Friday, October 7, 2016

Terese Jurgensen ~ Director of Student Services ~ October 6, 2016

Every day I challenge myself to take risks with culture, staff and community.
I want to be honest, inventive and brave...but most of all show grace. 
"Director of Student Services"

Three times this week I was asked by community members, "What does the role Director of Student Services mean?" Or more simply put, "What is your job?" I thought I would take this opportunity of our weekly update and share out some of the roles, responsibilities, and opportunities I have as Howard-Winneshiek's Director of Student Services. As an administrator, I supervise 23 certified teaching staff as well as the associates grades K-12. 

On the left here, you see an awesome quote I read during the Sunday evenings, #iaedchat that takes place each Sunday night on Twitter. (If you have never been a part of this, I encourage you to do so! My favorite parts are usually when Mr. Carver starts tweeting in!) This quote really is the heart of what I strive to do every day. When I first arrived at Howard-Winn three years ago, I was challenged when I saw the need for system change in our district. Mr. Carver shared with me and indeed our entire district a spreadsheet on Second Order Change. Second Order Change is transformational from the inside out. 

Howard-Winnesheik CSD is in the movement of 2nd Order Change - Change from the Inside Out!

As an administrator, I have always been a student of W. Edwards Deming who changed the theory of management.  I have added these before, but I do believe these points that also outline 2nd Order Change bear repeating:
W. Edwards Deming offered 14 key principles for management to follow for significantly improving the effectiveness of a business or organization. Many of the principles are philosophical. Others are more programmatic. All are transformative in nature. The points were first presented in his book Out of the Crisis. Below is the condensation of the 14 Points for Management as they appeared in the book.
1. Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive and to stay in business, and to provide jobs. 

2. Adopt the new philosophy. We are in a new economic age. Western management must awaken to the challenge, must learn their responsibilities, and take on leadership for change. I would add here, that the public school system (for many places) are still in the industrial age - our goal is to create a new system of learning. 

3. Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for inspection on a mass basis by building quality into the product in the first place. 

4. End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag. Instead, minimize total cost. Move toward a single supplier for any one item, on a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust. 

5. Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service, to improve quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease costs. 

6. Institute training on the job.  - Our entire district is transformative in learning. 

7. Institute leadership (see Point 12 and Ch. 8). The aim of supervision should be to help people and machines and gadgets to do a better job. Supervision of management is in need of overhaul, as well as supervision of production workers. In other words - Top Down Management does not work! Every staff member in our district is required to lead. This is one of the reasons the Teacher Leadership initiative is instituted at Howard-Winneshiek CSD.

8. Drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company. Absolutely!!

9. Break down barriers between departments. People in research, design, sales, and production must work as a team, to foresee problems of production and in use that may be encountered with the product or service. 

10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the work force asking for zero defects and new levels of productivity. Such exhortations only create adversarial relationships, as the bulk of the causes of low quality and low productivity belong to the system and thus lie beyond the power of the work force.

11. Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker of his right to pride of workmanship. The responsibility of supervisors must be changed from sheer numbers to quality. 

12. Remove barriers that rob people in management and in engineering of their right to pride of workmanship. 

13. Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement. One of my favorite parts of being a staff member at Howard-Winn is because we allow teachers to choose and pursue individual professional development according to their passions and their needs!

14. Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everybody's job.

It is hard for me to choose which part of 2nd Order Change or Deming's 14 points is my favorite or to say which one is the most important. They are all critical for the transformation of a school system. As I look at my role in education at Howard-Winn, as the Director of Student Services, two of these points that stand out for me is #8 - Drive out Fear and #14 - Transformation is everyone's job!  

When I first arrived at Howard-Winn, a common phrase put to me was, "Just tell me what to do, and I will do it." This is top-down leadership and takes away the personal pride and ownership that robs the employee. Therefore, I have worked very hard, along with all of the teams that I work with across the district, to change this culture. To date, we are not perfect, but we are also NOT AFRAID to FAIL = Growth Mindset! One of the nicest comments put to me in my history here at Crestwood happened last summer when I overheard some teachers say, "One thing about Terese is she is not afraid to fail!" I could not help but go over to them and tell them, "That is because I have done it so often!" 

Failure used to be something that terrified me. Mainly because I was concerned and focused on myself and what others thought of me. I have been humbled many times in my life, and because of that I have learned to focus on the greater good. Even more importantly, I will try and fail and try again if it is "Good for kids!" I believe our school district is in a place that is moving towards transformational change. Mr. Carver always says, "We are at a printing press time in history. The educational system must change to become competitive in a global economy." 

With these thoughts in mind, let me outline briefly some of the responsibilities and implementation of 2nd Order Change that I have been focused on in my role as Director of Student Services:
    High School Special Education Staff!

  • Special Education - We have approximately (we are staffing students in as we speak) 180 students who are Entitled Individuals. These students are primarily here at Crestwood, but we also serve students in Decorah public school, Crossroads Behavior Academy and Riceville public school. It is my responsibility to attend IEP's (I do get to the majority of them!) and to ensure compliance with federal law for all IEP's. As Director I have overseen implementation of Social and Emotional goals and behavior changes; allowing students to receive the Core + More and eliminated a great deal of pull-out services; created Transition services in the high school, consistency of curriculum and goals PK-12, training of staff members and associates and writing along with our special education staff a new Special Education Service Delivery Plan. 

