-first mentality that all great educators have and transforming the mentality of serving kids first to serving with kids first. This book is our call to action. This book should provide a sense of urgency and a corresponding hope for the future. Our greatest asset is (and always will be) our students.
Ask: Ask students to think big and ask them to think about where their voice being heard would have the greatest impact on the school.
Support: We have taken some of the brilliance from students over time and they may not know how to react to this question. It is your job to ensure that they reach into their Kindergarten heart and mind to be fearless and to guarantee that their imagination has no bounds.
Know: Nobody knows your kids as well as you do. This is a change, and it is a change that they may not initially trust. It will most likely take leadership at the individual student level to help create student ownership as part of the culture of your building.
Empower: Great leaders set floors for performance but never ceilings. Create an environment that empowers your students to lead change and dream big.
Monitor: Giving students an opportunity to have their voice heard and not acting on it will cause significant regression in your building. It is important to understand that this process is fluid and ongoing. Change is incremental and not linear. It is necessary to monitor the level of success of incorporating student voice at every turn.
North Shore School District 112 has faced aging facilities since its inception as a school district in 1993. Over the past several years, the Board has closed schools, reduced the number of employees, and focused on efficient operations while still keeping education as the #1 priority area. Surviving the recent worldwide global pandemic as well as the recent political upheavals nationally, regionally, and locally, the District keeps its eyes on addressing its present so that it may create its future for the 3900 students and the tens of thousands of residents impacted by its operations.
In this episode of the District 112 Podcast, Lighthouse 112, the focus is on the “why” and the “what” for the November 8 ballot – there is a referendum/ballot question for the voters to decide upon a request for $114,400,000 in bond authority to modernize, upgrade, and renovate five elementary schools and provide enhanced physical security for all campuses.
Tómese 12 minutos para aprender para qué sirve el referéndum, ¿cómo hemos llegado hasta aquí? ¿Qué estamos haciendo?
El Distrito Escolar 112 de North Shore se ha enfrentado a instalaciones envejecidas desde su creación como distrito escolar en 1993. En los últimos años, la Junta ha cerrado escuelas, reducido el número de empleados y se ha centrado en operaciones eficientes sin dejar de mantener la educación como el #Área prioritaria nº 1. Sobreviviendo a la reciente pandemia mundial, así como a las recientes convulsiones políticas a nivel nacional, regional y local, el Distrito mantiene sus ojos en abordar su presente para poder crear su futuro para los 3900 estudiantes y las decenas de miles de residentes afectados por sus operaciones.
En este episodio de Lighthouse 112, la atención se centra en el “por qué” y el “qué” para la boleta electoral del 8 de noviembre – hay un referéndum / pregunta de la boleta para que los votantes decidan sobre una solicitud de $ 114,400,000 en la autoridad de bonos para modernizar, actualizar y renovar cinco escuelas primarias y proporcionar una mayor seguridad física para todos los campus.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Reflections and Calls to action from the convening of the National Superintendent Roundtable
Atlanta, Georgia – October 14-16, 2022 – #NSR2022
Education for Democracy is the theme of this year’s Roundtable conference. There is a sense of urgency now for the P-20/K-12 school leaders to advance the purposes, successes, stories, and narrative of Public Education. This convening of superintendents and business partners from across the USA was another engaging, inspiring, and motivating set of discussions, thought leaders provoking discomfort, and true leadership challenges in a safe, inviting, and inspirational location.
American demographics are shifting, and the American need for civics and history is more pronounced now than possibly at any time in our history; privatization forces threaten not only public schools but the nation itself; it’s incumbent upon us to amplify the narrative of public education and tell our stories! In this blog post, I share notes, thoughts, and reflections. I also share some calls to action for myself and us all. It’s possible that our way of life depends on this!
From time to time, I write about and reflect upon “what a superintendent does” since there are not too many of us in consideration of the overall educational community. We are multi-faceted, complex leaders faced with dynamic challenges woven into the tapestry of our nation, our states, our regions, our towns, and of course, our school districts/organizations/divisions.
What is “now” that is needed is clarity around the value proposition of public schools for democracy. The conference title of the National Superintendents Roundtable was Education for Democracy. We learned from speakers ranging from university leaders to national reporters to each other. We gathered at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum and reviewed and interacted with our nation’s history, our own leadership stories, and our personal contributions to this point. We are a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-generational group of leaders, scholars, and advocates for democracy, public schools, and the urgency of NOW.
