Renewed focus on Student Learning #112Leads

“Success is not a result of what we do occasionally. Success is a result of the little things we do EVERY SINGLE DAY. Habits are a choice!”
– Alan Stein

This blog post is a reflection post as well as a foreshadowing of my personal professional focus for the coming year. Many of these notes have been jotted down over a period of time and I’m putting them all together while in the air on the way home from San Juan, Puerto Rico where my son accompanied me on a service trip organized by a fellow superintendent Jim McKay. Jim organized a similar trip last year, and based upon momentum and growth, he’ll be organizing more trips in the future. The service is powerful – the lasting legacy of service and respect for fellow educators and fellow students makes a deep mark in my heart and mind. The fact that I had the opportunity to share this with my son makes this year’s journey that much more powerful. In addition to service, my son and I had the good fortune to explore one of the United States’ oldest and longest lasting territories and people. The history of Puerto Rico is inexorably linked to the history of the United States.

So July 1st marks my 10th year as a public school superintendent, my 27th year as a public school educator, and my 2nd year at the helm in North Shore School District 112. As mentioned, I’ve recently returned from a service trip to a high school outside of San Juan, Puerto Rico with Relief Through Leadership; this was a follow-up to service that started last year in an elementary school outside of San Juan. I often write about “my why” or that which keeps me called to service, leadership, and community. In this blog post, I’ll share some reflections as well as some foreshadowing for the year ahead in my personal, professional, and District leadership roles! My “why” is to facilitate opportunities for leaders to support student voice and engagement.

Mission and service work is not only altruistic and ‘feel good ‘ work, it’s a humbling way to physically give and do for others so that I can show respect and goodwill through actions beyond words. That I can share this passion for service with my son is beyond humbling and honoring as well.

To watch my son sweep, scrape, clean, paint, help, serve, respect, and give simply for the purpose of giving and serving, not for any extrinsic reward, makes me beyond proud as a father and as an educator. Sharing this part of my world with him and further allowing me to explore my inner workings and my “why” and my purpose make me a better father and leader (I hope).


My personal educational philosophy statement is and has been:

Our society is complex enough to present many challenges to people as they pass from childhood to adulthood. It is my firm belief that a strong foundation in educational preparation will support a person’s quest for success and prosperity. My philosophical foundation holds that young people are our windows to the future; working with them has given me a unique vantage point to assess their goals, needs and abilities. I have been, and I remain committed to preparing our young citizens, and those who teach and support them, for their futures – and ours.

This year, like so many of my School Year New Years, will be focused on enhancing student learning and education in general. Since the mid 1990s when I first started teaching middle school social studies at Blackhawk Middle School in Bensenville (IL) Elementary School District #2, the foundation for my view of learning and teaching has been centered around student input, voice, choice, and engagement. In another blog post I have written about my why, what a superintendent actually does, and multiple metrics and measures for success. I firmly believe public schools owe a report on ROI (return on investment) to the public. I also firmly believe that taxes and other public monies that support public schools should be looked at as investments and not as costs.

Back to my “why” … in 1997 the Illinois Council for Social Studies published an article about an instructional model/unit planning guide I wrote for 8th grade U.S. history. In it, I shared the overall student outcomes (listed below):

Student Outcomes

The main outcomes include the following:

Actively engage the students in history.

Allow the students to work on teams and be accountable both individually and collectively.

Teach the students to view social studies critically and maturely (as more than just names and dates).

Permit the students to express themselves and communicate, according to their unique gifts and talents, up to their capabilities.

Apply higher order thinking skills.

Use research skills in a meaningful context.

Leave the unit with intrinsic motivation for the students to continue their inquire into their past.

This U.S. History workshop and those student outcomes (applied to various situations) would find its and their way into my career and various leadership posts over and over again, not just for the purposes for which it was designed (teaching students U.S. history) but for leading other educators and systems of educators to focus on outcomes for students (with students) at every juncture in their education.

