Superintendent Community Update – Audio Dec 3 – #112Leads

“Embrace the pace of your own journey.” – Unknown

Dr. Lubelfeld is checking in with the community on the “running of the schools” in a Pandemic. Reminders of the challenges we’re facing in this public health crisis along with reminders and clarifications about the D112 plan, communications, and science behind decision making. Tune in for a quick 15-minute update! Visit https://www.nssd112.org/domain/1243 for ongoing updates on the reopening of schools in District 112.

Spanish Transcript (English follows)
– Escuchan Lighthouse 112, el podcast del superintentende del distrito escolar correspondiente al Distrito Escolar 112 de North Shore. Somos ocho escuelas preescolares públicas del distrito en el Northeast, Illinois. Este podcast es una fuente de información sobre el distrito escolar, sobre su liderazgo, su profesorado, sus estudiantes y su comunidad. Es otra fuente de información actualizada y una fuente adicional de noticias sobre el cambio de narrativa en la educación pública. “Inspira, innova e involúcrate”.

– Hola, este es el superintendente Mike Lubelfield y tengo una actualización y un mensaje para la comunidad con relación a la educación en el Distrito Escolar 112 de North Shore. Hoy es jueves 3 de diciembre, el distrito 112 ha permanecido en una pausa de adaptación con relación al aprendizaje a distancia desde el 21 octubre debido a la tasa de incidencia de casos de COVID-19 y a la recomendación que hace el Ministerio de Salud Pública del Condado de Lake sobre la educación a distancia. Así que hoy vamos a revisar algunas de las razones de por qué estamos aquí. Y también hablaremos un poco sobre lo que estamos haciendo y hacia dónde vamos. Y les daremos una actualización. Además, el 15 de diciembre habrá una transmisión en vivo de la reunión del consejo escolar, en la que daremos una actualización oficial al consejo y a la comunidad. Ésta es una revisión general de lo que se verá ahí y daremos información. Regresemos a la primavera pasada. La pandemia y los cambios educativos comenzaron en marzo. Llevamos casi 10 o 11 meses en cuanto a la experiencia con el coronavirus, COVID-19. Hay cinco retos clave que hemos identificado, reconocido y comunicado con relación a la reapertura del otoño de 2020. Y estamos muy orgullosos de que, de hecho, reabrimos de forma exitosa un modelo de aprendizaje que tenía aquí a los niños y al profesorado solo por ocho semanas. Y, de nuevo, desde el 21 de octubre hemos cambiado al aprendizaje a distanca. Pero nos enfrentamos con un reto de salud pública, no es un reto educativo, no es un reto económico, a pesar de que la educación y la economía han sido puestas a prueba. Se trata de un desafío a la salud pública. Y falta mucho por aprender sobre el virus del COVID-19, su transmisión, su forma de manifestarse; su tratamiento y su cura aún son una incógnita. Hay una falta datos científicos revisados por sus pares, porque esto continúa, es en tiempo real. Los distritos escolares, como el nuestro, han estado preparados para responder a varios escenarios. Respondimos con actividades a distancia híbridas y con actividades completamente realizadas a distancia. Ahora estamos analizando los datos, las cifras y cuáles son nuestras opciones para seguir adelante para lo que queda del año escolar, claro. Otro desafío ha sido la falta de acuerdos. Desafortunadamente no existe un precedente. Desde 1918 no se había dado un acontecimiento de esta magnitud y a esta escala. Por lo que ninguno de nosotros ha recibido orientación con datos científicos y médicos revisados por pares, meditados y aprobados. Esto está limitado y en cambio continuo. Se ha interpretado de muchas formas distintas, tanto médicamente, como políticamente y de otras formas. El resultado es que las decisiones han sido cuestionadas e interpretadas, y, desafortunadamente, han sido polarizadas a través de la realidad política de nuestro país. Además, no ha habido tiempo suficiente. Estamos realizando estos cambios y tomando estas decisiones en tiempo real. Nos ocupamos del liderazgo mientras enfrentamos el reto de la salud pública y la falta de acuerdos. Estoy muy orgulloso de nuestro consejo, y estoy orgulloso de nuestros maestros; estoy orgulloso de la administración, de los padres de familia, de los estudiantes, de la comunidad; estoy orgulloso de nuestro personal de apoyo educativo, porque hemos trabajado juntos y hemos hecho cosas que no habíamos hecho antes y que no sabíamos que podíamos hacer. Asimismo, otro desafío relacionado con la reapertura y el desarrollo son que las decisiones se adoptarán por escrutinio. Todos nuestros planes, no sólo en el distrito 112, sino también en los distritos vecinos, como Illinois, que para bien o para mal tiene 853 distritos escolares públicos. De alguna forma, nos han dejado solos y hemos