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Illinois ASBO Presidents’ Gala Save the Date

Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Morton Arboretum




Special Thanks to Our Partners:

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Illinois Association of School Business Officials UPDATE Magazine / Summer 2019 / v.26 / i.04







Beyond the Numbers: Telling Your District's Story


Infrastructure to Support the Digital Shift With so many districts deploying devices to all students, it is critical that networks and systems are fast and reliable. Learn from Cons. High Sch. Dist. 230 how to lay a foundation and refine your operations to support digital learning. Cover Story by John Connolly



Visit and search for Illinois ASBO.

AN INVESTMENT IN INSTRUCTION According to the Evidence-Based Model, instructional facilitators (or coaches) serve as a core investment cost factor proven to increase teacher impact and overall student performance. Learn best practices to ensure an academic return on investment from your coaches. By Matthew Silverman, Ed.D., Adrienne Hoffer and Aaron Wilkins


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Communication Technologies

and their Impact on Schools & Learning Consistent and credible communication skills are key to being a successful school business leader in 2019. Many technologies and social networks are now available to help us in our role as “content experts� within the district. By Daniel Oberg and Christopher M. Wildman


FROM-THE-PODIUM Our Role as Champions of Growth. 07

FROM-THE-OFFICE Funding the Digital Age. 09


A New Perspective on Digital Citizenship The shift to a holistic, embedded approach to digital citizenship education supports the mission to empower all learners to leverage technology to become influential, interconnected leaders. By Jennifer Duffy, Kristen Stern and Angela Sutherland


FROM-THE-FIELD Technology: A Catalyst for Rethinking Tradition. 11

SCHOOL BUSINESS 101 The biggest challenges districts face in implementing digital initiatives. 19

THE IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY ON THE PHYSICAL SPACE Technology is allowing us to reimagine the design of physical learning spaces. New and innovative technologies continue to unveil architectural opportunities that promote sustainability, energy efficiency and wellness.


By Matthew Ryan Lowe, LEED AP BD+C


LEADERSHIP When leading a diverse generational department, it is your responsibility to recognize differences between the generations and use that information to help the team work and communicate better. By Jennifer J. Hermes, SFO




RESOURCES Aldai E. Stevenson High School District 125 is making the effort to promote vivid, collaborative learning environments by transforming the look, arrangement and feel of each classroom – room by room. By Sean P. Carney


A New Landscape of Professional Learning Learn how Illinois associations are helping to meet the demand for job applicants to hold certificates, micro-credentials and real-world professional experience, in addition to college degrees. By Dr. Susan Homes

ON THEIR LIST Learn about your powerful role as a choice architect in this book review from Justin Veihman of Palos CCSD 118.



The Final Word R.J. Gravel, Ed.D. Asst. Supt./Business Services Glenbrook HSD 225 As a member of both the business and technology services departments, R.J. regularly engages with teachers and instructional supervisors to discuss how their teams can support the great things happening in our learning spaces.


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THE MAGA ZINE Illinois Association of School Business Officials


Northern Illinois University, IA-103 108 Carroll Avenue DeKalb, IL 60115-2829 P: (815) 753-1276 / F: (815) 516-0184 /


UPDATE Editorial Advisory Board

Check out or the latest Calendar of Events included in the UPDATE mailing for full seminar listings including location and PDC sponsorship and register for professional development today. June June2019 2014

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Online AAC #1876 — Before the Crisis: An Introduction to Student Safety Assessment & Mgmt



Learning From Lincoln: Leadership Practices for School Success AAC #1098



Online AAC #1416 — The Legal Rights of Students & Parents




Online AAC #1886 — What Went Wrong: How to Avoid Special Ed Litigation




Online AAC #1231 — School Security: A Proactive and Holistic Approach


6/20/19 6/25/19


School District Auditing Webinar




Support Professionals Half-Day Seminar



Lunch & Learn Webinar: Where Are We Now? Homelessness & Residency in 2019



PDC Networking Meeting/New Connections Happy Hour

Glen Ellyn

7/23/19 7/24/19 7/25/19


ISDLAF+ School Finance Seminar

Naperville Peoria O'Fallon



Emerging SBO Summit




Presidents' Cup Golf Tournament




2019 Leadership Institute Cohort

St. Charles



SupportCon Springfield







12:00pm Lunch & Learn Webinar: Managing the Change Process




Presidents' Gala Facilities Operations Program: Essentials of Facilities Management Support Professionals Full-Day Seminar

Location Online Naperville

Naperville Online

Lisle Arlington Heights Online Naperville

PDC MEMBERS Ryan Berry Legal Issues Yasmine Dada Principles of School Finance James T. Fitton Budgeting & Financial Planning Kathy M. Gavin, M.S. Ed., CSBO Special Education Sean Gordon, CPMM, CPS Maintenance & Operations Richard J. Hendricks, JD, CPA, CSBO Cash Management Stephen R. Johns, Ed.D. Planning & Construction Tim J. Keeley Purchasing John E. Lavelle Risk Management Stacey L. Mallek Accounting, Auditing & Financial Reporting Patrick McDermott, Ed.D., SFO, RSBA Public Policy Sherry L. Reynolds-Whitaker, Ed.D. Human Resource Management Michael J. Schroeder Transportation Laura L. Vince Food Service BOARD & EXTERNAL RELATIONS MEMBERS Cathy L. Johnson President Carrie L. Matlock, AIA, LEED ® AP, BD+C SAAC Chair AT-LARGE MEMBERS Jeff E. Feyerer Fairview South SD 72 STAFF MEMBERS Michael Jacoby Executive Director / CEO (815) 753-9366, Susan P. Bertrand Deputy Executive Director / COO (815) 753-9368, Craig Collins Statewide Professional Development Coordinator, (630) 442-9203, Rebekah L. Weidner Senior Copywriter / Content Strategist, (815) 753-9270, Tammy Curry Senior Graphic Designer (815) 753-9393, John Curry Senior Graphic Designer / Videographer (815) 753-7654, Laura M. Turnroth Communications Coordinator (815) 753-4313,

Illinois ASBO Board of Directors Cathy L. Johnson President Dean T. Romano, Ed.D. President-Elect Mark W. Altmayer Treasurer David H. Hill, Ed.D. Immediate Past President 2016–19 Board of Directors Jan J. Bush, Julie A. Jilek, Bradley L. Shortridge 2017–20 Board of Directors Mark R. Bertolozzi, Kevin L. Dale, Eric DePorter 2018–21 Board of Directors Seth Chapman, Ed.D., Angela M. Crotty, Ed.D., Adam P. Parisi

Illinois ASBO Board Liaisons

Carrie L. Matlock, AIA, LEED ® AP, BD+C Service Associate Advisory Committee Chair Terence M. Fielden, Service Associate Advisory Committee Vice Chair Deborah I. Vespa ISBE Board Liaison Perry Hill IASB Board Liaison David Wood Governmental Relations Specialist Calvin C. Jackson Legislative Liaison

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All materials contained within this publication are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, displayed or published without the prior written permission of the Illinois Association of School Business Officials. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. References, authorship or information provided by parties other than that which is owned by the Illinois Association of School Business Officials are offered as a service to readers. The editorial staff of the Illinois Association of School Business Officials was not involved in their production and is not responsible for their content.

See a full list of Summer 2019 event offerings at:

PERSPECTIVE / Board President

FROM–THE–PODIUM Our Role as Champions of Growth Working in an educational environment, we are the champions of all growth, encouraging and providing pathways for others to follow their dreams. I recently had the opportunity to do just that when my tech director was recruited by another district. It was closer to his home, a promotion with pay to match and an opportunity to take on a host of new challenges he was seeking. How could I not be happy for him? It is the foundation of what we do; we grow people! It was my turn to grow. I have been fortunate to have a number of excellent technologists in places where I have worked. I quickly learned just how fortunate I was.

Cathy L. Johnson



As we champion growth in each of our districts, please continue to champion your own development. Illinois ASBO is here to grow with you. This role is so very essential to the everyday running of our schools. It is too easy to point to the mishaps, but the amount of effort that goes into making it “just work” is commendable. Some of the requests that we make, to simply create a report, migrate to new software, or update a website are far more significant than we realize. Continuing to add devices to the network while managing budgets, as well both internet and human capacity takes creativity that isn’t often attributed to the tech person. Their understanding of the back end of finance, FERPA and security is essential — and just a start. It takes a special skillset to be able to do all of that, but to me, even more impressive is to want to do all of that. There are a number of articles in this publication that speak to the changes in technology. I am sure you will find them relevant and insightful. By the time this goes to press, a new tech director will have been hired, and my sanity restored, but my appreciation will never wane.

As we champion growth in each of our districts, please continue to champion your own development. Illinois ASBO is here to grow with you, with professional development as our primary goal. The success of our organization today is because of you. Each contribution you make, every presentation you give, all the questions you answer and most importantly, any question you ASK will continue to elevate our role in the profession. We will continue to raise each other and this wonderful association up as we work together. I sincerely hope as your President I have provided some insight. It is time for me to step aside and let another take the lead and I am so very humbled and proud to do so.

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PERSPECTIVE / Executive Director

FROM–THE–OFFICE Funding the Digital Age If you haven’t noticed, we now live in a completely digital age. Today, my phone gave me a screen time average and I was astounded! This applies to the kids we serve in schools as well. Whether it is social media, online information or gaming – our kids are digital learners already. But what are we doing in our schools to advance instruction into this age? For some districts, there are amazing classroom scenarios where digital learning is the norm. But for many, it is just a dream and for others that dream is a nightmare! Why? Because funding is barely available in many districts just to afford a teacher, let alone an investment in digital infrastructure and professional development to support it.



Funding is barely available in many districts just to afford a teacher, let alone an investment in digital infrastructure. In negotiations prior to the adoption of the Evidence-Based Funding Formula, there was much conversation around the 1:1 technology element. $571 per pupil was targeted to support technology in the adequacy target. Following the work with the Governor’s commission, the sentiment pushed by the Governor’s office was to cut that in half. Remarks like “2:1 or even 3:1 programs are sufficient,” really surprised me. I kept thinking, “How can we possibly make headway into digital learning if schools are limited only to small groups around a screen?” Fortunately, we were able to push back enough to allow Tier 1 and Tier 2 schools to have the full $571 included in their adequacy target. But that is just a target and full funding of that target is more than a decade away.

