Direction Defined for Maple School & Thank You

“District 30 has the kids; the faculty and staff; the leadership; the community. The only thing you are missing is the facilities.”  

District 30 Parent’s Statement During Master Facility Planning

As District 30 embarked on updating our Master Facility Plan, the above quote summarized what drove this facility process. Our Master Facility Plan was shared with a Steering Committee and Citizens’ Task Force, who unanimously recommended that our Board of Education pursue a Facility Bond Referendum, which included the building of a new Maple School, and completion of required Health/Life-Safety work at Wescott and Willowbrook Schools.

While nothing is official at this point, it appears that the April 4, 2017, Facility Bond Referendum for District 30 was supported by the community by a substantial margin. Therefore, District 30 will continue planning for a new Maple School, as we begin completing the Health/Life-Safety work at Wescott and Willowbrook. Moving forward, we will include the voice of District 30 stakeholders in our planning, and we will keep our community well-informed.

Thank you to the citizens who actively engaged in one of our 14 tours of Maple School, who hosted or attended one of the 10 community coffees, and who worked to make sure the community was informed about our options. Throughout this effort, our community has demonstrated character and civility. I have appreciated the respectful, open conversation and learning that has occurred as we shared District 30’s facility issues and options.

I want to personally thank our staff, Board of Education, parents, and community who provided input into the District 30 Master Facility Plan. I have every confidence that District 30 will intelligently and responsibly work to create a middle school that aligns with our educational vision and supports the high expectations that we all share for the education that we provide for our students.

In addition, Tuesday’s election resulted in the election of the three board members who ran for three open seats. On April 27, 2017, our Board of Education will welcome back Mrs. Ursula Sedlak, as we welcome Mr. Jeffrey Zuercher and Mr. Keith Karchmar. I know our community appreciates these individuals for the service that they will provide District 30. At the same time, we have two seasoned board members who will retire from service to District 30. Please join me in thanking Dr. Kenneth Spero and Mr. Fred Sloneker for their commitment to District 30. They have served our district with dedication and distinction, and they will truly be missed!

Thank you again to our community for your partnership and support in providing our students with outstanding learning opportunities. District 30 will continue to create a community that craves learning, fosters resiliency, and cares deeply for every child.

Dr. Brian K. Wegley
Superintendent of Schools

Posted in Learning, Master Facility Plan | Comments Off on Direction Defined for Maple School & Thank You

Inspired by a Glimpse Into Our Children’s Minds

Last Thursday evening, I had the pleasure of attending Willowbrook’s 3rd & 4th Grade Musical with my wife, Kathy. As always, the investment and pride of our students, in the program they helped to create, were apparent.

WBMus0317Below are some of the poems authored by our students that served as the foundation for the musical. Enjoy the glimpse into the talents and minds of our students:


To come


Love is the world
It is important to have love
Love is to be loved
The word love is the healer of hate

Like they say
You can not fight hate with hate
You can only fight hate with Love!
Love is the name

Good and the Bad

There is good
There is bad
I want the good

There is nice
There is mean
I want the nice

There is Peace
There is War
I want the Peace

There is Friend
There is Enemy
I want the Friend

I want the world to be
How I imagine
The Good
The Nice
The Friend
The Peace

Hope of Peace

I hope of someone calming down the hatred lashing out and whipping others.
I hope of love flowing out and embracing everyone.
It silences the corrupt swarm of power and greed.

I imagine everyone hand in hand swallowing up all the hatred, and replacing it with the soft and warm happiness.
The hard and piercing hatred is always overpowered by love and happiness.
The dream of peace the constant peace.
It overcomes negativity.
Let peace roam free.


