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Reflecting on Maker Ed Roundtable at White House

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“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. ”
– Abraham Lincoln

The flag of the Office of the President of the United States of America
The flag of the Office of the President of the United States of America

Although schools out for summer so to speak, the learning never stops for those of us in education! As a “year round employee” I am working all year anyway, and most teachers are busy all summer learning, planning, gathering materials, and attending professional development and training sessions. So the other day when I received an invitation to a Maker Education Roundtable event at the White House … yes, “that White House” …I was pretty excited! It was not your everyday type of invite and it led to a pretty amazing and meaningful set of experiences, learning and leadership this past weekend! Our District has been on a decade long journey towards innovative learning and modernized technology and resources. With an adventurous library information specialist and with the support of the nation’s superintendent professional association, the AASA, my journey into the Maker’s movement went to the next levels of discovery, exploration, learning, doing, and planning. The AASA published an article about this visit, please click the link to read more!

From the email invitation to the White House sponsored event:


“Dear Colleagues,

You are cordially invited to a roundtable conversation at the White House on June 15… to discuss ways to increase K-12 student engagement and learning through hands-on STEM learning, including the growing maker movement, which is giving more students the tools and mentors to take on projects and problems they are personally passionate about. Such experiences are often critical to inspire students to pursue careers in the critical STEM fields, as well as support broader 21st century skills.

Last year, President Obama hosted the first-ever White House Maker Faire and issued a call to action that “every company, every college, every community, every citizen joins us as we lift up makers and builders and doers across the country.” By democratizing the tools and skills necessary to design and make just about anything, we can inspire more young people to pursue careers in design, advanced manufacturing, and the related fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)…”

As a former social studies teacher I was really excited about interacting with theExecutive Office of the President! The branch of the EOP sponsoring this event was the Office of Science and Technology Policy (from the website):

Scientific and technological advances are playing ever-growing roles in American life, helping grow our economy, improve our competitiveness, allow Americans to lead longer and healthier lives, address key energy and climate challenges, and protect ourselves from natural and man made threats. The work of the Office of Science and Technology Policy touches upon all these areas and many others. The office helps drive science and technology policy making. And it helps spur U.S. innovation and ingenuity by crafting practical policies aimed at strengthening America’s scientific and technology enterprise.

I’m grateful to my amazing Board of Education for supporting my leadership efforts and for encouraging our District’s leadership in support of innovative learning and teaching practices for each of our 3100 PK-8 students and 400+ staff members. The Board members “get it” and they effectively and ably and honorably represent the communities they serve. This awesome “career event” at the White House with the President’s Executive staff members from the Office of Science, Technology and Policy will support our District’s next level initiatives with respect to the 4 C’s (Creativity, Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking) and innovative learning space creation.

Presidential Proclamation
Presidential Proclamation

The invitation from the White House was followed up with an invitation from the Department of Commerce: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). From the Sunday Afternoon ofMaking at the US Patent and Trademark Office to the Maker Education Roundtable event on Monday at the White House Complex, I and the others with whom I shared the experiences were inspired to higher levels with respect the power of collaboration and creativity. The staff from the government agencies, the representatives from Maker Ed and Digital Promise, and the professional educators (superintendents, principals, teachers) shared success, barriers to success, plans, experiences, and examples of “making”, inventing, designing, thinking, leading, teaching, and learning.

On Monday we gathered at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (on the grounds of the White House and across the lawn from the West Wing). We reviewed the Presidential Proclamation (shown in the image to the right) declaring the Week of Making, 2015. As an invited professional educator I feel highly regarded, humbly respected, and honorably affirmed. Thankfully and gratefully I was allowed to invite a teacher to join in the experience. Alan B. Shepard Middle School Library Information Specialist Andrea Trudeau ably and proudly represented the outstanding teachers in the District. From our experiences we are now better equipped to lead the Maker’s Movement and next level instruction in our District. It was highly valuable to have Andrea Trudeau with me as the teacher representative from the District and our shared learning translates into positive action for our staff and students. Her experiences are already setting into motion refined plans for our libraries to become learning commons areas and areas with Maker Space creation opportunities.

