Mike Lubelfeld's Blog


Tag: Community Input (page 1 of 2)

What are DMGroup Breakthrough Teams Results in D112? #112Leads

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.

Student success and district success are measured in multiple ways.  Pleasesee a previous blog post to get a sense of how I measure “success” (culture, engagement, service, assessment, etc.). Search Results for “Measure succes” – Mike Lubelfeld’s Blog

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.

Reflections from National Superintendent Summit – #112Leads

DMGroup Superintendent Strategy Summit


March 29-31, 2023

New York City, New York

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.

Calls to Action – Reflections from Superintendent Conference #NSR2022

“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
  • Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives

2000-2010 Census in the USA

2MM White, or 1.2%

15MM Hispanic, or 43%

4MM Asian, or 42%

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 that  Black 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!

5th Reflection – Dominican Republic Service Trip – Reflections

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!

Life-changing adventures!

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!

Part of the overall beautification project in the back – many separate projects went one here. The tires will become planters!

Tim Gibson – an amazing leader! Wise, kind, deliberate, intentional, experienced – just amazing! And me and Nick – our worldwide adventures and friendship take us to life-changing places!

Justin made many new friends on this trip, little and big!

We did enjoy some “grilled” ice cream!

Our incredible crew – wonderful people who we are proud to call friends!

Proud to highlight contributions from AASA and members over the years!

Audio Update on Safety & Security July 22 2022 #112Leads

Sharing an audio update to the community on safety and security.

This update on safety and security is shared with thought, emotion, care, and concern. We have a board meeting coming up on July 26, 2022, at 7:00pm, we’ll meet live and broadcast that meeting live as well. This informational update is intended to preview and highlight the upcoming Board discussion and presentation on safety and security and to follow up from the July 14 communication I shared. I’m sharing this update as your superintendent and as a father of two teenagers, a husband to a wonderful wife, a community member, and a human being. 

I know that people are in different emotional spaces right now. Some can fully embrace safety and security messages and information. Others are not yet ready to fully process this information. Some focus on specific ideas, and others are somewhere between. The main takeaways are that with school opening soon. As you likely know, District 112 is fully committed to safety and security issues. Before the July 4 incident and other national incidents, District 112 had been heavily involved in its schools’ physical, mental, and emotional safety for its students, staff, and the community. In a video message, and an audio podcast, I am highlighting the focus points in place, under review and consideration, and specific actions we take regarding safety and security. Later today, I’ll post an audio transcript in English and Spanish on my blog. Thank you for your support of our schools, your interest in our programming, your outreach, and your trust in the fact that we follow and implement best practices in all domains of our work. 

Finally, please know that our efforts are done with love, care, compassion, expert advice, and excellence.

Note in Spanish

Esta actualización sobre seguridad y protección se comparte con pensamiento, emoción, cuidado y preocupación. Tenemos una reunión de la junta el 26 de julio de 2022, a las 7:00 p.m., nos reuniremos en vivo y transmitiremos esa reunión también. Esta actualización informativa tiene la intención de previsualizar y resaltar la próxima discusión y presentación de la Junta sobre seguridad y protección, y para dar seguimiento a la comunicación del 14 de julio que compartí. Estoy compartiendo esta actualización no solo como su superintendente, sino también como padre de dos adolescentes, esposo de una esposa maravillosa, miembro de la comunidad y como ser humano.

Sé que las personas están en diferentes espacios emocionales en este momento. Algunos pueden aceptar plenamente los mensajes y la información de seguridad y protección. Otros aún no están listos para procesar completamente esta información. Algunos se centran en ideas muy específicas, y otros están en algún punto intermedio. Las principales conclusiones son que con la apertura de la escuela pronto. Como probablemente sepa, el Distrito 112 está totalmente comprometido con los problemas de seguridad y protección. Antes del incidente del 4 de julio y otros incidentes nacionales, el Distrito 112 había estado muy involucrado en la seguridad física, mental y emocional de sus escuelas para sus estudiantes, personal y la comunidad. En un mensaje de video, un podcast de audio, estoy destacando los puntos de enfoque en su lugar, bajo revisión y consideración, y las acciones específicas que estamos tomando con respecto a la seguridad y la protección. Más tarde hoy publicaré una transcripción de audio en inglés y español en mi blog. Gracias por su apoyo a nuestras escuelas, por su interés en nuestra programación, por su alcance y por su confianza en el hecho de que seguimos e implementamos las mejores prácticas en todos los dominios de nuestro trabajo.

Finalmente, por favor sepa que nuestros esfuerzos se realizan con amor, cuidado, compasión, asesoramiento experto y excelencia.

