The COVID-19 Impact on District 112 – #112Leads

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.”
– Ryunosuke Satoro

Since March 12, 2020, our school district has been engaged in the COVID-19 global pandemic. Our schools first closed their doors on March 13, 2020, then Illinois closed all in-person schooling on March 17, 2020. Our teachers, support staff, administrators, parents, students, community, everyone, marshaled new resources for learning, teaching, and living, and our lives changed forever. Our Teaching & Learning team met with teachers and administrators and made learning and teaching plans to get us through and ahead of each and every step of the journey we were thrust into. Schooling for the 2019-2020 school year ended on June 4, 2020, with revolutionary transformative impacts still yet to be fully understood or realized. The District pushed out online resources at a pace and scope and scale never before seen. The District pushed out devices to children and families at a pace and scope and scale never before seen – and the District’s four priorities led us through the next phases. 

During this phase, the March – June phase, I was honored and humbled to be asked to join and take part in multiple interviews regarding the District 112 story, some shared below:

Learning Through Leading Podcast   Edmentum – Video Interview Anchored In Education – Podcast Chip Southworth – Podcast Interview NLU Video Webinar Blog Talk Radio Interview  

In July, the District ushered in its first-ever virtual summer school and the data showed effective impact! The District assembled a 50+ person stakeholder team to plan for the restart of schools with the support and advice of the DMGroup from Boston, MA. We planned last summer for the possibility of three options, fully in-person schooling, fully remote schooling, and Hybrid schooling.  In September, and through October, the District implemented the well thought out plans for Hybrid Learning (full plan and many communication tools linked https://www.nssd112.org/domain/1243).

On October 21, and through today (and ongoing) the District is engaged in full remote learning. We have measured learning (using the NWEA MAP tests) we have measured Remote Learning (with our partner ECRA Group assessing teachers/staff, parents, and middle school students in May and October), we measured staff culture (with our partner Humanex Ventures), we measured family engagement and student engagement (with our partner Humanex Ventures), we take what works and replicated and improve upon it and we take what doesn’t work and fix it (example with middle school remote learning moving from all asynchronous to all synchronous).

So, when will we reopen our schools …. when will we resume the Hybrid Learning Model and even the fully in-person model? Early on in this journey, we yielded public health expertise, advice, and guidance to the public health experts. The Lake County, IL Health Department (an agency of the Illinois Department of Public Health) has taken a lead in Illinois (and in the nation) with parsimonious guidance and leadership to the schools in Lake County, IL. Our District follows their advice. Our plan has been clearly laid out and communicated since August.  The hyper significant community spread of COVID 19 caused us to close the doors to our school buildings and transform learning and teaching from Hybrid to remote.

We will open our schools again when we can. There is no calendar date for reopening since the virus, hyper significant community spread, and the advice of public health experts will guide our decision making. We investigate widespread surveillance testing as an enhanced risk mitigation, we investigate how to get the vaccines to turn into vaccinations in the arms of our staff and community, as well as the efficacy of the millions of dollars in already introduced risk mitigation in our schools in an effort to get our kids and staff back on campus.

I want our kids back in school and our doors open again as soon as practical and permissible. As the winter holiday season falls upon us, I call for grace, compassion, kindness, love, and care as we bring this year of years to an end – farewell 2020 …. and as we welcome 2021 with open arms and HOPE and ANTICIPATION!

I know this to be true, our schools WILL be open again to in-person learning in 2021 – I do not know the dates for the transition, but I know we will create a new and improved learning system that innovates, inspires, and engages each child, each staff member, and each member of the community. Where we go from here is up to us. How we react to life is up to us. How we model humility, grace, resiliency to our children is up to us!

Stay tuned … our journey is just beginning!

 

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

 

Insights from Students in a Bio Tech Program- #AASA_DigitalConsortium Summer 2019 visit – Nashville, TN

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
– Nelson Mandela


Listen to a recent episode of my podcast featuring question and answers from Tennessee high school students in Wilson County, just outside of Nashville — they are part of a multi-year pilot of Bio Tech programming. Their insights are outstanding; they highlight the impact of their teacher (and all teachers in general) and they offer ideas and insights for promoting and enhancing science and innovative learning!

One of the professional groups to which I belong and have a leadership role is the American Association of School Administrators (AASA). The AASA offers leadership support to superintendents and school district leaders around the USA and in Canada. One of the leadership development cohorts in which I have participated and for which I serve as the national co-director is the Digital Consortium. The July 2019 visit was to the Nashville, TN area of Wilson County. There we toured a brand new middle school (state of the art), we met with the leaders of the Chamber of Commerce, and we interacted with teachers and students. In this podcast, we’re meeting with high school seniors and we’re discussing their Bio-Tech coursework and pathways and the impact that this innovative programming has had on them and their futures.

