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IASB JOINT ANNUAL CONFERENCE


2015 JOINT ANNUAL CONFERENCE

Select Panel Reports

As it has for the past several years, IASB has posted selected reports that make up the Panel Reports of the Joint Annual Conference. The aim is to make some of the most vital information presented at the conference available to a wider audience of school board members and administrators.

With more than 100 panel sessions scheduled at the conference each year, no individual can hope to attend all of them. In navigating this document, you will be able to click on any of the panel titles to read the contents of the report on that particular session or you can simply scroll down to read all of the reports.

Among the reporters who drafted these session summaries were conference "interns," comprised of education administration students from several Illinois university graduate programs. Each intern was assigned to cover a panel selected for its lasting value to school leaders.

The panels chosen were among those presented as part of the Joint Annual Conference of the Illinois Association of School Boards, Illinois Association of School Administrators, and Illinois Association of School Business Officials. The annual conference is the state's largest annual meeting of public school leaders. It features speakers, panel presentations, exhibits, and informal discussions about a wide array of school leadership topics. The 2015 conference was held Nov. 20-22 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, Sheraton Grand Chicago, and the Swissotel, and attracted nearly than 10,000 school board members, administrators, exhibitors, school attorneys, and guests.

Five Years in the Making: Lessons from STEM Pioneers

The Superintendent Employment Contract

"Bonds 101:" Financing Alternatives for Illinois School Districts

Effective Negotiation Strategies for Salary/Benefits Issues

College Readiness 2.0: Partnerships Kindergarten and Beyond

Decisions! Decisions! Decisions!

Collaboration with LaserĀ­Like Focus on Data Driven Decisions

Benchmarking Improves Efficiencies: Data Analytics for Schools

Leadership and Learning


Five Years in the Making:   Lessons from STEM Pioneers

Moderator: Nanciann Gatta, Superintendent, Niles THSD 219, Skokie

Panelists :
Michael R. Maloney, Design Director, Legat Architects
Chris Powell, K-12 Director of Engineering, Niles THSD 219 Skokie
Lois Wisniewski, K-12 Director of STEM, Niles THSD 219, Skokie

Reporter: Adam Dean, Jr. and Sr. High School Principal, Triopia CUSD 27

At 10:30 on November 21st, 2015, four pioneers in the STEM field presented information on their accomplishments in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. These pioneers were Mike Maloney, a design director at Legat Architects, Joan Gallagher, the director of science at Niles North High School, Ami Lefevre, Director of Science at Niles West High School, and Chris Powell, Director of Applied Sciences and Technology at Niles THSA 219. The focus of their presentation was transforming dated spaces, their STEM curriculum, and the STEM mentorship program.

Their motivation for the project was based around numbers. For instance, 16% of students entering college enter a STEM related major. However, 22% of the work force is made up of STEM related fields.   This gap led them to wondering how they could promote STEM within their district.

Originally, the labs in their buildings were separated curriculum spaces. For instance, they had separate shops for woods, metals, drafting and electronics. This was changed to a more open concept revolving around design, prototyping and manufacturing.   They also set up spaces for robotics and electronics in the same space. All of this merged the curriculum into a combined space instead of having their own classes. This new space is about 2500 square feet and universities have visited for inspiration. They have updated their engineering equipment during a slow, but constant process. They now have a CNC Mill, lathe, router, 3D printers, laser cutter and VEX Robotics.

When it comes to their curriculum, all students when entering the high school take biology or honors biology. After this, they can continue to enter the usual suspects of science or they can take a SIRS class for only one year, or the next three years if they wish. This course basically revolves around the idea of finding a testable question, and using experimentation to find the answer. Students have to do all sorts of work revolving around this project. They have to write research papers, present at science fairs, etc.   They have also formed extracurricular groups revolving around the program. For instance, there is RIOT, or the Research Investigators of Tomorrow. There are also groups such as the Science Olympiad, Astronomy Club, and the Robotics Club.

The program has also set up mentorship programs with higher ed partners. Several students have mentors from the field in which they are studying. Examples include Nobel Prize winners, professors from Northwestern, and architects from local firms. This helps students to see a face in the STEM field and to hopefully guide them into their future career.

One thing the panelists discussed was the problems they’ve seen. The biggest they discussed was the lack of female involvement. They don’t really have an answer as to why it’s happening, but it’s not because they can’t do it. They point out that when girls are involved, they usually do the best work.   In order to help battle this problem, the panelists discussed recruiting efforts and how they formed a group called GEMS, which stands for Girls Empowered by Math and Science.