tenido que hacerlo por nuestra propia cuenta y nuestras decisiones han sido escrutinizadas y estamos realizando el escrutinio de nuestras propias decisiones. Esta es una versión radical de la antigua decisión de cierre por nieve. Cuando todos estaban mirando distintos pronósticos meteorológicos y tenían retos en aquella época. Hace un año, unos de mis colegas diría que la decisión de cierre por nieve era como desvelarse y sacar una D-, porque sin importar lo que hacías, se hacía el escrutinio. Hoy no es distinto, y lo comprendemos. Uno de los grandes desafíos que seguimos enfrentando es que las circunstancias siguen cambiando, pero estamos trabajando en ello. Lidiamos con el desafío de la reapertura, y por eso reabrimos. Determinamos nuestros principios rectores que ahora ya saben cuáles son: la comunicación segura y el aprendizaje. Seguimos transmitiendo datos de información de casos que recibimos, porque dimos nuestra palabra de comunicarnos de forma transparence. En lugar de enviar una carta cada vez que existe un caso, cada día hemos enviado una sola carta cada día cerca de las 3:00 de la tarde con la información que tengamos disponible. También hemos estado trabajando con el Ministerio de Salud Pública de Illinois, con el Consejo de Educación del Estado de Illinois, etc. Estamos haciendo lo posible por aprender lo que podamos. El distrito 112 ha invertido millones de dólares para reducir el riesgo, para crear medios más saludables y seguros; y también da cuenta de las necesidades curriculares para trabajar durante de esta pandemia. Hemos invertido recursos en los planes de estudio, en la enseñanza y en los materiales de aprendizaje desde casa. Los hemos estado encuestando, y por eso les damos las gracias por darnos sus opiniones, las necesitamos. Recibimos sus opiniones, trabajamos con ellas, y luego compartimos con ustedes lo que aprendimos de ellas. Y seguimos invirtiendo para hacer el aprendizaje lo mejor que podamos. Nos importa completamente lo que aprenden nuestros niños. Nos importa completamente el concepto de “pérdida de aprendizaje”. Recuerdo, y se lo recuerdo a todos, que la pérdida de aprendizaje se da a nivel internacional y nacional. Por lo que nadie quedará rezagado. Todos vamos a trabajar juntos para recuperar lo perdido. La lectura de nuestros datos iniciales muestran que no tenemos, necesariamente, pérdida de aprendizaje y de lectura. Sí hay una pérdida de aprendizaje matemático y estamos trabajando en ello. Estaremos realizando algunos exámenes adicionales y seguiremos informando sobre esto mientras seguimos trabajando hacia adelante. Le recuerdo a todos que tenemos un comité con más de 50 personas interesadas que nos ayudan con nuestros programas. Los programas y la programación son increíbles y complejos y han dado como resultado la realización de un modelo de aprendizaje de forma coherente y consecuente. Tenemos cinco horas de enseñanza. Algunas horas se dan en vivo, y otras se dan por medio de deberes en casa. Y seguimos aprendiendo, nos informamos de lo que hacen otras personas, somos oportunos con ello, y lo replicamos, aprendemos de los éxitos y los fracasos de otros. Lo que hacemos y funciona bien, lo replicamos. Lo que se hace y necesita reelaborarse, intentamos rescatarlo, arreglarlo y cambiarlo mientras lo mejoramos. Tenemos una oficina virtual dedicada al aprendizaje emocional y social. Y si no sabían de esto, les pido que contacten al trabajador social escolar en su escuela, al psicólogo educativo de su escuela, al maestro de su escuela, a cualquiera que pueda brindarle ayuda para conseguir los recursos sobre cómo ayudar a su hijo, cómo ayudarle a su familia durante esta etapa. La salud mental emocional es de gran importancia y contamos con recursos sobre esto. Si no saben cómo pueden encontrarlos, por favor, contáctenos y les ayudaremos. Con respecto al modelo de aprendizaje a distancia, los estudiantes realizan el 100 % del aprendizaje a distancia. Este modelo se da cuando las escuelas están físicamente cerradas. La consecuencia ha sido que los estudiantes están aprendiendo cinco horas al día desde casa. Si presenta algún problema o necesita ayuda, contacte al maestro de su hijo, contacte al subdirector, al director o la oficina distrital. Estamos aquí para ayudarle. Nuestro profesorado trabaja desde casa o en las instalaciones escolares. Llevamos a cabo censos cada día para saber cuántas personas están en las instalaciones y en cualquier momento podríamos tener el 20 o el 30 % de nuestros trabajadores en las instalaciones. Hemos mencionado que es posible que miembros importantes podrían regresar a las instalaciones durante este giro del aprendizaje a distancia. Y actualmente contamos con algunos psicólogos, ortofonistas y estudiantes que trabajan mediante evaluaciones cara a cara y en grupos reducidos. Observamos las métricas y somos