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

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!

 

 

 

 

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.


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