The panel shared a link containing curriculum on the SIRS course. The website is found at sites.google.com/site/sirsstudentresearch/home.   One thing the presentation made clear is that even without this beautiful STEM lab, the SIRS class is still a possibility within all schools. The handout also presented a good visual aide of what the labs lookout both in design layout and in pictures.

Overall, the panel showed knowledge in their field and of their project and lab. While the possibility of such a lab in my school may not be fiscally feasible, the idea of pushing students into the fields revolving around STEM is something that needs to be considered.


The Superintendent Employment Contract

Panelist :
Sara G. Boucek, Associate Director/Legal Counsel, Illinois Association of School Administrators

Reporter: Adam Dean, Jr. and Sr. High School Principal, Triopia CUSD 27

At 1:30 on November 21st, 2015, Sara Boucek, Associate Director/Legal Counsel for the Illinois Association of School Administrators presented “The Superintendent Contract:   Highlights of a Superintendent’s Contract”.    The other planned presenter, Stanley B. Eisenhammer of Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick, and Kohn was not available due to a family member being in the hospital.   The presentation was aimed at school board members and how they should handle contracts.   Mrs. Boucek gave both sides to arguments to better prepare board members for what they should expect when at the negotiating table.   Things discussed included employment and compensation, conditions of employment, benefits, power and duties, changes to contract, evaluations, technical clauses and other miscellaneous issues.

First, she discussed employment and compensation.   When it comes to the duration of the contract, Mrs. Boucek said that three years is an ideal contract.   She stated that the first year is always the honeymoon period and the second year is when the work gets done.   A contract should never make it to the final year of the deal if the board wants to retain the superintendent.   One year and two year contracts are not recommended because a superintendent under those is pretty much always in job search mentality.

When dealing with salary, Mrs. Boucek recommended looking at the local market and comparing your district to other district compensation.   She said if you pay low, expect to get lesser candidates.   If you want a strong leader, go above what the local market is.   She believes you get what you pay for.   Another thing to consider with salary is TRS and THIS.   Is this included in the total package or not?   She said that about 90-95% of superintendents throughout the state receive TRS as a paid benefit.

Conditions of employment were another consideration that came up.   For instance, is there a required medical examination for the superintendent.   This is highly recommended by Mrs. Boucek.   Criminal background checks should also be another consideration.   Finally, suspension of tenure is another piece of the puzzle.   For instance, if the employee is already a tenured teacher within the district before becoming superintendent, do they lose that tenure after signing a multi-year contract as superintendent?   This is something that the board must consider.

When it comes to benefits, things to consider include business expenses, transportation expenses, insurance, vacation, sick leave, professional organization members, professional activities, retirement, and annuities.   A few things that Mrs. Boucek pointed out is that she is highly against a car being provided to the superintendent.    Boards must also consider full individual insurance plans or full family insurance plans.   Finally, with vacation and sick leave a board must decide if the days accumulate year to year or not.

Mrs. Boucek pointed out that the contract should have a dedicated section to power and duties of the superintendent.   This is similar to a job description but can help a board out in termination cases if the duties assigned are not being performed.

She also spent a lot of time on changes to contracts.   For instance, what is the protocol if there is a non-renewal at the end of the contract?   On the opposite side, what is the protocol for renewal of a contract or contract extensions?   What are the grounds and procedures for termination?   Is there something in there for liquidated damages?   Liquidated damages are if someone terminates the contract before it’s up.   For instance, if a superintendent leaves for a new job in year two of three, should they owe money to the school district?   This is something that must be reasonable but can keep someone from not honoring their contract.   The last thing that the discussion talked about was the need for the contract to contain the terms of the superintendents evaluation.

Overall, it was nice to hear someone as educated on the topic as Mrs. Boucek giving her opinion on all parts of the contractual process.   She is involved in hundreds of these a year, so her input was on point and was well taken by the crowd of board members.