I’m sure this is an issue each of you are wrestling with in your districts. You should be asking, “Just how far can we go on limited resources?” and then pushing that envelope as much as you can. In this issue of UPDATE there are a host of articles that can help frame the digital future of your classrooms. We also have some articles that will frame the digital future of your professional development. Illinois ASBO has made significant strides to bring digital learning to you, while keeping our face to face opportunities strong as well. Delve into this issue and let’s see each other sometime soon either in person or in cyberspace!

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Hello, my name is Susan Harkin.

I am Illinois ASBO’s newly elected representative on the ASBO International (ASBO) Board. I follow a handful of esteemed Illinois ASBO members that have served in this capacity and feel extremely honored to serve our hard-working school business officials in Illinois and throughout the world. When I interviewed to be considered to represent Illinois ASBO for this role, I was told that one of the most important things I might be asked to do as an ASBO board member would be to hire an executive director. Little did I know that would happen within the first few months of serving on the ASBO board. On April 10, 2019, David Lewis began leading ASBO as their new executive director. Serving as the Arizona ASBO Executive Director, David brings extensive knowledge in association management and membership development. I am excited to serve on the ASBO board as David takes the helm. David is committed to ensuring that ASBO remains the leading school business official association in the U.S. and internationally. In that spirit, please email me at with your ideas on how ASBO can better serve you to ensure ASBO meets the needs of all of our members. I look forward to bringing your ideas to ASBO in that effort.





OCTOBER 25–28, 2019


GA YLOR D N AT IO N AL • NA T I O N A L H A RB O R • MA R Y L A N D ASBO International’s Annual Conference & Expo is a terrific blend of professional development and networking opportunities that allows business officials the opportunity to enhance their skills to benefit their respective districts. My school district always looks for a return on investment for out-of-state conferences and I believe ASBO International’s annual conference provides that. Jeff Feyerer, Chief School Business Officer, Fairview School District 72, Skokie, Illinois



FROM–THE–FIELD Technology: A Catalyst for Rethinking Tradition When I graduated college in 1994, I started drafting drawings for school construction projects with a lead holder and parallel rule. I was creating blueprints the same way architects did 50 years before me, a way that no longer exists today. Today, that same lead holder and parallel rule are sold on eBay under collectibles and blueprints are no longer blue. Apparently, I’m an elder in an industry that has changed dramatically over the course of the last two decades. The college graduates we interview now need to know Revit and other ancillary drawing software. Technology has dramatically impacted the way we create drawings as well as the way we communicate with contractors and clients.


The K-12 educational environment has also changed a great deal with the integration of technology. Some educators view digital learning as a tool to enhance learning and reinforce skills. They use it as an aid in the development of literacy skills and to engage students. Others see it as a catalyst for rethinking curriculum and pedagogy. SIMPLY SAYING

The education for my occupation has changed due to the impact of technology as has the K-12 learning experience. Kimberly Boryszewki, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schiller Park School District 81 believes that “the digital classroom provides teachers with authentic opportunities to differentiate their teaching while expecting students to take ownership of their own learning.” The education for my occupation has changed due to the impact of technology as has the K-12 learning experience. It is easy to identify the positives associated with digital learning on both fronts, but, what have we lost? In the architectural profession, some might say we have lost the “art” in architecture, the work created by our hands. A sketch or a progress drawing no longer seems like an idea. If it is created electronically, it automatically has a feeling of finality. We need to preface conversations to remind everyone that they are still just ideas. However, the tradeoff is well worth it.

In the K-12 educational environment, some might say we have lost tradition. But, is this a bad thing? Teachers today do require more professional development in order to leverage the technology in a way that makes sense for the student, the teacher and the community. And yes, digital learning may require teachers and administrators to adapt to change and rethink traditional learning environments, but many of our clients believe the benefits outweigh the pain of change. This issue of UPDATE will help you look at digital learning from various perspectives. All this talk of change and reflection reminds me that my time as Service Associate Advisory Committee Chair has come to an end. I want to thank everyone in Illinois ASBO for allowing me to have a role in this great organization. I have enjoyed my time as SAAC Chair and now hope that you will help me welcome Terry Fielden (aka Slice) as he guides you through this upcoming year.

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Sean P. Carney

John Connolly

Jennifer Duffy

Asst. Supt./Business Adlai E. Stevenson HSD 125

Chief Technology Officer Cons. High Sch. Dist. 230

Instructional Technologist Batavia USD 101

Sean taught for 15 years before making the jump to administration. He continues his passion for transforming education as the Assistant Superintendent for Business. Sean is an active contributor to Illinois ASBO as a presenter, writer and committee member on the Accounting, Auditing and Financial Reporting PDC and Online Task Force.

Works with a team of experts to provide the best technology solutions for the D230 staff, students, parents and community. John has 17 years of experience in education technology, was the Educational Technology Director for CPS and is a board member for the Illinois Educational Technology Leaders (IETL) organization.

With a background in special education, Jennifer believes in leveraging technology to open a world of opportunities to all types of learners. She works with educators and students within the K-12 setting and has a focus on empowering learners to find their voice and cause positive change in a connected world. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator.

Jennifer J. Hermes, SFO

Adrienne Hoffer

Dr. Susan Homes

Chief Operating Officer, CSBO Lake Forest SD 67 & 115

Instructional Coach Glenview CCSD 34

Has spent nearly her entire career in school business. Prior to Lake Forest, she spent 10 years in Naperville CUSD 203 as the Position Control Coordinator, Assistant Business Manager, then Director of Support Services and Operations. A Past President, Jen has been a member of Illinois ASBO for over 20 years.

Is a literacy instructional coach in the Chicago area. She is dedicated to designing collaborative and responsive professional development to raise the level of literacy instruction for children and create a strong community of practice amongst colleagues. Follow her work on Twitter @AWHoffer.

Deputy Executive Dir./Professional Learning IL Principals Association (IPA)

In her second year as Deputy Executive Director, Susan has 22 years in K-12 education, serving as a teacher, technology director, asst. superintendent and superintendent. She taught for over 10 years at the college and university level. Susan earned her doctorate in educational leadership from St. Louis University.

Matthew R. Lowe

Daniel Oberg

Kristen Stern

Dir./Design DLA Architects, Ltd.

Dir./Business Services Wheeling CCSD 21

Instructional Technologist Batavia USD 101

As a child, Matt discovered a passion for imagining and visualizing the world around him. In 2002, he graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with his M.Arch. Today, he infuses his passion to shape and transform award-winning learning environments that reflect, support and inspire the vision of the client.

Prior to working in school districts, Dan worked as a senior accountant and audited local municipalities and districts. He is the Co-Chair of the Illinois ASBO Communications PDC and a founder/moderator of @EdFinChat, the monthly K-12 education #edchat to discuss CSBO topics.

Works with teachers and students to integrate technology with purpose to expand opportunities for personalized learning and engagement. Kristen is a Google Certified Educator and has presented at ISTE, ICE and AISLE.

Matthew Silverman, Ed.D.

Angela Sutherland

Christopher M. Wildman

Assistant Supt./Curriculum & Instruction Glenview CCSD 34

Instructional Technologist Batavia USD 101

Chief Financial Officer, CSBO North Shore SD 112

Works extensively in all areas of K-8 education, as well as at the graduate level as an adjunct professor in doctoral studies. He has co-authored a professional development academy for administrators and numerous workshop presentations for teachers, parents and school board members.

A Google for Education Certified Innovator and a Google for Education Certified Trainer, Angie supports PK12 in the design, implementation and facilitation of learning experiences to promote learner empowerment and self-efficacy. She guides the purposeful integration of technology to support these endeavors.

Is the Chair of the Illinois ASBO Communications PDC and an Illinois member of the GFOA Alliance for Excellence in School Budgeting, recently presenting on behalf of 112 at their national conference in October 2018. He is a founder/moderator of @EdFinChat, the monthly education #edchat to discuss CSBO topics.

Aaron Wilkins Instructional Coach Glenview CCSD 34

Supports instructional coaching, curriculum development and the mentoring program. Prior to his role at Glenview, Aaron worked with New Teacher Center developing mentor programs for districts around the country including Chicago Public Schools, where he began his education career as a high school English teacher.

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Supporting Student Achievement

Through the Evidence-Based Funding Model

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UPDATE Magazine / Summer 2019


By Matthew Silverman, Ed.D.


Adrienne Hoffer


Aaron Wilkins


The Illinois Evidence-Based Funding Model is poised to transform the public educational system by focusing on providing all schools with highly effective supports to ensure maximum student achievement. According to best-practice research, instructional facilitators (or instructional coaches) serve as one core investment cost factor proven to increase teacher impact and overall student performance. However, this position is readily interpreted and may evoke different ideas to (many) different school boards, administrative teams or even the facilitators themselves. What does the role of an instructional facilitator/coach need to be in order to achieve a return on investment for the district? To answer that question, it is important to understand the potential pitfalls and challenges of adding and/or sustaining these roles, as well as how the position can become so significantly altered that there is minimal impact on student achievement. Read on to learn about a framework that can help mitigate these issues so that instructional facilitators within the district not only provide investment value, but also become an integral element of the total educational system. THE CASE FOR COACHES

According to the Illinois Evidenced-Based Funding for Student Success Research Summaries, “Coaches, or instructional facilitators, coordinate the instructional program but most importantly provide the critical ongoing instructional coaching and mentoring that the professional development literature shows is necessary for the teacher to change and improve their instructional practice.� The cited research also supports the idea that every student and classroom requires a teacher who has the skills and commitment toward the delivery of highly effective pedagogy to ensure that achievement is commensurate with the tenets of evidence-based funding. Additional research by John Hattie on collective teacher advocacy confirms how valuable job-embedded learning for educators is and the collective efficacy it can transfer to classrooms, an organization and most importantly, student achievement. Scores of research, best practices and experience supports the need for instructional coaches in every school. How then, can this position turn into something so different from its original intention? While there may be many factors, one of the most significant is the overall teacher shortage in Illinois. During the fall of 2018, the State began investigating

policies to alleviate teacher shortages, as well as substitute shortages. One staggering statistic from the Teach Illinois, Strong Teachers, Strong Classroom Report, is that during the 2017-2018 school year, there were 1,407 vacant teaching positions in Illinois. To put this in perspective, with 852 total school districts in the state, each district would be left with 1.7 positions unfilled. While it is not an easy decision, it is a go-to for schools, in desperation, to fill these teacher vacancies with substitute teachers and coaches. Teacher mentoring also can easily get mixed into the role of an instructional coach. Ideally, new teachers are provided a mentor who can engage in a strong relationship and support the framework. However, either due to a lack of funding for a mentor program, an unclear idea of how a mentoring program should operate or a myriad of other reasons, coaches can be assigned multiple mentees or even become the full mentor program. Mentoring is a critical function when ensuring the success of new teachers and should receive the same commitment from a school as would the coaching program.