  • Success Team - At Risk Services - It has been my privilege to work alongside our Success Team which includes our guidance counselors: Tiffany McCabe (elementary) Doug Sickles (junior high) and Trish Hartman (high school). This team also consists of Keith Anderlik (elementary) Scott Wiley (junior high) Brenda Lentz, Gena McCaffery and Betty Koschmeder (high school). This group of people work hard every day to ensure that students who may struggle in school with attendance, social emotional issues, academic achievement or a host of other issues that prevent them from being successful in the school system. Denise Headington our new Student and Family Case Manager works the entire district and has been with us also a little over a year. She has been a huge blessing to our school and supports this team of people by connecting with students and finding resources to support families in crisis. Our teams meet on a weekly basis and we are always looking at the issues of Skill or Will - what is causing our students to struggle and from home visits, to study sessions, to finding resources this team of people work hard every day to help students success and indeed thrive every day. 
  • English Language Learners - Our English Language Learner program is led by Alicia Martin who is also a special education teacher.  Alicia has done a wonderful job working closely with families and teaching students whose first language is not English. When Alicia arrived at Howard-Winneshiek, she went to work organizing and correcting this department. I started working with Alicia last year as my first year here, I was the elementary principal. Together, we have rewritten the Lau Plan which outlines the federal guidelines of the Office of Civil Rights to ensure that our students and families are receiving appropriate services. The federal government is creating a structure for our English Learners that looks a great deal like special education services. We are excited to say that we have a plan that is structurally sound and in the case that we get more English Learners at Crestwood, our school is in a good place to serve the students and families. I do truly appreciate the entire team of people who have surrounded Alicia and supported our students and families. Alicia has done an excellent job in this role!
  • Talented and Gifted - We have seen a huge shift in our Gifted and Talented Program over the last year. Todd Knobloch is now the K-12 GAT teacher and over the course of last year the GAT Handbook was rewritten and updated. Although I do oversee the GAT program because it is district wide and Mr. Knobloch is now teaching high school courses and supporting teachers in GAT programming, and therefore all three administrators, including myself are working closely to see 2nd Order Change come to this program as well. We all appreciate Mr. Knobloch taking on this large challenge for our district. 
  •          Mr. Knoblock teaching 3rd graders about 3D Printing!
  • Attendance - Over the course of last year, I spear-headed the revision of our Attendance Policy. There were many reasons for this, but the primary one was that I saw a trend of attendance issues that were leading students to truly struggle, fall behind and even enter into special education services because their discrepancies in educational achievement was in direct correlation with serious attendance issues. We had elementary students missing as many as 45 school days, and it goes without saying that these absences directly affect student achievement. Therefore, over the course of the year, working with multiple groups across the community including school administration, teaching staff, support staff, parents, students, community business owners and concerned citizens, a new attendance policy has been implemented starting the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year. We are having fantastic success with students attending school, parents and caregivers supporting the initiative by supplying valid excuses and doctor notes as well as systems approach supports from our nursing staff, secretarial staff, teaching staff and Success Team members. It truly has been outstanding! What is more important, is that with this policy instituted at Howard-Winn, we are in alignment with the policies that are set forth by the new Every Student Succeeds Act that looks not just at unexcused absences, but excused absences as well. I would like to thank every parent, caregiver and community member who are partnering with us at Howard-Winn to give each student the opportunity to excel at school by being present!
  • Consequences for Poor Choices/Discipline - Each and every day students may make poor choices. Let's face it - we all do. Therefore, as the lead administrator to implement our Office Direct Referrals, I work hard to make sure that students have the supports and the natural consequences necessary in order to support them in positive, expected behaviors in school and throughout their day. There are many avenues we use to support this initiative including but not limited to: Social Thinking - Social Emotional Supports, Collaborative Proactive Solutions, Intervention Team Meetings that include both students and parents, and by adhering to a discipline matrix created with student achievement in mind. In working with students it is again important to consider Skill -vs- Will. Is the student making poor choices, because they do not have the skills necessary (brain based learning) or do they struggle socially or emotionally that may prevent them from making the right choice. Our goal at Howard-Winn is always student achievement, building students up from the inside out and supporting them in all of their choices in order to find their passions and achieve their dreams!

The most important thing I do every day is reach out and care for students!  It is an honor and a privilege to work alongside the amazing staff who are working hard every day for kids!

                       Growth Mindset!

                   Thank you, Mrs. Day!

Great Things Happening at Crestwood!
Proud Student!    
Mindfulness - Focus!

                                       Elementary Students band together to STOMP OUT Bullying!
            Thank you Mrs. McCabe for leading this great cause!

        Thank you Mr. Oberman & Mrs. Steffen
                         for your leadership!

Crestwood Cross Country Team Wins at Saturday Invitational 10/2/16!!

      Congratulations to all teams!

       Have a great week! 
Please contact me if you have questions or need support! 


(563) 929-6344

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