“Bonds 101:” Financing Alternatives for Illinois School Districts

Moderator: Scott Kuffel, Superintendent, Geneseo CUSD 228

Panelists:
Scott Dearman, Superintendent, Deer Creek-Mackinaw CUSD 70
Kevin Heid, Managing Director, Stifel, Bloomington
Carla Schaefer, Director of Business Operations, Pekin CHSD 303
Timothy Smith, Superintendent, Princeton SD 115

Reporter: Benjamin Lee, Elementary School Principal, Olympia CUSD 16

Finding all means of available revenue is a hot topic among school leaders everywhere but particularly in Illinois, making this a relevant offering among the session choices. Kevin Heid is Managing Director for Stifel, a leading bond company for Illinois schools. He led the session and began by providing an overview of bond basics. Following Mr. Heid were three district administrators that shared how their districts sought, justified and secured bonds as a revenue source.

Mr. Heid explained that bonds are loans that are repaid through district revenue, traditionally taxes. As cash reserves dwindle for many districts, bonds are becoming a popular—and often necessary--means of survival, with companies like Stifel ready and willing to assist. Since bonds represent a debt obligation, he discussed the statutory debt limits for school districts (13.8% of assessed valuation for unit districts and 6.9% of assessed valuation for dual districts). The most common type of bonds issued by districts are General Obligation Bonds which include Health and Life Safety Bonds, Building Bonds, Working Cash Bonds and Funding Bonds. Mr. Heid continued with his presentation by explaining the impacts of the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL), also known as the “Property Tax Cap.” To summarize, a district’s tax extension is limited to the lesser of 5% or the current Consumer Price Index (CPI). The purpose behind the law, originally introduced in the early 1990’s, was to slow the rise of property tax rates. With assessed valuation currently lagging, districts bound by PTELL are burdened with the inability to raise tax revenue to needed levels. Furthermore, the Governor has made it known of his desire to apply PTELL to each county in the State.

Next, Carla Schaefer, the Director of Business Operations for Pekin CHSD #303, provided a case study of her district’s approach to issuing bonds. They needed to fund Health/Life Safety work without increasing the current Bond and Interest tax rate, while leaving room for another potential issue in 2020. Mrs. Schaefer lamented the process of getting Life/Safety amendments approved in a timely manner. Another point she made was that their existing bonds could be apportioned to voter approved bonds, which would prevent the reduction of their available Debt Service Extension Base (DSEB). Their solution was to split the current financing of the bond issue into two categories across two different fiscal years: one year of refunding and Health Life/Safety and another year of Life/Safety only.

Scott Dearman, Superintendent of Deer Creek-Mackinaw CUSD #701, was the next panelist to share a case study of his district. Mr. Dearman made clear the importance of thinking many years ahead when considering the issuance of bonds. For instance, Deer Creek-Mackinaw’s goal was to provide added revenue but timing was key. They would temporarily increase the tax rate ahead of a potential 2016 building referendum while simultaneously increasing their DSEB before what’s likely to become a statutory county PTELL referendum. The result was a successful issuance of over $1,000,000 of Working Cash Fund Bonds with a two year repayment structure.

Finally, the Superintendent of Princeton SD #115, Tim Smith, provided a bond case study for his district. He reported on the good community relations that are needed, especially when issuing $3,100,000 of Working Cash Fund Bonds that will raise the tax rate over two years. Mr. Smith reported that the planning began over 18 months prior to issuing the bonds as the reductions in state funding and stagnate local revenues caused fund balances to dwindle.


Effective Negotiation Strategies for Salary/Benefits Issues

Panelists:
Philp H. Gerner III, Attorney, Robbins, Schwartz, Nicholas, Lifton & Taylor, Ltd., Chicago; Member, Illinois Council of School Attorneys
Joseph J. Perkoski, Attorney, Robbins, Schwartz, Nicholas, Lifton & Taylor, Ltd., Chicago; Member, Illinois Council of School Attorneys
Robert E. Riley, Attorney, Robbins, Schwartz, Nicholas, Lifton & Taylor, Ltd., Chicago; Member, Illinois Council of School Attorneys
Dennis L. Weedman, Attorney, Robbins, Schwartz, Nicholas, Lifton & Taylor, Ltd., Collinsville; Member, Illinois Council of School Attorneys

Reporter: Benjamin Lee, Elementary School Principal, Olympia CUSD 16

The law offices of Robbins Schwartz sponsored this session. The presenters were Philip Gerner III, Joseph Perkoski, Robert Riley and Dennis Weedman. The overwhelming majority of the presentation was disseminated by Mr. Weedman. Topics covered during the course of the session included negotiation strategies, health insurance issues, preparing for bargaining and retirement issues.

