Thankful for our success #Engage109

“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.”
– Henry David Thoreau

Happy Thanksgiving!

In our school district we have so much to be thankful for. As we approach the end of calendar year 2017, it’s nice to reflect upon how we are meeting the needs for ALL children in the Deerfield Public Schools District 109. As we reflect upon the transformational changes in our district over the past five years, including but not limited to:

Full day kindergarten, Transformative technology/1:1 environments, Instructional coaching structural changes, Communication Media Arts and Science Technology Engineering (the arts) and Engineering (STEAM), Construction (science labs, SMART labs, libraries of the future, engaging classroom furniture, National Blue Ribbon awards, award winning administrators, strategic plan, and more!)

we say THANK YOU to the Board of Education, Teachers, Support Staff, Students, Parents, and all engaged in the District 109 journey!

Sharing a note of thanks I sent to the DPS109 community earlier this week:

Dear District 109 Parents, Grandparents, Staff and Community Members,

In our District and the communities we serve, we have an abundance for which to be thankful. Thank you all for your support, communication, respect, and partnership in the education of our students. The success of our schools is directly related to our many connections and positive relationships.

At last week’s Board of Education meeting, the administration presented an overview of our award-winning student performance as shown on the official Illinois Report Card. The report card provides a variety of information about the District, and each individual school, including demographic information, finances, average class size, and the academic progress of our students.

You can view the 2017 report cards:

The information on academic progress is primarily based on the results of the PARCC test for our students in grades 3-8, specifically in the areas of mathematics and English language arts. But please know that the PARCC results are just one data point; we rely on multiple methods of review and assessment including MAP assessments, the BrightBytes survey, student engagement, and organizational culture. Each child is far more than a test score!

Some report card highlights in our District include:

Closing Achievement Gaps: Over the past three years, our focus on helping all students succeed has led to a drastic drop in achievement gaps.

Exemplary Performance: All six District 109 schools are in the top 80 schools in the state (of almost 4,000 schools ranked), and Walden ranks 13th. These rankings include magnet schools that admit only high-achieving students. You can view a summary of the results, which Dr. Anthony McConnell, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching, Learning & Innovation, presented.

5Essentials Survey
You’ll notice one set of measures missing from our reports on the Illinois Report Card under school environment the 5Essentials results. We are required to distribute the 5Essentials survey to parents, staff and students (grades 3-8) every two years. Last year, we did not meet the response threshold to have results included on our report cards. We believe that this is an important measure, and we will again ask our community take this survey.Here is an in-depth description of the survey from the University of Chicago/5Essentials website:

5Essentials is an evidence-based system designed to drive improvement in schools nationwide—it reliably measures changes in a school organization through the 5Essentials Survey and provides individualized, actionable Reports for each school. The 5Essentials system is based on more than 20 years of research by the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research on five components found to be critical for school success:

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

Parents and staff: please look for the link to the 5Essentials survey in the coming weeks, and take a few minutes to share your perspective. (We don’t yet have a date for the release of the survey, but expect that we’ll send it to our community sometime in January.) Students in grades 3-8 also will receive an email with a link to a student survey to their school email address. Parents of students in grades 3-8: Per Board Policy 7:15, if you do not wish your child to participate in the 5Essentials survey, please email Cathy Kedjidjian (ckedjidjian@dps109.org) by end of day on Monday, December 4, with your child’s name, school and grade.

Transportation Fee Review: Your Input
Finally, we are asking the Board of Education to review the District’s fee philosophy in general, and transportation fees in particular. Please take a few minutes to complete this brief survey about transportation fees; the Board of Education will carefully review and discuss the results at an upcoming meeting.

Happy Thanksgiving, and thank you for allowing us to engage, inspire and empower our students, our community, and each other!

Sincerely,

Mike

#suptchat Archive – Future of Public Education Chat 11/1/17

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. ”
― Alvin Toffler

Each month on the first Wednesday of the month at 7PMCT my good friend Nick Polyak and I host #suptchat. This is the International Chat for superintendents and educational leaders – ALL are welcome!

Following each chat we publish a curated archive of chats from Storify and via Participate. This way there is an easy to access record of all ideas, links, thoughts, insights, ideas, and so on. The main #suptchat document is updated monthly as well.

This month’s chat was entitled The Future of Education, in this blog post I’m sharing the archive; please review the ideas, thoughts, insights, and links. Your comments are welcome as we continue the conversation about the future of education.

The Wow Factor – #engage109 #suptchat

Great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.”
– Steve Jobs

Every day in every classroom everywhere, student voices should be filling the halls, rooms, gymnasiums, cafeterias, playgrounds, buses, everywhere with “WOW” language.

At some recent professional leadership learning conferences I was WOWED with the experience, the possibility for extending that “wow” to all of the students and staff I serve, and reminded we CAN and we MUST WOW our communities!

As educators we have a gift in our calling to serve, teach and lead. The gift is creating the WOW every day for every child. Each child has but one year to spend with us (typically we have children in our grade level for one academic year). We adults get “do overs” annually but the children have but one time to be a 1st grader, an 8th grader, etc. Thestudents do NOT get “do overs” – we owe them WOW moments.

I believe we owe the students WOW moments all the time. My role as a superintendent of schools and a national leader affords me incredible opportunities to both have and create WOW moments. Wow moments for my own development as a leader, wow moments for colleagues and peers through national, statewide and regional leadership, and most important – helping others create WOW moments for students and staff.

