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Our “Best of the Blogs” section includes thoughtful insights on school leadership being shared through blogs maintained by AASA members. This representative sampling of five bloggers, through an RSS feed, will change periodically to showcase other member blogs, so check back regularly. If you are aware of others, contact

  • Where we are going, not where we have been!

    The Superintendent's Chair|8/29/2014

    It is attributed to Lou Holtz, famous football coach and sports announcer, to have once said:

    The good Lord put eyes in the front our your head
    rather than the back
    so you could see where you are going
    rather than where you've been.
    The new school year starts in my district on Tuesday, September 2nd.
    I am committed to looking forward trying to see where we are going instead of worrying about looking back to see where we have been.
    The ?new school year beckons all of us.
    We could all waste time looking back.
    We could mourn the loss of last year because we had the best teacher, the best team, the best lunch. We could mourn leaving last year behind because it was the best year of our life!
    We could also be eager to leave last year behind because it was, like Alexander's day, a horrible, no good, very bad year. We had a horrible teacher, a bad bus route, a no good lunch. So we look back eager to leave last year behind.
    But instead of looking back. I want us to look forward.
    Right now it is a clean slate.
    My hope is that as we look forward we are anticipating the best, not fearing the worst.
    My hope is that as we look forward we are committing ourselves to solving problems, not creating them.
    My hope is that as we look forward we will find the joy inherent in learning new things, not dread the work that comes with learning.
    A new school year starts Tuesday. I am looking ahead to see where we are going.

  • Getting a chance to start fresh – The new year starts with a focus on the future!

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|8/27/2014

    “The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes In DPS109 we are moving forward! Our mission is to Engage, Inspire, Empower and we do this on behalf of the FUTURE – the world will belong to our students – […]

  • Quest is Doing It

    Culture of Yes|8/27/2014

    I often hear feedback like “I really like what is happening with inquiry and project based learning, but my kids need to be prepared for university, and university is never going to change.” Well,  last week we loaded up the bus with all of our school principals and vice-principals and headed up the highway to […]

  • Innovation through Change – Superintendent’s Back To School Welcome to Staff

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|8/25/2014

    “One of the great ironies in life is that you must be acquainted with reality while not allowing your dream to be shattered.” - John C. Maxwell, Put Your Dream to the Test Today is Back to School Day for teachers, support staff, administrators, and adult employees of the DPS109 family. Today we kicked off […]

  • Back to School Message and Video

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|8/22/2014

    “One of the keys to success lies in knowing and believing in yourself. When you are confident and trust in who you are, you can perform to the best of your ability.” - Pete Carroll, Win Forever: Live, Work, and Play Like a Champion We are gearing up for our Back To School kick offs […]

  • Local Service Club – Deerfield Rotary

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|8/21/2014

    “Whatever you do in life, remember: Think higher and feel deeper. It cannot be bad if you do that.” – Elie Wiesel In Deerfield, we have a local Rotary club, we have been serving since 1930! We are part of the Rotary District 6440 and we are part of Rotary International. This is Membership Month […]

  • Let’s Talk! Focus on Communication – Big 5 Organizational Culture

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|8/19/2014

    “One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.” – Marie Curie As part of our District’s Big 5, Organizational Culture plays a huge part of our focus and energy! In support of keeping up with the pulse of the community, we have partnered with for climate […]

  • Allergy Management Plan

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|8/18/2014

    “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.” - Anonymous Student safety is at the forefront of all decisions made in our school district! Allergy/food management is a “hot topic” that has been in the hopper for several years and came to the surface last year. […]

  • Our unexceptional schools are really quite extraordinary

    The Superintendent's Chair|8/18/2014

    The official school data website for the state of Michigan (, lists 51 districts/charter schools for Oakland County.

    None are exceptional.

    At least that is the impression given by the Michgan Department of Education's school accountability report cards. Official scores were released last week. Scores for Oakland County districts, like every county in the state of Michigan, were perceived to be lackluster.