Mr. Weedman began by discussing the factors in determining annual salary increases. The current and projected financial conditions, the revenue limitations of the district and comparable district salary schedules and benefits packages should all be compiled for effective data to include in negotiations. It is important to look at the entire compensation package when comparing districts.

Next, Mr. Weedman reviewed salary options and current trends in negotiations. Many employers have provided “step only” settlements with no increase to the base salary. Budget impasses have resulted in delayed step advancement, CPI-based salary increase provisions and the elimination of the salary schedule altogether. A contract reopener acts as a safeguard for the district, often contingent upon a pension cost shift or property tax freeze.

Health insurance is another major factor in negotiations. Mr. Weedman recommended considering the Union’s view in regards to health insurance costs, particularly the amount the district pays as part of the employee’s total compensation package. With fewer ‘new’ dollars there has been increased labor strife when combined with an increase in health insurance costs. Strategies for protecting the district include a maximum dollar limit for the employer and increased deductibles and co-pays. Some districts have pursued Health Savings Accounts (HSA) as an alternative to a traditional group plan. It was recommended to always use dollar amounts rather than percentages when determining contributions.

Finally, Mr. Weedman discussed retirement strategies in contract negotiations. Any existing retirement incentive should be evaluated to ensure it is paying for itself, including post-retirement health insurance. Many employers are eliminating retirement incentives altogether in lieu of a lump sum payment post retirement. Early Retirement Options (ERO) bring the possibility of numerous employer penalties from TRS if not following eligibility criteria.


College Readiness 2.0: Partnerships Kindergarten and Beyond

Panelists:
Esther Mongan, Assistant Superintendent, Central CUSD 301, Burlington
Julie Schaid, Associate Dean, College Readiness and School Partnerships, Elgin Community College;
Todd Stirn, Superintendent, Central CUSD 301, Burlington

Reporter: Dawn Elser, Elementary Principal, Central School District 104

District 301 Superintendent, Dr. Todd Stirn, and Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Esther Mongan, presented College Readiness 2.0: Partnerships Kindergarten and Beyond. Whether a person is a kindergarten teacher or a high school teacher, the goal is to provide the students at every grade level the skills to be college ready. District 301 has created a partnership with Elgin Community College to prepare their students for college. They formed an alliance which has allowed them to make powerful improvements, reflect on practice and gather data. The alliance is made up of groups from the district and the community college, but they all have the same goal, which is prepare students to be college ready and prepared for the workforce.

The steps Elgin School District 301 used to make the students college ready are based on the work of David Conley. The four steps they followed are: identify key content knowledge, identify key cognitive knowledge, identify key learning skills and technology and identify key transition knowledge and skills. They have gone deeper into the content and teach the students to apply the skills, as opposed to just the memorizing the facts. Problem solving skills are developed in the students by giving them intentional strategies. Students are taught time management and self­management skills. In addition, they inform the parents and the students about the essential knowledge about college, such as visiting colleges, applying for college and applying for financial aid.

It is essential to build the skills of persistence and self­advocacy in students early in their education, if they are going to be successful in college and in the workforce. When students are wanting to give up, it is vital to teach them never to quit, but rather scaffold the skills and offer them the support they need to keep going. It is also important to teach them to stand­up for themselves and do things for themselves, so when they get to college and the support system is gone, they will be able to do things for themselves.

As early as kindergarten, they are teaching the students skills that will allow them to be college ready. With the funding from the United Way, Dr. Stirn, provided students preparing for kindergarten, a calendar full of daily readiness activities to do each day leading up to kindergarten. The district has a kindergarten readiness checklist of skills that they expect the students to acquire in kindergarten. This is given to parents so they understand the expectations. The 6 skills on the checklist are vocabulary and language development, letter recognition and sounds, background knowledge about various topics, number recognition and counting and problem solving skills.

A pivotal year is the 3 rd grade year. The goal of the district is for a majority of 3 rd graders to be reading at grade level by the end of 3 rd grade. Dr. Stirn said that prisons use the illiteracy rate of 3 rd graders to determine how much space will be needed in the coming years. Elgin School District provides skills and interventions in the deficit areas of the 3 rd graders in order to get them reading on grade level. At the middle school they ramp up the curriculum. They have a compressed 66 minute ELA and math block, so they can provide the skills and content necessary for the students to acquire to be college ready. Those students who have a gap, are given Edmentum to help close the gap. Math is now built on an algebraic foundation so students take algebra in either 8 th or 9 th grade. Students who score in the 75% range in number sense on the MAP test are pushed to take algebra in the 8 th grade.

