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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 magazine@aasa.org.

  • Innovation – Construction update – August 1st!

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|8/1/2014

    “Dreamers are mocked as impractical. The truth is they are the most practical, as their innovations lead to progress and a better way of life for all of us.” – Robin S. Sharma INNOVATION – that is the key word for this upcoming school year! Innovation through relationships, innovation through construction (as shown in the […]

  • Gen. Colin Powell on Leadership

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|7/26/2014

    “I realized then that you can’t be successful on your own; you need a supportive loved one and some spiritual guidance. I knew I was meant to play football, and if you know your purpose, and you’re patient, the ball will eventually bounce your way.” - Chandler Harnish, Last Pick in the 2012 NFL Draft […]

  • Leading Innovative Change

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|7/25/2014

    “We must look for ways to be an active force in our lives.  We must take charge of our own destinies, design a life of substance, and truly begin to live our dreams.” - Les Brown Since taking the helm of a school district as the superintendent in 2010, I have made it a mission […]

  • “Make no small plans for they have no power to stir the soul” – Niccolo Machiavelli

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|7/20/2014

    We started our planning in the Superintendent’s Task Force for Middle Level Education with the missive to DREAM BIG! Part of that dreaming (with the 140 member community engagement task force) led to the revolutionary changes to this years middle school exploratory programming! We are constructing STEM and Communication Media Arts labs in learning spaces […]

  • Leadership and Changes

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|7/17/2014

    “One half of knowing what you want is knowing what you must give up before you get it.” - Sidney Howard Last year in our District was all about CHANGE – new leadership, new philosophies, new relationships, new plans, new mandates, new opportunities, new growth! We found each other and together in collaboration we embarked […]

  • What Led Zeppelin teaches us about school reform

    The Superintendent's Chair|7/15/2014

    Have you ever listened to a Led Zeppelin song backwards?


    I hear they say all kinds of evil things.

    Simon Singh has listened to Led Zeppelin songs backwards. He doesn't hear anything but gibberish.

    Yet he is able to get me to hear things that are not there.

    Listen to his talk. Then play your Led Zeppelin album backwards! Oh my!

    Singh states, "Combine bad data with a big bias and the brain fills in the holes and you end up hearing something that's not there."

    Which brings me to this editorial in the Detroit News. The writer states without qualification and without hesitation that only 17.8% of Michigan high school graduates were prepared for college. This data comes from the ACT College Testing data.

    ACT in their "Reality of College Readiness" report state benchmark scores on ACT subject area assessments that "represent the level of achievement required for students to have a 50% chance of obtaining a B or higher or about a 75% chance of earning a C or higher in corresponding credit-bearing first-year college courses." (page 3)

    Michigan's education dashboard promotes this number. Governor Snyder in his 2013 State of the State address stated that "only 17% of our kids are college ready." The Michigan School Data portal has a link to the ACT College Readiness results. Again, only 17.7% of students are viewed as college ready.

    As Singh states: "Combine bad data with a big bias and the brain fills in the holes and you end up hearing something that's not there."

    The state of Michigan could promote other data.

    For example, they could promote the number of students who attend Michigan colleges after graduation from high school. Over 60% of the graduates of 2011-12 (the latest year for which data is currently available) enrolled in college. And this is just the students who went to Michigan colleges. The percentage would rise if students who went to out-of-state colleges were included.

    Some might counter that "I'll grant you they went to college but I bet they needed to take those remedial courses when they got there!"

    Not really.

    The same Michigan School Data portal shows how many of the 2012 high school graduates needed remedial assistance when they entered college.

    What's your guess?

    Well if only 17% of the graduates are college ready it must mean that 83% needed remedial assistance.

    NOT TRUE!

    The numbers don't lie. And they are pretty good. (Click on the percentage tab under the title.)

    Only 17% of the 2012 graduates took a remedial course in math, less than 10% took a remedial course in reading, 11% took a remedial course in writing, and less than 10% took a remedial course in science.

    So why would the Governor, the state of Michigan's education dashboard, and the Detroit News continue to promote this idea that only 17% of our high school graduates are college ready?

    If I were the Governor I would promote the idea that our students are ready for college. I would promote that when our graduates go to college only a small percentage need remedial assistance. I would promote that our public schools are doing wonderfully well educating our students.

    As Simon Singh says: "Combine bad data with a big bias and the brain fills in the holes and you end up hearing something that's not there."

    So why does the Governor promote that our schools are doing so poorly?

    Maybe there is an agenda and a bias against public schools. Maybe if public schools look like they are not doing a good job it will be easier to promote agenda items that favor schools of choice, charter schools, the Educational Achievement Authority, online learning, and other so called educational reforms.

    I for one believe in our public school system. I think the numbers demonstrate that we are doing well.

    Can we improve? Absolutely!

    But to suggest that we are not preparing students to be successful once they leave high school is, in my opinion, irresponsible.
     

  • Life goes on

    The Superintendent's Chair|7/10/2014

    This is Kaya.