un organismo de aprendizaje que se basa en la ciencia. Seguimos las directrices de salud pública de los expertos de la salud pública. Con una tasa de 14 contagiados o menos, podemos realizar el modelo de aprendizaje híbrido Con 7 o menos, se puede asistir a al escuela. Ahora mismo, con esa escala, tenemos 58.3. Por eso necesitamos que las métricas cambien, que la propagación en el comunidad cambie. Asimismo, observamos el Ministerio de Salud de Illinois y tenemos un tasa de positividad de 12.8 %. La ciudad de Nueva York cerró con 3 %, y algunas personas están regresando de nuevo. Illinois tenía un umbral de 8 %, y ahora es de 12 %, y estamos a 12.8; y el CDC en 5 %. Repito, estamos observando todos los datos lo mejor que podamos, lo más rápido que podamos y de la forma mejor examinada antes de permitir el regreso de la gente. Si ven Highland Park, con el código postal 60035, está a 33.2/100,000, según un punto determinado en el tiempo y Highwood, C.P. 60040, tiene 85.2. Repito, el Condado de Lake está a 58.3, y necesitamos estar a 14. Todas estas cifras son muy negativas, y estamos tratando de reducirlas, como todos los demás. Usen cubreboca, guarden la distancia, lávense las manos. Una noticia alentadora y grandiosa, es que están aprobando las vacunas, y pronto estarán a disposición de la gente, de forma literal. Primero se podrá vacunar a los adultos y así ayudará a bajar las cifras, lo cual será útil. Una de las razones por las que no establecemos una fecha del calendario para decirles cuándo regresaremos al modelo de aprendizaje híbrido es porque el virus no sabe leer ni conoce un calendario. Hay una evaluación que se realiza. Si hay una forma de traer de regreso a otras personas, es algo que estamos trabajando con nuestro equipo. Estamos viendo la posibilidad de realizar ensayos de vigilancia pero todo esto se está investigando febrilmente de forma alterna. No hay una fecha del calendario que prediga cuándo regresaremos. Seguimos con el aprendizaje a distancia. Estamos trabajando con el grupo director del distrito para poder conocer, modificar, validar y ajustar, para ejecutar y supervisar. Y nuestro principal interés, mientras seguimos con el aprendizaje a distancia es revisar el aprendizaje y el compromiso de nuestros estudiantes. Les agradecemos que sean nuestros padres auxiliares y nuestros socios desde sus casas. Les agradecemos que todos puedan ver que en unos meses hemos cambiado todo el sistema de aprendizaje. Estamos haciendo un excelente trabajo y lo estamos evaluando. Y lo que no estamos haciendo correctamente, estamos trabajando para cambiarlo. Es difícil realizar rápido los cambios, pero lo hacemos lo más rápido que podemos.. Nuestro objetivo, mi objetivo personal, mi deseo, es es que regresemos de manera física a la enseñanza tan pronto que podamos. Por ahora el COVID-19 aún sigue con nosotros. Lávense las manos, usen cubreboca, guarden la distancia. Gracias por ser una comunidad increíble a la que puedo servir. Gracias por comprender la situación no es sencilla. Comprendemos, reconocemos y sentimos empatía por los cambios en nuestras vidas. Por favor, visiten nuestro sitio web: www.nssd112.org y vayan a la información que está de nuevo disponible para ver todas las presentaciones del consejo y los videos. Por favor, vayan a “Long Range Planning” y vean el increíble éxito de la escuela secundaria de Northwood que abrirá al inicio del 2021. Por favor, reconozcan y celebren la primera premiación del National Blue Ribbon School que se le da a Indian Trails School. Y, por favor, sepan que nuestro lema “inspira, innova e involúcrate” se realiza cada vez que estamos presentes, bajo el modelo híbrido o de forma remota. Estamos comprometidos con ustedes. Regresaremos para mostrarles una presentación completa el 15 de diciembre. Y les repito, por favor, comuníquense con nosotros si tienen preguntas o algún problema. Cuídense y que tengan salud. Gracias a todos. Gracias por escuchar Lighthouse 112, el podcast del superintentende del distrito escolar correspondiente al Distrito Escolar 112 de North Shore, para las escuelas preescolares públicas en Northeast, Illinois. Este podcast es una fuente de información sobre el distrito escolar, sobre su liderazgo, su profesorado, sus estudiantes y su comunidad. Es otra fuente de información actualizada y una fuente adicional de noticias sobre el cambio de narrativa en la educación pública. “Inspira, innova e involúcrate”. Este podcast se puede escuchar en Anchor, Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, Pocket Cast, RadioPublic, Stitcher y todo el tiempo se agregan otros recursos. Por favor, vuelvan y suscríbanse con nosotros para mantenerse actualizados con lo que sucede en el Distrito Escolar 112 de North Shore. También visiten nuestro sitio web www.nssd112.org. Muchas gracias por escucharnos y por su interés.

