Getting Ready for the New School Year – Looking Back to Look Ahead

“A leader’s most powerful ally is his or her own example.”
– John Wooden
ENGAGE, INSPIRE, EMPOWER
In this blog post I’m sharing an article I wrote for Front and Central … as we prepare for the new school year, I’m looking at the close of last school year!
Home Teaching & Learning Column: Final Bell – What the End of the School Year Means to Educators

Column: Final Bell – What the End of the School Year Means to Educators

This column was submitted by Deerfield Public Schools (Ill.) Superintendent Dr. Mike Lubelfeld.

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”

-Albert Einstein

I’m not sure I completely agree with Einstein’s quote above, but to a veteran educator like me, the end of the school year offers an opportunity to contemplate education, learning, and life.

It’s also an emotionally powerful time for educators. Part drained, part proud, part sad, part happy, this confluence of emotions is what sets teaching apart from other professions. We take care of your children. We take care of society’s future. We give so much of our emotional selves each and every day, so that at the end of the year, we’re mentally exhausted.

At the start of every year, school folks get a “do-over.” Teachers are tasked with facilitating learning for millions of youngsters between the ages of 5-18. For the less than 200 days that school is in session, rites of passage, cultural exchanges, norms, and rituals govern the lives of thousands of communities all across the land.

What else marks the end of the school year? Standards mastered, lessons learned, physical, emotional, spiritual growth. For some the year’s end invites a sensation of fear of transition and change. But for some it’s full of excitement, fun, and energy. And for others it’s the end of their first year — a time they can count their battle scars, or the year they finally retire — a melancholy time when 30-40 year careers come to a close.

Few professions or vocations are more powerfully rewarding than teaching.

I think Aristotle said it best: “The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.” It’s hard to teach children each and every day, fostering growth in the community’s most precious assets. Yet nothing is more rewarding or exhilarating than supporting learning opportunities and helping children realize they are all talented, unique, and special.

Nothing is more rewarding than helping other people find out that they matter, and they offer the world gifts and talents unique to them.

The end of the year is a meaningful time for educators to smile, take a few deep breaths, clean our classrooms and return home to energize, refresh, and reengage, all so we can do this sacred work again at the start of the next school year!

What does the superintendent do all summer? #Engage109

“Make sure that team members know they are working with you, not for you”
– John Wooden

What is going on in #Engage109 this summer?  What do we do all summer is a common question I have been asked for most of the 25 years I’ve been in education! Well it’s official – we are in school year 2017-2018! We have a guiding Strategic Plan, we have many new leaders, we will have a new board member on the way – it’s a whole new year. Aside from running summer school with more than 500 students, overseeing major summer construction projects approaching $5Million dollars, and the on-boarding of nearly 10 new leaders, we’re also making sure we have plans for meetings, workshops, professional development, curriculum development and other milestone events for all administrators.

As far as we’re concerned, it’s time for 2017-2018 to start (Ok … we’ll wait a few more weeks …).

In addition, we’re reaching end of life for hundreds of nearly 10 year old Promethean Boards, so the Technology Team is rolling out new projection and whiteboard systems to replace the Promethean boards in all six campuses.  Our Director for Innovative Learning, Marcie Faust and many of our outstanding iCoaches have trained nearly 64 teachers in summer workshops thus far and expect another 57 on the scheduled dates in July and August!  This is in addition to widespread learning sessions in the multiple classrooms at each building that we had set up last spring as a “debut”.  

We also continue to close the fiscal year that ended on June 30, and we prepare for the annual auditors who are scheduled to come spend two weeks conducting field test at the end of the month.  

In addition, the Director of Buildings & Grounds, Charlie Privett, and the B&G team are exceptionally busy working on a variety of projects throughout the district, including:  

Caruso & Shepard Locker Rooms, Security Projects (throughout the district), Casework at Kipling & South Park, Parking Lots at South Park, Walden, Shepard, & Wilmot, Roof Project at Wilmot, Flooring Projects & Painting Projects Throughout the district, and more!

In addition, I published an article in the IL ASCD Summer Journal and I’m working on a few other writing projects.

So … while the students are enjoying much needed recreation time, the leadership team is busy making sure everything will be ready for them in August!

I always smile when folks say “It’s easier in the summer, right?” – nope – but I would not want it any other way.

 

Unlearning Leadership Planning – Article in IL ASCD Journal Summer 2017

“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

 

In this blog post I’m sharing an article published in the Illinois Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ILASCD): The Unlearning Leader’s Guide to Strategic Planning, Summer 2017, Volume 63, Number 1, pp. 8-16

End of Year Message – #Engage109

“As a leader, you need to help your people flip their perspective — help them be open to seeing these new challenges as opportunities.”  –John Kotter


Dear District 109 Staff, Families, and Community Members,

Thank you for your many contributions to another outstanding year for education in the Deerfield Public Schools District 109. Many of you contributed via focus groups and surveys to the development of our newly approved 2017 Strategic Plan, which will guide our innovative work and growth for the next few years.