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Transitioning from research and theory into real classrooms requires the experience and perspective of a practicing coach. Adrienne Hoffer, a veteran Instructional Coach at Glenview CCSD 34, has experienced some of the previously discussed challenges and benefits of the position. Hoffer was first a District English Language Arts Coach, supporting eight schools and roughly 170 classrooms. Knowing that effective coaching depends on the coach being with teachers and students a majority of the time, the breadth of the role made it nearly impossible to support colleagues and student achievement at the level needed. While the role was intended to work in tandem with the school building coaches and co-facilitate literacy learning, the initiative was difficult because each school had their own school improvement plan, which may or may not have been literacy-focused. The building coach had the relationships and connections with colleagues to do the coaching work. This led to Hoffer spending the majority of the time feeling like a coordinator and facilitator, which was most effective when looking at district-wide data and leading literacy committees. Herein lied the muddy definition of coaching and how the title did not fully match the responsibilities. After two years of serving as the district ELA coach, Hoffer’s responsibilities became a hybrid of building coach and district ELA coach. By being assigned to only two buildings, the previous barrier of working side-by-side with teachers and students was lifted and the time with colleagues became abundant and meaningful. The ongoing collaboration with principals and other school professional learning leaders focused the work and bridged whole group learning into classrooms. While the coaching title began to better match the responsibilities, Hoffer found much of her time was spent mentoring new staff. In the district’s outline of coaching duties, first year staff members received an hour each week of mentoring and second year teachers received an hour every other week. All the time dedicated to newer staff was positive but shortened the time Hoffer could work with other teachers on instructional goals and emanated the impression that she was primarily for newer staff, not for improving practice for all. When the district decided to have a K-5 balanced literacy focus with the vision of, “All students and staff engaging, growing and thriving in a balanced literacy learning model using common structures and resources,” the coaching role was identified as being a key factor in supporting the steps towards this vision. It was at this time, that the definition of the role was clarified, stripped of tasks that did not support the vision and bolstered with time, resources and the necessary skills to support implementation. Even with the vision in its infancy, Hoffer and fellow coaches immediately felt the cohesiveness within buildings and across the district. With literacy at the cornerstone of the role, coaches were able to share a common message, support a consistent instructional model and use common resources.

The Illinois Evidence-Based Funding framework further identifies the return on investment when districts commit the resources, professional learning and adequate staffing to ensure the success of coaching.

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UPDATE Magazine / Summer 2019

ARTICLE / Instructional Aid Impact

HOW TO ENSURE A RETURN ON INVESTMENT FROM INSTRUCTIONAL COACHES GET HIGH LEVEL BUY-IN School districts must start at the top with commitments and belief systems. A starting point for every school board is the mandatory reading of the Research Summaries Contributing to Current Recommendations for the Illinois Evidence Based Funding for Student Success. One of the largest effect sizes produced from this research is in the area of instructional facilitators/coaches. School board members and administrators must understand the compelling nature of these investments and how spending resources on coaching will have a positive impact on student achievement. Coaching is a core function of Tier I teaching and must be available to support all levels of program implementation and professional development.

INCORPORATE COACHING INTO THE STRATEGIC PLAN Strategic planning, along with school improvement plans, serve as the blueprint for continuous improvement in schools and districts. Administrators and school boards must carefully consider that role coaches and coaching will play when executing these plans. For example, a typical goal for either type of plan is increasing the number of students meeting individual academic growth goals. When school improvement teams consider instructional strategies and/or programs to implement to help achieve this goal, a coach must be part of the planning for professional development with teachers. The coach cannot be an afterthought for the school improvement team; she/he is integral to the reality of the plan, how much professional learning can actually be delivered and how much time might be required to deliver and sustain the plans. In terms of a financial investment, with an effect size of 1.25 to 2.7 for professional development with classroom instructional coaches (Illinois Research Summaries), improvement is almost guaranteed when the coach is involved upfront and then throughout the plan.


Another point to bear in mind when considering investing in coaching is how your district is or is not poised to respond to change: As the culture or economy of the district changes, how will you adapt? As state and national achievement metrics adjust in ways that promote greater equity, how will the district evolve?

A starting point for every school board is the mandatory reading of the document, Research Summaries Contributing to Current Recommendations for the Illinois Evidence Based Funding for Student Success. Find this document at:

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ARTICLE / Instructional Aid Impact

A PATH TOWARD MEANINGFUL CHANGE In the summer of 2018, when Illinois first began releasing results of the new 2018 School Report Card, district leadership and administrators at both of Glenview District 34’s middle schools learned that their rating was poised to drop due to low scores and insufficient growth in the English language learner population. Upon further analysis, the district leadership determined that even students who had graduated out of EL services (based on an ACCESS composite proficiency of 4.8) failed to make adequate growth. What is most interesting in all of this is that “at risk” students, a designation that included ELs, had been written into both middle school improvement plans the previous year, prior to the release of the new state report card. When teachers know intuitively that there is a problem and then the data confirms those suspicions, staff are poised for meaningful growth because the data and the drive coincide. Yet, when bringing in specialists, as executed in Glenview to address the deficient EL strategies, teachers do not magically have more time on their hands to plan deeply and struggle through implementation of the newly learned strategies. To bridge the gap between the

professional development and classroom implementation, instructional coaches attended the training with teachers, experiencing the learning while listening for needs and being mindful of opportunities. After the training, coaches continued meeting with teachers and teams to learn about what worked, what individuals were trying, what they hoped to try and where they still perceived roadblocks. The biggest roadblocks were the typical ones: time to practice and assurance that they were on the right track. The inroads, on the other hand, were more challenging to identify and required knowledge of the district and relationships with staff. It turned out that the most readily accessible path toward meaningful implementation was going to be via learning targets (a former design strategy widely embraced by teachers) and lesson design (another comfortable practice due to widespread work with Understanding by Design by Wiggins and McTighe). Based on this knowledge, the instructional coach designed planning templates aligning the new learning to practices already in place, thereby creating a continual learning process with a high chance for success.

THE BOTTOM LINE Instructional coaches provide research-proven benefits to school districts. The new Illinois Evidence-Based Funding framework further identifies the return on investment when districts commit the resources, professional learning and adequate staffing to ensure the success of coaching. Educators have been called to action with new opportunities and through effective instructional coaching practices, academic achievement will increase with the success of every highly effective teacher.

References • Crow, Tracy, (Ed.) (2011). Standards for professional learning. Journal of Staff Development, 32(4), Special Issue. • Garet, Michael S., Birman, Beatrice, Porter, Andrew, Desimone, Laura, & Herman, Rebecca. (1999). Designing effective professional development: Lessons from the Eisenhower Program. Washington, DC: United States Department of Education. • Hattie, J. (2018, October 12). Collective Teacher Efficacy (CTE) according to John Hattie. Retrieved December 26, 2018, from teacher-efficacy-hattie/ • Illinois Evidence Based Funding for Student Success Research Summaries Contributing to Current Recommendations. Retrieved December 26, 2018, from Documents/161209-evidence-based-funding-brief-Jacoby.pdf • Joyce, Bruce, & Calhoun, Emily. (1996). Learning experiences in school renewal: An exploration of five successful programs. Eugene, OR: ERIC Clearinghouse on Educational Management. • Knight, J. (2009). Instructional coaching: A partnership approach to improving instruction. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Corwin Press. • Joyce, Bruce, & Showers, Beverly. (2002). Student achievement through staff development (3rd Ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. USA, State of Illinois, Board of Education. (n.d.). Teach Illinois, Strong Teachers, Strong Classrooms. Retrieved December 26, 2018, from

PERSPECTIVE / On the Profession

SCHOOL BUSINESS 101 What has been your biggest challenge related to digital learning initiatives? of the biggest challenges reported by staff across both of our local districts “ Some include internet and computers at home for kids who are low income, blending digital

learning initiatives with other ongoing initiatives, keeping our technology updated and not getting caught up or switching to the ‘next best thing.’” KEVIN L. DALE Business Manager, CSBO, Rochelle Twp. HSD 212 & CCSD 231

say the biggest challenge is to get teachers on board with the thought that students “ I’d are digital learners and can adapt to this change and even thrive in it. Our students are

digital learners but our teachers have not utilized a digital, interactive platform in the past. We have provided professional development on the curriculum platform, professional development on the instructional technology and continued support with instructional coaches. Peer modeling and student engagement have provided a level of assistance to make the change.” DR. LEAH GAUTHIER Director for Curriculum & Instruction, Elmwood Park CUSD 401

resources and keeping up with the ‘latest and greatest.’ Educators are “ Vetting bombarded with information regarding various products and the vendors use a bait and

switch model to lure them in: free trials and free versions with paid subscriptions offering upgrades. Vetting resources and aligning them with the district’s vision for teaching and learning, along with the budget cycles, presents a challenge. We want to encourage teachers to explore digital resources, but there have to be processes in place.” MAUREEN C. MILLER Dir./Technology, Winnetka SD 36

is a rural district with a newly installed fiber optic and wireless infrastructure. We “ Patoka added the infrastructure to the district's single building just over a year ago. This year,

we've acquired Chromebooks for the high school and junior high and iPads for elementary that teachers can check out as needed. Our biggest challenge now is educating and providing PD for staff on implementing and using technology in the classroom. From past experience I have found it works best when teachers are highly trained in the use of digital learning.” DAVID H. RADEMACHER Superintendent, Patoka CUSD 100

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Daniel AuthorOberg



Technologies and their Impact on Schools & Learning

Consistent and credible communication skills are key to being a successful leader and school business manager in 2019. As school business managers, we wear many hats and our work days are often long and varied. Our role as “content expert” for our districts has to transition between facilitating budget meetings to handling student transportation issues, overseeing purchasing decisions to soundly investing and financing the district’s resources. These variations in a workday truly reflect our varied functional, management and leadership responsibilities – business office, finance, transportation, food service, facilities and technology and sometimes even human resources and recruiting are part of the CSBO role. These stark variations make our positions dynamic, but they also illustrate the necessity for direct and clear communications, delivered frequently by using different media.

