Monday, July 29, 2013

Twitter - a source for professional learning and growth

Twitter is the "micro blogging" social networking site that Wikipedia defines as

Twitter is an online social networking service and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based messages of up to 140 characters, known as "tweets".
Twitter was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey and by July, the social networking site was launched. The service rapidly gained worldwide popularity, with over 500 million registered users as of 2012, generating over 340 million tweets daily and handling over 1.6 billion search queries per day.[10][11][12] Since its launch, Twitter has become one of the ten most visited websites on the Internet, and has been described as "the SMS of the Internet."[13][14] Unregistered users can read tweets, while registered users can post tweets through the website interface, SMS, or a range of apps for mobile devices

Since November 2010 I have been "on Twitter". At first I did not use it much, I did not know what it was or why I should use it. I viewed it as "another fad, and another intrusion into my very busy days". My Twitter identity is @mikelubelfeld and in the district, we have @DPS109 as well as Twitter sites for the HR department and a number of the schools. Twitter is a fast reaching message center, it is a source that can send text messages (if you want it to), and it reaches large audiences if and when you know how to use it effectively.
For the past several years, I have used Twitter professionally to learn and "consume" a great deal of information from people and organizations I have chosen to "follow" on Twitter. For example, I have "met" educational leaders (superintendents, principals, technology directors, teachers, researchers, authors) during scheduled professional development conferences, or "chats". It's social media for grown ups in a way, it's instant, it's fast, it can be overwhelming at times, but the value and quality of the information and insights outweighs some of the negatives like too much information.
I'm proud of a DPS109 educational leader Jill Maraldo for co-founding and leading #ILEdchat, a weekly professional development conference on Twitter. I have participated in ILEdchat, IAedchat, Wischat, and other professional 'educonferences'. In 2013, we are 13 years into the 21st Century ... the future is "now". Online learning is not a unique fad, it's a pretty serious reality. It does not replace face-to-face experiences, but it really brings high level, high quality, and timely information instantly.
I'm sharing this post for many reasons among them ...:
1. I am proud to use and model use of a modern, online social media service for professional leadership, learning and growth;
2. I am proud that many DPS109 leaders have a Twitter presence, sharing with and learning from international educational leaders (trailblazers and pioneers);
3. Twitter is one of a number of professional growth tools I use to stay current and up-to-date with trends, research, practices, theories, successes, and overall engagement ideas for student and staff learning (I still read paper and online books, journals, periodicals, articles, etc.);
4. I value reflective learning and communication and through the blog I have a chance to share personal, professional, and personally professional thoughts and "posts" so the community can gain insights into thoughts and experiences of educational leaders; and
5. I am committed to supporting learning and growth, engagement, empowerment and inspiration of learners of all ages.
If you get a chance, find a source via Twitter about which you are passionate (education, leadership, the news, sports, etc.) and see what you think about this social media service.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Short inspirational video clip on Leadership

Consistent with our mission in DPS109Provide educational experiences of the highest quality that engage, inspire and empower each student to excel and contribute in a changing world, Leaders ENGAGE, INSPIRE AND EMPOWER all around them and with them through their actions, vision, and inspiration.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Take a minute or two to reflect on your favorite, best, most impactful teachers - short video clip

 From time to time I find inspirational video clips that I feel are worthy to share. As we get closer to "back to school" time I want to share this "Thank a Teacher Video":

Thank a Teacher 2 minute video from YOU TUBE 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Educational Information/Research

From time to time I will share information I have posted elsewhere, for example, this posting is excerpted from a post I shared with superintendents in April 2013.

We have the data, we know what works - let's transform!

As part of my work in the ISAL II Cohort (Illinois School of Advanced Leadership) through the IASA (Illinois Association of School Administrators), I am going through a vision quest of sorts with respect to adaptive change, organizational change, growth, learning and success.

One of the powerful learning lessons I'm experiencing with the program is the exposure to research about "What Works" in education as well as how to apply that to my own practice as a leader and as a learning leader.