Link to VIDEO messageVIDEO message

Espanol/ Spanish Transcript (English transcript follows)

– Hola, soy Mike Lubelfeld, superintendente de escuelas. Y vengo a ti hoy con una actualización sobre seguridad y protección. Y antes de pasar a los detalles, y antes de entrar en las tuercas y tornillos, quiero que sepas que tenemos una reunión de la junta el martes 26 de julio. Nuestras reuniones de la junta están aquí, en vivo personalmente, en las oficinas administrativas. También estaremos haciendo una transmisión en vivo, para que la gente pueda ver en vivo o después del hecho. Y simplemente quiero decir, al principio, que vengo a ti, no solo como tu superintendente de escuelas y como líder educativo, pero también como ser humano y como padre de dos hijos adolescentes, y marido de mi mujer, y como alguien que siente junto a todos y cada uno de ustedes, con lo que hemos estado pasando como resultado directo de los trágicos acontecimientos del 4 de julio, aquí en Highland Park y también de hechos anteriores a eso, desde una perspectiva de seguridad y protección. Me importa, siento, empatizo. También estoy aquí para hacer mi trabajo y compartirlo contigo. Pero solo quiero señalar eso, que algunos de ustedes están muy listos para escuchar los mensajes que tengo y algunos de ustedes están muy interesados y actualizados. Otros de ustedes, en este momento, realmente no pueden escuchar esto, y lo respeto, lo entiendo. Otros de ustedes están enfocados en ciertas cosas o no están enfocados. Y estés donde estés, está bien. Simplemente quiero afirmar, afirmar, validar que hay muchos sentimientos y muchas emociones. Aquí en el distrito escolar, quiero compartir con ustedes lo que está pasando. Y sé que hay mucha información que he compartido por correo electrónico y otras áreas. Así que hoy en esta actualización de video, es un adelanto de lo que vamos a hablar el martes. Digo esto con un corazón abierto y una mente abierta, y más allá de ser el superintendente, que tiene un trabajo que hacer, pero como un chico que se siente junto a ti, como padre y como ser humano. Probablemente sepas esto, pero de nuevo, a veces vale la pena repetir, la seguridad ha sido un compromiso continuo en el Distrito Escolar 112. No sólo en reacción a los acontecimientos, y ciertamente no solo en reacción a lo que acabamos de experimentar como comunidad. Pero durante muchos años. En 2014, tuvimos una auditoría. 2018, se implementaron vestíbulos de seguridad en los planteles. Y a medida que avanzamos, hacemos mejoras. En 2018, iniciamos la asociación de capacitación ALICE, de lo que hablaré un poco más. También tuvimos otra auditoría en 2018, y hemos implementado esas recomendaciones desde entonces. En junio, le pedí a la Junta de Educación para aprobar otra auditoría de seguridad. Es parte de un compromiso continuo. Preguntamos a los expertos en la materia, que saben de esto, qué es lo correcto que las escuelas, como la nuestra, ¿se supone que deben hacer para asegurarse de que estamos seguros por dentro y por fuera? De nuevo, el 14 de junio, nuestra junta aprobó un contrato con un señor llamado Paul Timm, que dirige una empresa FEA. En 2022, este verano, hemos estado haciendo otras inversiones, que resaltaré en este breve mensaje de video, y algunas mejoras a nuestra seguridad en nuestras instalaciones. Pero también quiero hablar contigo sobre una investigación, de la que soy parte de nuestro equipo, que vamos a abordar con respecto a varias soluciones. No sé si vamos a implementar estas o si las vamos a implementar tarde o temprano, simplemente quiero que sepas que estamos escuchando y estamos investigando guardias, dispositivos de detección y otras cosas. Pero realmente quiero compartir con ustedes aquí, que el trabajo que estamos haciendo no está en el vacío. Y siempre buscamos a los expertos en el campo. En este caso, en 2019, 2020, la Fuerza de Tarea contra el Terrorismo de Illinois. Y odio incluso decir esas palabras en un mensaje a nuestra comunidad, pero la Fuerza de Tarea contra el Terrorismo de Illinois tenía un grupo de trabajo de seguridad escolar. Hicieron recomendaciones a personas como nosotros, que trabajan en las escuelas públicas aquí en Illinois. Y quiero que sepas, y repasaremos esto con mayor detalle el martes por la noche, pero quería tomar el punto ahora mismo para compartir con ustedes. Y no sé si vas a obtener esto en video, en audio o forma escrita, estamos tratando de obtener la mayor cantidad formas de comunicación que podamos. Pero los expertos en seguridad escolar hablan de tres maneras de ver esto, evaluación del comportamiento, y eso va con las auditorías que hicimos en 2014, 2018 y la auditoría que estamos comenzando inmediatamente ahora mismo en 2022, el concepto de endurecimiento de las instalaciones, la seguridad física de la que les hablaré, y luego algo que no sé que he hablado contigo bastante, y ese es el protocolo de respuesta. Así que en el mensaje de video de hoy quiero compartir contigo recomendaciones de expertos. ¿Cómo lo maneja el distrito 112 ahora? y ¿qué podemos hacer en el futuro? Es posible que sepas que contamos con equipos de evaluación del comportamiento. Dra. Holly Colin, nuestra asistente del superintendente, en el extranjero y lo dirige. Puede que no sepas que tenemos cerca de 30 miembros del personal de salud mental, trabajadores sociales, psicólogos directamente dedicados a brindar apoyo socioemocional en el distrito escolar. Este año, estamos aumentando la equivalencia de tiempo completo para los trabajadores sociales en todo el distrito. Y estamos agregando un medio tiempo, en todo el distrito, persona en todas las escuelas. Esto es nuevo. Tendremos al menos un trabajador social a tiempo completo y no necesariamente alguien compartido entre campus. Además, tenemos en los libros, acuerdos intergubernamentales, IGA, con la Policía de Highland Park, la Policía de Highwood. También trabajamos con el Sheriff del Condado de Lake y la Dirección Regional de Educación. Puede que sepa que tenemos un oficial de policía de Highland Park, un oficial de recursos escolares, asignado al Distrito 112. Algunas cosas que no sé que compartimos lo suficiente contigo, y quería aprovechar el tiempo aquí para compartir con ustedes, también tenemos estrategias para toda la escuela, prácticas restaurativas, desescalada, también la construcción de relaciones. Usamos cosas como Second Step, Calm Classrooms, Sembrados para Crecer, capacitación CPI o prevención de crisis. También tenemos PBIS, intervenciones y apoyos conductuales positivos. Tenemos Líder en Mí. Tenemos Tiger Stripes, Panda STARS, Champs y otros programas diseñados para ayudar la relación socioemocional con los estudiantes, para que se sientan seguros