Our charge, our challenge, and their call to us for action involve rebuilding the capacity for people to believe in the schools! Ask for students’ voices – what can school be/become – what is it?
The purposes of public schooling are inherent in promoting democracy and civics. The public school is the public institution where ALL gather. They are NOT free private schools … they are community/state/national benefitted since EVERY person in the community benefits from the fact that the public schools educate the communities children. The workforce benefits from public school investments. The community benefits from public school investments. The public schools are a benefit for us ALL.
In this blog post, I will share some reflections from the amazing speakers and a few calls to action. One call to action is to VOTE – clearly, the most fundamental right of the people in a democracy is the right to VOTE. I have never taken this right for granted. I vote in every general election and in some primary elections. I encourage my family members to vote; I don’t really care for whom or for what you vote – I genuinely care, though, that you do, in fact, get out to vote. It’s a cherished right that many in our nation did not have and had to fight for – not too long ago! Some still have to fight for this right – it is crazy but true.
Another call to action is for everyone in a public school leadership position to share the public education narrative. Tell our stories. Tell your stories. Share the realities that exist in the most democratic INFRASTRUCTURE of our nation and of any functioning democracy.
My colleagues at this conference are among the finest in the land, and each has a great role in getting our work at the forefront of the national discussion. While the Pandemic impacted some of the visceral local disagreements and nationally, there are some localized conflicts and controversies, the bottom line is our nation’s students are learning and growing, they are succeeding, and the institution of the public school is a national treasure worth fighting for, understanding, and preserving. We’re certainly not perfect, and as I often state, we will never let perfect be or become the enemy of good!
A quote that the Roundtable prefaced in the materials for the conference is from one of our nation’s hero presidents: “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt
National Superintendents Round Table (NSR) and the Schlecty Center have joined forces; the overarching themes of each speaker and each thought session were designed to:
Help us think about education’s role of being “the answer”
Serving public education
Value of public education
Before we began to engage with one another and our speakers, we discussed, as a group where is the sense of urgency as a nation – for public schools? Education in general? We each reinforced what we hold as self-evident; the students are our WHY- We also started to describe and illustrate the multiple challenges facing public education from all sides all over the nation.
We started by listening to some amazing student singers from the M.E. Stilwell School of the Arts – Wow! It was a great kick-off – hats off to Dr. Morcease Beasely, NSR member and one of the local host superintendents!
As a group, we reinforced our strongly held beliefs about the value of public education – the reality that we as superintendents need to lead & engage communities – and that we convened to learn, connect and reflect on the real trouble and challenges we face, and more urgently and more important, what our nation’s youth face!
We began by looking at demographics – facts tell the story – the world is changing. Thanks to Dr. James Johnson from the University of North Carolina for scaring us and inspiring us to realize that reality is … well – real.
Dr. Johnson illustrated to us that we are in the midst of a massive demographic transformation. We are in a disruptive demographic change. Transformation is and will impact K-12 and Higher Ed. These forces are and will also impact the US and the global economies.
Data shows that the Pandemic also had major demographic impacts. Dr. Johnson shared and showed the profound regional population redistribution in our nation.
Dr. Jim succeeded in helping us to create a common understanding of what’s happening around us – facts don’t lie – they illustrate realities.
What do young people need in their toolkits to weather the certainty of uncertainty?
Dr. Johnson posits, “We need people who can groove on ambiguity!”
Sharing some “notes” from Dr. Johnson’s lecture:
1970-present, the South has captured a majority of in-migration.
Destination – added 22.7 Million during the 2010-2020 period
2010-2020–Who is coming to the South – “everybody”
NE and Midwest to West and SOUTH
Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia – “migration magnet” states growing faster than the other southern states 79% of the share of in-migration in the South
What about during the Pandemic?
South gained about a million more people in 15 months of the Pandemic
Midwest lost 144K people
NE lost 449K people
West gained 80K people
The South got “pandemic refugees” from Midwest and NE, and they stayed – they did not come back to NE or MW
Dr. Johnson also emphasized how We also have the browning and graying of America
Highlights of his commentary on this topic:
1965 was a crucial year in immigration history
Before this – law was related to racial/ethnic balance from 1900 – preference of white people to be blunt
1965 – Quota system that was regionally discriminatory to foreign people who were not white
Nation managed the composition of the population via immigration laws
In 1965 (coincidentally with Civil Rights Movement) – the Hart Celler Act of 1965 – eliminated immigration restrictions based on people who were previously not eligible to immigrate
The demographic shift is like a Gale Force Wind Dr. Johnson shares, transforming the workforce, the public schools, and the entire nation – people are leaving the Northeast and the Midwest.