English

– This is Lighthouse 112, the podcast from the superintendent of schools in North Shore School District 112. We’re a pre-K through eight public school district in Northeast, Illinois. This podcast is a source of information about the school district, it’s leadership, it’s teachers, it’s students and it’s community. It’s another source of updates and an additional source of news regarding the changing narrative of public education. Inspire, innovate, engage.

– Hello this is a superintendent Mike Lubelfeld with an update and a message to the community with respect to schooling in North Shore School District 112. Today is Thursday, December 3rd district 112 has been on an adaptive pause to remote learning since October 21st due to the instance rate of cases of COVID-19 and the recommendation of the Lake County Department of Public Health for remote learning. So today I’m going to review some of the reasons as to why we are here and also talk a little bit about what we’re doing and where we’re going to give everybody an update. In addition, on December 15th there’ll be a live broadcast school board meeting where I’ll provide a formal update to the board and the community as well. This is a snapshot or a preview to that with some information. So, let’s go back to the spring. This pandemic and the changes to schooling started in March. We’re going on 10, 11 months now in terms of this experience with COVID-19 coronavirus. There are five key challenges that we’ve identified, acknowledged and communicated with respect to the reopening in the fall of 2020. And we’re very proud that we successfully did in fact, reopen on a hybrid learning model that had children and staff here for just under eight weeks. And again, since October the 21st we’ve pivoted to remote learning. But we’re dealing with a public health challenge, it’s not an education challenge, it’s not an economic challenge though education and the economy have both been challenged, this is a public health challenge. And much that’s remaining to be learned about the COVID-19 virus, its transmission, its manifestations and its treatment and cure are unknown. There’s a lack of vetted scientific peer reviewed data because this is going on now, it’s in real time. School districts like ours have been ready to respond in a variety of scenarios. We responded in hybrid learning and we responded with fully remote. And now we’re exploring the data, the numbers and our options moving forward for the remainder of the school year obviously. Another challenge has been the lack of agreement. Unfortunately there’s no precedence. It’s not been since 1918 that a public health event of this magnitude and scale has occurred. So none of us have been guided by vetted and thought out and peer reviewed medical and scientific data. It’s limited, it’s constantly changing, it’s being interpreted in many different ways, medically, politically and in another ways. The result is that decisions have been questioned and interpreted and it’s been polarized through the political reality of our nation sadly. In addition, there’s been lack of time. We’re making these changes and making these decisions in real time. We’re doing the leadership while we’re being faced with a public health challenge and lack of agreement. And I’m very proud of our board, I’m proud of our teachers, I’m proud of our administrators, proud of our parents, I’m proud of our students, I’m proud of the community I’m proud of our education support personnel because we’ve banded together and we’ve done things we’ve never done before we never realized we can do. In addition, another challenge that has been related to the reopening and its ongoing is decisions will be scrutinized. All of our plans and not just in district 112 but in neighboring districts, Illinois has 853 public school districts for better or for worse. We’ve all sort of been left to lead on our own and these decisions have been scrutinized and we’re scrutinizing our own decisions. This is an extreme version of the old calling a snow day when everybody was looking at the different meteorological forecast and being challenged back in the day. A year ago, colleagues of mine would say calling a snow day it was like pulling an all nighter and getting a D- ’cause no matter what you did it was scrutinized and this is no different, we understand that. One of the greatest challenges that we continue to face is that the circumstances keep shifting, and we’re working through that. So we dealt with the challenges to reopening, we reopened. We’ve established our guiding principles that you know by now, our safety communication and learning. We continue to communicate case information data that we receive because we’ve pledged to communicate transparently. Instead of sending a letter each time there’s a case, we’ve reduced that to one letter every day around 3:00 PM with whatever information we have. We also have been working with Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois State Board of Education, so on and so forth. We’re doing all we can to learn what we can do. District 112 has invested millions of dollars for risk mitigation to create safer, less unhealthy and healthier environments and also account for the curricular needs of working through this pandemic. We’ve invested resources in curriculum in teaching and learning materials at home. We’ve been surveying you ongoing and thank you for continuing to give us input. We need the input. We take that input, we work behind the scenes and then we share with you what we’ve learned from it and we continue to invest in making learning the best we can make it. We absolutely care about what our children are learning. We absolutely care about this concept known as learning loss. I remember and remind everybody that learning loss is international and national. So no one is going to be behind. We’re all gonna work together to recoup that. Our initial reading data indicates that we do not have reading learning loss necessarily, we do have mathematics learning loss and we’re working on that. We’re gonna be doing some additional testing and we’ll continue to report back as we continue to work forward. Reminder everyone, that we have a 50 plus person stakeholder committee that help with our plans. The plans and planning are really awesome and complex and have yielded a coherent and consistently implemented learning model. We have five hours of instruction, some of it is provided live, some of it is provided as homework. And we’re learning, we’re finding out what other people are doing and we’re appropriate, we’re replicating it and we’re learning from their successes and failures. What we do that works well, we replicate. What we do that needs help, we try to help it and fix it and change it as we improve it. We have a virtual office for social and emotional learning. And if you’re not aware of this I beg of you to contact the school social worker at your school, the school psychologist at your school, your school’s teacher, anybody in the school that can help you get the resources for how to help your child, how to help your family through this. Emotional mental health is of the greatest importance and we’ve got resources. If you don’t know how to access them, please reach out and we’ll help you. On the remote learning model students are experiencing 100% remote virtual learning. It’s been used when the schools are physically closed. Our impact is students are at home learning for five hours a day. If you’re concerned or you need help, contact your child’s teacher, contact the associate principal, the principal, contact the district office. We’re here to work with you. Our impacted staff members are either working at home or on campus. We take a census each day as to how many folks are on campus and at any given time we may have 20 or 30% of our workforce actually on campus. We’ve mentioned that possible cords can be brought back on campus during this remote learning pivot. And currently we do have some psychologists, speech language pathologists, students working through evaluations one-to-one and in small groups. We are looking at the metrics and we’re a science-based learning organization. We follow the public health guidance of the public health experts. At 14 or less we can do the hybrid learning model. At seven or less we can have full in person. Right now on that scale we’re at 58.3. So we do need metrics to change, community spread to change. In addition, we look at the Illinois Department of Health and we’re at 12.8% positivity rate. New York City closed on scale at 3%, they’re bringing some folks back. Illinois had an 8% threshold, now it’s a 12% threshold and we’re at 12.8 and the CDC at 5%. So again, we’re looking at all of the data as best we can, as quickly as we can and as best vetted as we can before we can bring folks back. If you look at Highland Park, zip code 60035 33.2/100,000 at a snapshot given point in time and Highwood 60040 85.2. So again, Lake County is 58.3, we need 14. So all of these numbers are pretty bad and we’re trying to mitigate this as everybody is. Wear a mask, watch your distance, wash your hands. Encouraging news, great news is that vaccinations are being approved and soon we’ll they’ll get into people’s arms, literally not figuratively. And we can get adults vaccinated first and then that’ll help put the numbers down and that’ll help. One of the reasons we don’t use a calendar date to tell you when we’re going to pivot back to hybrid learning is because the virus doesn’t know how to read and doesn’t know a calendar. We’ve got evaluations going on. If there’s any way to slowly bring back others, we’re working with our staff, we’re working with the possibility of surveillance testing but all of these things are being researched feverishly behind the scenes. There is no calendar date to predict when we’re coming back yet. We’re still educating in remote learning. We are working with the district management group to learn and modify, validate and adjust, and act and monitor. And our first major focus while we’re in remote learning is to check the learning and the engagement of our students. We appreciate you being our adjunct faculty parents and our partners at home. We appreciate that everybody realizes we change an entire learning system in months and we’re doing very very good work and we’re measuring it and what we’re not doing well, we’re working to change. It’s hard to quickly scale change so we’re changing as fast as we can. Our aim and my personal goal desire philosophy is to get back to fully in person schooling at such time as we can. Right now COVID-19 is still with us. Wash your hands, wear a mask, watch your distance. Thank you for being an amazing community to serve. Thank you for understanding that this is not easy and we understand and acknowledge and empathize with the changes to our lives. Please visit our website at www.nssd112.org and go to the reopening information for all of our board presentations and videos. Please go to long range planning and look at the incredible success of Northwood Middle School which will be opened early in 2021. Please acknowledge and celebrate the first ever National Blue Ribbon School, Indian Trails School. And please know that our motto of ‘inspire, innovate, engage’ is whether we’re fully in person, in hybrid or remote, we’re committed to you, we’ll come back with a full presentation on December 15th and as always, please reach out with any questions or concerned and stay safe and healthy. Thank you everybody.