In 2018, with fellow authors and superintendents Nick Polyak & PJ Capsey, we wrote Student Voice: From Invisible to Invaluable (2018 Roman & Littlefield) and this year that book will be published in Mandarin Chinese and sold throughout the Chinese speaking world thanks to a partnership between Rodman & Littlefield and Hohai University in Nanjing. My commitment to student voice is deeply embedded into my why as a leader.

The point here, though, is not to reminisce so much as to forecast and telegraph this year’s focus and energy. Student engagement. My leadership focus on student engagement is not a fad (that’s the main point I aim to share with the detailed background and description of 1990s-2018 examples). This year one of my aims is to facilitate leadership that elevates student voice and amplifies student engagement.

In our School District we are embarking on a much needed and long awaited facilities project to modernize both of the District’s middle schools. The design, the input from staff, community, parents, professional experts, and students is being built with the student in mind first and foremost. The social emotional learning needs and the social engagement and interaction needs drive the design process and decision making as we get closer and closer to construction.

Over the past few years, in my District some on the outside, and perhaps, on the inside too, have offered criticism at the administration’s focus on “bricks and mortar”. On the surface my administration’s focus on the bricks and mortar might seem to imply that the bricks and mortar are the focus. Nothing could be further from the truth. The bricks and mortar exemplify the student focused learning environments that react to modern learning environments designed to support modern learning. It’s an exciting time indeed in North Shore School District 112. I’m leading a modernization effort in concert with community input, the Board’s vision, and the needs of the students and staff in the communities we serve.

This year will be off the charts (in terms of success metrics) in our school district – please stay tuned in to our various modes of communication as I continue to share my why as a leader and where we continue to support learning and teaching as the #1 priority for our work on behalf of students, staff, community, and one another.

#112Leads is our hashtag and leading is what we all do regardless of title or role or position.

District Updates and Information – #112Leads

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

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

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

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

The measures approved are as follows:

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview with District 112 CFO Chris Wildman – #112Leads

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

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

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

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:

Board approves Phase I — #112Leads

“The principle is competing against yourself. It’s about self-improvement, about being better than you were the day before.”
– Steve Young

We have the authority to move forward as a school district with the Long Range Plan Phase I! In this blog post, I’ll share excerpts of recent communication efforts with respect to our Board of Education making an historic step forward on behalf of all students in the District. Briefly, what we’re doing is shown below:

  • Investments in Northwood and Edgewood Middle School 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
Snapshot of Phase I Impacts 2019-2023

 

 

 

 

 

Sharing excerpts from a letter to the community following the Board Approval

Haga clic aquí para ver la versión en español

Dear North Shore School District 112 Community,

On Tuesday, November 27, 2018, our Board of Education made history — they voted to move District 112 forward with resources at our reach (with no direct tax increase in the Bond/Interest fund for construction) based upon the best information available (10-25 years of planning) to impact all students.

The Board voted 7-0 to:

  • Approve Northwood and Edgewood Middle School construction projects with a total combined cost not to exceed $75 Million
  • Use up to $20 Million from fund balance (savings account)
  • Proceed with the sale of $55 Million Alternate Revenue Bonds
  • Authorize the superintendent to form a citizen advisory committee for construction projects.

From now to May 2019, the administration will be focused on opening up Elm Place as the temporary middle school location for Northwood’s students in school years 2019-20 and 2020-21 (the next two school years). This means we’ll be conducting information meetings (i.e. PTO groups, teachers, staff, students, community, neighbors, etc.). We’ll be working with the architects and engineers to refine plans and cost estimates for the projects. We’ll continue to Inspire…Innovate…Engage all students every day in every classroom…

We are not forgetting about our PK or K-5 schools; we’ll continue to maintain, keep safe, clean, and provide the highest quality education that we can. Subsequent phases of community engagement, Board direction, and construction projects will take place as they would, and as they do, in school districts around the nation. One step at a time we will upgrade, modernize, and improve the conditions in which we facilitate learning…

We will continue to communicate, seek input, make plans in the best interests of students, and work to ensure that North Shore School District 112 provides high-quality educational access for all students. Stay up to date with the Long-Range Plan at the Long-Range Plan web page.