    Kaya is a great dog. She likes to walk. She enjoys the outside. She loves the snow. She really loves her visits to Doggy Day Care.

    She also happens to be blind. (If you look closely at the picture above you will notice that she only has one eye.)

    She wasn't always blind. When Kaya was four she developed glaucoma in her right eye. She eventually lost sight in that eye. We continued with daily eye drops to contain the swelling and reduce the pain from inflammation. But after a few months it became obvious that the drops were not working. The eye continued to swell.

    So we decided that surgery to remove the eye was the best option.

    We continued to give her daily eye drops for the other eye. Eventually she lost sight in that eye as well.

    For the past two plus years we have given Kaya daily eye drops in hopes of saving her remaining beautiful blue eye.

    But the eye drops have lost their potency.

    So today Kaya will have surgery to remove her eye.

    We decided not to have prosthetic eyes added. It seemed a little silly. While the prosthetic eyes would give her a normal appearance they clearly would have no value. Kaya's life would not be enhanced with prosthetic eyes.

    In some ways this is a sad day. Part of me wishes that this was not Kaya's life.

    But Kaya reminds me each day that setbacks and roadblocks and difficulties are a part of life. You accept them and continue to move forward.

    Every Friday Kaya goes to Doggy Day Care. She bounds into the car, she eagerly enters the facility, her tail wags and her head bobs as she is lead to the back. She plays with the other dogs. She loves her time there.

    Sure she bumps into walls. She occasionally finds herself all alone as the other dogs wander off without her knowing it.

    But she still loves going.

    At home she goes in and out of the house on her own. She wanders our yard by herself - wearing her Invisible Fence collar. She goes up and down the stairs to our deck. She hides her bones in the bushes.

    She still tries to sneak up on birds that she hears. She has even caught a possum that wandered into our yard.

    In the house, she knows the location of her favorite chair. She can navigate the hallway and jump onto our bed.

    When we take her for walks she leads.


    Kaya continues to live her dog life - and as far as I can tell she continues to be happy and healthy and involved.

    Is her life different than what it was? Undoubtedly.

    But life goes on. In a positive and productive way, life goes on.

    I am grateful to Kaya for reminding me of that every day.

  • Teacher

    Culture of Yes|7/9/2014

    I have been stuck.  This is my first blog effort in about a month.  It is, by far, my longest time away from public writing and it has been challenging to write.  While I know some might have hoped I would write about the job action that has cast a cloud over the BC public education system, there is […]

  • Philosophy and Background … What is YOUR purpose/aim/philosophy?

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|7/8/2014

      As part of my summer blogging – professional reflections – professional re-calibration and re-focus … I share this blog to reaffirm who I am (educationally speaking), what my aim is (macro/big picture) and what my philosophy is (foundation). My aim is to support educational leaders so they can support teachers who, in turn, can […]

  • Superintendent’s Summer Reflections

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|7/7/2014

    Although the sun never really sets on the school district administrator’s work or world, summer is a nice time for reflection and thinking as the stress levels are somewhat reduced and the work load is more project based than people based. Many people ask me “what do you do for a living?”, “what does a […]

  • Happy 4th of July! Independence Day in the USA!

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|7/3/2014

    Happy Birthday America!! On July 4th, we celebrate our  freedom, liberty, and nationalism with our Independence Day celebrations! Whether you are celebrating locally (see Deerfield Family Days information) or out of town, it’s nice to also take a moment and reflect on our national freedom, our country’s history, and about what the foundation of our culture […]

  • The new year is here! July 1, 2014 – Year 2 New Leadership … Year 167 Community Education

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|7/1/2014

    Engage, Inspire, Empower – Our Motto – part of our Mission As we bid a fond farewell to an amazing year (2013-2014), it’s time to prepare for the next, even more amazing year to come! In 7 weeks, or 56 days, School Year 2014-2015 begins for faculty, staff, and administration! We don’t waste too much […]

  • What do we do all summer? … More work in progress!

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|6/27/2014

    From the Superintendent’s Desk: What do we do all summer? Published in the Deerfield Review Michael Lubelfeld | Superintendent of DPS 109 June 27 11:19 a.m. “What do you do all summer?” This is a question that parents and community members frequently ask school leaders. In District 109, as in many school districts, administrators work […]

  • More photos of construction and maintenance in progress!

    Superintendent's Office DPS109|6/26/2014

    This is not a restful summer for the Department of Buildings and Grounds! With work in progress at all seven facilities (our six schools and the District Center) there is no rest for the weary. Throughout the summer we’ll be sharing photos of our work and of the amazing progress our crews are making. Photos […]

  • Why tests alone fail

    The Superintendent's Chair|6/18/2014

    A sports quote with unknown attribution captures perfectly why standardized tests alone will never truly be able to identify if a child is going to be successful:

     
    They measured my height,
    They measured my weight,
    But they never measured my heart.
     
    We could slightly alter this sentiment and it would communicate what teachers, parents, and even students know to be true:
     
     
    They measured my proficiency in math,
    They measured my proficiency in reading,
    But the never measured my passion for learning.?
    ?





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