– Thank you for listening to Lighthouse 112, the podcast from the superintendent of schools in the North Shore School District 112 for Pre-K public school district in Northeast Illinois. This podcast is a source of information about the school district, it’s leadership, it’s teachers and students and its community. It’s another source of updates and an additional source of news regarding the changing narrative of public education. Inspire, innovate, engage. This podcast can be listened to and heard on Anchor, Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, Pocket Cast, RadioPublic, Stitcher and other sources are being added all the time. Please check back and subscribe to us to stay current with what’s going on in North Shore School District 112. Please also visit our website at www.nssd112.org. Thank you so much for listening and for your interest.

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

 

Impact of a Teacher – #112Leads

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
– Benjamin Franklin

With this school year coming to a close on June 4, 2020 I was reflecting on the power of a teacher, and in February 2017 I shared a similar story about one of the most impactful educators in my life. I thought it would be a good time to reflect on Dr. McFarland and share his impact on me again as we prepare to bring the most unprecedented school year to a close! Originally shared in February, 2017 I shared some thoughts about how a college professor from an undergraduate course on the American Presidency from many years ago impacted my life and my professional journey. A journey that currently has some powerful meaning/relevance with our district’s move to remote e-Learning. With this blog post, I’ll draw the connections!

As a former 6th and 8th grade social studies teacher (U.S. history, civics, law, world history, reading, etc.) I have a deep interest in our nation’s culture, history, values, beliefs, celebrations, etc. In addition, I hold a degree in political science, so I have been a “policy wonk” for many years, and to this day I follow the news, politics, etc.