I feel compelled to share (affirm for those of you who already know, share for those of you who do not) one of the highly significant authors/researchers of our day is Professor John Hattie from Aukland, New Zealand. 

In this blog post, I am sharing some highlights from Hattie's book Visible Learning, the source document of the summary from where this information originates can be accessed at:

To get more information on the book Visible Learning:

Briefly, Hattie's meta analytical research (53,000 studies addressing and affecting the learning of 83 Million students) has 2 major findings:

Learning occurs when:

  • Each teacher sees his or her content and class through the eyes of the students and
  • Each student sees him or herself as his or her own best teacher

Excerpts from Miller's summary of Hattie's book:

Visible Learning by John Hattie (2009)
Summary by Gerry Miller (North Tyneside EAZ Consultant)
John Hattie is Professor of Education at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. This summary information by Gerry Miller also refers to Self-Theories: Their Role in Motivation, Development & Personality by Carol Dweck (2000) and Jo Boaler’s work on setting and social class.


Visible Learning is the result of 15 years’ research and synthesises over 800 meta-analyses (over 50,000 studies) relating to the influences on achievement in school-aged students. It presents the largest ever collection of evidence-based research into what actually works in schools to improve learning.

The main contributors that influence achievement are classified as the student, home, school, curricula, teacher and teaching strategies. A model of teaching and learning is developed based on the notion of visible teaching and visible learning.

A major message of the book is that what works best for students is similar to what works best for teachers. This includes an attention to setting challenging learning intentions, being clear about what success means and an attention to learning strategies for developing conceptual understanding about what teachers and students know and understand.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Personal Anecdote

I don't often do this ... I am a public "official" but a relatively private person. I'm sharing one of those times when my personal story relates to and helps define my philosophical foundations about education and learning. I suppose I could title this as "the impact of a teacher" ... it is not so much about me and a former student as it is about the thousands of other teachers - my peers and colleagues, who daily impact children forever.

A personal story ..... so many teachers around the country and world will be able to relate to this short but personally powerful story about the impact we teachers have on the students we serve.

Eighteen years ago in Bensenville, Illinois, I was an 8th grade teacher at Blackhawk Middle School. I taught social studies (U.S. History, Advisory, an elective course called You and The Law, and Reading). 

Last week I came home and my wife told me that I had a pretty incredible voice mail message on the phone, a former student from eighteen years ago, was calling to share the impact that I had on his life.

I share this story - not to be a braggart - but to share how my work as a teacher has shaped and impacted my work as a public school administrator. We teachers have an impact and a legacy that we may or may not know about. Often we teachers never know that our work made or makes a tangible difference in a child's life, often we teachers never hear how our lesson plans and carefully crafted assessments matter to our students. Often we teachers toil for many, many years and only hope that we have made a difference! 

Phone calls like the one I just received are so powerfully rewarding and special that they make it all worth the effort! I believe that ALL children can learn - I have always believed this. I believe that all children have talents and it is our job as educators to help them find their talents.

Many years ago in an 8th grade reading class in Bensenville, Illinois, introducing the author Gary Soto to reluctant readers, sharing S.E. Hinton with reluctant readers, sharing sports biographies, etc. apparently has had a profoundly positive effect and impact on at least one of my many amazing students. 

As Justin (my 31 year old former student) and I were catching up, hearing about his work, his family, etc., he recounted memories of a somewhat troubled youth where some classmates and peers did not make it ... some are not enjoying freedom or valuable life experiences. He, though, thanks to his love for reading, and his intelligence and talent for making positive choices along the way, has made it - and is making a positive impact as a father, husband, and small business owner.

Justin remembers the books I shared with him and the talks we had about life and choices and expectations. I had high expectations for him and all of my students - he lived up to and exceeded those expectations. He shares with great clarity the impact that his reading and social studies teacher has had on his life and he called to say Thank You.

I'm humbled by his call. I'm honored by his call.

We teachers work in an environment that few others truly understand. 

Thank you Justin for your call.