If you look closely, you can see the better, not the bad
The better is the peace, and the peace is all you need

Just the opposite of war, and war is the bad
And the bad you don’t want
For the rest of your life, the peace is like the wind

Swirling in the air
Up and down
Up and down

Side to side
Side to side


I wish that everyone stays their self
Everyone has their own track to go on
Never listen to what others think of you

I wish

I wish for love
I wish for peace
I wish for doves

I wish for you

Then we come together
And we are
Friends just like you

I am proud to be a part of District 30 where we exemplify and deepen kindness, care, and inclusion. Thank you to our caring students and our staff for continuing to inspire us all!

Posted in Inspiration, Learning | Comments Off on Inspired by a Glimpse Into Our Children’s Minds

District 30 Referendum Update

Dear Friends, Colleagues and Community Members:

Following a comprehensive facilities study and months of planning and community input, the District 30 Board of Education unanimously supported the 34-member Citizens’ Task Force recommendation to pursue:

  • Construction of a new middle school (grades 6 through 8) to replace the existing 67-year-old Maple School on District 30 land adjacent to the current Maple School ($40.6 million)
  • Health/Life Safety upgrades to Wescott (WS) School, including code-required, fire-rated separations, door and hardware replacement, West Wing window replacement, exterior perimeter sealant replacement, new temperature control system, and rooftop unit replacement ($369,600)
  • Health/Life Safety upgrades to Willowbrook (WB) School, including door and hardware replacement, roof repair and replacement, ceiling tile replacement, new temperature control system, and rooftop unit replacement ($508,480)

Prior to Board approval of the above $41.5 million recommendation, the Citizens’ Task Force obtained community feedback, and in response, the proposal was downsized. In fact, the task force removed $7 million from the project by eliminating the District Office and capacity work at Wescott and Willowbrook Schools. In addition, District 30 (which is debt free) remains committed to allocating $5.2 million from existing reserves. Therefore, our community has a $36.3 million facility bond referendum question to consider during the Consolidated Election on April 4, 2017.

At this point, we have conducted 12 tours at Maple School. I have appreciated the thoughtful questions I have received as our community has invested time in becoming informed. For your information, I am including Frequently Asked Questions that have been asked during our tours.

  • What are important impacts on our community and students if the referendum is or is not approved?

    Screen Shot 2017-02-11 at 2.33.56 PM
  • Will the facility bond referendum create a permanent tax increase?

No. A facility bond referendum continues for a maximum of 20 years.

  • If the community approves the facility bond referendum, can construction costs allow the district to issue more than $36.3 million in bonds?

No. If the community approves the $36.3 million facility bond referendum, the district can issue a maximum of $36.3 million in facility bonds.

  • If the community approves the $36.3 million in facility bonds, will the additional taxes generated by these bonds increase through the 20-years of the bond?

No. District 30 plans on structuring constant bond payments for the twenty years.

  • Would classes continue at the existing Maple School while a new Maple School is constructed?

Yes. If the proposed new school is approved, an isolated construction area west of the current Maple School would allow District 30 to continue classes during the school year and during summer school.

  • Has District 30 recently invested in the maintenance needs of our elementary buildings?

Yes. In the past three years, District 30 has spent $4.1 million on facilities with a focus on our elementary buildings.

Please remain informed. There are more Frequently Asked Questions and an online tour of Maple at You are also welcome to join us at upcoming tour dates at Maple School.

Remaining Maple Tour Dates
  • March 4, 2017 – 10:00 a.m.
  • March 18, 2017 – 1:00 p.m.

If you have questions regarding District 30’s facility improvement proposal, please contact me at your convenience.


Dr. Brian Wegley
Superintendent of Schools


Posted in Learning, Master Facility Plan | Comments Off on District 30 Referendum Update

Unanimous Recommendation for Feedback from Citizens’ Task Force

Do we spend millions of dollars renovating Maple School—our 67-year-old middle school—or do we replace it? This is the big question that a Citizens’ Task Force of local business, civic and educational leaders recently tackled. The group included both parents and non-parents within District 30.