Thank you for your flexibility, support, and communication through the upcoming changes and transitions.

With regards,

Mike

From our Press Release

“With the passage of Phase I of the Long-Range Plan, the district now has the opportunity and great responsibility to achieve excellence for all students starting with investing in modernized learning facilities at the middle schools,” said Michael Lubelfeld Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools. “I would like to extend a special thanks to our students, staff, community members, the long-range planning committee, and board of education for input, support, and leadership, which has made approval of Phase I possible. Your continued engagement will only be more important in the months and years to come. Let’s get to work as the Future is NOW!”

The tentative project timeline overview and draft concept drawing information is as follows:

Northwood (DRAFT Concept)


NORTHWOOD:

  • Bid on construction projects – by end of May 2019.
  • Close Northwood for construction – Summer 2019.
  • Start Construction – September 2019.
  • Transition Students to Elm Place Middle School.
  • Completion – January 2021.

EDGEWOOD:

  • Bid on construction projects – by end of October 2020.
  • Start Construction – Spring 2021.
  • Close Edgewood for construction –  Summer 2021.
  • Transition Students using Elm Place – TBD
  • Full renovation and upper floor additions – through summer 2022.
  • Review overall schedule to determine completion for Aug. 2022 or winter 2022.

 

Edgewood (DRAFT Concept)

 

FUTURE PLANNING NEEDS:

  • Review dollars, funding, and elementary school needs in the 2022-2023 school year (Planning Year)
  • Re-prioritize needs and appropriations for 2023 and beyond

“I would like to thank Dr. Lubelfeld and his administration for recommending a comprehensive vision for the future of District 112,” said Eric Ephraim, NSSD112 Board President. “I am proud to be part of a board that approved a significant investment in our schools.  These improvements will positively impact the learning experience for all of our students. This is an important milestone for our district and our community.”

Our aim is for regular, transparent, clear communications!

Click here to read the Long-Range Plan approval press release  

Click here to read the full Long-Range Plan Final Report

Click here to view “The Recommendation” a video that offers an overview of the plan

Visit www.nssd112.org/Long-RangePlanning for more information

Doing what I said I would do — leading for ALL –#112Leads

“A goal properly set is halfway reached.”
– Zig Ziglar

So on Tuesday, October 23, 2018, at the Regular Meeting of the Board of Education, I have the opportunity to publicly, formally and officially recommend the first phase of our school district’s new Long Range Plan.

I said the Future is Now and I mean it! Our future depends on us taking the first steps toward modernization and equity. We used Thought Exchange for Community Engagement and we asked for input on configuration, scenarios, needs of the school districts. We then asked about specific examples of 9-8-7 school models with various moves and changes. Exchange 1 yielded clear input and guidance for us (see image below):

The community — even those divided on opposite ends of issues — came to common ground on the fact that the school district needs to focus on Equity, Instruction & Curriculum, Teachers & Staff, 21st Century Facilities, and Consistent Curriculum. This data set is shown below:

We also engaged with scientific telephone polling as well as a second Thought Exchange. In addition we held multiple meetings, in public, live streamed, and video archived, with questions and answers and with a great deal of thought and analysis. The process for Long Range Planning since July 1st has been a great example of community engagement, leadership, planning, and now, recommended action.

On October 30, 2018, the state of Illinois will release the Illinois School Report Cards. This expansive data, on all 852 public school districts in Illinois, will share student performance, new quality ratings as per federal law, as well as other data to inform the public as to the school district and the individual school performance. We are committed to improving every score and every measure, from attendance to math proficiency and growth, for all of our students.