Jack of All Trades

It seems only fitting that since school business managers need to be content experts on so many topics, there would be so many communication and social media apps for them to know how to use. Depending on the school district or the superintendent, a school business manager needs to be able to communicate through apps and software such as Google Hangouts, Voxer, Twitter, Linkedin, blogs and podcasts. We not only need to know that these technologies exist, but we also need to be equally fluent in each of these platforms and tools in order to make them work efficiently for the modern business offices by supporting valid and viable Professional Learning Networks (PLNs), our administrative teams and outside stakeholders.

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The Evolution of Communication Based Efficiencies in Our Schools Business offices used to depend on paper, pencil, general ledgers and floppy disks. In most cases, these technologies and formats are long gone. Today’s business offices and teams are sharing documents with each other instantaneously and making changes on the fly. Agendas are dynamic and minutes can be created and shared instantaneously. If you have questions regarding a document, you do not print it out, write your questions down and then meet with your staff; you comment directly on the document and move on. Multiple staff members can be working, editing and commenting simultaneously on projects in Google Drive, making for a more efficient business office.

Always Connected

One of the challenges of this career is the pressure to always check email. Work-life balance is difficult; however, we can use 21st century social media apps and platforms to work smarter. Here are a few helpful technology resources:


Voxer is a “Walkie Talkie” messaging app for your smartphone with live voice (like a PTT walkie talkie), along with text, photo and location sharing. It is used in corporate settings and for school districts it can be a cost effective tool to quickly share information amongst the executive cabinet, leadership team and staff members. Whether the message is an emergency call to action or a thank you to team members, this communication tool is tailored to “groups” so the user can customize their message to different audiences. The EdFinChat team communicates with each other via Voxer in preparing for our next chats and we plan to invite members of the Illinois ASBO Communications PDC to start to use Voxer in the hopes that this will improve our effectiveness in producing high quality presentations for upcoming professional development. 22 |

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Like Voxer, podcasts are an inexpensive way to produce mass communication and they have become popular in education as a means to record a “spoken blog.” They are often topic-based and can be monologues or interviews with guests. They have the same advantage of written blogs in that they can be “bite-size” and are user friendly. There are many platforms for podcasts such as SoundCloud, Audioboom and Podbean.


Twitter was created to allow anyone to post and share anything with the rest of the world and it did not take long for teachers, superintendents and school districts to discover that power. Within minutes a post can be seen by thousands across the globe. Usually these posts include a hashtag (#), such as #21learns at CCSD21 or #112leads at North School District 112. Hashtags allow for users to search for a specific topic and can be used to get multiple people involved in one conversation at the same time, which has now become Twitter chats. Twitter chats such as #EduGladiators, #SatChat and #LeadUpChat are very popular weekly education Twitter forums. Twitter chats are also a way for superintendents, principals and teachers to tell their good stories in their school districts which is what they have cultivated in the #SuptChat. The discussion came up about how to get CSBOs involved with Twitter chats and sharing the good stories of the business office and operations. #EdFinChat was created by Dan Oberg, Chris Wildman and Dr. R.J. Gravel and has had multiple guest moderators from Illinois ASBO to facilitate topics ranging from safety and security, ESSA, work-life balance and leadership. #EdFinChat is not just centered on school business management in Illinois; it is a global community for those interested in sharing best practices and creating an authentic PLN. Some of the most successful chats have come from guest moderators from Wisconsin and the United Kingdom.

Eyebrow ARTICLE / Communication Technologies

Online communities

Illinois ASBO’s peer2peer online community allows for any Illinois ASBO member to post a question to the group and any Illinois ASBO member can respond. Additionally, those members who respond can attach documents to illustrate important information and share useful resources, making it a fabulous network for any Illinois ASBO member. The PDCs, ASBO International and ASBO Global School Business Network each have their own platforms where content can be shared and it is often interesting to see the same question posed on both platforms to see the diverse responses. These platforms get CSBOs communicating directly with each other.

The Communications PDC Challenge for You

We would like to connect and grow with our CSBO friends through these methods of communication. We challenge the Illinois ASBO community to engage in more social media interaction with our PDC. We look forward to seeing your posts on peer2peer, your tweets on our monthly live chats and hearing your feedback through Voxer. Our learning can only be fortified by our limitless curiosity.

Why we need a PDC for Communications and Social Media In January 2018, we began discussions with Illinois ASBO about the amount of professional development for school business managers focused on communications and social media. We concluded it was logical to have communications guidance and learning for both new CSBOs entering the profession, as well as established and experienced members of the CSBO community.

The Communications PDC was created with the following Mission Statement: To provide professional development and information for school business officials and staff on public relations, marketing, social media and communications strategies; to engage stakeholders and promote community outreach, recruiting and school branding activities. With this new mission in mind, we reached out directly to members of INSPRA (Illinois Chapter of the National School Public Relations Association) for their input and expertise. The PDC now has over 20 active members from Illinois ASBO and INSPRA, a collaboration and partnership that benefits both organizations. We need to advocate for the partnership between school business managers and communications professionals to share resources and communication expertise. Too frequently we experience smaller school systems lacking a communications department or specific FTE for this role. Therefore, there is a great need for instilling best practices in the art of communication so we can all grow as school business managers. We also have Service Associate members, including representatives from insurance, construction and technology organizations who are also strategic partners in the storytelling of...


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ARE YOU READY? Infrastructure to Support the Digital Shift In the movie, The Social Network, there is a quote that “If our servers are down for even a day, our entire reputation is irreversibly destroyed.” This is true in education now more than ever. With so many of our districts deploying devices to all students, it is critical that our network and systems are fast and reliable. Change management is one of the toughest challenges in any organization and with the digital shift in teaching and learning, it is critical that the operational aspects of the movement are stable. Issues with infrastructure can frustrate the most tech-savvy teachers who are on the bandwagon and are all digital. It will

completely shut down the user that was hesitant with moving into their non-comfort zone. Slowness, downtime and outages are all issues that can and will derail progress. Furthermore, it could take months and in some cases years for those users to jump back on the bandwagon. Technology needs to be invisible. We need our end users to focus on the learning as opposed to whether the device is going to work, the Internet is slow, a system is down or any other issue that could hinder the learning process.

LAYING THE FOUNDATION: DISTRICT 230’S STORY At Consolidated High School District 230, we recognize how critical it is to have a solid foundation for our Digital Learning Program. We mapped out a three-phase technology vision, pictured on the next page. We intentionally did not put a timetable on each of the phases as we understood how fluid each of the steps would be. We also wanted to have flexibility with what made sense for our teachers, students and parents. As you can see, infrastructure is included in every phase as it is critical to continue to upgrade and evolve with the improved technology.

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By John Connolly



D230 Three-Phase Technology Vision

PHASE 1 “Building the Technology Foundation” – Infrastructure – Tablet Planning – Email/Collaborative Suite Planning (Cloud) – Process Development, Website – Capacity Building

PHASE 2 “Digital Transition” – Tablet Pilot – Textbook à Digital Transition – Cloud: Google Apps – Data System Streamline – Professional Development – Capacity Building – Infrastructure

PHASE 1 – Building the Technology Foundation

Making sure that our infrastructure and systems were solid was a key piece for Phase 1. Some of the key infrastructure items we focused on include expanding our bandwidth, upgrading our wireless network and implementing a disaster recovery program. We selected Google as our cloud collaborative system, selected Chromebooks as our standard 1:1 device and opened up access levels for wireless and social media during this phase. Much of this was put into place in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years.

Phase 2 – Digital Transition

The highlight of Phase 2 was our Digital Learning Program. We started with 40 teachers in the 2013-14 school year, 100 teachers in 2014-15 school year and 140 teachers in the 2015-16 school year. These teachers were the catalyst for our success with the program and formed a large army of professional developers throughout the building for our digital shift. Infrastructure upgrades included: Additional bandwidth increase, major wireless upgrade focused on density, an asset management system, distributed denial of service (DDoS) mitigation plan and tweaks to all systems based on the network usage we were seeing.

PHASE 3 “Digital Rich Environment” – Tablet Implementation – Digital Core Content – Access: Rich Instructional Technology Resources – Professional Development – Capacity Building – Infrastructure

Phase 3 – Digital Rich Environment

We realized that we would live in both Phase 2 and Phase 3 depending on many factors. Moving into a dynamic environment with digital tools is a process that could be a five to ten year move for a district when looking at the environment holistically. There are many areas in our district and classrooms that are living in this dynamic learning environment right now and the results are awesome. Much of this phase is based on staff development, systems, content, students and programs. Infrastructure upgrades included: Converging systems, integration across platforms, segmenting the network, increased reliability, cyber-security and cost-saving options. The interesting part about this phase is that in theory it never ends. We expect consistent improvements and iterations with all things technology as we are entering into this exciting phase. Our district was intentional with moving through these phases across a 5+ year time frame as opposed to ripping the band aid off. There are pros and cons to each approach, but on the infrastructure side, it helps to progressively update and build upon a solid foundation. As we worked through our journey, we started to view “infrastructure” a little differently. With the intention of technology being invisible, we started to look at our devices and systems as infrastructure or foundational components. If we can have our teachers and students not thinking about the technology, the true focus will be on what is most important – learning!