In doing their homework, the Task Force met with the district’s architect, ARCON Associates, to review a comprehensive Master Facility Plan and tour the middle school (Maple School). The recently completed Master Facility Plan was created through an exhaustive process involving architects, an education consultant, construction management professionals, principals, teachers, students, parents, district leadership and other stakeholders. The Task Force was also given the opportunity to discuss financing options with the district’s financial advisor.

The 34-member Task Force was specifically asked, “If we’re going to conduct a mail-in survey of registered voters in District 30, what specific facility improvement proposals should be tested?” The group unanimously decided that voter feedback should be gathered on one proposal focused on replacing the middle school, rather than renovating it. The Task Force also recommended that the proposal include state-mandated Health/Life Safety upgrades, additional instructional space and parking lot/site improvements at District 30’s two elementary schools (Wescott School and Willowbrook School).

The Task Force was in agreement that spending millions of dollars on repairs, renovations and “Band-Aid” fixes to the aging middle school, now and in the future, was not a fiscally responsible solution, especially since the renovations would not address the district’s current and long-term instructional space needs.

One facility improvement that the Task Force eliminated from the proposal was district office space at the new middle school. In an effort to stay below the district’s bonding capacity, the Task Force decided that instructional space needs at the elementary schools outweighed the need for administrative offices. While the group realized that the district’s offices would need to be demolished to help make room for a new middle school, they recommended the district develop alternative strategies such as leasing office space or pursuing these improvements if the total project came in under budget.

Other factors that the Task Force took into consideration were the following:

  • Renovating the middle schoolrather than replacing itwould be much more disruptive to students and staff given the amount of time it would take to tackle the improvements.
  • The replacement proposal would allow classes and District 30’s summer school program to continue in the existing school building while the new school is built on the same site. Once the new building is completed, the old middle school would be demolished and the campus would be fully developed.
  • District 30 is currently debt free, borrowing costs are near historic lows and construction costs continue to increase.
  • If a middle school replacement project and elementary school improvements are not pursued, or voters turn down funding for these improvements, the district will still need to address about $18 million in Health/Life Safety and long-term maintenance improvements at its three schools.
  • The district recently invested about $4.1 million in Health/Life Safety improvements at its two elementary schools, and it would use another $5.2 million in existing reserves toward the new middle school and elementary school upgrades.
  • In the late 1990s, the Glenview Naval Air Base was closed and redeveloped into The Glen. The Glen has used a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District since 1999 to finance redevelopment. This TIF sunsets in 2022. At that point in time, District 30’s equalized assessed value (EAV) is projected to increase by about $88 million. This higher EAV would lead to a lower tax rate of about 14% on any outstanding voter-approved bonds. The District will also collect roughly $2.8 million in additional revenue under the Tax Cap, making it unlikely that a future operating referendum will be required.
  • Trying to renovate the middle school, such that it is comparable to a new school, is roughly the same cost as building a new one. There are renovation options that are less expensive, but they fall well short of the district’s instructional space needs and result in ongoing expenses tied to Health/Life Safety needs.

The estimated total cost of the middle school replacement and improvements to the two elementary schools is $44.7 million. However, the total proposed request is $39.5 million, given that the district would allocate
$5.2 million from reserves.

For homeowners within District 30, the estimated annual tax impact of the $39.5 million proposal is $51.76 per $1,000 of property taxes paid.

Nothing is set in stone at this time. Your input on the facility improvement proposal being considered is critical. Over the next few weeks, you will be receiving additional information on District 30’s facility needs and proposed solutions. The district will also be hosting additional community outreach meetings and tours of Maple School—located at 2370 Shermer Road, Northbrook, IL 60062—on the following dates and times:

Wednesday, October 26, 2016, 6:00 pm
Tuesday, November 1, 2016, 6:00 pm
Saturday, November 5, 2016, 10:30 am

A public opinion survey will be mailed to all registered voters in your household early next month. Your participation in this important survey is greatly appreciated.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about District 30’s planning efforts, facility needs and proposed solutions through ongoing communications and at You can also learn more by reviewing a summary of our facility issues and potential solutions to our highest priority needs.