The district provides a few unique opportunities for the high school students. They offer a faculty exchange where the professors from Elgin Community College come and teach a class at the high school. The juniors also get the opportunity to go to the college to get their first lecture and complete a college assignment. In addition, the district has purchased National Clearinghouse, which tracks the students in the high school, who attend and graduate from college. Dr. Stirn noted that the same skills a student needs freshmen year of college are the same skills needed to perform in the workforce, so they strive to prepare their students the best they can.

A great deal of collaboration among the schools and college takes place for the process to be successful. An alliance advisory council composed of a kindergarten readiness team, science team, ELA team, math team, ELL team, data team, district leadership and student services team meets three times a year with the college team. This council develops and implements projects aligned to the Alliance Mission/District & College Goals

Many things the district is doing currently, they were not able to do without the partnership that was formed with the community college. They prepare pre­school and kindergarten students to be college ready by providing literacy skills. The middle school and high school are ramping up the curriculum. They take the middle school on their first college visit to Elgin Community College, have parenting classes for high school students parents, which prepare parents for college for their children and have a great tracking system of their students who go on to college and even graduate from college. Great strides have been made due to collaboration among the teachers and college partnership that was formed.


Decisions! Decisions! Decisions!

Panelists:
Perry Hill IV, Director, Field Services, Illinois Association of School Boards, Lombard
Laura Martinez, Director, Field Services, Illinois Association of School Boards, Lombard

Reporter: Dawn Elser, Elementary Principal, Central School District 104

The session titled Decisions, Decisions, Decisions was presented by IASA Field Service Directors Mrs. Laura Martinez and Mr. Perry Hill IV. The session explained the job of a school board member as good governance. It offered exercises and real life scenarios on whether a decision was the responsibility of the superintendent or the school board member. There was also an activity that allowed the audience to choose the style of decision being made. There are six principals that describe a Board’s job description.

  • A board clarifies the District purpose
  • The Board connects with the community
  • The Board employs and evaluates one person, the superintendent
  • The Board delegates authority, it does not get in day to day activities
  • The Board monitors performance
  • The Board takes responsibility for itself

The Board does its job based on good data and with the best interest of the student in mind. It should take the balcony perspective which means the Board has an aerial view of everything and can maintain an objective point of view. The Board trusts the superintendent to get the data from the dance floor and take it back to the board. Trust  must  be  a  mutual  thing  between  the  Board  and  the  superintendent  and  the superintendent and the Board.

The work is divided between the superintendent and staff and the Board to optimize district success. The board governs, which means it sets the expectations and the parameters. The superintendent manages, which mean the superintendent provides leadership and supervision. The Board works at the strategic level, whereas the superintendent in in charge of tactics and operations. It is the Board that says what to do and the superintendents who decides how to do it. The Board is in charge of policy creation and decisions and the superintendent implements and recommends policy. Sometimes however, those roles can be reversed. The Board decides, while the superintendent offers options, alternatives and implications. The Board monitors results, while the superintendent monitors progress. Decisions are handled in different ways for different things. Governance requires clarity about roles and responsibilities. The six ways to handle a decision are:

  • The superintendent makes routine decisions.
  • The superintendent makes the decision but informs the board after the decision is made.
  • The superintendent makes the decision, but will want to listen to the Board before a decision is made.
  • The School Board is required by law to take final action, but the Board respects the judgement of the superintendent.
  • The School Board and Superintendent should attempt to reach a consensus.
  • The School Board makes the decision and accepts responsibility for it.

The Board has to decide how the decision is made.  There are five general types of decision making.

:

  • Individual decision where one person decides.
  • Minority decision where a few people meet decide and everyone else goes along.
  • Majority decision where more than half of the board decides. This is required for all legal votes.
  • Consensus where all can commit, at least in part
  • Unanimous where all fully agree.

The board and superintendent are faced with a great deal of decision making. It is vital for all board members to understand their role is governance and not the day to day activities of the school. Building trust among the Board and Superintendent is also essential.