Todd Whitaker (highly respected educational leader, professor, author, and speaker) says “10 days in a row” – meaning we must engage, inspire, empower – every day – every child – every learning encounter. In education our profession is too critical to mess up – to create wow moments 7 out of 10 days for example. 10 days in a row … we must do this because the students rely on us to be ready for them and to provide limitless opportunities for them every day.

The past few weeks have been quite busy for me professionally as I have participated at the state superintendent conference, an executive briefing at Apple in Cupertino, CA, I also attended a Visible Learning conference with John Hattie (himself perhaps the greatest research aggregator of our modern times), and I co-led the American Association of School Administrator (AASA) Digital Consortium Fall Conference in Seattle, WA with my good friend Nick Polyak.

At the Digital Consortium Fall Conference we spent time at three schools in the Highline School District; we also spent time at the Museum of Flight and Boeing in Seattle, WA.

So at Apple and at Boeing we educational leaders got to learn first hand what jobs are needed today as well as tomorrow at two of the planets most impactful companies. We got to see what a modern, contemporary workspace looks like. We got to see what a factory in 2017 looks like – it’s a lot different than the factory of 1917 for which the foundation of US public schooling is built. We thought leaders are doing great work disrupting archaic organizational structures in preparation for 2017 – and for 2020, 2025, and beyond.

At Apple and at Boeing I was WOWED around every corner – I cannot share photos because we are not permitted to take or share photos (corporate protection is real and necessary) though I can share with you how and why I was wowed – but more importantly and far more impact-fully I can share how and why we can and must provide WOW moments for every student every day.

I can share photos from the Museum of Flight – I am sharing photos throughout the text of this post.

While we were engaging in US and world history discussions as well as science and technology history discussions and math and engineering discussions, we were WOWED.

We learned about sociology, manufacturing, coding, computer programming, photography, digital photography, national security and more. We were engaged in our learning. We were provided both whole group and small group learning experiences. Our docent was able to differentiate, individualize and even personalize our experiences. We were learners – we were learning – we were engaged, inspired, and empowered. We connected our own interests, knowledge, and thoughts with the content (the exhibits). We were able to imagine, think, … learn.

In our 30-60 minute lesson at the Museum of Flight, and during our visits to the innovative schools in Highline, we were wowed and we saw wowed lessons and experiences. These experiences included students explaining to us what competency based learning means (i.e. take a year of Spanish in a few months for credit and advancement at the high school); what individualized pacing with artificial intelligence looks like (i.e. with advanced curricular resources); in addition, we learned about how the principals and teachers were building cultures of excellence and managing change. On behalf of Students, Staff, and community!

Our challenge, and as Nick and I write about in the Unlearning Leader: Leading for Tomorrow’s Schools Today, and what Nick and PJ and I write about in Student Voice: From Invisible to Invaluable, is to provide true and meaningful engagement for ALL students – every day.

We can do it – we have the knowledge and we must have thecourage. As always, I welcome comments!

 

 

 

 

Leadership! Episode 3 of 3 – Perspectives in Education Podcast

“Without excellence, we have lost our honor. Without honor, we have lost our integrity. And without integrity, we are all lost.”
– Anonymous

Nick and I wrote the following as the first two paragraphs of the conclusion of our book (p.95): “The premise of this book is that we all need to unlearn because old conventions stymie meaningful change. In addition, learning is very difficult to unlearn. The “wiring” in our brains is hard to alter. Once we learn what is right, it’s often almost impossible to unlearn and accept a new right. As we stated in the beginning of the book, our landscape as leaders is applied to school leadership, classrooms, pedagogy and educational systems in general.In order to change course and effectively prepare today’s youth for tomorrow, we submit that much of what we have learned in general over the course of our lives, education, and professional careers must be unlearned in order to provide a new tomorrow for our nation’s children. It’s urgent to reimagine education. It’s urgent to pack up the 19th Century and move it into a museum. It’s urgent to unlearn so we can create a modern educational system for our nation’s youth.”

The process of writing a book, going through editing, copy-editing, revisions, rewrites, and peer review was energizing and humbling at the same time. Nick and I are really proud of The Unlearning Leader: Leading for Tomorrow’s Schools Today (2017-Rowman & Littlefield). The three podcast series from Perspectives in Education allows the reader and the prospective reader a chance to get to know us, our perspectives, and the value of the book! Please reach out with any questions – share comments to this post – and if you like the book, please consider sharing a review on Amazon!

 

 S01 Episode 6 Part 3: Mike Lubelfeld and Nick Poylak: Superintendents, #suptchat hosts, and authors.

Episode 6 Part 3: Superintendents, #suptchat hosts, and authors.

Our guests for our 3 part mini series of episode 6 are Mike Lubelfeld and Nick Polyak.

Michael Lubelfeld, Ed.D. currently serves as the superintendent of schools in the Deerfield, IL Public Schools (District 109). He is the co-moderator of #suptchat – the superintendent educational chat on Twitter.

Nick Polyak, Ed.D. is the proud superintendent of the award-winning Leyden Community High School District 212. He is the co-moderator of #suptchat – the superintendent educational chat on Twitter.

Both are co-authors of a book called The Unlearning Leader: Leading for Tomorrow’s School Today

In this episode we discuss:

  • Characteristics of good leaders
  • How to unlearn things of the past
  • Preparing students for college, workforce, and how to be good citizens
  • Their Perspectives on Education

Please share and comment!  Would love to get feedback and suggestions.  If you are interested in sharing your story, please reach out to us!

Thi