The purpose of the AASA Digital Consortium is to support school district administrators as they scale successful models in support of engaging, effective learning experiences using digital media in order to be the leading national voice for digital innovation in our nation’s public schools.

Focus Areas:

Experience innovation in schools, technology, and industry partnerships Engage/observe best practice in digital leadership Reinforce purpose and outcomes for the Digital Consortium Advance AASA’s goal to reinforce equity for all students
Essential Questions:

How do your programs prepare students to be successful in their local and/or global economy? How can technology pair with the concept of personalized learning to change teaching and learning in our schools? How can opportunities to innovate for both children and adults strengthen the local economy?

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

Measurement of Success – #112Leads

Let’s all strategize how the job can get done, versus informing each other why it can’t be done.”– Melissa Gonzales

So what is success? How do we know we are successful? What are the elements of success? What are the metrics? How do we show a positive return on investment (ROI) or academic return on investment (AROI)? How does the public know that its public school system is successful? How do superintendents show success in leadership? These are some of the questions I’m pondering and writing about today!

Nations measure success through economic measures like jobless rates, gross domestic product, imports/exports, crime, etc. For-profit businesses measure success via profit margins, efficiencies, production, etc. Libraries measure success using measures such as book checkouts and attendance at events. Doctors measure success using diagnosis, recovery, health metrics. Success for someone improving their health can include frequency of exercise, weight loss (or gain) muscle mass. Success for a NASCAR racer can be speed, time in the pit stop area, fuel efficiency. There are many ways we can measure success! According to the dictionary (online via Google), success is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.

Spring (which is finally here in the Northern Hemisphere of Earth) is the time in Illinois public education for evaluation, annual reviews, testing, essentially the time we measure our success. We measure the accomplishment of our aims and purposes.

As a system and systems leader, as a school superintendent, as a public school leader, it’s an ongoing effort to implement a multi-faceted measurement of success and to report and share what success actually is with respect to our public school district.  When looking at the success of our school system, we look at multiple measures and metrics.  We look at culture and climate, we look at engagement, we look at satisfaction, we look at creativity, we look at growth and gains and we also look at student achievement. These are many of the metrics and measures we use to measure success. We analyze these measures to determine if we are fulfilling our mission, vision, goals, aims, and purposes.

During the year we take surveys, report the data gleaned from the surveys, make and share action plans related to the surveys, measure again – see where we gained, see where we still need to gain and “rinse and repeat”. Our organization is committed to continuous improvement and the collection, sharing, review, interpretation, and acting on data is a core part of our journey of continuous improvement.

Examples of our success measures include Organizational Culture (as shown in the image, 72.41% of all employees who took the survey (72.41% of 438) report that they are highly engaged and satisfied working in North Shore School District 112. This is a baseline metric since it’s the first report on the 15 dimensions of culture measured. For example, we’ll now measure our success in terms of organizational culture using subsequent administrations of this survey instrument (next will be in April, following in August, etc.). We measure, share data results, plan actions around dimensions of culture, re-measure, re-share and continue the process of improvement. 

Our continuous improvement model does the same for student engagement, implementation of the 4Cs (Communication, Creativity, Critical Thinking, Collaboration). Student achievement, student growth, financial projecting, fulfillment of plans, etc.

We look at growth and gain metrics (how well did our students show growth from point a to point b to point c) and how well our students perform on achievement tests. We then measure or compare their success to national, state, local “norms” — what are other students scoring on these tests or assessments as compared to our students similarly situated.

Back to the original questions posed in this blog post … So what is success? How do we know we are successful? What are the elements of success? What are the metrics? How do we show a positive return on investment (ROI) or academic return on investment (AROI)? How does the public know that its public school system is successful? How do superintendents show success in leadership? These are some of the questions I’m pondering and writing about today!

In North Shore School District 112 we measure success through various metrics (many shared in this post). We take the data gathered and make people-centered decisions to Inspire…Innovate…and Engage our students, staff, administrators, Board members, community, and the world!

Please follow along with our journey:

If you have not yet downloaded the District app, please do so. If you have not yet viewed the curriculum department informational video, please do so. If you have not yet listened to the Lighthouse 112 Podcast, please do so too – you can listen on multiple platforms (iOS (Apple), Google, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, and more). Be sure to check out #112Leads on Twitter. Our Long Range Planning web pages have been updated as well!