    No Oakland County district/charter school received the state's highest rating of green.

    Over half of the districts/charter schools earned a rating of yellow.

    In Novi, over 86% of our students were proficient in math. Over 95% of our students were proficient in reading.

    For each district and school the state calculates its "bottom 30%". That is the state creates a group that is comprised of the lowest achieving 30% of the students in the district.

    In Novi, over 54% of our "bottom 30%" were proficient in math. Over 85% of our "bottom 30%" were proficient in reading.

    Yet, the Novi Community School District earned a "yellow" rating.

    The state would argue that Novi has achievement gaps. That is true. We do. that appears to be the most powerful indicator of performance and the one the determines the overall rating of any individual school or district.

    As a result, districts that are diverse. Districts that are large. Districts that have groups that the psycometricians can slice and dice will have a hard time being rated highly.

    I am not opposed to accountability. I understand that parents want to know if their schools are being successful. Politicians want to know if the money that they are spending is being used wisely.

    Schools need to be able to demonstrate that students are learning.

    Any rating of schools should use test data.

    But rating schools using test data alone ignores many of the good things that schools are doing.

    Novi has a marching band of over 170 members. Novi has athletics and clubs that create opportunities for students not only to be engaged but to learn how to lead, how to work hard, how to set goals. Novi has a freshman orientation program that links upper-classman with incoming freshman. Novi sends fifth graders to camp and eighth graders to Washington DC. Novi teaches our elementary students about the seven habits. We have computer labs and laptop carts.

    The Novi Community School District is exceptional in many ways. We have work to do. Of that there is no debate.

    And Novi is not alone. There are many excptional districts and schools throughout the state of Michigan.

    Can we get better? Of course.

    I appreciate the state attempting to rate schools. But, in my opinion, the rating ignores many of the factors that make schools truly great.

    In my opinion, many Michigan schools are quite extraordinary. Even though we are colored yellow!

  • Watch “Iowa, Did You Know?” on YouTube

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|8/17/2014

    Iowa ‘s story can apply to all states in the nation. Video reminds us all why it’s time to transform public education! From time to time I publish the “Did you Know” videos – they help us visualize the transformation our world is undergoing at present. This video has a quote I use frequently: “In […]

  • Digital Leadership Day – August 15th

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|8/15/2014

    “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” – Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society A blogger I follow,, annually calls for digital leaders to share thoughts, reflections, ideas, concerns about digital leadership and trans-formative/innovative education. From his post about Digital Leadership Day: “Over the past 7 years, we’ve had […]

  • Some Things I Have Learned . . . Leadership Day 2014

    Culture of Yes|8/15/2014

    When Scott McLeod asks you to do something, it’s difficult to say “No”.  He is one of those connecting leaders in education.  The following tweet showed up in my feed this week: So, this is my first time participating in #LeadershipDay14 discussing leadership with digital technologies in education. It has been, and continues to be, a journey […]

  • ELA: English Language Arts – support online anytime

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|8/14/2014

    “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” - Warren G. Bennis This is another in a series of blog posts where I am sharing resources to support teachers, these posts include descriptions of services, subscriptions, programs, aids, SUPPORTS for learning that we are putting into place intentionally and deliberately to support teachers and […]

  • More supports for teachers! (English, Spanish, French, German)

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|8/13/2014

    “Learn to listen and listen to learn.” – Tom Izzo This year we prepare for a myriad of changes. I’m continuing with this series of blog posts descriptions of services, subscriptions, tools, programs, aids, SUPPORTS for learning that we are putting into place intentionally and deliberately to support teachers and students. Thanks to Dr. Jeff […]

  • 1:1 Transformative Learning Environments

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|8/12/2014

    “Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.” - Buddha This is another in a series of how we are supporting teachers this year in the anticipation of transformative public education in DPS109! I have posted in the past about 1:1 Transformative Learning Environments. I […]

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