This Long Range Plan as well as ongoing curriculum & instruction efforts all support and complement the efforts and vision for North Shore School District 112 and its current 10 schools and its ultimate configuration of “X” schools to Inspire Innovate and Engage each and every child and staff member in a responsive, responsible and authentic manner!

The story of our District is exciting and the narrative is about to change for the better! Please follow along at #112Leads on Twitter for examples of our excellence and our return to the clear, coherent, consistent, and focused mission of equitable access to excellent educational opportunities for all; and the vision of high quality growth and learning for all children every day.

On Tuesday, I’m recommending that the Board of Education approve (at its meeting on November 27) a $75,000,000 investment in the complete and total upgrade and modernization of both middle schools in the district.

Like I pledged to the community at my February 2018 Meet and Greet, I am leading a process designed for equitable access to excellent educational opportunities for all children at all schools. We are starting with the first steps of change that will move the district and the communities it serves forward. Below I share excerpts from a local newspaper article highlighting my incoming messaging and vision about leading for equity:

From: http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/highland-park/news/ct-hpn-lubelfeld-outlines-d112-agenda-tl-0222-20180214-story.html

“…He reminded Lubelfeld about the divisiveness that previously existed over perceived or actual inequities between schools on the north and south ends of the district. “That perception, if not reality, has reared its ugly head over the past year or so,” said Henry, who asked Lubelfeld about his ideas to address that.

Lubelfeld said that once the district upgrades its facilities and implements its facilities plan, all buildings will be fresh and modern, and a school on one end of town will feel like a school on another end of town.

The schools also will offer the same learning opportunities for students, and the curriculum – whether in English or Spanish – will be uniform across the district and not specific to individual schools, he said.

“When you see equity of educational opportunity, and you see upgraded facilities that don’t break the bank – or anybody’s bank – things are going to be better,” the future District 112 superintendent said.

“We are not going to have any perceived losers or winners,” he said, adding, “We are all going to win.””

The Long Range Plan recommendation is posted on the District website: https://www.nssd112.org/Long-RangePlanning (https://www.nssd112.org/cms/lib/IL02217852/Centricity/Domain/1018/Long%20Range%20Plan%20Recommendation%20Oct%2023%202018.pdf)

Excerpts from the Long Range Plan Recommendation are shared in this blog post for reference:

“This Long Range Plan Phase I Recommendation is focused on equitable access to educational opportunities for all students in modernized learning facilities designed to support academic and social-emotional learning and growth. This is the first set of steps designed to improve education in North Shore School District 112 (NSSD112).

…our number one priority is to ensure that students achieve academically, socially, and emotionally. To achieve this goal, we have been focusing on our motto: Inspire…Innovate…Engage.  …This year’s intense focus on providing a guaranteed and viable curriculum for all students in all schools every day is the result of the district losing its way and steering into non-educational focus areas over the past 7+ years. … Phase I will impact all students in the school district since every child will attend Northwood or Edgewood before matriculating to high school.

We proudly serve the people of Highland Park, Highwood, members of the United States military on Ft. Sheridan, and residents of the the Town of Ft. Sheridan in Highland Park.  … Together with the Board we will lead the district back to a position of greatness and leadership. …

This first phase can be done without a tax increase to residents. We are quite proud that this first phase moves us ‘light years’ ahead of where we are; we are mindful that learning from past history, we cannot repair in one fell swoop that which has been broken over time. …

This first phase, to address long overdue needs at the two middle schools, will address and affect and impact long overdue improvements to educational quality, facilities, equity, student learning needs, and overall community growth at the middle schools. …

Even after spending around $75 million on both middle schools, the financial realities and needs will exist in terms of the district needing more than $70 million in remaining facility needs in the K-5 and PK school sites. With phase I, we are dedicated to creating the best middle school experience possible for our students by impacting the two facilities that will serve all of our students. …Right now we want to make significant investments into the middle school facilities where all children in the school district will attend prior to completion of their elementary school careers.