While I was a student at the University of Illinois at Chicago, UIC, I had some of the best teachers in my life. The late Dr. Twiley Barker Jr., Dr. Kevin Lyles, and Dr. Andrew McFarland, to name a few. During a course on the American Presidency, POLS 229, an event took place in my life that impacted my philosophies, beliefs, and actions as a teacher and educational leader over the past 30 years. In some ways it likely shaped my philosophies and impact as a teacher and as an educational leader so many years later. Right now there is a current challenging transition from the abrupt changes to remote e-Learning and how teachers have to “report progress” in this unusual time. Looking back at my personal educational history, I’m reminded of why meaningful feedback, teacher /student relationships, and the mastery of content and the flexibility of instruction supersedes any percentage grade or mark in terms of meaningful feedback and communication about learning.

With this blog post, I’m reflecting on the congruity of an impactful event in my life during an undergraduate course, and the realization that this impactful event has impacted my beliefs whether I consciously knew about it or not. This is an “aha” moment for me – this is partially why I so strongly believe the growing pains and transition are worth the time, effort, energy, and extra work involved in pupil progress reporting.

 


Change is hard (I’ve written a lot about the change process) – Unlearning is hard (I have also written about this concept).

My college professor Dr. Andrew McFarland gave me a chance in the “real world” -when I was in college. Because he knew me, he knew what kind of student I was – he knew my passion for political science he treated me like I was more than a percentage or a score. Dr. McFarland also taught so that students would learn. He had high standards for each and every student and he held himself to high standards too.

So what is this all about? What is this big event that caused me an “aha” moment? Dr. McFarland called me one night while I was eating dinner with my parents; it was 5:30pm – I don’t know how I remember this fact, but I do. This event took place in 1988 or 1989 and I still vividly remember our call!

He called me that night because earlier that day when I took the final exam, I inadvertently forgot to answer one or two additional questions. If Dr. McFarland graded or assessed based on the “old” system I would have received an F. Dr. McFarland, though, was using standards based learning and instruction (whether he or I knew it or not). He called me on the phone and asked me to respond to the final exam question prompts – for 30 maybe 60 minutes. Because he cared about learning – not about percentages or “harsh” lessons, I was able to demonstrate mastery and competency of the American Presidency course (in which I did earn an A, not only because of what I learned, but more importantly, because my professor cared about discovering what his students knew).

He assessed my knowledge acquisition in an alternative learning setting because my teacher was more concerned about assessing my learning and mastery than he was about issuing a grade or a percentage. Had this caring professor used traditional methods I would have failed the exam. In my opinion and in my experiences, standards based grading, reporting, learning, and assessment actually prepares people for real life by holding them accountable to learn. Thank you Dr. McFarland!

Our district will transition through this remote e-Learning to next year (whatever that may be … ideally safe, healthy, and in person). Through this transformational experience for our schooling and for our society, we have all shown how quickly we can unlearn when we must, we have shown how we can relearn schooling, and we will show that we can learn how to create a new reality as necessary.

Dr. McFarland unlearned old school and rigid grading and assessment practices and I consider him to be remarkable and gifted, he was a leader who impacted me and my practice. Let’s use modern instructional strategies to maximize the impact and effect of learning whether we’re in person or remote, or in a hybrid combination of both. Let’s help people unlearn practices that make no sense other than to have been used in their past school experiences.

Preparing students for the future world requires teaching them content that is meaningful in learning environments that are powerfully purposeful and full of clear, regular, meaningful feedback and opportunities to learn and demonstrate learning. As we bring the school year to a close, we are reminded of the impact and power of a teacher and his or her feedback. Thank you to all educators — and thank you again, Dr. McFarland!

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,

Mike

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

Survey Says — Ask, Listen, Plan, Engage, Monitor — #112Leads

Team effort goes vain when individual effort is in the wrong direction.”
– Ram Mohan

https://goo.gl/images/AVZPDW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This blog post content is also published in the Highland Park Neighbors magazine December 2018 issue on page 11 (Best Version Media)

Survey Says …

In North Shore School District 112 we take community engagement and stakeholder input very seriously!

As part of the Long Range Planning process, the District worked with a telephone research partner (Fako group) as well as with an online community engagement service called Thought Exchange to solicit community input and thoughts. People are encouraged to visit the District’s Long Range Planning Web page for more information: https://www.nssd112.org/Long-RangePlanning Those efforts in addition to the 25 member Superintendent’s Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC) gathered for several months to review, refine, draft, question, and advise the superintendent of schools.

In addition to community engagement for facilities and finance, we seek input on a regular basis to learn and grow as an organization. We believe that what you respect you inspect. We respect input and voice and we take action on an ongoing basis.

In addition to the statewide survey of school climate and learning conditions, 5Essentials Survey, we also conduct additional engagement surveys. It is essential for the leadership team to know what families think, what students think, and what teachers and support staff members think about the school district.