y cómodos compartiendo con nosotros cómo responder. También tenemos Text a Tip y Safe2Help Illinois. Estas son herramientas de reporte, confidenciales 24/7. En este momento, en tiempo real, estamos investigando STOPit. Tendremos más información para ti en las próximas semanas. Y el Distrito 112 tiene una línea de información. Y cuando obtenga un enlace a estas diapositivas, puedes tener un enlace a estos recursos y te alentamos a que lo compartas con tus hijos. En cuanto al endurecimiento de las instalaciones, a la Fuerza de Tarea contra el Terrorismo de Illinois se le ocurrieron varias capas, cinco capas. Hay diferencias para los primeros años de primaria, hay diferencias para primaria, secundaria, secundaria, universidades, etc., etc. Pero quiero compartir contigo, la capa uno que habla de agregar videovigilancia, señalización para mensajería y comunicación, estamos mejorando nuestro trabajo en ese sentido este verano, a través de las escuelas. Segunda capa, cerraduras dobles de puertas exteriores. Así que tanto las puertas exteriores como las interiores requerirán un zumbido, eso está de vuelta en todos los campus. También vamos a trabajar con nuestro personal de primera línea para asegurarnos de que hagamos una pausa y nos detenemos para asegurarnos de saber quién viene y entendemos cuál es tu negocio, cuando entras en la escuela. Nos disculpamos de antemano por las molestias, pero sabemos que nos vas a apoyar. También disponemos de un sistema de gestión de visitantes donde comprobamos DNI o nombre y fecha de nacimiento. Esto es parte de la seguridad para los niños y nuestro personal. Tenemos vestíbulos de entrada segura, es la capa tres. La capa cuatro tiene múltiples componentes. Tenemos cámaras de vigilancia dentro y fuera, en todos los campus, con acceso remoto a la nube. Estamos haciendo actualizaciones en este momento. Tenemos un oficial de recursos escolares dedicado, un oficial de policía de Highland Park, especialmente entrenado, dedicado al Distrito Escolar 112. En áreas selectas, por obvias razones de seguridad, no te diré donde pero en áreas selectas tenemos materiales a prueba de balas y resistentes a las balas. Es simplemente un hecho de la vida. Nivel cinco, tenemos BluePoint Security. Entonces, al igual que tirarás de una estación si hay un incendio, aquí puedes sacar una estación si hay necesidad de la policía. También hemos mejorado completamente la seguridad en Northwood y Edgewood, como parte de la fase uno de nuestros planes de seguridad a largo plazo. ¿Qué otra cosa? Durante el año pasado y este verano, hemos invertido cerca de 2 millones de dólares para actualizaciones, para estandarización. También estamos considerando actualizar nuestra actualización de megafonía de intercomunicación. También estamos buscando expandir nuestro sistema de acceso a las puertas. Gente que estamos investigando, en este momento, Soluciones de Detección de Armas, seguridad armada, seguridad desarmada, vallado, cabinas telefónicas exteriores, cerraduras electrónicas de puertas. Con la planificación de la fase dos, del plan a largo plazo y el posible referéndum, contamos con planeamiento arquitectónico para seguridad y protección. Escribimos sobre esto en el Highlander de junio y julio que va para todos los residentes de Highland Park. Y también tenemos un compromiso continuo para asegurarnos de que estamos haciendo esto en nuestra planificación en este momento. Nos reunimos regularmente con los representantes policiales de Highland Park, Highwood, Deerfield, Riverwoods, Bannockbum. Todos los departamentos de bomberos, también, que alimentan al Distrito 113. Incluye personal del distrito escolar. Nos vemos en persona, nos vemos por zoom. Revisamos nuestros procedimientos de seguridad y nuestros planes de acción de emergencia. Algunos públicos, otros no. Hablamos de simulacros y protocolos. Recientemente, el 28 de junio, hubo una interdisciplinariedad regional reunión de seguridad del edificio. Y la última semana de julio, me reuní con nuestro consultor de seguridad de seguridad escolar, subjefe de policía en un área vecina y algunas otras personas. Estamos viendo un programa global de respuesta a la violencia. Estamos viendo el programa ALICE, alertar, bloquear, informar, contrarrestar y evacuar. El programa que tenemos corre, escóndete, lucha. También estamos buscando capacitación en trauma. EStás consciente, a través de las comunicaciones, he dicho que acabamos de recibir un entrenamiento reciente. Lo que puede o no saber es, hemos planeado el entrenamiento Stop the Bleed para nuestro personal este verano. Realizamos RCP, reanimación cardiopulmonar y DEA, formación en desfibrilador externo automático, está en curso. Acabamos de programar la capacitación del personal informado sobre trauma este verano, antes de que comience la escuela. Te envié una nota completa en julio y lo entiendo de nuevo, algunas personas pueden leerlo y entenderlo. Algunas personas no están listas para leerlo. Algunas personas quieren ciertas cosas. Sé que estamos en diferentes etapas y me importa. A todos nos importa. Por favor, comprende las escuelas estarán abiertas pronto. Tenemos nueva orientación para el personal, 15 de agosto. Tenemos otra reunión ordinaria de la junta escolar el 16 de agosto. Tenemos a todo el personal regresando con un día de instituto del psicólogo escolar, Dr. Doug Bolton el 22 de agosto. Tenemos a nuestros estudiantes regresando el 24 de agosto. Amigos, antes de cerrar, quiero recordarles, el martes 26 de julio, este próximo martes, tenemos una reunión de la junta escolar. Realizamos nuestras reuniones en vivo en persona, aquí en el Centro de Administración de Green Bay. Puedes verlo en vivo. Quiero aprovechar el momento, en tantas formas de comunicación como puedo decir, somos conscientes, escuchamos, nos importa. Tenemos un corazón, somos parte de nuestra comunidad. Estamos orgullosos de ser parte de nuestra comunidad. Estamos orgullosos de dar la bienvenida a casi 4.000 estudiantes en menos de un mes. Tenemos mucho tiempo, energía e inversiones y recursos financieros en seguridad y protección. Estamos escuchando sugerencias, miedos e inquietudes. Estamos investigando. Tendremos una actualización y una discusión el martes por la noche. Esto está en curso. Te agradezco tu apoyo del Distrito Escolar 112 de North Shore. Y gracias por contactarme a mí y a la Junta de Educación. Nuestro lema es inspirar, innovar y comprometer y continuaremos haciéndolo con amor, cuidado, compasión. También seguiremos recibiendo asesoramiento de expertos y hacer todo lo que podamos en este día y época para asegurarnos de que estamos dirigiendo las escuelas en un entorno seguro y ordenado. Muchas gracias. Mantente en contacto.