If you have questions regarding the proposal being considered, please contact me at your convenience. My email is and the District Office phone number is 847-400-4190.

Posted in Learning, Master Facility Plan | Comments Off on Unanimous Recommendation for Feedback from Citizens’ Task Force

Citizens’ Task Force Convenes

Thank you to the District 30 Citizens’ Task Force, which convened for its first meeting on Tuesday, September 27, 2016. This meeting included:

  • Introducing members
  • Sharing the charge of the committee – narrow options to implement the Master Facility Plan and define a recommendation for the option our Board of Education should pursue
  • Reviewing our meeting calendar and Citizens’ Task Force procedures
  • Highlighting our Master Facility Plan progress, which incorporates findings from the updated physical assessment and the recently completed educational assessment
  • Touring Maple School


Thank you to our Citizens’ Task Force, which includes the following individuals:

David Abraham Rachael Jennings
Ann Angel Cheryl Kahn
Sherwin Blitstein Meena Klein
Zivit Blonder Harley Korman
Chris Brown Dianne Larsen
A.C. Buehler Sharon Latek
Scott Carlson Barbara Pepoon
Melissa Carr Larry Porter
Nate Carter Jackie Ruf
Carlo Cavallaro Molly Schack
Jennifer Choi Mia Seo
Laura Considine Vishal Shah
Ashley Delaney Bruce Skeggs
Pat Dunbar John Smith
Sara Filipiak Jeff St. John
John Finan Neil Warnygora
Chuck Gitles (Board President & Observer) Brian Wegley (Non-voting member)
Debbie Glickman Tara Wesselink
Betty Holzkopf

The committee will meet again on Monday, October 17, 2016, and on Thursday, December 1, 2016. The committee will define a recommendation for the facility option the District 30 Board of Education to consider pursuing, and their recommendation is anticipated to be presented at the December 8, 2016, Board of Education meeting.

Upcoming Public Tours of Maple School

Saturday, October 15, 2016, beginning in the Multipurpose Room at Maple School at 10:30 a.m. & 12:30 p.m.(Residents are also encouraged to participate in Maple’s Electronic Recycling Drive)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016, beginning in the Multipurpose Room at Maple School at 6:00 p.m. (Residents are also encouraged to participate in Maple’s Kids Care Canned Food Drive for the Northfield Food Pantry)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016, beginning in the Multipurpose Room at Maple School at 6:00 p.m. (Residents can also participate in Maple’s PTO Book Sale)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016, beginning in the Multipurpose Room at Maple School at 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, November 5, 2016, beginning in the Multipurpose Room at Maple School at 10:30 a.m.

Posted in Learning, Master Facility Plan | Comments Off on Citizens’ Task Force Convenes

D30 Master Facility Plan Update

Our work on our master facility plan continues. To create the District 30 Master Facility Plan, our architects, ARCON, updated the physical assessment and completed the educational assessment of our facilities. Parents, students, and staff have participated tours, focus groups, design workshops, and observations that were completed by ARCON and their educational consultant, David Jakes Design.

District 30 has also set up two dates for public tours of Maple to come learn more about the needs we face as a district along with the inclusive process we are employing to define our plan of action.

Public Tours of Maple School

  • Saturday, October 15, 2016, beginning in the Multipurpose Room at Maple School at 10:30 a.m. & 12:30 a.m. (Also Participate in Maple’s Computer Recycling Drive)
  • Tuesday, October 18, 2016, beginning in the Multipurpose Room at Maple School at 6:00 p.m. (Also Participate in Maple’s Canned Food Drive for the Northfield Food Pantry)
  • Wednesday, October 26, 2016, beginning in the Multipurpose Room at Maple School at 6:00 p.m. (Also participate in Maple’s PTO Book Sale)

What follows is an update on our preliminary findings.