Thank you to all teachers and the impactful work that they do each and every day!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

An article in the Deerfield Review

Please click the link to read an article in the Review (or see text below in this post)

       District 109 wants parents to rate services

Story Image
Superintendent Mike Lubelfeld visits a second grade classroom [at Pennoyer School in Norridge] while they learn to use iPads. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media

DEERFIELD — Public Schools District 109 wants to know how well it’s providing services and communicating with district residents.

The district has hired Hanover Research to survey parents and community members on its performance and potential improvement in communicating and partnering with parents and the community.
Surveys must be completed online by July 26 at
“The school district has been, is and will continue to be very interested in hearing from all stakeholders,” Superintendent Michael Lubelfeld said. “That includes people with children in the schools, people who used to have children in schools, people who don’t have children in schools and businesses.”
District 109 elected to conduct the survey to expand on information collected in the Illinois 5Essentials Survey, which was offered to every district in the state.

“We wanted to tailor our survey a little more to our school district,” Lubelfeld said. “We want to find specifically how our community feels about our performance. We’re going to continue to work with them and improve.”

The Hanover survey, which was initiated under recently retired Superintendent Renee Goier, is just the first in a series of ongoing events District 109 will use to gauge public opinion in 2013-14, he said.
During the coming school year, the district plans to schedule town hall meetings to let members of the public voice their input, concerns and insights, Lubelfeld said.

“The survey is one part of what will be a continuous process to find out what’s going on and commenting on what we do on behalf of children everyday,” he said.

Survey respondents can expect to answer questions relating to their perception of the “type of customer service we provide,” Lubelfeld said. They will also be asked to rate the quality of the service on a scale, he said.

“For example, a question may asked about how satisfied they are with the information received from the district,” Lubelfeld said. “Then they get to rate it according to how much they like it.”

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Summer Construction in the District

A picture of a new ceiling mounted air conditioning unit with a cover (part of a huge air quality construction project)
This summer is a busy time for the Department of Buildings & Grounds at DPS 109!! Director of Buildings & Grounds Steve Kenesie is working very hard (as usual) on all of the routine projects and upkeep of the school district facilities; and this summer he is even busier than usual with a huge air quality construction project!

As approved by the School Board in January 2013, the  District aims to air condition all six schools over two summers. This summer work is being done at South Park, Wilmot, and Shepard schools.

Work is being done inside and outside the schools to increase electrical capacity, air quality and air flow, and overall instructional space improvements.

We expect that all three schools will be ready for operation next month, in time for the start of school! An update for the community will take place at the July 22, 2013, Board meeting. Thank you to Steve, his crews, and the construction workers for all of their hard work!

You might notice some work and materials present at the other schools. This is due to the fact that while we have cranes in the district, and while we have work crews, it is more economical and fiscally responsible to "hoist" the units on the rooftops now and complete the construction at a later date.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Welcome to the blog of the DPS109 Superintendent!

Welcome to the "new" blog for the "new" superintendent of the Deerfield Public Schools.

Communication is an evolving process reflective of the needs of the community, and as such, this blog and the district's methods of communication - pushing and pulling - speaking and listening - are likely going to change and evolve as a result of needs and actions of the district and the superintendent's office. I welcome and encourage your comments and input!

I am grateful to be a part of the educational system and the community! I am grateful to work with an outstanding group of educators, community members, parents, students, etc. I am grateful to learn and grow and support the learning and growth of others as the chief educational leader in the community!

This year we'll embark on some initiatives that will involve listening and reviewing and researching and acting in the best interests of the students and the school district. I encourage you to check the district's website and attend and/or read about board meetings.

This year we'll communicate via the website, via blogs like this, via Twitter and Facebook, via surveys and phone calls, and of course via personal, face to face communication one on one and in group settings, like in a Town Hall Meeting.

Happy Summer and Thank you for your support of the Deerfield Public Schools!

If you have not done so already, please check out the Strategic Plan for the school district.

Provide educational experiences of the highest quality that engage, inspire and empower each student to excel and contribute in a changing world.
District 109 students will excel and contribute when they have the knowledge and skills to be: 
• Lifelong, self-directed learners
• Critical and creative thinkers
• Effective communicators
• Collaborative team members

• Respectful and responsible members of society