Beyond the population shifts, the “color” of America is browning and graying as fewer white people are born and more people of color are born, more mixed-race marriages produce children, and more Americans live longer and “gray”. The demographic shifts have historic and policy foundations.
Intermarriage in the USA 1967-2015
Before 1967 it was illegal in the USA for black and white people to marry
The growing role of immigration, the growing role of inter-racial marriage, browning and graying of America – 2 or more races is a category growing rapidly – not “neat little boxes” for people
US Life Expectancy 1900 47.3, 2010, 78.3, 2030, 100
Right now, we have five Generations in the workplace – the implications are crazy!
Silver Generation – pre-boomer, Baby Boomer, Generation X, Generation Y, Generation Z
In addition to the demographic shifts, population/race/age, there is another factor Dr. Johnson shared:
He calls it “Disappearing & Rebelling”
2020 Census trend – slowing of total population growth in the USA
Rate of growth – peaked in 1960, 18.5% growth, grown slower progressively in every decade since then, such that in the last decade, 7.4% growth. The second slowest rate of growth in the history of the USA since 1790; the slowest was Great Depression which was 7.3%
Trends to continue to be lower
Far-ranging implications for everything – changes are here and are coming
First 15 months of the Pandemic – the first time in history – we added less than half a million in 15 months – the first time we did not grow history by 1MM per year – this is PROFOUND
Total Fertility Rate is below 2.1 in the USA – need 2.1 to replace yourself (mathematical index) – we’re losing more humans than we’re getting – on a large scale
In 2018 deaths outnumbered births among whites in more than half of the nation’s 50 states
Deaths of Despair and Declining Life Expectancy – due to suicide, alcohol, and drugs – 90,000 drug overdoses in the first year of the pandemic, a 30% increase over 2019 – the biggest increase in overdose deaths – overwhelming
100K in 2021 (prime working age people 25-44)
COVID-19 impact on fertility. Estimated 300K population decline
Globally 10MM kids lost parents – became orphaned during the pandemic – 550K in the USA
The Great Resignation – increased labor activism – it’s real – the impact is far-reaching
There is a grand reckoning among us = create a new workplace – a new normal – make workers excited to stay – culture and climate
Our next speaker was also inspiring and clarifying! Dr. Leslie T. Fenwick – from Howard University and the author of Jim Crow’s Pink Slip – the untold story of black principal and teacher leadership, took us to a powerful place in reckoning our American history, Supreme Court decision implications (Brown V. Board of Education 1954), and MORE!
She asked us and helped us contemplate our sense of urgency — to whom must we invest? Equitable educational opportunity & access to education – this is elusive in some locales – still, even today in 2022 – why?
Dr. Fenwick reminded us that a national treasure is at the Smithsonian US National Museum of African American History – there is vast and accessible digital access to PK-12 instructional materials! in schools across the nation! The truth must be told; the objective, fact-based journeys of our ancestors and the ancestors of our countrymen and women can be told and accessed by all.
In addition, she reminded us that the Pulitzer Center has resources as well, including the 1619 project and various perspectives in US history.
Dr. Fenwick called upon us to “bust myths.” “Let’s mine and disseminate accurate data! Let’s remove negative stories and statistics – let’s find assets, not deficits – for example, there are more Black men in college, 1.6MM vs. Black men in prison, 600K, in the USA – what are prevailing stereotypes? Need to “myth bust.”
Dr. Fenwick’s book, research, and US historical data shed light on our realities. She reminds us and calls us to follow historical facts, not myths. The landmark US Supreme Court decision Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, KS (1954) overturned the 1890s case of Plessy vs. Ferguson, which called “segregation” illegal. This policy was long overdue, and our nation is obviously better off due to this heroic and historic decision.
But … like physics laws, every action has equal (and often opposing) reactions. So while schools were desegregated and integrated by law/policy, there were also some profoundly negative implications. Dr. Fenwick illustrates in her book, and from US history, that as an unintended consequence of the Brown ruling, an entire class and multiple generations of Black educators were eliminated from America. This is a direct cause of today’s underrepresented educators of color across the nation.
Dr. Fenwick shares that 100K black principals and teachers were fired, demoted, and displaced from the 1954 Brown decision to mid-1970 – there was racist and political resistance to having black educators teach and lead alongside whites. Black educators were replaced by less qualified whites. 17 “dual system” states (Delaware to Texas) – Black peers were fired – this was a horrible consequence of the Brown decision.