English Transcript

– Hi, this is Mike Lubelfeld, superintendent of schools. And I’m coming to you today with an update on safety and security. And before I go over the details, and before I get into the nuts and bolts, I want to let you know that we have a board meeting on Tuesday, July 26th. Our board meetings are here, live in person, at the administrative offices. We’ll also be doing a live broadcast, so people can watch live or after the fact. And I simply want to state, at the beginning, that I come to you, not only as your superintendent of schools and as an educational leader, but also as a human being and as a father of two teenage children, and a husband of my wife, and as someone who is feeling alongside of each and every one of you, with what we’ve been going through as a direct result of the tragic events of July 4th, here in Highland Park and also of events prior to that, from a safety and security perspective. I care, I feel, I empathize. I’m also here to do my job and share that with you. But I just want to point that out, that some of you are very ready to hear the messages that I have and some of you are very interested and up to date. Others of you, right now, you really can’t listen to this, and I respect that, I understand that. Others of you are focused on certain things or uni-focused. And wherever you are, that’s okay. I simply want to state, affirm, validate that there’s a lot of feelings and a lot of emotions. Here in the school district, I want to share with you what’s going on. And I know there’s a lot of information that I’ve shared via email and other areas. So today in this video update, it’s a preview of what we’re going to talk about on Tuesday. I say this with an open heart and an open mind, and beyond just being the superintendent, who’s got a job to do, but as a guy who’s feeling alongside with you, as a father and as a human being. You probably know this, but again, sometimes it bears repeating, security and safety has been an ongoing commitment in School District 112. Not just in reaction to events, and certainly not just in reaction to what we’ve just experienced as a community. But for many years. In 2014, we had an audit. 2018, there were safety vestibules implemented at campuses. And as we go on, we make improvements. In 2018, we started the ALICE training partnership, that I’ll talk a little bit more about. We also had another audit in 2018, and we’ve implemented those recommendations since then. In June, I asked the Board of Education to approve another security audit. It’s part of an ongoing commitment. We ask experts in the field, who know about this, what’s the right thing that schools, like ours, are supposed to do to make sure that we’re safe inside and outside? So again, June 14th, our board approved a contract with a gentleman named Paul Timm, who runs a company FEA. In 2022, this summer, we’ve been making other investments, that I’ll highlight in this brief video message, and some upgrades to our security in our facilities. But I also want to talk with you about some research, that I’m part of with our team, that we’re going into regarding various solutions. I don’t know if we’re going to implement these or if we’re going to implement them sooner or later, I simply want you to know we are listening and we are investigating guards, detection devices and other things. But I really want to share with you here, that the work we’re doing is not out in a vacuum. And we always look to the experts in the field. In this case, back in 2019, 2020, the Illinois Terrorism Task Force. And I hate to even say those words in a message to our community, but the Illinois Terrorism Task Force had a school safety working group. They made recommendations to people like us, who work in public schools here in Illinois. And I want you to know, and we’ll go over this in greater detail Tuesday night, but I wanted to take the point right now to share with you. And I don’t know if you’re going to get this in video, in audio or written form, we’re trying to get as many forms of communication as we can. But the experts in school safety talk about three ways to look at this, behavioral assessment, and that goes with the audits we did in 2014, 2018 and the audit we’re actually starting immediately right now in 2022, the concept of hardening of facilities, the physical security that I’ll talk with you about, and then something that I don’t know that I’ve talked with you about enough, and that’s the response protocol. So in today’s video message I want to share with you recommendations from experts. How does district 112 handle it now and what might we do in the future? You may know that we have behavioral assessment teams. Dr. Holly Colin, our assistant superintendent, overseas and runs it. You may not know that we have nearly 30 mental health personnel, social workers, psychologists directly devoted to providing social-emotional support in the school district. This year, we’re increasing the full-time equivalency for social workers across the district. And we’re adding a halftime, district wide, person in all schools. This is new. We’ll have at least one full-time social worker and not necessarily someone shared between campuses. In addition, we have on the books, inter governmental agreements, IGAs, with the Highland Park Police, the Highwood Police. We also work with the Lake County Sheriff and the Regional Office of Education. You may know we have a Highland Park police officer, a school resource officer, assigned to District 112. Some stuff I don’t know that we share enough with you, and I wanted to take the time here to share with you, we also have school wide strategies, restorative practices, deescalation, also relationship building. We use things like, Second Step, Calm Classrooms, Sown to Grow, CPI training or crisis prevention. We also have PBIS, positive behavioral intervention and supports. We have Leader in Me. We have Tiger Stripes, Panda STARS, Champs and