In addition to the pride and honor of getting recognized and supporting our District efforts getting on the national map of innovation and thought leadership, this learning experience solidified our resolve into supporting the transformation of existing classroom spaces into student focused, student centered, and student experience learning spaces and learning commons and learning studios. Making, tinkering, inventing, creating, designing, “doing”, all relate to a shift in mindset from teacher directed to teacher facilitated. The Maker movement can mean creating life size robots with circuitry and programmable computer code, it can also mean designing a flower garden out of household materials and reused materials to spruce up an urb20150615_100549an or suburban environment. Making can relate to construction, programming, designing, learning, thinking, working – pretty much anything. Making takes us out of the “fill in the bubble on the answer sheet” driven system into a “create something different in this space from these materials to accomplish learning objectives x, y, and z”. The picture to the left is an example of an actual computer -with a 1Ghz processor and 4GB storage – with micro USB power, composite audio and video and pins for connecting with other components … I met the designer of this item called CHIP and he taught me and my superintendent colleagues a thing or two (or three) about the concept of a computer. I plan to find some interested students next year and purchase some of these CHIP computers so the designer Dave can learn from our students’ unique uses for CHIP and our students can learn from a really cool entrepreneur doing now what industry demands – he is “making” and designing. This is but one of many examples of creation, original thinking, technology and the future of our education system and our society.

Yesterday’s experience at the White House Complex with staff and advisers to the President from the White House Executive Office of the President was amazing! There were many representatives from the Department of Commerce Patent and Trademark Office as well as the facilitators, organizers and leaders from the Executive Office of the President including:

Tom Kalil – Deputy Director, Technology and Innovation – Office of Science, Technology and Policy, Mario Cardona – Senior Policy Advisor – Domestic Policy Council (includes K-12 education), Stephanie Santoso – Senior Adviser for Making at the Office of Science, Technology and Policy

One of the highlights of the experience was watching colleague and friend Dr. Nick Polyak, superintendent of Leyden Township High School District 212 in Franklin Park, IL, present a gift for Presiden20150615_094241(2)t Obama to Tom Kalil.

The gift is a 3D printed design and creation and letter to Mr. Obama from a 9th grade student Fabian Bartos. Fabian used Google images and design and technology skills to design and produce a 3D model of the White House and East and West wings. Fabian’s application of Making demonstrates in real time the creative and technical skills and possibilities of our nation’s most precious assets – our children! Fabian took initiative and time and energy and dedication to create this gift – this example of learning and Making. He worked with his dedicated and highly skilled teachers to share a meaningful and timely example of what the learning and thinking in the Maker Movement is all about.

As I have written before, we have the knowledge and the will to do what is evidence-based and proven for education. Right now as educators and leaders we need to do  –  as a good friend and co-worker and I were discussing the other day – at some point you have to stop reviewing and studying and you have to “JUST DO IT” and experience real learning and innovation!

These experiences complement our District’s two year modernization efforts in the areas of curriculum, instruction, assessment, facilities, vision, and leadership.Thanks to the advocacy and support and vision from organizations like AASA and Maker Ed and government agencies like the White House Office of Science, Technology and Policy and the Education Outreach from the US Department of Commerce Patent and Trademark Office – and the thousands of educational leaders, teachers, and policy makers – we can and we must – and we will Transform Education!