This was not because the Black educators were less qualified. On the contrary, as early as 1926, the all Black faculty held Masters’s degrees, same in the 1930s – often they went North and earned degrees from higher ed universities. In the 1960s, after desegregation, white faculty had lower rates of master’s degrees. White superintendents and school boards were pressed to hire more educators; they turned to more whites and ignored and displaced existing and well-qualified Black educators. This was not the intent of desegregation. Turning desegregation into a “students only” situation exacerbated the lack of a Black educational force to work integrated alongside the white educators. This impacts us today.
Why today is there an underrepresentation of people of color in the nation’s schools and boardrooms, and principals’ offices – history illustrates this – policies fighting against the law of the land caused generations of Black teachers and principals to be deposed, displaced, demoted, and fired. They were removed from education. They have not returned! This is true history – not political, judgmental, ideological – simply the truth. And reckoning with the truth will be our only salvation and progression.
What does it mean to American schooling? Had these Black professionals been integrated into the post-Brown decision educational profession as integrated professionals, instead of being expelled, we would have a far different reality today – representation, legacy, history, reality. Would societal and institutional racism and racist policies have been so prevalent had the integration of schools been for both students and faculty? Would the need for so much “focus” on DEI today be necessary had the nation simply moved forward integrating adults and children?
A myth Dr. Fenwick busted is thatBlack educators did not “flee” education after Brown since they had more opportunities in the newly desegregated workforces – they were removed due to resistance to black educators joining white educators in a similar post-Civil War “reconstruction” era revision of the Jim Crow laws that took hold in the USA following the progressive 13, 14, and 15 Amendments to the US Constitution. One needs to look at the Hayes election in the USA and then dismantle “equality” policies with the 1899 Plessy vs. Ferguson case, with codified “separate but equal” was clear and equal was not.
We have the power to change trajectories for kids, communities, and our nation. Dr. Fenwick’s call to action is to simply learn, acknowledge, learn from, tell the truth, and transform our public schools (and society) to reap the rewards of democracy and to realize the vision of so many who fight for equality, equity, dignity, and the American ideals of life, liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness for all of us. Not just for some of us.
At this powerful conference, we also benefitted from Washington Post reporter Valerie Strauss and the authors of A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door authors Jack Schneider and Jennifer Berkshire
So what is a “good school” … continuing narratives about public school value – public school critical space in our society
They, too, call us to action with fact, not a myth; as an example, even though research shows that public schools have better outcomes than those in the private sector (check Univ VA research), some privatization folks claim the contrary.
They discussed: How is privatization affecting public schools, and why is this dangerous?
Advocates for parental rights & private school/choice – they want this to be a “litmus” test issue politically
Public education is in danger in many states (eg – Florida… Texas …)
Funding and widespread disinformation campaigns
We pondered, “What does the future of schooling look like?” Our aim and their directions for us is to try to make clear to people that the vision of an alternative to public education is NOT hyper elite – instead, a voucher system, for example, loses oversight, loses accountability, loses rights … etc.
We also had an incredible visit to the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum, sharing some cool pictures from that inspiring and eye-opening
Reminder about 5o years of American history – on display!
The purposes of public schooling are inherent in promoting democracy and civics. The public school is the public institution where ALL gather.
So, as part of the evolving stories about “what superintendents do,” the essence is that we lead. We listen. We learn. We challenge ourselves to be uncomfortable and unfinished. And we, of course, help one another unlearn so we can relearn!
In North Shore School District 112, we are focused on our “Big Three” – Closing of Opportunity & Achievement Gaps, the Portrait of a Graduate, and Facilities Upgrades & Modernization. We are in Year 5 of a potential 12 year, Three-Phase plan to upgrade & modernize all campuses, eliminate long standing differed maintenance challenges and to stabilize finances & facilities needs for decades to come!
With facilities issues resolved, we’ll be able to focus far more effort, energy, expertise and engagement to learning & teaching – our main mission and priorities!
Please check out the “slides” used at a recent Open House at Northwood Middle School, planned for, funded, designed, and constructed from 2018-2021; opening in the midst of the Pandemic and flourishing for students, staff, and community! Following the slides, I’ve embedded the video of the “solar tour” that highlights the community and Board commitment to the global environment. Our Future is NOW in D112 – Inspire — Innovate — Engage!