other programs designed to help the social-emotional relationship with students, so they feel safe and comfortable sharing with us how to respond. We also have Text a Tip and Safe2Help Illinois. These are reporting tools, confidential 24/7. Right now, in real time, we’re researching STOPit. We’ll have more information for you in the next few weeks. And District 112 has a tip line. And when you get a link to these slides, you can have a link to these resources and we encourage you to share that with your children. In terms of hardening the facilities, the Illinois Terrorism Task Force came up with various layers, five layers. There’s differences for early elementary, there’s differences for elementary, middle, high school, universities, so on and so forth. But I want to share with you, layer one that talks about adding video surveillance, signage for messaging and communication, we’re upping our work in that regard this summer, across the schools. Layer two, exterior door double locks. So both the exterior and interior doors will require a buzz in, that is back in place at all campuses. We also are going to work with our frontline staff to make sure that we pause and we stop to make sure we know who’s coming in and we understand what your business is, when you come into the school. We apologize in advance for the inconvenience, but we know you’re going to support us. We also have a visitor management system where we check ID or name and birth date. This is part of safety for the children and our staff. We have secure entry vestibules, it’s layer three. Layer four has multiple components. We have surveillance cameras inside and outside, all across the campuses, with remote cloud access. We’re making upgrades right now. We have a dedicated school resource officer, a Highland Park police officer, specially trained, dedicated to School District 112. In select areas, for obvious security reasons, I won’t tell you where, but in select areas we have bullet proof and bullet resistant materials. It’s simply a fact of life. Level five, we have BluePoint Security. So just like you’ll pull a station if there’s a fire, here you can pull a station if there’s a need for the police. We’ve also completely upgraded security at Northwood and Edgewood, as part of phase one of our long range security plans. What else? Over the past year and this summer, we’ve invested nearly 2 million dollars for upgrades, for standardization. We’re also looking at upgrading our Intercom Public Address Upgrade. We’re also looking at expanding our door access system. Folks we’re researching, right now, Weapons Detection Solutions, armed security, unarmed security, fencing, exterior call boxes, electronic door locks. With phase two planning, of the long range plan and the potential referendum, we have architectural planning for safety and security. We wrote about this in the June, July Highlander that goes to every resident of Highland Park. And we’re also have an ongoing commitment to making sure we’re doing this in our planning right now. We meet on a regular basis with the police representatives of Highland Park, Highwood, Deerfield, Riverwoods, Bannockbum. All the fire departments, too, that feed to District 113. It includes school district personnel. We meet in person, we meet on zoom. We review our safety procedures and our emergency action plans. Some public, some not. We talk about drills and protocols. Recently, on June 28th, there was a regional interdisciplinary building safety meeting. And last week in July, I met with our school safety security consultant, deputy chief of police in a neighboring area and some other folks. We’re looking at an overarching violence response program. We’re looking at the ALICE program, alert, lockdown, inform, counter, and evacuate. Run, hide, fight program that we have. We’re also looking at trauma training. You’re aware, through the communications, I’ve said, we’ve just had recent training. What you may or may not know is, we have planned Stop the Bleed Training for our staff this summer. We do CPR, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and AED, automated external defibrillator training, it’s ongoing. We have just scheduled trauma informed staff training this summer, before school starts. I sent you a comprehensive note in July and I understand again, some folks can read it and understand it. Some folks are not ready to read it. Some folks want certain things. I know we’re at different stages and I care. We all care. Please understand, schools are going to be open soon. We have new staff orientation, August 15th. We have another regular school board meeting August 16th. We have all staff coming back with an institute day from school psychologist, Dr. Doug Bolton on August 22nd. We have our students returning August 24th. Friends, before I close, I want to remind you, on Tuesday, July 26th, this coming Tuesday, we have a school board meeting. We hold our meetings live in person, here at the Green Bay Administration Center. You can watch it live. I want to take the moment, in as many forms of communication as I can to say, we’re aware, we’re listening, we care. We have a heart, we’re part of our community. We’re proud to be part of our community. We’re proud to welcome our nearly 4,000 students back in less than a month. We have significant time, energy and financial investments and resources in safety and security. We’re listening to suggestions and fears and concerns. We’re doing research. We’ll have an update and a discussion Tuesday night. This is ongoing. I thank you for your support of North Shore School District 112. And thank you, reaching out to me and to the Board of Education. Our motto is inspire, innovate, and engage and we’ll continue to do so with love, care, compassion. We’ll also continue to get expert advice and do everything we can in this day and age to make sure we’re running schools in a safe, orderly environment. Thank you so much. Stay in touch.