Educational Facility Assessment Findings

This intense and comprehensive analysis generated many drivers, findings, and considerations for each District 30 facility:

Drivers – D30 Spaces Should Provide:

  • An invitation to learning
  • Opportunity for exploration
  • Physical & intellectual safety
  • Transparency in learning
  • Integrative opportunities
  • Adaptive options for different styles of learning
  • Comprehensive space
  • A Catalyst for inquiry & creativity
  • An opportunity for play
  • A celebration of learning

Educational Assessment Findings:

  • You are out of space
  • Your spaces present a limited invitation
  • Your spaces require constant negotiation
  • Your spaces are limiting
  • Your spaces could be aligned more effectively
  • Your spaces could support all learners more effectively
  • You lack engaging outdoor spaces – especially at Maple

The recent faculty survey put a quantitative face on our teacher’s perceptions of our facilities. A few highlights include:

90% (87 individuals out of 97 respondents) and 88% (37 out of 42) at Maple agreed or strongly agreed that creating more capable learning spaces would have a significant impact or completely change how students learn.




Identified Educational Facility Considerations (Preliminary)


Our Facility Goal Steering Committee has met two times to help inform our considerations and options to address our needs. This work will help our administrative team prioritize our considerations as we update the District 30 Master Facility Plan.

What’s Next?…Citizens’ Task Force Convenes

Once we have a prioritized master facility plan, the Citizens’ Task Force will help clarify communication of our issues, and define a potential solution they believe the community will support. Our community will then receive information about our needs, and they will be surveyed. These results will help inform our Citizens’ Task Force, which will tentatively make a recommendation to our Board of Education on how to proceed at our December 8, 2016, Board Meeting.

After entering into this thorough process, I am even more convinced that this effort to create a long-range facility plan is among the most important areas of need for District 30 at this time. I thank the many people who have and will continue to help with this important initiative.

Posted in Learning, Master Facility Plan | Comments Off on D30 Master Facility Plan Update

Board Goals and D30’s Master Facility Plan

Without question, our schools are among our most valuable community assets. Our Board of Education understands and embraces its responsibility to ensure that our schools continue to be a positive asset in the future.

After meaningful input and reflection, District 30 updated its Strategic Plan last year, which fueled the creation of two important Board Goals:

Goal 1: Increase child-centered instruction within rigorous and coherent educational programs.

Goal 2: Ensure District 30 facilities possess the capacity to support our evolving and emerging programs and contribute to optimal educational experiences.

The first goal works to build upon our educational vision, while our second goal strives to create and realize the facility vision that aligns with our educational vision.

D3O Facil Vision_C (1)

District 30’s Board of Education has entered into an inclusive process that is respectful of our stakeholders and community by directly involving them in the process of updating our district’s facility vision. The first semester of the 2016-2017 school year will be devoted to this important work, which will include the creation and adoption of a new Master Facility Plan. It will culminate with a Citizens’ Task Force recommendation to the Board of Education on a plan that will accomplish our Master Facility Plan.

Background Information:

Since 2013, District 30 has spent roughly $4.1 million to respond to maintenance needs at our existing facilities. Our work began with a focus on our two elementary schools, Wescott and Willowbrook. Wescott’s roof has been completely replaced, new secure entrances and office configurations along with new flooring have been completed at both elementary buildings. Both schools have also required new air-conditioning units in the past two years.

With the district’s focus shifting toward Maple School, it has become clear that this building will require over $7 million to simply maintain it. This expenditure would not modernize systems, create needed flexible spaces for learning, or support emerging programs like STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).

Increasing enrollment is also causing additional sections to be added to our elementary schools, which creates constraints on program delivery and limits the ability to support emerging programs like STEM.

Remain Informed:

Regular updates to our staff, parents, and community will be provided throughout the year via (1) my ongoing communications, (2) facility planning updates at Board of Education meetings, and (3) a web page on District 30’s website devoted exclusively to Master Facility Planning information and updates (

As always, we value and appreciate your partnership and commitment to the students we serve in District 30. Thank you in advance for staying engaged, including your participation in future community opinion surveys the district will be conducting in late-October or early-November.