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WHAT IS NEXT? REFINING YOUR OPERATIONS Many districts have built a solid infrastructure that is hopefully fast and reliable. Systems are in place to manage the learning experience and all students receive a device as they enter the district. They have worked on upgrades to bandwidth, wireless, servers/virtualization, switching, storage, disaster recovery, firewall, content filtering and LAN/WAN fiber to support digital learning programs. District 230 has been working towards these goals for four to five years and we made it! We are seeing instructional and learning shifts and the feedback is positive from end users. Not so fast… Infrastructure is an ongoing work-in-progress. All of the network usage, new requirements for how we operate and creative end users finding loopholes all factor into the ongoing need to evolve. There are five factors we continue to consider as we move forward:

1. Cyber-Security At a recent Illinois CTO Workshop, 100 percent of CTOs reported that cyber-security is keeping them up at night. Three issues to consider include DDoS attacks, Phishing/Ransomware and Data Breaches: • DDoS: Most high school districts in Illinois have been hit by a DDoS attack that has taken down their network. DDoS attacks are very easy to kick off and flood the Internet service provider’s pipe for the district. Attacks such as these will take down the network and can last for extended periods of time. There have been examples of districts being down for over two weeks with no access to the Internet — imagine the impact! Some mitigation solutions include: ○○ Working with your ISP on a traffic scrubbing solution. ○○ Bringing on a third-party traffic scrubbing application. ○○ Setting up Border Gateway Protocol to redirect the garbage traffic to a black hole. ○○ Segmenting your network to help limit the impact. ○○ Working with deans to apply the appropriate discipline. Note that the scrubbing solutions are not cheap, yet they are the only hands-free solution. • Phishing/Ransomware: Education is the top target for phishing and ransomware. Every week, there are articles about school district employees being tricked into giving away sensitive data or cutting checks to bogus companies. There are also instances where files are locked up by ransomware that put districts in a rough position to pay a ransom or lose a significant number of documents and data. Districts should: ○○ Confirm that the backups they create and maintain are sufficient. ○○ Review network drive future plans (we got rid of our home drives). ○○ Have a baseline endpoint security system on devices. ○○ Have a password management plan. The weakest link in any organization is the employee. With this in mind, districts should be training employees on a periodic basis including running phishing email drills, staff reminders and providing optional training materials.

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• Data Breaches: Another nightmare for districts would be having to manage a data breach. Data breaches can happen to any organization as many of us have seen in the news (Equifax, NASA, etc.). It is very easy for an employee to accidently share a file with sensitive information with the world while using Google for 365. Districts can help limit the footprint of this risk by: ○○ Restricting access levels to key systems such as the SIS. ○○ Reviewing tools to manage cloud file sharing. ○○ Training employees on best practices. Many of us know it is only a matter of time before there is a data breach. Therefore, mapping out the different scenarios from a cyber insurance, legal and communication standpoint is recommended. Set up a meeting with your insurance company to understand what is covered and what is not. We found out that if a staff laptop does not have encryption, our insurance does not cover the breach! These are important details to be aware of.

ARTICLE / Supporting the Digital Shift

2. Analytics With all of our students and staff online, usage analytics will continue to grow in priority. We want to know what users are doing on our network. This could be helpful for cybersecurity purposes, but also for educational purposes. What tools are staff and students using for learning? How much time is spent on task? Districts will need to be able to review applications they are paying for and report on their return on investment. Linking usage data to learning data is also a promising opportunity.

3. Network Simplification We continue to move to a more simplified network. The goal is to move away from operational tasks with as much automation as possible. Consolidating systems to limit the points of failure, moving more applications and systems to the cloud, improving integrations across systems and having reliable alerts are all components that districts should be moving toward. Reviewing cloud options to limit the amount of datacenter hardware refreshes is also a trending model, although we have found this to be expensive and in some cases problematic depending on the systems.

4. Facilities Integration The technology side of physical security has significantly increased in the last few years. Safety and security for schools has seen upgrades with security camera systems, visitor management, door access, digital signage, systems to contact staff/ students in event of crisis and AV integrations. School networks going down due to power outage results in a safety issue when communication channels and life-safety equipment tied into and network is down. Lighting powered by technology switches is starting to come to schools. With this in mind, technology should be working with facilities on all of the above, including generators to run key lifesafety equipment on all technology closets.

5. Budget Technology infrastructure is expensive and ongoing. Districts need to map out large upgrades across multiple years and leverage Federal eRate funding – Category 1 (Internet) and Category 2 (specified hardware/services). The district CTO and CSBO should work closely to map out current and future budget year expenditures. District 230 created a 25-year capital budget that includes facilities and technology. All of this helps for senior leadership to understand the importance and eliminate being blindsided by large upgrade costs. Technology budgets should be dynamic and not copied over from previous years. Each year there should be a discussion on what is needed, what federal funds are available and what options are there to spend now to save later.


In the same conversation from The Social Network, the CEO followed up with “the users are interconnected; if one domino goes, the other dominos go.” We have made so much progress with learning and pedagogy changes due to technology tools. Teachers are naturally interconnected and collaborative with colleagues. Failures, inefficiencies and data loss are all challenges that could swing the dominos the other way. Technology departments need to work with their leadership teams to evolve their infrastructure and limit the amount of risk and issues that could occur.

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A New Perspective on

Digital Citizenship Digital citizenship is nothing new,

and since before the introduction of the term, educators have been searching for curriculum and lessons to prepare learners for a digital future. This traditionally meant the introduction of isolated activities that focused on “staying safe online” or “cyberbullying.” What was soon learned from presenting these activities unaccompanied by authentic experiences, was that we had very smart learners who knew how to talk the talk, but who often lacked the ability or desire to back up their words with equivalent actions and attitudes in context. Through observing news, social media and personal interactions, students are not the only individuals struggling to apply digital citizenship concepts to everyday life. A community-wide, holistic approach to digital citizenship could support the needed shift. Special thanks to Batavia High School student Elizabeth Shumaker who created the caricatures for this article and the BPS101 Digital Citizenship program.

By Jennifer Duffy



Kristen Stern


Angela Sutherland


Educators know that skills taught in isolation are seldom generalized to real-world situations. The same learning theory applies to digital citizenship. The ISTE article “Don’t Teach Digital Citizenship, Embed It”, states that, “kids do best when they can learn something authentically, by figuring out their own answers to real-world problems that are relevant to their lives,” which highlights the need for an embedded approach. There are many existing digital citizenship frameworks that address the necessary skills and attitudes that a school district may find useful. ISTE’s digital citizenship vision “focuses on empowering learners to be in community with others in online spaces and showing them that digital citizenship goes beyond conversations about personal responsibility. It is about being active citizens who see possibilities instead of problems and opportunities instead of risks as they curate a positive and effective digital footprint.” The ISTE approach includes themes that connect the academic standards to digital citizenship components. Google’s Be Internet Awesome campaign identifies key concepts and includes student-friendly language that can be adapted for younger learners. The desire to empower learners to create, interact and inspire others to make a positive impact prompted the creation of a combined approach with additional components to support learners within our schools and community.

Seven Components of Digital Citizenship Digital citizenship is a large umbrella under which many different digital behaviors and frames of mind can fit. To identify all of the concepts to consider, it is helpful to break them into smaller components to ensure that none are overlooked. Component classification may vary based on the needs of individual communities and cultures. We expanded Google’s Be Internet Awesome framework as a theme for embedding digital citizenship for all learners in our district including students, teachers and community members.



Encourage learners to: • Demonstrate the ability to find and evaluate sources for credibility and reliability.

Encourage learners to: • Keep the dialogue going by checking in frequently and asking questions.

It is important to help learners become aware that the Internet holds a multitude of content, some reliable and some unreliable. Helping students develop skills to analyze and narrow down quality digital content for a specific purpose and then create their own content is essential.

Demonstrate the ability to purposefully create and share digital content.

It is important that individuals feel comfortable talking to a trusted adult in the event they run across questionable digital content. Adults can support this behavior by modeling and fostering open communication at home, in the classroom and in the community.

Extend the conversation to other trusted adults like coaches, counselors, friends and relatives.

Be clear about expectations around technology.

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It is important for learners to make smart decisions when sharing information online. All learners need to carefully consider the effects of their digital activities. Encourage learners to: • Be thoughtful about the information they share online by treating online communication the same as face-to-face communication. •

Keep personal details about family and friends private.


It is important to help learners use the power of the internet responsibly. Sharing information on the Internet requires that students understand how to properly cite sources as well as gain permission prior to posting others’ information in the form of images or text. Responsible users of the internet also self-monitor in order to ensure on task behavior when accessing digital content. Encourage learners to: • Demonstrate an understanding of and respect for the rights and obligations of using and sharing intellectual property. •

Appropriately cite sources of digital content and ask permission for reuse when needed.

Obtain permission before sharing another individual’s personal information online.

Demonstrate responsibility by accessing resources related to the learning objective. 30 |

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Be aware of appropriate communication guidelines.

Remember news travels fast, so make it positive and uplifting!


It is important to use the Internet as a powerful amplifier to spread positivity. Adults and kids alike have the ability to create a positive impact for others and disempower bullying behavior. Encourage learners to: • Use the power of the Internet to spread positivity. • Stop the spread of harmful or untrue messages by not passing them on to others. • Respect others’ differences. • Report/block mean-spirited or inappropriate behavior online. • Make an effort to provide support to and speak up against those being bullied.



Encourage learners to: • Know the signs of a potential scam.

Encourage learners to: • Create a strong password that is memorable, but avoids using personal information.

It is important that learners become aware that people and situations online are not always as they seem. Deciding what is real and what is fake is a necessary lesson in online safety.

Think critically before acting online. If it seems too good to be true, it likely is.

Be on guard for attempts to steal information like login or account details by pretending to be a trusted contact.

It is important to know that online personal details and accounts should be protected to avoid others having access to private information.

Create a password that uses a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols and numbers.

Create different passwords for each new site and not use the same password on multiple sites.

ARTICLE / Digital Citizenship Eyebrow

Considerations for Developing a Community Vision Personalizing Vision • Determine current practices in delivery of digital citizenship information. • Gather stakeholder data regarding needs, attitudes, strengths and challenges surrounding digital experiences in your district. • Consider trends in social media and news, local and national. • Analyze current educational research and literature to determine best practices. • Research existing frameworks that may support your needs. Shifting Vision • Instead of spending time telling kids how NOT to act, present opportunities for positive interactions through modeling, emulating and being agents of change. • Include authentic opportunities to engage in classroom, school-wide, or district-wide digital communities when addressing each content standard.

• Teach kids how to interact when ideas that are presented are in conflict with their own, how to demonstrate understanding and how to carry someone’s viewpoint further. Sharing Vision • Develop icons and characters to create a visual connection to the theme and the ideas of each component. We partnered with a high school student artist to design our diverse characters that we use in our promotional materials. • Create promotional materials to carry the message to each classroom and throughout the community. They can create a consistent message about the district’s digital citizenship vision. • Craft situational prompts to support teachers during class to remind learners of considerations. • Launch the vision school and community-wide. Share news via district and school newsletters and create an online space for all community members to access the vision, components and materials.