Don’t Let Perfect be the Enemy of Good – #112Leads

“To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt

Schools in North Shore School District 112 are poised to welcome students and staff in less than one month. The first day for staff members is August 31 and the first day for students is September 3. This is not a normal back to school situation. Folks are not excited like they usually are. Folks are not eagerly awaiting the happy return to “normal”. Thanks to the novel coronavirus/COVID-19, there is no return to normal, and while we make every effort to be upbeat and optimistic, we’re not really “happy” right now.

In March 2020 our world changed in public schooling. The places where we facilitate learning, brick and mortar school buildings, were shut. Closed to students and staff, closed to learning and socializing. Closed to one of the foundational and fundamental cores of American culture. In-person learning and teaching is what we were all trained for. In-person schooling is all we have known since the one-room schoolhouses of the pioneer days. We know school … we know “normal”. We know our routines. Actually, we knew our routines. Nothing is like it used to be.

Just like that in March 2020, we stopped going to school. We stopped holding classes, clubs, sports, plays, musicals. It all just stopped. From March to June we just sort of hobbled through the crisis with society shutting around us. With jobs vaporizing. With socializing coming to an end – we just sort of “locked down”. Just like that – all that we knew came to a crashing halt. An end with little clear explanation. An end with little understanding. An end with little normalcy.