This year we conducted an INSIGHTeX organizational survey of all employees, and we have set goals by school and administrative department to act on and improve culture. The image shows that 72.41% of the 438 employees who took the survey indicate they are completely engaged and satisfied in the work they do in the school district. That survey measures culture on 15 dimensions (including communication, pride, growth, mission, quality, communication, recognition, etc.)

Starting in December, the District will be sharing the results of the student and family engagement surveys. Student voice, in addition to teacher and parent voice, is instrumental in leading the district on behalf of and with the people most impacted. Sometimes school districts overlook the voice and input of students; in our District we make it a priority to engage and involve students in our leadership. To that end, any facilities upgrades or improvements will include student and teacher voice (as well as community input) as part of the refinement process.

In addition, the District will also share the results of the Bright Bytes innovation and creative practices survey. The results of these surveys continue to drive change, improvement, and quality in our local school system. The Bright Bytes survey asks questions related to four major areas of technology impact: Classroom, Access, Skills, Environment. By learning what our stakeholders perceive, we’re able to see if there are gaps between perceptions, reality, and desired outcomes. Using survey data and the voice of the people so to speak, allows the District to lead in an inclusive and open manner.

District 112 sent information to students, teachers, and parents for completion of the Illinois mandated 5Essentials survey during the first week of December. The Illinois 5Essentials Survey provides a comprehensive picture of a school’s organizational culture in an individualized report measuring five “essentials” critical for school success:

  • Effective Leaders
  • Collaborative Teachers
  • Involved Families
  • Supportive Environment
  • Ambitious Instruction

From the U Chicago Impact site: Twenty years of research at the University of Chicago in more than 400 schools has shown that schools that were strong on at least three of the 5Essentials were 10 times more likely to make substantial gains in improving student reading and math than schools that were weak on three or more of the Essentials. Those differences remained true even after controlling for student and school characteristics, including poverty, race, gender, and neighborhood characteristics.

The survey was deemed an important component to balanced accountability under the state’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan by stakeholders, which resulted in state legislative changes requiring the survey annually. Principals and superintendents will receive 5Essentials Reports in March 2019. Survey results will also be reported publicly on the 5Essentials reporting site in Spring 2019 and on the State School Report Card website in Fall 2019. On behalf of the Illinois State Board of Education, UChicago Impact is providing Illinois 5Essentials to schools statewide.

Student Voice Article Published in DisruptED TV Magazine – #ASKEM

In Chapter four of our latest book Student Voice: From Invisible to Invaluable (2018 Rowman & Littlefield), Nick Polyak, PJ Caposey, and I start the chapter with the following quote from Dorothy Day: “The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us.” (page 55). In chapter four we also feature the voice of high school student Kyla Guru.

In this blog post, I am sharing an article published today that shares excerpts of the conclusion of our book and highlights the special end of chapter feature we created: ASK’EM. It’s an acronym for what we suggest throughout the book about how leaders can incorporate student voice … just “ask’em”. The letters represent Ask, Support, Know, Empower, & Monitor, and throughout the book we share examples, suggestions, calls to action, etc. that leaders (and readers) can implement to incorporate student voice in their schools, organizations, communities, and settings! At the end of our book we have a special offer from human capital management firm HUMANeX Ventures for every reader to take a free Sensory Preference Inventory™.

From the book: “Continued learning and development starts at the foundation – first understanding HOW you learn best. Having a clear understanding if you are a VISUAL, AUDITORY, or KINESTHETIC learner can greatly impact the way in which you learn and grow in your life and career.”

In future blog posts I’ll share local efforts at gaining Student Voice through the Student Engagement Survey with HUMANeX Ventures (a survey being administered to all students in our district from grades 3-8 this month). For now … here is the article just published (as always, comments are encouraged and welcomed):

DisruptED TV Magazine
Student Voice: From Invisible to Invaluable

By Michael Lubelfeld, Nick Polyak & Phillip J. ‘PJ’ Caposey

As educators we are engaged in listening every day. As superintendents we’re also engaged in leading every day. As leaders we have tested theories and approaches to systems change for many years in suburban and rural PK-12 school systems. Recently we started writing as a way to reflect, share messages of success, and in an effort to inspire others. One of our latest projects Student Voice: From Invisible to Invaluable (2018 Rowman & Littlefield) underscores the value we place on student voice in the overhaul and transformation for education in our nation. In this article we’re sharing excerpts from the preface of the book that include a call to action.

Student Voice: From Invisible to Invaluable is about why today’s leaders need to connect with students and how to accomplish true success by giving students a voice in their own education. The premise of this book is that student voice is often, for some inconceivable reason, invisible.

The failure to systematically include students and listen to their viewpoints is a contributing factor which explains why schools have changed little since the 19th Century. This book will explore many topics ranging from digital citizenship to teacher evaluation, and we sincerely believe that by leveraging the voice of students as collaborative leaders, true school and educational transformation can and will occur.

The book is based around two central questions:

● Why should today’s school leaders engage student voice from a leadership perspective as collaborators in leading?

● How can today’s school leaders engage student voice from a leadership perspective as collaborators in leading?