Digital Learning Specialist, Nancy Watson, professes a vision of “Every Teacher, Every Classroom, Every Day.” This statement perfectly summarizes the approach districts should take in supporting digital citizenship. Educators already have access to isolated digital citizenship lessons, but what educators really need are methods of quickly reminding students to use their digital citizenship skills. Digital citizenship materials should support a common approach across the district in order to provide student opportunities. These materials also need to be leveled to meet the students’ developmental needs while providing common language and key ideas for K-12 students.

It is a goal for educators to empower learners to use the digital world to make a positive change. Scare tactics fall short of giving learners the skills they need to interact in a digital space. As Jennie Magiera stated in her article, “Tech is Not a Treat”, educators should “proactively support learners in understanding how to make good choices through scaffolding, goal setting and clear expectations.” We need to be engaging students in assessing their own practices beyond online safety and towards using the Internet to be a catalyst of positive change. The shift to a holistic, embedded approach to digital citizenship education supports the mission to empower all learners to leverage technology in order to become influential, interconnected leaders. References: “Be Internet Awesome.” Google, Google, “Digital Citizenship in Education.” ISTE, “Don’t Teach Digital Citizenship – Embed It!” ISTE, Magiera, Jennie. “Tech Is Not a Treat: Responding to Device Misuse.” Education Week – Rules for Engagement. 13 Mar. 2014. 04 Mar. 2019 < teaching_toward_tomorrow/2014/03/tech_is_not_a_treat_responding.html>. | Watson, Nancy. “Cultivating a #DigCit State of Mind.” Google Sites,



Today’s kids are materially endowed and technologically literate. They live in a world of instant gratification. But what effect is their digital immersion having on them, especially if their use is unmoderated? To design for today’s learners, we need to understand the role of technology. Specifically, its impact on how we deliver education and how trends are shaping new opportunities in school design. When designing schools, we need to embrace the responsibility of balancing the student’s digital world with their physical environment by reconnecting them to nature, humanity and themselves. This winter, a polar vortex hit the Midwest with the coldest air that many of us have ever experienced. Fortunately, technology was functioning the way it was supposed to and I was able to comfortably log in to my office workstation from my dining room table. My wife was sitting by the fireplace that she had turned on with the flip of a switch and our four children from Generation Z and the Alpha Generation were all using various forms of technology including commanding ‘Alexa’ to play Spotify and being transformed into puppies on Snapchat. Even our three-year old was using voice control to summon his favorite YouTube videos. This atypical workday provided me with a clear picture. Technology has been dramatically woven into the daily lives of our youngest generations.

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By Matthew Ryan Lowe, LEED AP BD+C



THE ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY According to Jaime Casap, Google’s Education Evangelist, the role of technology in education must be relevant, engaging and personal. Technology is advancing at an unprecedented rate, striving to make our daily lives easier and through access to high-quality educational experiences, technology is also improving the learning process. Today’s Alpha Generation (anyone who was born after the year 2010) is global, social, visual and technological. But with shifts in technology, they are facing a future where many jobs are replacing people with automation. Therefore, current and future generations need to be problem solvers. Educators need to give students access to the tools that will prepare them for curiosity, collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking and cosmopolitan lives. Our learning environments need to inspire this.

THE IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY ON EDUCATION Technology is transforming all aspects of education, from learning, teaching and leadership to student assessment, infrastructure and security. It is advancing relationships among learners, teachers, peers and mentors. Learning is happening anywhere and at any time. Yet, even with all of these possibilities, in 2019 we still see disparity in how kids are provided access to technology beyond school walls. Technology needs to be distributed with greater equity among all learners and accessible for students of all abilities. We retain knowledge best when we practice doing and teaching others. Understandably, active use of technology (e.g. immersive simulation, media production, design, peer collaboration) engages learners on a whole different level than its passive use. According to Forbes, augmented and virtual reality enables students to “experience” things like history and travel as never before giving today’s learners the ability to be at the helm of their life-long learning expedition.


Technology is also accelerating, amplifying and expanding the impact of effective teaching practices. Educators are increasingly connected to people, data, content, resources, expertise and experiences. Empowered by the internet of things (IoT), technology is giving educators access to real-time data of individual student performance. They can measure what matters and use assessment data to improve learning. This is supercharging personalized learning by allowing more choice over what and how students learn and at what pace they learn it. Today, a robust technological infrastructure is a requisite for learning, teaching and assessment. Key elements include high-speed connectivity and devices readily available to teachers and students. And though wires and devices are often the first things to come to mind, a comprehensive learning infrastructure should include digital learning content and other resources. Security is a hot topic on everyone’s list. Security measures on the digital level are striving to keep students safer from cyber dangers. The idea of digital citizenship and responsible use is also a mindset that needs to be fostered and reinforced in our homes and in our learning environments.

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THE EFFECTS OF TECHNOLOGY AND THE ROLE OF THE PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT Education architects need to strive to design learning environments that transcend generations and generational trends. Moreover, they need to integrate flexible and adaptable components to future-proof buildings and spaces. From the comfort it brings to the insight that educators achieve, technology is a fluid component that lends itself to an easier and more efficient way of doing things. But alone, it cannot do everything. What exactly are the short and long-term effects of our digital lives leading to? Studies suggest that children need to live more active and social lives to optimize their physical and mental health. It is important to consider attributes that may help educators merge their technology integrated pedagogy with the physical space. Blended learning and other models of learning enabled by technology require educators to rethink how they organize physical spaces to facilitate collaborative and individual learning using digital tools. Schools are transforming into learning neighborhoods that are comprised of rooms of varying shapes and sizes to accommodate different types of learning. Classrooms have now become learning studios, which implies a more personalized, self-directed and collaborative approach to learning. Transparency is allowing learning to be on display. This inspires kids by allowing them to see the creative process in action. Techinfused makerspaces are being located in the hearts of schools, typically alongside a media center, where students can research, collaborate, test and ultimately share their innovative ideas. Wireless connectivity is

supporting learning everywhere, even in the corridors. Learning environments are becoming more agile with flexible furniture, movable walls and integrated technology. All this movement in the learning process is advantageous; in fact, it increases the amount of oxygen to the brain! In recent visioning sessions, we have heard growing concerns centered around anxiety and sensory deprivation in our tech-savvy kids. Several solutions that may dramatically reduce these occurrences are color, biophilia and natural light. Color helps create a soothing learning environment that improves visual processing, reduces stress and challenges brain development through visual stimulation/relationships and pattern seeking. Studies have revealed that visual stimulation rewires the brain, making stronger connections while fostering visual thinking, problem solving and creativity. For optimal psychological and physiological effect, integrate a balance of color from the full spectrum. According to the EPA, the average American spends 93 percent of their life indoors. Biophilia, our connection to the world of living things, looks at reinstating nature into our daily lives. A recent study conducted by the Institute for European Environmental Policy found that access to nature reduces depression and obesity. Furthermore, natural light not only connects students to nature, it lowers energy consumption and has been linked to improved test scores.


UPDATE Magazine / Summer 2019

ARTICLE / Tech Impact on the Physical Space


TRANSFORMATIONAL TRENDS IN ARCHITECTURAL TECHNOLOGY Technology is allowing us to reimagine the design of physical learning spaces. New and innovative technologies continue to unveil architectural opportunities that promote sustainability, energy efficiency and wellness. Every square inch and surface presents an opportunity to make a positive impact, whether it be a ceiling, wall or floor. LED lighting is giving educators the option to instantaneously dim, adjust color temperature or change hue depending on student needs or preferences. Walls are becoming more adaptable and flexible with the capability of being movable, magnetic, dry erase and projectable. Flooring is the surface that students come in most contact with. It needs to be tough and durable in addition to providing sound absorption and comfort. Because many children sit on the floor, schools need floors that are antimicrobial and easy to clean. And with advancements in high-resolution digital printing, manufacturers are developing products that are mimicking nature with the popular trend of biophilic design.

STAYING GROUNDED IN A WORLD OF TECHNOLOGY Life is a balancing act. The potential that technology brings to all aspects of learning is profound. Educators and architects must forecast each learnerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s need to thrive in an environment that speaks to them. Though technology is an essential part of the equation, we need to remain in tune with the existence of ourselves and others. Nurturing and cultivating our minds, bodies and spirits is accomplished through a polyphony of the senses that technology can not exclusively accomplish. Right, Alexa?

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UPDATE Magazine / Summer 2019

By Jennifer J. Hermes



Cut the fluff for Generation X. Members of this generation do not appreciate sugar-coated messages. Direct, timely communication delivered in an informal and tech-savvy way earns trust from this cohort. Repeated reminders and clichés turn Gen-Xers off of a message. Demonstrating competence, not longevity, builds credibility as the source of communication.”1 - Leila Lewis, Illinois School Board Journal

As a Gen-Xer, the above description precisely captures my personal preferences and characteristics. Reflecting upon the accuracy of this statement led me to further analysis of the generational differences within our particular business office. I was curious as to the similarities and differences, as well as the challenges and opportunities these present to my leadership.

Understanding the Generations at Play

Multiple generations coexist in today’s dynamic workforce. Education is no different. Although there is no definitive beginning and end to a generation, there is a general understanding that four distinct generations are currently in the workforce.2 Here are some generalized characteristics of each generation:

TRADITIONALISTS (born 1922-1945)

BABY BOOMERS (born 1946-1964)

GEN-X (born 1965-1980)

MILLENNIALS (born 1980-2000)

1% of the workforce 3

21% of the workforce

42% of the workforce

36% of the workforce

• Also called Veterans

• Defined as having considerable work ethic

• Strive for balance between work and family

• Also called Nexters or Generation Y

• Value teamwork

• Tech-savvy

• Unparalleled technical skills

• Respect experience

• Strongly driven

• Are eager to conform to group roles

• Give credit where credit is due

• Flexible and adapt well to change

• Show initiative and appreciate flexibility

• Independent, resourceful

• Value professional development opportunities

• Appreciate structure and order

While no individual can be defined by their generation, Suzette Lovely has noted that, “…experts have found that specific life events bind a cohort together through shared experiences, hardships, social norms and cultural icons. These common threads create self-sustaining links that cause people to maintain similar attitude, ambitions and synergy.”2 The forces that influence and form these distinct cohorts are thought to be the strongest during childhood and early adolescence.