 

An Interview with Dr. Kevin Ryan – Podcast Episode #2

“For our own success to be real, it must contribute to the success of others.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt

Sharing podcast episode 2, an interview with Dr. Kevin Ryan, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching & Learning!

Podcast Episode 2 – An Interview with Dr. Kevin Ryan, the Assistant Superintendent for Teaching & Learning. In this episode, we’re going to learn more from Dr. Ryan about the top initiatives in the Department of Teaching & Learning as well as a preview of a major recommendation he’s about to make to the superintendent and the Board of Education regarding instructional coaches.

This podcast is from the superintendent of schools in the north shore school district 112; a Pk-8 public school district in northeast Illinois. It is a source of information about the school district, its leadership, its teachers, its students, and its community. It is another source of updates and an additional source of news regarding the changing narrative of public education. Inspire…Innovate…Engage

 

The podcast is available on multiple formats:

On Spotify

On Stitcher

On Radio Public

On Pocket 
Casts

On Breaker

 

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:

End of Year Highlights from D112 – #112Leads

“Success doesn’t come to you, you go to it.”
– Marva Collins

2018 was a big year for North Shore School District 112! With this blog post, I’m thrilled to share some highlights of 2018 as we look back on many exciting accomplishment with an eye on our future. The Future is NOW in North Shore School District 112.