The revised, updated, draft Long Range Plan Phase I (to be formally recommended for approval to the Board of Education at the November 27, 2018,Regular Board meeting) calls for the following:

  • Major renovations at Northwood Middle School at a cost of approximately $40 Million (build out for up to 600 students)
  • Major renovations at Edgewood Middle School at a cost of approximately $35 Million (build out for up to 950 students)
  • Use $20,000,000 of the $49 Million fund balance
  • Use of $55 Million in Alternative Revenue Bonds 
  • Option Areas & Dual Language Potential Boundary Proposals
  • Plan to save/spend $3,500,000 a year on school upgrades, repairs, and modernization.

 

Long Range Planning — Coming Closer to Recommendations! Equity –#112Leads

The quote from Theodore Roosevelt captures the spirit of the opportunities we have in North Shore School District 112 at this time! We have the opportunity to do what we can (make changes to improve educational outcomes, facilities, and equity one step at a time), with what we have (accumulated fund balance savings as well as a limited bond issue paid for out of operation funds) where we are (in 2018 with 10 schools in operation for 3852 students grades PK-8).

Our Long Range Planning Process, documented and archived at the Long Range Plan Web Page shows a rich, dynamic, changing process where extensive and expansive community engagement, information review and analysis, historic and political and sociological impact study and review, and of course, financial impact analysis are about to yield a plan that will provide dramatic and profound impact on learning for more than half of our nearly 4000 students in grades PK-8 in a short period of time.

North Shore School District 112 was reluctantly created after the consolidation of three historic local school districts in 1993. In 2018, 25 years since the creation of the District, it is time for us to rise above historic disagreements, factual and mythological concerns, and other issues that have led to paralysis instead of progress.   ALL students matter, ALL schools matter, and ALL neighborhoods matter!

Our Long Range Plan is focused on equitable access to educational opportunities for ALL students every day with support for our teachers in modernized learning facilities designed to support learning and growth and social/emotional learning for ALL.

The revised, updated, draft Long Range Plan (to be formally recommended to the Board of Education at the October 23, 2018, Regular Board meeting) calls for the following:

  • Major renovations at Northwood Middle School (build out for up to 600 students)
  • Major renovations at Edgewood Middle School (build out for up to 950 students)
  • Budget dependent — major renovations at Red Oak Elementary School (closing and absorbing Sherwood Elementary School) build out for around 615 students.
  • Use of up to 75% of the $49,000,000 fund balance (savings account)
  • Use of up to $55,000,000 in Alternative Revenue Bonds (paid for over 20 years at $4,000,000 a year)
  • Still spend $3,000,000 a year from operations budget on school upgrades, repairs and modernization over time.

In the four years’ worth of this phase of the plan’s construction all of our school buildings will not be equal in terms of enrollment (nor have they ever been), we will start to achieve equitable facilities starting with both middle schools (where all children will attend) and possibly at one of our elementary schools (with an additional school closure). Over time we will continue to do what we can with what we have where we are (and will be).

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?

Sharing some materials related to equity/equality from Illinois education leaders Julie Schmidt & Lori James-Gross:

Over the last several years, the discussion of equality versus equity has been at the forefront of our reform work in Illinois. As a result, the development of the New Accountability Model, the Evidence Based Funding Model, and the writing of the ESSA Plan occurred with practitioners at the table. To further the conversation of equity, it becomes the work of district/school leadership to ensure that expenditure of funds is distributed equitably within the district and across all buildings….to address student performance through an equity lens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Embedding the Slide Deck with background information from the presentation shared at the October 4, 2018, Long Range Planning Committee Meeting:

Update – Long Range Planning Focus on our WHY – #112Leads

“When fear knocks, let passion, faith, responsibility, or courage answer the door.”
– Unknown 

On September 12, 2018, the Superintendent’s Long-Range Planning Committee (LRPC) held its second meeting. At this meeting my team and I brought our focus back to the “WHY” the long-range planning process is needed and the “HOW” we can move forward on our journey. Please take some time and review the presentation document as well as the video (both are embedded in this blog post).