Here’s to a great 2016-2017 school year!

Posted in Learning, Master Facility Plan | Comments Off on Board Goals and D30’s Master Facility Plan

Welcome to the 2016-2017 School Year

It is my pleasure to welcome parents and students to the 2016-2017 school year! I have lived in District 30 for over a decade, and—as a former District 30 parent myself—I consider it a privilege to serve this district and our communities. We have an invested Board of Education, talented administrators and staff, and outstanding students.

District 30 exists to create a community that craves learning, fosters resiliency, and cares deeply for every child. These formative years through District 30 position our children on a path to success. It is evident to me that our talented staff and our supportive parents collectively honor childhood while fostering intellectual, physical, and social-emotional growth for each child. These reflections come from District 30’s Echo, which was created to capture our essence as we updated District 30’s strategic plan last year.

When it comes to learning, nothing eclipses our focus on student-centered learning. I applaud our Board of Education for collaboratively creating strategic objectives and two powerful goals that focus on the areas we believe are most important right now, student-centered instruction and facilities that support our educational practices and emerging programs.

  • Our instructional goal will target job-embedded staff development fostering strong instructional practices, alignment work to the Next Generation Science Standards, and provide continued emphasis on instructional strategies in reading and writing.
  • Our facility goal will engage stakeholders to create a Master Facilities Plan that will carry District 30 into the future. We will collectively identify and prioritize building needs that will include supporting projected enrollments, providing flexible areas that allow for meaningful collaboration, and expanding our Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) educational programming. Although Maple’s 1950 building offers the greatest urgency, we will also be considering long-term needs at Wescott and Willowbrook.

The 2016-2017 school year promises to be an incredible year! On behalf of the entire District 30 Board of Education and staff, I extend a warm welcome to all within our District 30 Family.  We are committed to providing the best possible educational experience for all students attending Maple, Wescott, and Willowbrook Schools. I invite each of you to remain connected and involved in your child’s education and to follow my Superintendent’s Blog. Together we will see our children achieve, succeed, and grow!


Posted in Annual Welcome Letter, Learning | Comments Off on Welcome to the 2016-2017 School Year

The District 30 Echo

The District 30 Echo was created this year to capture the essence of District 30 and to drive strategic decision making as we move forward; we want these attributes to echo through and across our district. Enjoy our echo below, which is followed by a brief summary of the process we used this year to renew our strategic plan.

The District 30 Echo

District 30 exists to create a community that craves learning, fosters resiliency, and cares deeply for every child.

Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 7.51.35 PM

We honor childhood and foster intellectual, physical, and social-emotional growth.


We value:

  • Lifelong learning
  • Relationships and collegiality
  • Child-centric practices

We will succeed by:

  • Employing strong financial planning
  • Ensuring the highest quality staff through induction and development
  • Implementing rigorous and coherent academic programs


Strategic Plan Renewal

The District 30 Pillars have anchored District 30’s strategic planning efforts for several years. 


Our leadership team’s work renewing our strategic plan began by carefully updating these pillars by adding specific objectives for each, revising our strategic elements and adding performance indicators to each. This work illuminated the fact that our district was not in need of a shift in our strategic direction but instead, could benefit from increased clarity and focus.

To that end, we created the District 30 Echo. I began the year by hosting over 140 meetings with District 30 stakeholders. As our leadership team renewed our strategic plan, we intentionally incorporated the input from the summer meetings and integrated powerful ideas from our School Improvement Teams at Wescott and Willowbrook, the Leadership Team at Maple, and our Board of Education. I have quickly grown to respect our board, administrative team, our staff, our parents and our students. From every angle, District 30 is special, and we believe our Echo captures factors that differentiate our school district.

I am thankful for all of the support and care I have received during my first year as the superintendent of District 30, and I look forward to the year ahead.