The school year ended in June. Then summer came and we as Americans are usually an optimistic lot … we looked for fun … but the 4th of July was pretty much canceled. Camps were scaled back. Recreation was frowned upon. Summer school was remote. Uh, what happened to our world? What happened to our society? Summer was not really summer … again, where was the happy recreation that we knew so well? It was gone too – just like normal schooling.

The fall back to school is always a fun, exciting, invigorating, and economy-boosting time … but not this year. This year it’s anxiety-provoking, uncertain, defeating, scary, and anything but normal. Not that we want to be normal or return to normal anyway … but what is happening? We close the schools in March – we’re opening again in September – right? Well, sort of. Not exactly, you see, the virus is still here. National leadership is absent, state by state leadership is mixed, we’re pretty much like we were as a people like we were during the Articles of Confederation. A fledgling nation with a rudderless ship and no real agreements at all. What happened?! We the people … in order to form a more perfect union — wait, don’t let perfect be the enemy of good …

I’m not even writing about the revolutionary call for an end to racism and a call to arms for anti-racism. The brutal murder of George Floyd in Minnesota roused to anger, despair, and energy of our nation and the world against injustice. This was all going on with the pandemic in the background.

I’m not writing about the complete and total failure of national leadership on putting forth a coherent plan or strategy to combat COVID-19/Coronavirus. I’m not writing about the begging that leaders like I have to engage in so state and local health officials will release/share/explain science and metrics. Public school leaders making community-based decisions about public health should expect – no should demand – no should be entitled to – guidance, coherence, and leadership from public health leaders – right?

At least we have local control in Illinois. School districts are governed by seven community members — UNPAID volunteers — who oversee the public trust, public funds, and professional staff in facilitating learning and teaching. In our local district, we have an excellent board.

In this post, I’m writing about an excellent planning process leading to a good plan for the restart of schools in my local school district, North Shore School District 112. The consulting group with who we engaged started our meetings with them using the quote that serves as the title of this post: “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good”. We are taking the reality of a dangerous and uncertain virus and public health response to it and we’re weighing the needs, rights, and contractual obligations we have to do our jobs in these uncertain times.

Even though we had more than 50 teachers, administrators, educational support staff, union leaders, parents, board members, students, & more engaged in planning, dialogue, discussion and review, we do not have a perfect plan. We have a very good plan. We do not have perfect answers. We do, though, have answers. We do not eliminate risk, but we do a heck of job in mitigating and reducing risk. Our board remains committed to the safety, health, and general welfare of its employees and its students and its community.

As a superintendent of schools, I cannot cure coronavirus – I cannot declare safety and all clear in this pandemic. I cannot fix the void in national and coherent strategies in global pandemic mitigation. I can, though, instill pride and care in the community I serve to the Board I serve and for the students and staff, I serve. In my slice of the world, with around 4500 people in my direct sphere, I can lead, plan, collaborate and implement a good set of plans that mitigate risks and bring some sense of enhanced normalcy to kids, their families, and our staff. Our plan is very good, it’s not perfect.

For the good of our calling as educators, we have students who only get one chance to be in X grade. In our system, it’s PK-8th grade. We must facilitate learning for them. It’s not ideal to be in the middle of a global pandemic. There is no easy choice to potentially put anyone in harm’s way. We have a moral obligation to teach and learn. We have contractual obligations to teach, work, and serve the community that supports us.

We can do this! We’re not perfect. We are very good. But we’re the public school. We have fire drills so we do not die in fire or smoke. We have severe storm drills so we do not die in tornados or severe storms. We have ALICE training so we do not die if a bad guy comes in to cause us harm. We mitigate risk through investments in safety and training. We practice drills so we can survive and thrive. We do not let fear close us down. We do not let a pursuit of perfect shut us down. We persevere. We lead. We serve. We honor our commitments.

We are a public school. We feed the hungry. We call the department of child and family services when we suspect abuse or neglect. We teach everyone. We serve the public. We deal with whatever comes our way. We love our students and we help them become resilient and strong leaders of tomorrow. We protect one another from the challenges of serving the public.

We are a public school. We are planning the reopening of schools in this most uncertain time with our chins up in this evil pandemic. We are outfitting our teachers and staff in masks and face shields. We are requiring face coverings for all students – no ifs, and, or buts. We are hiring specialists in cleaning and sanitizing. We are reducing the density of people to 50% or less at any one time; we are setting up 6ft social/physical distancing. We are investing in indoor air quality enhancements. We are doing anything and everything we can do to mitigate risk, reduce risk, and keep our staff and students safe. We may be afraid of the virus, but our calling is higher than fear. We may wish for a perfect plan, but we will not let perfect be the enemy of good.

We are the public school. We may have anxiety and concern and worry. We may hope that the public adheres to risk mitigation and tells the truth with the self-certification of their children. We may even be scared. We are essential, critical care workers. We shape the future. We teach children. We serve the public. We demand that everyone takes this virus and the need for risk mitigation seriously. Wear a mask. Maintain physical distance. Wash your hands. Protect us!