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Boomers were influenced by the expansion of television into the average home, where very traditional family structures would gather around and experience the wonder of television. Gen Xers were the first to be considered “latchkey” children, where single parent and dual-income families replaced the traditional family structure to become more of the norm. As a result of less supervision and nurturing, Gen Xers are characterized as having high personal drive and extreme survival instincts. Millennials were raised in an information rich environment, with computers and other forms of technology proving instant access to unlimited data. With heightened awareness of tragic human events (school shootings, kidnappings, global and domestic unrest) parents of millennials became increasingly involved in their children’s lives. Phrases such as “helicopter parents” capture this cultural shift, which included a parent’s desire to protect their children from both physical and social-emotional threats.4

A New Leadership Lens

Admittedly, I had not previously viewed the department specifically through the lens of the generation from which they belong. Upon doing so, I found many characteristics identified by Lovely to be evident within our small sample size. By generation, the staff is 50 percent baby boomers, 25 percent Generation X and 25 percent millennials. I’m pleased to note that all generations within the office have high expectations for each other, the department and the school districts we serve. Involvement in decision making is also a trait shared by all. In narrowing my focus to the baby boomers and the millennials, the generational differences become more evident. There were many differences that stood out to me. Work Schedules Although there is a great deal of work hour flexibility within the department, the baby boomers, for the most part, maintain a consistent, predictable schedule. In a study by Rodriguez, Green and Ree, it was noted that baby boomers value a challenging task that can be accomplished over several days and working alone on a regular schedule.

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UPDATE Magazine / Summer 2019

AS BABY BOOMERS LEAVE THE WORKFORCE TO RETIRE, vast amounts of knowledge will go with them and it is critical that companies ensure that knowledge transfer is occurring. That certainly rings true in our office.5 The millennials in my office frequently flex their hours, from day to day and week to week, based on variety of factors both personal and professional. It is interesting to note, that as a Generation X leader, I am more focused on the successful completion of responsibilities and less so on the schedules of employees. The baby boomers will occasionally fret when they do not understand or cannot make sense of a millennials schedule. While the baby boomers have an extremely high level of work ethic, they sometimes have difficulty quantifying and therefore understanding, the work output of millennials as it is not always produced within a defined work day and may not produce a physical product. Millennials are accomplishing this through a seemingly endless and creative use of technology, our second major difference. Technology Millennials see technology as an extension of their being, a way of life. They view the workday as open ended as they are always connected. Armed with smartphones, iPads and laptops, millennials can work anywhere at any time. Baby boomers within the office will utilize technology, but more as a tool – something you need to use to accomplish a specific task. The baby boomers within our particular office have an attachment to paper files, prefer to look up information on a printed sheet instead of the source database and are typically a little more hesitant to try new techniques or launch new systems. Risk Tolerance Boomers can be risk adverse as they believe the old ways have served us well. Their beliefs are not without merit. The baby boomers have an extremely strong knowledge base. Not only are they extremely competent within their specific areas of responsibility, they also fill the role as district

Eyebrow ARTICLE / Multi-Generational Leadership

historians in many cases. Their knowledge and insight into the history and culture of the district is extremely valuable. However, as cautioned by Natasha Nicholson in her article Empower the Next Generation, as baby boomers leave the workforce to retire, vast amounts of knowledge will go with them and it is critical that companies ensure that knowledge transfer is occurring. Work Preferences I have noticed that baby boomers within the department may be reluctant to delegate. Oftentimes, they would prefer to work harder or longer to complete a task, even if there was additional help available. Nicholson explains that “in many cases, boomers feel like it is just faster and easier to do it themselves – if they have to delegate to someone younger or newer, it is going to take longer and they might screw it up.”6 It is important that leaders ensure that this knowledge transfer is taking place by embedding the responsibility within the job duties of both generations. “We have to create environments where it is safe to share and sharing is expected.”6 I have occasionally run into this in our office. A baby boomer may hold on to a specific piece of information, task or responsibility as they see it is part of their power, a reason why they are needed and “the office cannot function without them.” On the other hand, the millennials are sometimes too quick to question and judge something before they have all of the relevant information of why things are the way they are. They can also appear impatient in that they would like the information just given to them, where the baby boomer would like to meet to review.

Bridging the Gap

As a leader, it is important that I recognize and embrace both working styles. Within our office, we have settled on a hybrid teamwork model. We will brainstorm ideas via an electronic gathering source, Dropbox or Google Drive for example, but then meet as a team to review the ideas in person, usually with a set beginning and end time. This process allows the Boomers the opportunity to explain some of the reasoning and history behind their ideas, the millennials to contribute to the conversation at anytime from anywhere and the Gen-Xers to feel a sense of accomplishment when the defined task, responsibility or project is completed in an efficient, collaborative way. We did not immediately stumble upon this blended model of collaboration. This model developed over time as the needs and interests of all involved became clearer to the group. Simply meeting or solely depending on technological means for collaboration did not work for our multigenerational office. Leading this diverse generational department, it is my responsibility to recognize differences between the generations and use that information to help the team work and communicate better. A gentle reminder to the millennials on the importance of a personal touch instead of an email, chat or text or a subtle nudge to the boomer on the responsibility to share knowledge, will contribute to the overall working experience for all. I also must not neglect my own generational tendencies, but instead recognize the particular traits associated with Generation X that impact my own communication and role within the organization.

Simply meeting or solely depending on technological means for collaboration DID NOT WORK FOR OUR MULTI-GENERATIONAL OFFICE.

Footnotes: 1. Lewis, L. (2014). Communicating Across Generations. The Illinois School Board Journal, 12-14. 2. Lovely, S. (2005). Creating Synergy in the School House. The School Administrator, 30-34. 3. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2019, March). Civilian labor force by detailed age, sex, race and ethnicity. Retrieved from Bureau of Labor Statistics: tables/civilian-labor-force-detail.htm 4. Schullery, N. (2013). Workplace Engagement and Generational Differences in Values. Business Communication Quarterly, 252-265. 5. Rodriguez, R. O., Green, M. T., & Ree, M. J. (2003). Leading Generation X: Do the old rules still apply? Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, 67-75. 6. Nicholson, N. (2008). Empower the Next Generation. Communication World, 14-18.


TRANSFORMS LEARNING At Aldai E. Stevenson High School District 125, we are making the effort to promote vivid, collaborative learning environments, by transforming the look, arrangement and feel of each of our classrooms – room by room. In doing so, we are also transforming teaching and learning in ways that are innovative, forward thinking and dynamic. If you were to walk into one of District 125’s classrooms 25 years ago, you would have seen what most traditional classroom environments look like: room full of desks, arranged in rows, filled with students staring at a teacher lecturing at the front of the room with an overhead pointing at a screen projecting notes for students to scribble down in their notebooks. Today, those classrooms look entirely different – and the good news is that some of the changes did not cost us a dime.

Consider classroom transformation thoughtfully (and inexpensively) by focusing on: • Creating rooms that foster collaboration • Getting the sage off the stage • Creating a culture for learning

CREATE ROOMS THAT FOSTER COLLABORATION One of our central focuses in teaching and learning is to foster our students’ abilities to collaborate and engage with new material. Collaboration is a 21st century skill crucial to being on a team, gaining the perspective of others and being innovative. By making changes to the physical classroom environment, we help promote student collaboration and alter how we think about teaching and learning. Building classrooms designed to promote collaboration begins with reconfiguring the desks and breaking away from the traditional rows. Instead, start by making a simple

change that will make a lot of impact. Create groups of desks or tables where students are seated together, faceto-face. In order for classrooms to promote 21st century learning, collaborative, small group arrangements should be standard practice. (We take this idea so seriously we actually removed individual desks and replaced them with easy to move tables.) By transitioning to a different configuration, we want our classroom environments to send a strong message. Every day, in every classroom, students should be working to develop strong habits of collaboration with the continuous expectation that they will work, learn and create together.

By transitioning to a different configuration, we want our classroom environments to send a strong message. Every day, in every classroom, students should be working to develop strong habits of collaboration with the continuous expectation that they will work, learn and create together. How to do it? Get teachers involved in designing the classroom purposefully and in ways that best support learning. Provide professional development that helps to generate a commitment to student engagement, active learning and focused collaboration. Reconfiguring classroom environments with a purpose backed by research helps to support any educational shift. Paying close attention to how a classroom is set up should be treated with as much attention as choosing curriculum. When working with teachers, take the time to consider how and why a new classroom design will support their teaching methods.

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UPDATE Magazine / Summer 2019

By Sean P. Carney



GET THE SAGE OFF THE STAGE Building classrooms with a focus on collaboration reinvents what it means to be a teacher. In the past, the teachers’ role was one of “sage” imparting knowledge through lecture. By reconfiguring classroom environments to make them more collaborative, we want to encourage our teachers to create lessons where students are actively learning rather than passively listening. By making changes in the physical classroom environment, we have seen significant changes in how our teachers approach their work with students.

One of the biggest changes we have seen is in the area of student engagement. In our classrooms and science labs, our teachers are developing active experiences for our students so they can actually learn by doing. There is no longer a “front” of the room where the focus is the teacher; instead, every student in the room is the focus of a classroom and they are expected to actively discuss, contribute and support their small groups.

As we continue to make advanced usage of technologies, we have seen a commitment to the way our classroom environments and technologies can work together in smart ways. In many of our classrooms, teachers are requesting to have multiple screens for projecting. This allows all students to have a clear sightline to projections, a greater capacity to share student work, insights into how multiple projections can allow for comparison and contrast and inventive ways to use technologies and projections to develop higher order, critical thinking skills.

How to do it? Work with your teachers first. Making a shift from traditional lecturing to collaboration is a significant shift. Moreover, when investing in a more dynamic, technology-supported environment we want the environment to be used thoughtfully. Working alongside teachers to design a richer learning environment can help build ideas about teaching and learning while gathering insights into more effective instructional practices.

CREATE A CULTURE FOR COLLABORATIVE LEARNING Creating a school environment that nurtures a culture for collaborative learning means looking at all areas of a school building and the many resources that can help to promote positive, transformative environments. This can be done in a range of thoughtful ways from small inexpensive ideas to other, larger architecture projects that can enhance students’ experiences in school buildings. One suggestion is to find collaborative spaces throughout a school building that were never considered before. Start by

looking at how hallways and stair landings might serve as meeting places, or how the cafeteria might become a commons space or how the library might be made into a more comfortable space where students want to connect. In more creative ways, consider how the architecture of the school building can help to inform other choices. Are there ways to make better use of natural light in your building? How might spaces be widened to create more communal spaces? How does the building send a message of inclusivity? Are there ways to make the building “greener”?