While we are quite proud, we never are completely satisfied. Our work is a journey in leadership, education, and service. But before we look to our future, I want to take a minute to highlight success from our recent past. This past year, two of our schools — Walden and Shepard — were named National Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education. In a series of Botvin LifeSkills parent sessions, we came together as a community to focus on what we all can do to help children make positive, healthy choices. We also started a digital privacy, safety and security initiative and hosted a parent technology night with a former student as our keynote speaker.

Our active and achieving students earned awards and recognition in so many areas, including mathematics, writing, robotics, music, athletics, geography, spelling and Destination Imagination, to name a few. Staff professional development grew with the learning and collaboration opportunities provided by Early Release Wednesday.

This summer we’re doing some maintenance on parking lots, roofing work, renovating the two middle school locker rooms, and performing other “life-safety” projects. Next year, we’ll begin planning for renovating and updating the middle school libraries. Finally, as part of the strategic plan, next year one of our major objectives will be to review at least two of our programs (e.g., foreign language, middle school schedule, social studies, TAP 3-5). We’ll keep the community informed and likely will reach out to you for committee work and input.

We will continue to ask you to Engage, Inspire, and Empower children, students, friends and neighbors to contribute to this incredible community. Please stay in touch this summer. Check the website regularly, and look for emails from Cathy Kedjidjian and your schools — and never hesitate to contact me with comments, questions or suggestions, or just to say hello over the summer!

Sincerely,
Mike

 


Michael Lubelfeld, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools
Deerfield Public Schools District 109
517 Deerfield Road  |  Deerfield, IL 60015
(847) 945-1844 x7231
http://www.dps109.org | http://dps109supt.edublogs.org/

The mission of the Deerfield Public Schools District 109 is to: Provide innovative educational experiences of the highest quality that engage, inspire and empower each student to excel and contribute to improving the world.


Text-a-Tip: 24/7 anonymous support for students who need help for themselves or a friend. Download the Lake County Help app or text 224HELP to 1-844-823-5323 to connect with a trained counselor.

Our New Strategic Plan – #engage109

“If you want extraordinary results you must put in extraordinary effort.”
– Cory Booker

On Monday, April 24, 2017, the Board of Education of the Deerfield (IL) Public Schools District 109 approved the 2017 Strategic Plan! This new plan is the outgrowth of focus groups, interviews, surveys, studies, analysis, and leadership. More than 1700 voices have been heard as part of this process.

We have a Portrait of a Graduate, a mission, vision, guiding principles, goals and objectives.

This is the District’s Guiding Document! All actions, plans, initiatives, plans, programs and reviews will be aligned with and measured against this plan and its components.

 

From my letter to the community in the Plan:

On behalf of the Board of Education, I am proud to present the 2017 Strategic Plan. We developed this plan with input from more than 1,700 people in our community through interviews, focus groups, surveys, data analysis and student performance.

Those 1,700 people included representatives from the following stakeholder groups: teachers, parents, students, support staff, community members, business leaders, government leaders, administrators and members of the Board of Education.  The plan lays out the mission, vision, portrait of a graduate, guiding principles goals and objectives. This plan will guide our work on behalf of the children we serve. The three broad goals to which the objectives are aligned clearly share that which we value: Limitless learning experiences for ALL children.

The 2017-18 school year will mark the first year of implementation of this plan.  I look forward to working with our entire community as we embark on shaping the future of education in the Deerfield Public Schools. Thank you for your continued support as we continue to Engage, Inspire, Empower our students, each other, and our entire community.

We take the concept of limitless learning experiences for ALL children very seriously. We do believe that the current, 19th Century structures serve many of our students and families (it’s familiar and it’s a system that is not completely broken). But, there are more and more students for whom the current system simply does not work. There are more and more students for whom the current structures block their growth and potential. Just because the systems have worked for more than a century does not believe we have to continue them blindly with no options.

This current Strategic Plan allows us to move beyond the 19th Century structures. We can move beyond our 20th Century accomplishments and struggles. We can move forward in this current 21st Century with vision, mission, “the end in mind” and options!

The three goals form the umbrella of the driving forces toward our future – a future where we design, create, implement, and evaluate Limitless learning experiences for ALL children.

Tied to these goals we have six objectives each for a total of eighteen objectives. The objectives were vetted by members of the Board of Education, our research partners ECRA Group, and the Leadership Team (assistant superintendents, principals, associate/assistant principals, executive directors, directors coordinators, etc).

Tied to these eighteen objectives we have formulated eighteen action plans! We’ll tie our work to this plan. We’ll align our work to these objectives. We’ll report more throughout the next few years. In three years we’ll review the entire plan to see what is still relevant. Annually we’ll report on progress, planning, and evaluation. This will be a LIVE plan – not a plan that sits on a binder.