Article about Voxer in AASA Journal

“When you’re a leader, you don’t have a ton of people that work for you– you now work for those people.”
– Todd Bentley

Lately I have discovered a passion for writing! I have published several articles and books. My second book: Student Voice: From Invisible to Invaluable, ISBN 9781475840025, will be released in January 2018 (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers).

Like the quote above, I work for those I serve – I write for those I serve. The story of the success of the Deerfield Public Schools District 109 (main content for many of my writings) is written for the thousands of students, teachers, support staff, board, administrators, parents, and community members whom I serve.

Another passion of mine is using social media tools for leadership, communication, and progress. To that end, I have published an article in the latest School Administrator Magazine about the social media tool Voxer – see the images below (each is linked to the article/journal). 

As always comments are welcome!




Our purposes in education – Our passion for learning

“A superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.”
– Confucius

A major emphasis in public education is accountability and ROI (Return on Investment). Unlike a business, we do not have “profit margins” and tangible, concrete “returns on our investments” so to speak. We do have test scores, teacher evaluation, climate and culture surveys, satisfaction surveys, observational data, high school performance and rankings and other measures or metrics about how well we are doing and in what areas we need to concentrate.

Often in education our ROI comes back to us years later – notes, cards, calls and visits from former students. Or in the real estate rankings of the local school district – i.e. great schools=high property values and sustained property values. Or/and in the job market, economy, etc. The Return On Investment from the 1957 “Sputnik” situation for example can be tied to America’s landing on the Moon in 1969.
The Return on Investment for all of the current, modern day 1:1 Transformative Learning Environments may not show for a few years in terms of jobs/careers that do not exist today but will exist in 3, 5, 10, 20 years.

How then do we make decisions in the present knowing that we are impacting the future – a future which is changing almost by the mili-second? Well, we study research, trends, data, case studies, practices in neighboring areas, states, nations. We engage in Twitter, professional development, graduate studies, etc. We also make decisions based upon what we did that worked (for example when I was a teacher, I did x, y, z – and this is how it worked!).

Among other reasons we also look to the future, and we look at common culture videos like the one I’m sharing below and like others shared in this blog and from other leaders. Using and leveraging technology tools in support of excellent teaching and effective pedagogy works for student and adult learners. Teaching students how to solve problems, work together, communicate, write, read, listen, speak, learn math, science, history, geography, philosophy, arts, music, physical education and health – all of this is amplified and accelerated by with and through technology tools, connectivity, high expectations and student voice and choice in demonstrating learning. These are challenging yet exciting times in education.

And as Horace Mann is quoted as saying in the mid 19th Century: “A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron.” We aim to Engage, Inspire, Empower each and every student – each and every day! Please check out the video for some re-affirmations as to why it is different today than it was in the past and it’s incumbent upon us all to prepare our nation’s students for their future – not for our past!

A “Did You Know” Remix video – 2014 – always worth watching and contemplating!

We are passionate about innovation in DPS109

“If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose.”
– Bishop T.D. Jakes

Innovation is one theme that supports our District vision of Engage/Inspire/Empower! This year we have innovations upon innovations – it’s awesome, amazing, rewarding, fulfilling, and a little bit overwhelming. Through effective leadership, our District leadership team will help “whelm” our people so as not to over or under “whelm” them! Our school principals are site based “CEO’s” leading in an environment of defined autonomy. It’s a new day in DPS109!

So what is leadership? – this is a question found in literature, magazines, board rooms, conferences, etc! I’m sharing some definitions from Forbes Magazine, retrieved from:

Peter Drucker: “The only definition of a leader is someone who has followers.”
Warren Bennis: “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”
Bill Gates: “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”
John Maxwell: “Leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.”

This year much of our shared leadership is shown through implementation of innovative supports for learning. In this blog I have shared an abundance of specific information that is worth a review in terms of that which we have implemented to support student learning and growth as well as teacher efficacy and development. I’m so proud of our Board of Education for supportive and visionary leadership “from the balcony” as well as our teachers who lead every single day “in the trenches”. In between the Board and the teachers, I’m blessed and empowered to lead with amazing leaders at the District and School levels in every corner of our District.

On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced his goal of putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade.

In our effort to stretch and push and lead and grow, we are equipping our teachers and our students with the most innovative and evidence based supports for learning. By taking the lid off of expectations for all students (and staff) and “shooting for the moon” like JFK did for our country many years ago, the possibilities are limitless. The future is now for the world in which our students live.

The future is bright because of what our students will accomplish and experience! I’m proud to continue to push and stretch and learn and grow with an among excellence. In DPS109 we are all about our vision: Engage, Inspire, Empower! It’s fun, rewarding, and humbling to share our messages in multiple formats throughout the experiences. Like many before us, we are envisioning a future that requires new thinking and new methods to make the differences we have a calling to make!

As I have shared in the past, we want input and feedback and we use it! PLEASE contact us via Let’s Talk – it’s communication for all -employees, students, community members, blog readers, anyone and everyone with commentary about our District.