Solar Tour Video (it may not play in the slides above, or if you wish to see it separately)
“I cannot do all the good that the world needs. But the world needs all the good that I can do.”– Jana Stanfield
August 10, 2022
Justin and I finished our amazing adventures and life-changing trip with so many peak moments on Saturday, August 6. We left Constanza around 6am and headed down the mountain for under 4 hours. We spent some time in Santo Domingo, the capital city of the Dominican Republic. We toured the old city, flew to Miami, then to Chicago, and arrived home around 1:30am. We were energized (though sleepy).
Before we headed to the airport, we visited the old colonial city, the oldest fort in the Americas. We saw a raucous public demonstration regarding immigration policies headed for Independence square, where we had just visited.
To spend this time with my son was incredible and fun and a huge proud, peak moment for me. As Justin enters his Freshman year of high school and I as I start what is very likely my 4th to last year as a full-time public educator, we both got to laugh, enjoy each other’s company, serve together, work together, experience life together, and so much more!
Ideally, he and I will have more opportunities like this! Ideally, he has the confidence to travel and serve as he goes from young adulthood to adulthood. He is an incredible young man, and I am proud to be his dad.
As a life-long educator, I see firsthand how education with emotion and education with hands-on experiential opportunities becomes lifelong learning. Thanks a ton for following our adventures! Thanks a ton for letting me brag about my son 🙂
Finishing up an amazing week with Justin! In Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic- First Nation Columbus came to the Americas. Culture and history end our adventures here!
Sharing some images. The first cathedral, live protest March heading to Independence Square, 16th Century city walls.
Oldest fort in the Americas! Wow! So much history… need to come back!! 16th Century-20th Century. In use for various purposes. So many socio-political implications here!!
Thanks to World Servants, LifeTouch, the AASA, Cecaini Foundation, and so many others who, together in service for humanity and in furtherance of the dreams and visions of Pastors Angel and Jacqueline Moreta, have built schools and changed lives — forever!! Including those of my son and me.
In this post, I am sharing more reflections, thoughts, and images from a LifeTouch Memory Mission reunion trip to the Dominican Republic, Constanza, La Vega, and Cecaini School in Rio Grande. In these several blog posts, I’m sharing my reflections. One major personal “peak moment” for me on this current trip is that my son came with me! With words and images, I am trying to do my best at telling our story — of our life-changing, humbling, impactful, and seriously amazing set of experiences! Thanks for reading 🙂
Back in 2016, I was lucky enough to be a part of the LifeTouch Memory Mission trip to the Dominican Republic and I was a representative of AASA, The Superintendent’s Association. I wrote about that set of life-changing experiences on my blog — BLOG POSTS ABOUT TRIP IN 2016
Sharing short posts from August 3, 4, and 5 with images
August 3, 2022
Today’s post will have a collection of images that really help tell the story and illustrate the incredible impact, humble service, powerful relationship building, and overall cultural experiences we are privileged to be engaged with.
Today our Dominican hosts and teachers encourage us to slow down and enjoy every moment. The figurative saying that one rock creates a ripple, or one journey of 1000 miles begins with one step, or to lower a rock pile one must do it one rock at a time, became a reality.
We literally reduced a large rock pile one rock at a time. We slowed down to enjoy each moment we were immersed in this incredible location. We savor every minute with the children we have the honor and privilege of playing with daily. And we savor each moment we spent getting to know our Dominican hosts as people, as friends, and his fellow world citizens.
Thank you for sticking around and following Justin and my adventures in life.
August 4, 2022
Today Was another incredible day here in the Dominican republic. Justin and I continue to do really good hard work and enjoy playing with the children and engaging with members of the community.
Yesterday Justin had his home visit today I had my own visit and it’s really awesome to step inside someone’s home sit down, have a cuppa coffee, learn about their family, and share about yours. We build community, relationships, and friendships and help improve the schools that have become community centers that have impacted and changed the community for the better.
Tonight‘s post is going to have a lot of photos. I’m going to switch (from posting on Facebook) to my blog to put in longer reflections which I probably will post over the weekend if not sooner.
Thank you for experiencing our journeys together through our words and photos.
August 5, 2022
Deeper reflections will be posted on my blog in the next few days.
Bittersweet end of work today!Jobs well done. Friendships created!
Sharing some more images from our mission, culture, service, and “life” trip to the Dominican Republic 🇩🇴- sorry if there are some repeats.
Justin and I are preparing for our final day in Cecaini Constanza Constanza today!