I’m proud of our Board of Education, our return to school planning teams with union leaders, teachers, staff members, parents, board members; input from students and local partners. We forged collaborative and inclusive planning where perfect has not been nor will it become the enemy of good.

We are the public school. We work, we serve, we educate. We are called to action and even in the darkest of times, we open the doors, we turn on the lights and we provide safety and consistency for the children we are employed and honored to serve.

We are about to start schooling in the most uncertain of times. I’m grateful to our courageous staff of more than 500, our student population of nearly 4000, and our communities who entrust us to fulfill our mission and vision. It’s not easy — nothing worthwhile ever is.

Learn more about our Return to school planning (at https://www.nssd112.org/domain/1243)

Learn more about Back To school on the Podcast Pages: Back To School Podcast #112Leads


Safety in North Shore School District 112

“It’s hard to beat a person that never gives up.”
– Babe Ruth

One of the high points about working in North Shore School District 112 is the community outreach and partnership among public, social services, and private providers in support of students and their health and wellness.

Recently Kevin Liebe, District 112 Director of Operations, Facilities & Transportation, and I made a presentation and held a q & a with the Highland Park Welfare Council.

This group of social service agencies, public service organizations, private foundations, and others united in service for the youth in our community invited us in to address and share school safety initiatives. We’re proud to share the slides we used as a backdrop to our conversation. Every day we work toward excellence in education, excellence in physical safety, and excellence in psychological safety!

D112 Superintendent Thanksgiving Message #112Leads

November 27, 2019

Sharing a note I sent to the North Shore School District 112 Community with greetings of holiday cheer and links to some recent success metrics in our District.

“You don’t owe me a thing, I’ve been there too

Someone once helped me out,

Just the way I’m helping you

If you really want to pay me back,

Here’s what you do

Don’t let the chain of love end with you” – Rory Lee Feek and Jonnie Barnett, performed by Clay Walker, The Chain of Love,1999

Dear North Shore School District 112 Community,

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday this year, I want to share a message of gratitude on behalf of the Board of Education and the leadership team of North Shore School District 112. In District 112, we have so much for which we are thankful. Each day, when I reflect on our service and work, I am so thankful. I am lucky to work with so many talented, professional and effective educators in such an engaged and thoughtful community!

We have accomplished so much in just over one year, we’re optimistic that our future is going to be bright and exciting! As you know, we are on a  journey of continuous improvement. The important work we do puts our children on the path to success. Some highlights of our successful work include the following:

To our community members who make supporting the local schools a priority and a focus – we thank you as well! We firmly believe in educating all children in a learning environment with high expectations. As the center of the community, all of the schools in Highland Park and Highwood are honored to Inspire, Innovate and Engage all students every day. We are grateful to our teachers, support staff, parents, grandparents, community members, administrators, and members of our Board of Education. 

Thank you,


Michael Lubelfeld Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

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

Launching a Podcast: Lighthouse 112 – #112Leads

“Success in life comes when you simply refuse to give up, with goals so strong that obstacles, failure, and loss only act as motivation.”
– Unknown

In North Shore School District 112, we’re committed to changing the narrative of public education to one of despair to one of distinguished excellence. In our historic school system, we’re proud of our mission, motto, and current reality.

Our mission is: The Mission of North Shore School District 112, a community partnership committed to a world ­class education, is to nurture every child to become an inspired learner, a well ­rounded individual and contributing member of a global community by striving for excellence within an environment that fosters innovation, respect, engagement and intellectual inquiry.

Our motto is: Inspire…Innovate…Engage

Our Current Reality is: Excellence in Education! The Future Starts NOW.

One of the main ways we can get our messages out is finding out where people are getting their information and meeting them there. We use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and now we’re launching Lighthouse112, a podcast! in this blog post I’m sharing a video promo about the Podcast as well as an embedded link to the first Podcast Episode.

With effort, commitment, courage, joy, appropriate risk taking, modeling the way, and inspiring a shared vision for excellence and innovation, we show the world that what we do matters on behalf of ALL students, staff, and one another.

We enter 2019 confident of our past, present, and future success! Success in financial prudence, fiscal responsibility and responsiveness. With a focus on guaranteed & viable curriculum, enhanced instructional methods, construction projects with insights and input from experts within the district and within the community – – and so much more!

North Shore School District 112 is back on the block as an Inspired, Innovative, and Engaged place to raise your children and educate our youth!

Please listen, share, offer feedback, and share the stories of education — the narrative of public education is positive, powerful, and here to stay!

Check a brief video promo for the Podcast, then take about 10 minutes and check out the Lighthouse 112 Podcast’s first episode.

Happy & Healthy 2019 to one and all!

Listen to the first Podcast Episode here:

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