Collaboration with Laser­Like Focus on Data Driven Decisions

Panelists:
Jason Hayes, High School Principal, Massac CUSD 1, Metropolis
Laura Walker, Principal, Curriculum and Instruction, Massac CUSD 1, Metropolis;
Kelli Ward, Jr. High Principal, Massac CUSD 1, Metropolis
Sarah Wessel, Elementary Principal, Massac CUSD 1, Metropolis

Reporter: Dawn Elser, Elementary Principal, Central School District 104

Collaboration with Laser­Like Focus on Data Decisions was presented by a team from Massac Unit #1 School District. Director of Curriculum and Assessment, Laura Walker, explained how the district has moved from a struggling district, to one that has seen great improvements. The district was on academic watch years ten years ago and really felt like what they were doing was not working.

Albert Einstein defines insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” She explained that their curriculum was all over the place, so they worked and aligned the curriculum to the Illinois Learning Standards first. A great deal of the improvements were due to the curriculum alignment, the changes in theteaching that occurred over time, the use of data to drive the process and the celebrations along the way. The district felt it was time to look in the mirror at what they were doing instead of looking out the windows. It was time to see the system as a process.

They adopted systems thinking, which is a network of interdependent components that work together to try to accomplish the aim of the system. Key things they had to remember was systems have a goal or focus, are well managed and ensure cooperation over completion.

Metropolis Elementary Principal Sara Walker explained how they use weekly standards based L to J quizzes and math fluency quizzes to monitor progress. L to J is the illustration that shows at the beginning the students know very little and the charting of scores looks like an L. Then at the middle or the end of the quarter or year, the students are tested again and the illustration of the chart looks like a J because of the improvements that were made. The L to J is also based on some of the ideas they learned from Lee Jenkins, who came in and helped guidethe process. Weekly quizzes that are given are from Lee Jenkins. The students take these quizzes weekly and chart their own progress. They compete with themselves, striving each time to get an all­time best. When receiving an all­time best score, they put their name on a star and hang it on the bulletin board in the room or in the hall. The class tries to get class all­ time bests as a class and even the school strives to get all­time time best scores for the school.

Celebrations like hitting the beach ball in the gym or chewing gum for a day are used for all­time school wide bests. It is a competition, but students are tracking their own progress and celebrating when they do their best. There is data collection hanging all over the school, but the students are really motivated by all the data. They also take beginning and middle of the year assessments to track growth. These assessments are developed by their staff. Looking at the

data helps improve instruction.

Massac Jr. High Principal, Kelli Ward, explained that the middle school students set benchmarks to reach. They celebrate all­time bests on things such as, math fluency quizzes, most AR points, standards based assessments, days without an office referral and fight free­days.

All of the recording is done through Google Docs and often students do the collecting of the data and the charting. In addition to looking at individual student scores, they also chart beginning of the year data, middle of the year data and end of the year data or even beginning of a unit and

end of the unit. The results are put on a chart and each question can be analyzed and re­teaching or changes in when things are taught can be made.

Masaac County High School Principal, Jason Hayes spoke about how the high school worked from the top down. They had to figure out where they were going first. They have daily learning targets and unit targets that the students are trying to reach. He explained that it was a little more difficult to celebrate the success at the high school level. They have a partnership with the community college in the area and they keep track of the students attending and completing college. Massac Unit District #1 has made tremendous progress over the last 10 years.


Benchmarking Improves Efficiencies: Data Analytics for Schools

Moderator: Scott Smith, Senior Vice President Forcast5 Analytics

Panelists:
Jon Bartlet, Superintendent, Bloomingdale SD13
Micheal English, President/CEO, Forcast5 Analytics
Jennifer Hermes, Assistant Superintendent for Business Services, Lake Forest SDs 67 &115

Reporter: Katie Reynolds, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, Lincolnshire Prairie-View School District 103

Nationally school districts are using more data than they ever have before to make decisions about instruction, programming and staffing. With the cost of education rising, and property values decreasing, school districts are being asked to survey other schools and make comparisons to stay competitive with the educational market, but also make wise finical decisions. The level of expectations to answer questions has risen exponentially with increased abilities through technology.

Forcast5 Analytics has a partnership with ISBE, IASB and IASBO to be the data analytic provided for the State. They capture all of the data that districts submit for compliance and repurpose that data for benchmarking. Schools use data in for three purposes: data discovery, decision-making and communication with stakeholders.

Trend 1: High performing districts are looking at analytics as a team sport.