The information gives an update as to where the LRPC committee is at in its process; and it lends clarity and background to the latest proposal. Remember that the LRPC advises the superintendent and then the superintendent/administration makes a recommendation to the Board of Education.

The next meetings related to the Long Range Plan for North Shore School District 112 are as follows:
Sept. 24 – LRPC (to be streamed live 5:30-7:30)
Oct. 2 – Board of Education Finance Meeting
Oct. 4 – LRPC (to be steamed live 5:30-7:30)
Oct. 9 – Board of Education Facilities Meeting
Oct. 23 – Formal Presentation to the Board – “the Long Range Plan”
Nov. 27 – Board action on the Long Range Plan

For the past 7+ years our school district community has been through a great deal — we are turning a corner and we are on the cusp of greatness once again. Hang in there – stay focused, let’s work together and let’s restore our historic district to prominence and excellence.

Educational Focus – As a public school district, our number one priority is to ensure that students achieve academically, socially, and emotionally. To achieve this goal, we have been focusing on our motto: Inspire…Innovate…Engage.  All NSSD 112 initiatives focus on our motto in order to ensure excellence. This year’s intense focus on providing a guaranteed & viable curriculum for all students in all schools every day is the result of the district losing its way and steering into non-educational focus areas over the past 7+ years. We’re correcting our course and we’re supporting our excellent teachers and support staff as we operate as a school system as opposed to a system of schools.

Financial Planning and Stewardship – As a public school district, we are mindful that strong schools build strong communities, and that our source of revenue comes from our stakeholders (parents and community). We are committed to building a strong school district while being fiscally responsible. In the slide deck embedded below, and in the video (also embedded below the slide deck) we are sharing clear actionable financial planning in support of the Long Range Plan. Our plan involves spending 75% of current fund balances (savings account/”rainy day funds”) as well as issuing NON-REFERENDUM bonds called Alternative Revenue Bonds (guaranteeing the payment over 20 years from operations), closing two additional schools and enhancing educational and operational efficiencies to sustain our future.

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 improvement of education. 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.

Equity/Equality

Our aim is equitable educational opportunities for every child — equitable, not necessarily equal — as shown in the image, equity is fair, equality is same. Sometimes … all the time … individuals need what is best for them. My dream is 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.

An analogy I use from time to time about personalized learning experiences is related to shopping. In the example I ask the audience to consider the shopping experience for deodorant (personal hygiene). In the men’s deodorant aisle at the local grocery store, for example, there are multiple brands, various scents, time delayed action, shapes, sizes, etc. The objective is for personal hygiene in this example, basically use deodorant as part of our cultural norm to present a pleasant aroma. The objective is for the grocery store to meet the various, individualized, personalized and differentiated deodorant tastes and preferences and interests and uses for the individual shopper. So if a man (in this example) wants to present the aroma of sandlewood ice or fresh sport lime, he has the ability to meet the objective of presenting a pleasant aroma, and he gets to use his unique interests, skills, abilities, etc. An equal deodorant shopping experience would have one brand with one size and one aroma — yes, everyone meets the objective of presenting with a pleasant aroma — but an equitable deodorant shopping experience is tailored to the individual’s interests, desires, preferences, background, etc. In order for us to provide educational opportunities that celebrate and enhance the unique and valuable differences our students bring forth every day we need to make multiple changes and significant improvements all across the district. I have faith in our teachers, staff, administrators, board, parents and community.

Our journey continues and I am convinced that our complex work will lead to positive powerful results for our students, staff, and community!

Slide Deck Presentation Shared at the September 12, 2018, Long-Range Planning Committee Meeting

Video of 2nd Long Range Planning Committee Meeting

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