How to do it? Work with your students. Find out where they like to meet and what might appeal to them. Students want to find places to come together, meet and connect. By being intentional about supporting collaborative spaces in a school building, a culture of community, inclusiveness and connectedness can be nurtured every day throughout a school’s campus. Find ways to be creative with these spaces with comfortable couches and seating that supports a variety of possible experiences, either interactive or meant to allow for quiet.

GET STARTED Some initiatives should not cost a lot of money. Spending time and working to build purposeful conversations about the way teaching and learning can be supported and the many different ways a collaborative school culture can be nurtured only takes thought, commitment and insight. Like every transformation, change takes time. Get started. Begin by making small and meaningful changes and observe the positive results as they begin to emerge. Allow those changes to help mature other positive changes and keep focused on the commitment to support an innovative school atmosphere. How to get started? Work with your teachers and your students. Consider creating a steering committee dedicated to the physical spaces in your building. A steering committee of diverse insights can help with ideas and decision-making. It also symbolizes a commitment to listening and processing change while playing a strong role in building buy-in. In considering making changes to the physical space of a school building, it is important to pay attention to the teachers and students in the building who make use of the building and the classrooms they work in day to day. Steering committees made up of teachers and students can insure key stakeholders are helping to lead a process of change that is meaningful to everyone.

A New Landscape of Professional Learning The shift toward competency-based skill development and recognition through micro-credentials


knowledge, work experience, interest and job demand. This often makes truly differentiating professional development for adult learners difficult and cost prohibitive. Many states, like Illinois, require that those who hold educator credentials complete a specified number of professional development hours over the course of a quantified number of years. Individuals can fulfill those requirements through a variety of learning modalities such as graduate classes, workshops, online coursework, on-site contractual professional learning and conference participation. For individuals who are working toward advanced degrees, college coursework can meet dual goals by allowing the learner to move toward completion of degree requirements as well as credit for professional development hours. This is particularly useful when an individual, such as a teacher, is working toward administrative certification. For those who seek other alternatives to grow professionally, the options, while abundant, do not always deliver embedded, sustained personal development targeted specifically to the individual’s needs. Traditional professional development opportunities do not typically require assessment of competency, but rather award credit for attendance “time served.”

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UPDATE Magazine / Summer 2019 UPDATE Magazine / Summer 2019

By Dr. Susan Homes




Research conducted by Northeastern University1 found there is an increasing demand for job applicants to hold certificates, micro-credentials and real-world professional experience, in addition to college degrees. The findings went on to underscore the importance of life-long learning as both essential to securing a job and for remaining relevant in the work environment. This research has importance beyond the business world as education faces a significant reduction in individuals entering the “schoolforce” and a pedagogical shift away from traditional “seat time” toward competency-based learning. The advent of micro-credentials in education is helping change the landscape for learners. Micro-credentials shift the focus from how one acquires to how one demonstrates skill competency. One earner may have already developed competence through on-the-job experience while another may need to complete workshops, courses, online learning and/or research to round out their skill in an area. The demonstration of competence, scored by a content expert, signifies the learner has mastered the essential actions of the skill — not the learner’s “time on task.”


To maintain relevance, today’s learner is less interested in sitting through a day’s training than in developing validated, marketable skills. The process of earning a micro-credential fits well with the Eight Assumptions of Adult Learners:2 1. Adults need to be aware of why they need to learn the subject matter. 2. Adults need to learn experientially. 3. Adults approach learning as a form of problem-solving. 4. Adults learn best when the thing learned yields immediate value. 5. Adults do not all learn the same. 6. Adults move from dependency to self-directedness as they mature and take ownership of their learning. 7. Adults draw on their own accumulated reservoir of life experiences to aid learning. 8. Adults are motivated to learn by internal, rather than external, factors.

The process of knowledge attainment to demonstration of skill mastery not only supports the needs of adult learners, but it supports the continuous cycle of inquiry demonstrated through the School Leader Paradigm.3 Educational leaders are lifelong learners who understand that their personal, social and systems intelligences (“becoming”) are inextricably woven into their work effectively leading a learning organization (“doing”) and that they must continually assess, reassess and strengthen their skills in order to ensure their leadership effectiveness.


unity Contex Comm t





Learning Leader

Learning Organization





Individ ual Context





Political Context

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Micro-credentials shift the focus from how one acquires skill competency to how one demonstrates skill competency.


As educational professionals gain interest in this new ecosystem, it is critical they consider the quality of the developer and the issuer. The platform should allow the earner to review the details of the micro-credential as well as provide an avenue for artifact submission. The issuer should ensure scoring will be completed by content experts who will provide detailed, meaningful feedback as to whether the submitted artifacts demonstrate skill mastery. This feedback should be used as an input for learners who may need to further develop their skill before submitting revised artifacts. Once a learner has successfully demonstrated competency, the issuer should award a digital badge that follows Open Badge technical specifications to allow the earner to digitally share their credential. The Open Badge specifications ensure that the digital badges representative of earned micro-credentials are portable, verifiable records of achievement and discoverable with linked-data structures.4


Illinois ASBO and the Illinois Learning Technology Centers have selected the Ed Leaders Network as their micro-credential platform, along with the Illinois Principals Association and other associations nationwide. Micro-credentials developed for the Ed Leaders Network platform follow a research-based design which includes piloting and norming and include six essential components: 1

The overview to the skill represented by the micro-credential.


The observable actions necessary for an individual to demonstrate skill mastery.


The research that supports the essential outcomes.


A digest of learning resources to guide the learner in developing his/her skill.


An alignment to recognized professional standards.


A description of the artifacts, with scoring criteria, that must be developed and submitted to a content expert for scoring assessment.




Essential Outcomes



Parts of the ELN Microcredential Document

Evidence Submission & Assessment




Alignment to Standards

Learning Resources


Micro-credentials offer earners a way to target their professional growth based on the skills they need or desire relating directly to their current position or positions to which they aspire. This new type of skill validation is expected to continue to grow as educators seek to target their professional learning and organizations look to promote and recruit individuals with validated skills. Footnotes: 1. Callahan, M. & Petronio, L. (2018). Hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why certificates and microcredentials will help you get your next job. News@Northeastern. Retrieved from https://news.northeastern. edu/2018/12/13/heres-why-certificates-and-microcredentials-will-help-you-get-your-next-job/ 2. Maestro. (2017). What is adult learning theory? Andragogy explained. Retrieved from 3. School Leader Collaborative. (2019). School leader paradigm. 4.IMS Global Learning Consortium. (2019). Advancing digital credentials and competency-based learning. Retrieved from

RESOURCES Our Powerful Role as Choice Architects Back in economics class, I learned that people are rational and will always make decisions in their best interest. Twenty some years later, I know that for most people, including myself, this is not always the case. Often, human beings are uninformed, unmotivated and/or unconditioned to make rational decisions. In the book, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, author and Nobel Prize-winning economist Richard Thaler advocates that people do not behave rationally, but instead behave irrationally in consistent ways.

These biases come from the way our brains are wired through the Automatic System (intuitive, effortless), rather than the Reflective System (focused, introspective).

As leaders in our organizations, the book defines us as “choice architects.” As such, we have a moral duty to design choices so that it is easy for the choosers to make decisions in their own best interest. According to Nudge, choice architects can do this by structuring our choices to have greater appeal to the Automatic System rather than the Reflective System. In Nudge, Thaler and his co-author Choice architects can use a series of Harvard Law professor Cass Sunstein methodologies that subtly suggest present the different cognitive biases rational decisions; these are called people have shown to make “irrational” “nudges.” A “nudge” tries to influence decisions, such as the status quo bias choices that people make in a way which makes us resistant to change. that will make them better off without restricting their freedom of choice. The authors do a good job of providing real-world examples and scenarios to make this concept easy to understand and apply. In fact, at Palos 118 we have used this book to develop strategies and communications that have reduced our chronic absenteeism in half (by nudging parents to be mindful of days absent for their student) as well as double our Medicaid reimbursement (by nudging practitioners to enter their minutes in a timely manner). I would recommend Nudge to anyone curious about how people make decisions or interested in making better ones.

On Their List Book reviews from your peers on relevant career topics

Justin D. Veihman Chief School Business Official Palos CCSD 118 As a CSBO, Justin’s goal is managing, planning and assuring financial integrity by providing the necessary financial, accounting and record-keeping services to facilitate the best possible educational program. He also oversees the facilities, transportation and human resources of a three-building elementary district in South Cook and is part of the Risk Management PDC.

“We have a moral duty to design choices so that it is easy for the choosers to make decisions in their own best interest.”

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I am a member of both the business and technology services departments.

Through this shared role, I regularly have the opportunity to engage with our teachers and instructional supervisors to discuss how our teams can support the great things happening in our learning spaces. Recognizing the importnace of reliable infrastructure and access to just-in-time support is necessary to implement digital learning activities, we maintain an ongoing, open dialogue with both students and staff regarding what is working, what has room for growth and how we can make our student's experience even better.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach.

Any implementation of technology must take into consideration three essential components: technology (skills of the educator), pedagogy (professional skills of an educator to develop a student’s knowledge on a particular topic) and content (actual topic being discussed). We need to remind our teachers and leaders to think about the totality of each lesson and learner population before choosing to implement technology. Technology-enhanced options might not always be the best tool for the job, and that is OK!

Devices and methods of access continue to expand.

Artificial intelligence is being incorporated into everything from our home thermostats and refrigerators to our watches, and information is readily accessible simply by saying, “Hey, what is…” or “How do I…” Students need guidance on recognizing information that is legitimate. They also need to understand that we all need to allow ourselves to unplug from communication tools, social networks and phone notifications (ding!).

The topic of “how we do school” will keep coming up.

The rapid expansion of work-from-home programs and shared workspaces has brought a fundamental shift in our society. If such an environment is considered effective and efficient for adults, would it not be the same for children? These topics come front and center several times each school year, when emergency/snow days are called, or students have to stay home due to illness.

Go out and explore!

Bring a group of stakeholders together and go out and explore! Discover what others are doing, and then experiment (yes – try something and either succeed or fail), evaluate the approach, re-experiment and recognize what works for your students and your community. 46 |

UPDATE Magazine / Summer 2019


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