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:

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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