Posted in Inspiration, Learning | Comments Off on The District 30 Echo

Growth Mindset & Grit

As a parent and educator, I constantly reflect on the challenges and joys of parenting. My children are nearly 26 and 23. As my wife Kathy and I have watched our children grow through the different phases of life, we have become conscious of the different roles through which we have transitioned as parents. When our children were babies and toddlers, they relied on us for virtually everything. A three-hour trip required the planning and packing of a three day excursion today. In the primary years we oversaw our children’s growth, friends, and life. We were on call at all hours. When our children then hit middle school our children continued to develop independence as we took on the role of managers, helping schedule their life and act as their chauffeur. We continue to manage through gradual release through their high school years as they developed the skills and independence to transition to college. For us, college flew by and we are now in the envious role of being consultants for our young adults.

As I reflect on our own children’s growth from children to adults, we had many goals as parents. We loved them and cared for them throughout their youth, and we kept them safe with clear boundaries through their middle school and high school years. We made sure they received outstanding educations in our wonderful school systems, and we sought a lot of advice along the way. Of all of our charges as parents, one of the most important was their development of their own growth mindset and agency. Both are interrelated and needed for success in our rapidly changing, competitive world.

The related term permeating the literature today is grit. In her Ted Talk, Angela Lee Duckworth defined grit as “passion and perseverance for very long-term goals.” In her talk, she asked the question, “How do we build grit in our kids?” Angela summarized that her research has illuminated the importance of grit in success. It overshadows talent, looks, family income, and many other studied factors. Although we continue to collectively learn how to build grit in our kids, one factor Angela identified is one in which I have deep belief. It is the concept of building a growth mindset, a term coined by Stanford’s Carol Dwek. In fact, I would recommend that every educator and parent read Dr. Dwek’s book, Mindset. Dr. Dwek’s research provides us with insights into ways we can collectively build growth mindsets; she shares actions we can take to help children internalize the concept that our ability to learn and succeed are not fixed, but instead connected to our effort.

District 30 continues to benefit from our own growth mindset. One powerful example includes the job-embedded professional development being deepened through our Lab Classroom model. Seventeen teachers participated last week in our first official round of lab classroom visits. Our consultant, Ellin Keene, also worked with our lead teachers at Willowbrook on Thursday, and at Wescott today. I was excited to be able to join in this important work for one of the days. After Ellin and one of our talented lead teachers coplanned a lesson, discussed the components of the lesson with a focus on literacy developing strategies along with the big-picture reasons for each.


It was fascinating to see very talented teachers deepen their understanding of these important strategies along with their ability to clearly share reasons for each with their students. We also had a wonderful discussion contrasting when to provide direct support to students and when and how to allow students to develop agency. This is a great example of the power of job-embedded professional development, and it continues the very important conversation around how do we build grit in our students.

This is indeed an important conversation worth continuing across District 30 within our classrooms and homes. An article in Forbes Magazine article from 2013 entitled 5 Characteristics of Grit – How Many Do You Have?, Margarete Perlis summarizes that grit’s five characteristics include:

  1. Courage
  2. Conscientiousness: Achievement Oriented vs. Dependable
  3. Long-Term Goals and Endurance: Follow Through
  4. Resilience: Optimism, Confidence, and Creativity
  5. Excellence vs. Perfection

As educators and parents, we can intentionally build these characteristics. As importantly, we should be aware of our well-intended actions that may be getting in the way. These important characteristics are certainly developed by accepting challenges (sports, challenging tasks, etc.) at which our children do not immediately succeed. We can help create the understanding of the difference between not succeeding and failure. Often, the things worth doing don’t come easily; they require sustained effort.

How do we learn to persevere? It is by persevering through loss, defeat, challenges, etc. At times, the best thing we can do is encourage sustained effort by our children instead of stepping in to solve problems, which robs them of the opportunity to grow and unintentionally sends the message that we don’t think they can succeed without us.

Posted in Learning, Parenting | Comments Off on Growth Mindset & Grit