  • The Long-Range Plan Phase I for the renovated and modernized middle schools in the District
  • All schools rated commendable or excellent by Illinois
  • Establishment of a guaranteed & viable curriculum for all children in all schools (new training, materials and expectations)
  • Renewed focus on communication and publicity of the changing narrative of the school district – The Future is NOW!
  • Reaching a five-year collective bargaining agreement with our North Shore Support Staff Association recently was a “win-win” for both parties! (all non-teaching and non-administrative staff)
  • Continuing our 1:1 journey by being able to provide iPads for Kindergarten – 2nd grade students!  It’s been so nice to see how iPads have helped achieve facilitate high levels of engagement and success for teachers and their students.
  • Upgraded safety and security internally and externally at all school sites, including a Visitor Management System and safety vestibules.
  • We implemented Too Good for Drugs, a youth substance use prevention program, at all schools in grades 3-8.
  • We trained all mental health professionals in the school district on a threat assessment protocol to keep our schools safe.
  • We attained a AAA bond rating from S&P Global Ratings. A AAA bond rating illustrates the exceptional degree of creditworthiness and fiscal aptitude of the district.
  • We have continued our excellence in transparency, financial reporting and budgeting; winning awards such as the ASBO Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting, for twenty-two successive years, the GFOA Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for twenty years, the ASBO Meritorious Budget Award for the past seven years.
  • Fiscal Sustainability –  We have maintained a 4.0 Financial Profile Score from the Illinois State Board of Education – every year since the fiscal year 2012.
  • We have engaged with the award-winning K12 architectural firm, Wight & Company to develop our long range facility plan.
  • We successfully transitioned to a new food service contract with OrganicLife at Northwood, Oak Terrace and Red Oak.
  •  We joined the Northern Illinois Health Insurance Program, a health insurance cooperative made up of over 30 Illinois school districts.
  • Highland Park Community Foundation awarded Northwood Social Studies teacher, Mr. Jon Mall with the Highland Park Golden Apple Award.  The selection committee considered nominations for middle school educators and the finalists for the award also included Northwood teachers Margaret Delligatti and Sarah Holsen.  All teachers were honored at the North Shore School District 112 Board of Education meeting May 15th.
  • Northwood hosted the 8th annual Day of Giving event including an inspirational assembly featuring Mr. Angel Roman from the Boys and Girls Club of Lake County.  Mr. Roman encouraged the young people in the room to give back to their community; and told them they could make a meaningful difference. Following the assembly, the students got to work setting up the Northwood gym for the Day of Giving on December 1.  Students organized clothes, toiletries, food and other necessities donated by families across District 112. Other students made blankets, cards and gift bags for local families. The 112 Education Foundation is proud to support this service-learning program.  We extend our thanks to Northwood teachers, Constance Cunningham, Ida Fiore and Caitlin Lucci, for their tremendous effort to bring this opportunity to students at Northwood and Edgewood.
  • Northwood Junior High School is the proud host of the District 112’s annual Robot Revolution Tournament and Northwood teacher Bill Steinbach is the Robot Revolution Grant recipient.
  • The Green Bay Early Childhood Center began implementation of the Math Learning Center Bridges Pre-K Program. This program directly aligns with the kindergarten programming, and will allow for Green Bay students to begin kindergarten familiar with both the format and content of math in kindergarten.
  • Jolly Phonics, a multi-sensory phonics program, was introduced in all monolingual sections of preschool. The program was paced with the intention that students will begin kindergarten with an understanding of the letter sounds. Students in Dual Language programming are focusing on sounds that are the same in both the English and Spanish languages.
  • An academic enrichment program was launched in the spring of 2018, allowing additional intervention outside of the school day for children identified as below age expectations in mathematics. In the spring of 2019, the enrichment program will include intervention in both pre-literacy and mathematics.
  • Successfully integrated Dual Language students, staff and families from Sherwood Elementary and Red Oak Elementary to form the new Red Oak Dual Language Academy.
  • Made the Top Ten in Lake County for attendance in the annual Lake County Attendance Week competition.
  • Applied for and received a Title I grant to support our struggling learners. We used these funds to begin an after school Academic Extension program. We also purchased the Imagine Learning math, Spanish and English intervention programs that are used during Academic Extension and also during the school day.
  • Successfully implemented our Student Success Block, a daily 30-minute intervention and enrichment program for all K-5 students.
  • 44% of Red Oak students exceeded national norms for growth in reading and math as measured by NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) winter assessment.  
  • Implemented a new Student Leadership group. Students initiate multiple service projects and have a voice in school spirit days and celebrations.
  • The proportion of students meeting or exceeding standards jumped from 65 percent to 84 percent in one year at Ravinia School as measured on PARCC.
  • Implemented a 5th grade Leadership program. Students participate in mentoring K-2 students within our school; Junior Coaches program for  5th graders that focuses on leadership and facilitating recess for  K-2 students. (Indian Trail & Wayne Thomas).
  • Based on the NWEA Map assessment, student growth on ELA and MATH at all grade levels, was at the highest level in school history at Wayne Thomas.
  • The 4th annual Braeside STEAM Night was fully conceived and produced by students. There were nearly 40 stations of child centered exploration from a dog dryer to elephant toothpaste to a variety of robots. The STEAM community has expanded over the years and now includes former Braeside students who return from Highland Park High School and Edgewood Middle School to share in the fun, lend a hand, and let our little scientists drive their robots.
  • Successfully transitioned to a 50/50 Dual Language allocation program model in grades K-5 (OT & RO).
  • At Oak Terrace, focus on guaranteed & viable curriculum led to increased the percentage of students meeting or exceeding state standards in English Language Arts from 24% to 33% and in mathematics from 18% to 24% as measured by the PARCC assessment.
  • Developed and led a summer school program specifically for at-risk students in our Title I Dual Language program which led to growth in reading and math for nearly 70% of all participants (OT).
  • Edgewood maintained a focus on giving back to the community by participating in and/or leading various successful philanthropic events. Some examples include collecting over 1,600 books to donate to Bernie’s Book Bank, collaborating in the planning, donating, and implementation of the Day of Giving at Northwood, and fundraising to provide 45 children with holiday gifts through the Phyllis Santullano Gift Drive.
  • Edgewood also hosted the first annual Grandparent Night, providing grandparents the opportunity to take a student-guided tour of the school, ask questions to a student panel, and learn about life as a middle school student from the building’s administrators and teachers.
  • In a continued effort to provide opportunities for each student to be involved and feel connected at school, Edgewood issued a survey in which students voiced their interest in various clubs and teams and proposed new ideas for activities. The results of the survey informed the introduction of various new programs at Edgewood. A few of the new offerings include Ping Pong Club, Climbing Club, Improv Club, the Fall Play, Philanthropy Club, Reach for Change, and Yoga Club.
  • Indian Trail developed a new learning community with additional students and families from the closing of Lincoln School. The merge started in the spring of 2018 and the work has continued into this school year. Students have developed new friends and families have opportunities to participate and volunteer. We are Indian Trail and looking forward to a great 2019!
  • Indian Trail celebrated the opening of our Greenhouse and Garden with a ribbon cutting ceremony that included all IT students and staff, school board and community members.
  • Students participate in fun activities such as Green Growers Garden, Coding, Robotics, Chess, Boys/Girls Sports, Books and Cooks, STEAM, Chorus and Drama (IT).
  • Indian Trail Green Growers Club donated pounds of fresh vegetables to the Moraine Township Food Pantry.
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