Core beliefs that drive this book are largely based on research. These beliefs include that the single most impactful person in a student’s learning journey is the teacher. The second most impactful is the principal (Marzano & Waters 2005). If the teacher is a manager and the principal is a leader, congruence in the approaches of engaging the student in his own learning must exist. Additionally, confidence is necessary to amplify student voice in our schools.

We submit that taking student voice from invisible to invaluable reflects the choices made by confident leaders. Leaders in the classroom (teachers) and leaders in the office (principals) and leaders in the central office (superintendents) must exist at all levels to truly listen to student voice and for school evolution and even transformation to be possible. Throughout this book, we will continually work to convince the reader of why this paradigm shift leading to an increase in student voice is necessary and give tips and techniques on how to get the work done.

Our leadership journeys allow us to test theories of leadership and put into practice beliefs, hypotheses, thoughts, and actions. While we lead with other adults and members of the typical school community: teachers, board members, administrators, and parents, we have engaged students in leadership as well. We share our successful leadership experiences and examples of making student voices invaluable in actual leadership and governance.

This transformation is truly a win-win for students and leaders. Educators must simply do two things to begin the paradigm shift necessary to take this forward. The first is easy — believe in the brilliance of your students. The second is hard — relinquish some element of control. This book will help walk you through both of these steps while focusing on precise areas of potential change within your classroom, school, or district.

EDUCATIONAL CONTEXT — Why the book is necessary

Around the nation many leaders are implementing various forms of personalized learning. The synergy between student learning and growth and teacher direction and knowledge grows exponentially when student voice is real, true, and authentic. Long gone are the days where compliance rules the priorities of teachers and schools. We will examine personalized learning and how student voice can be amplified through personalized learning environments.

Our vision is for student/learner centered systems that we’re compelled to create. As Mike and Nick wrote about in The Unlearning Leader: Leading for Tomorrow’s Schools Today (2017 Rowman & Littlefield) we all must unlearn so that we can learn and relearn — change is not an optional process.

Today’s leaders, teachers, students, pretty much all constituent stakeholder groups, must embody the 4Cs: communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. Teaching students what it means to “be at the table” and teaching students how to think “outside of the box” opens up pathways never before seen or applied in modern school systems.

These pathways can be replicated and refined with student leadership experiences in “real life” through their schooling experiences. Student voice does not “just happen;” the success of this fundamental shift in how we ‘do school’ is dependent upon shared vision, deliberate engagement, and by teaching students how to be a part of the process. We share examples of how and why the future belongs to the students and the present-day leaders can do much to set them up for success.

With this type of engaged and partner leadership we will allow future generations to bear witness to transformed systems of schooling and society. Long gone are the days of “sage on the stage” — in order to support the “guide on the side.” Leaders can engage students and establish new norms so their input becomes invaluable. This is a call to action book for all people interested in transforming education and to improving the world.

The learning purposes and unique features of this book include:

● Establish, propose, and reinforce the “How” and the “Why” for including student voice in leadership decision making

● Provide leaders with actionable case studies and examples from the field for implementation

● Model and share new ways of incorporating authentic student voice

● Reflection questions that will generate thought and conversation around each chapter

● End of chapter feature ASK’EM, an actionable acronym, at the end of each chapter to both reinforce chapter concepts and examples as well as a call to action: Ask, Support, Know, Empower, Monitor

● Stop-Think-Act prompts, questions, problems of practice

● Commentaries and essays from students and educational leaders throughout the book. This provides additional voices on the topics on progressing with student voice from invisible to invaluable.

About the Authors

Michael Lubelfeld, Ed.D. @mikelubelfeld

Michael Lubelfeld, Ed.D.-Mike currently serves as the superintendent of schools in North Shore School District 112 in Highland Park, IL. His blog is at http://mikelubelfeld.edublogs.org/ He can be found on Twitter at @mikelubelfeld and he is the co-moderator of #suptchat — the superintendent educational chat on Twitter. He and Nick Polyak authored the 2017 Rowman & Littlefield book The Unlearning Leader: Leading for Tomorrow’s Schools Today. Mike has been married to his wife Stephanie for the past 15 years and they have two children.

Nick Polyak, Ed.D. @npolyak

Nick Polyak, Ed.D.-Nick is the superintendent of Leyden Community High School District 212 in Franklin Park, IL. He can be found on Twitter at @npolyak and he is the co-moderator of #suptchat — the superintendent educational chat on Twitter. Nick has been married to his wife Kate for the past 17 years and they have four children.

Phillip j. “PJ” Caposey @MCUSDSupe

Phillip J. “PJ” Caposey, Ed.D.-PJ is the author of three books and is a sought after speaker and consultant specializing in school culture, principal coaching, effective evaluation practices, and student-centered instruction. PJ currently serves as the Superintendent of Schools for Meridian CUSD 223 in Northwest Illinois and is married to his wife Jacquie and has four children. PJ can be reached via twitter @MCUSDSupe.

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