Bloomingdale SD 13 first used the Forcast5 tools to identify other districts with similar demographics as them. As they became more proficient with the data they began to use it to tell their story to the community. Each month a different “story” is shared. When telling their story they share a graphic depicting data form Frocast5 and then explains to their audience what the graphic means, how is the data used and what it mean for the future.   Multiple examples of how to use the data were given including how to compare teacher salaries by degree attainment and transportation costs.

Trend 2: Small groups are forming outside the organization to trade data and insights solving simple and complex problems.

In addition to using the data ISBE makes available to Forcast5 groups of schools have also worked collaboratively to enter data in Forecast5. For example, many districts will send a data requests to other districts for information that ISBE would have no reason to collect, such as how many nurses does each district employ or what parentage of insurance costs do districts pay for teachers. The data is then entered into Forcast5’s data bank to be used only by the districts that provided the information. This process has been very useful as districts begin negotiations or are implementing a new model. It has proven to be a successful way of understanding current market conditions.


Leadership and Learning

Moderator: Scott Meech, K-12 Development Executive, Apple Inc.

Panelists:
Dr. Kimberly A. Boryszewski, Superintendent in Schiller Park School District 81
Dr. Lazaro Lopez, Associate Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, District 214
Dr. Robert Hudson, Assistant Superintendent in Aptakisic-Tripp CCSD #102

Reporter: Katie Reynolds, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, Lincolnshire Prairie-View School District 103

In this workshop, three districts in different stages of implementing1:1 technology shared their process for integrating devices into the classroom environment.   Below is a description of the three districts demographics, implementation plan and a summary of the implementation tips each district shared.

Schiller Park School District 81, a K-8 district of 1,500 students, implemented a 1:1 iPad program for students in grades 3 rd through 7 th grade during the 2015-2016 school year.   In 8 th grade a 1:1 initiative was already underway using chromebooks, which aligns to the High School 1:1 program. The reason District 81 decided to implement the 1:1 program was to allow for more student voice and choice, increase student engagement and personalized learning.

District 214, northwest suburb of Chicago High School District with six high schools 12,000 students, began their journey to 1:1 six years ago. District 214 has not created a rollout process, but rather provides and application process for teachers who are interested in teaching in a 1:1 environment. The district has never required teachers to implement technology and believes that teachers should be the initiator when it comes to technology integration. The reason District 214 decided to begin implementation of 1:1 devices was to meet students where they are and prepare them for a digital future.

Aptakisic –Tripp District 102, a K-8 district with an enrollment of 2,000 students, has been integrating technology effectively for over two decades. District 102’s 1:1 implementation began four years ago in fifth and seventh grade, then moving to a 5-8 model the following year. This year’s 8 th grade students are the first group to have 1:1 devices since fifth grade.   District 102 has received Apple’s Distinguished School Award. The impetus for implementing 1:1 was to further the districts vision statement which speaks to students learning at their personal challenge level and expanding boundaries of learning beyond the school days and beyond the school house.

After district administrators introduced themselves Scott Meech, an Apple representative explained how districts should start their journey to 1:1 technology integration. He encouraged the audience to first think about why the district wants to integrate 1:1 devices.   He stated, “ don’t start with a device, start with the why?” A school district should establish goals for the initiative as the first step.   After a district establishes their “why,” then a district should ask, “Now how do we get there?”

The three district administrators all shared a common goal for their districts 1:1 implementation; voice and choice that inevitable increases student engagement. Through the use of 1:1 technology students have the choice of demonstrating their understanding through multiple avenues. Teachers have the ability to create a learning environment that gives students the freedom to amaze us with what they are able to do and puts the student in the leadership role.

There are multiple professional development options available when training teachers on how to implement 1:1 in the classroom. Two of the three districts used a train the trainer model.   In this model, administrators and either teachers or technology coaches attend workshops and then presented to the rest of the district staff.   In District 214 teachers attend a graduate course prior to being given a device. Scott Meech encouraged the audience to train all staff, not just the teachers and to focus on how the 1:1 environment changes instruction.

The final portion of the session was focused on how to measure the 1:1 initiative. Some districts are using baseline data from MAP to measure the success of 1:1 initiatives. They are looking to see if there was a higher then normal regression from spring to fall, or change in the growth from fall to spring. Other districts are tracking behavioral referrals, using data from Five Essentials Survey or surveying student and parents on usage and engagement. Scott Meech encouraged districts to remember to think about the original goals of the 1:1 initiate when creating a measurement plan.


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