Originally published at: http://dps109supt.edublogs.org/

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Michael Lubelfeld, Ed.D. Mike currently serves as the superintendent of schools in the Deerfield, IL Public Schools (District 109).  Mike is married and is the father of two young children. He lives and works in suburban Chicago. Mike attended the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, with a minor in criminal justice. He holds a Master of Arts in teaching and Educational Specialist in administration and supervision from National-Louis University. Mike earned his Doctor of Education in curriculum and instruction from Loyola University of Chicago, where his published dissertation was on Effective Instruction in Middle School Social Studies. Mike has had a variety of experiences as an educational professional. He began his educational career as an elementary and middle school teacher, prior to assuming roles of associate principal and principal at the middle school level, and as an assistant superintendent for personnel services (PK-8). He is also on the adjunct faculty at National Louis University in the Department of Educational Leadership. He can be found on Twitter at @mikelubelfeld and he is the co-moderator of #suptchat - the superintendent educational chat on Twitter with Nick Polyak, and he and Polyak co-authored the book The Unlearning Leader: Leading for Tomorrow’s Schools Today (Rowman-Littlefield Publishers).


Presentations, Certifications

American Association of School Administrators (AASA) National Superintendent Certification Program (2014-2016)

Illinois School of Advanced Leadership (ISAL) through the IASA and Cardinal Stritch University (Milwaukee, WI) Earned title of Fellow (2012-2014)

2017 - Keynote presenter & breakout presenter EdTechTeam Leadership Symposia (OH, CA)

2016 - Presenter at the IASA State Superintendent Conference - Social Media for Supts.

2016 - Co-facilitator IASA Aspiring Superintendent Academy

2016- Co-Director Legislation for the Lake County Superintendents

2015, 2016, 2017 – Presenter at the AASA National Council in Ed – Social Media for Supts.

2015 – Co-Presenter at Suburban Superintendent Roundtable for Northern Illinoishttp://t.co/x8Ls5Ddg00

2015 – Presenter at IASBO A New Design Frontier for Next Generation Learning

2015 – Panelist Leading for Transformative Change at Tech & Learning Live Chicago

2015 – Presenter at Illinois CTO Summit (Center for Digital Education and the Illinois Educational Technology Leaders (IETL)) Leadership and Vision

2015 – Presentation at Discovery Education Superintendent Digital Transition Symposium in Washington, D.C.Telling Our Story: Innovation in DPS109

2015 Presentations at Joint Annual Conference - Social Media for Superintendents and Effective Building Design

2015 Presenter at Illinois Association of School Administrators Annual Conference

2014-present Co-moderate national/international monthly Twitter chat #suptchat

2011 Illinois ASCD Leadership Institute Presenter – Using Danielson Frameworks



Bullis B., Filippi J., Lubelfeld M. (2016). I Hear What You’re Saying...And I Respect You. Journal of Scholarship and Practice, Summer 2016/Volume 13. No.2, 44-54.


In Publication: Bullis B., Filippi J., Lubelfeld M. (2017). Managing Up. Principal (NAESP)


Bullis B., Filippi J., Lubelfeld M. (2016). Reimagined NGSS learning spaces: Principals as holistic school improvement leaders. Principal Leadership, 52-54.


Himebaugh G., Lubelfeld M. (2016). Inspiring a Shared Vision. Update, Spring (Leadership Issue), 24-29.


Lubelfeld M. Rev. of Writing Pathways: Performance Assessments and Learning Progressions, by Lucy Calkins.ILASCD Summer Newsletter, Summer 2016, Volume 62, No. 2: 25-27.


Lubelfeld M., Polyak N. (2017). The Unlearning Leader: Leading for Tomorrow’s Schools Today. Lathan, MD: Rowman-Littlefield. -March 2017


Lubelfeld M., Polyak N., Seibert A. (2016). Leaders in Learning Through AASA’s Digital Consortium. School Administrator, February, 32-33.


Other (Memberships, other experiences)


Suburban Schools Superintendents (SSS)

Illinois & American Association of School Administrators (IASA/AASA,

National Association of School Superintendents (NASS)

Ed Leader 21 Member

Illinois & Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD/ILASCD),

Illinois & American Association of School Business Officials (IASBO),

The Horace Mann League of the USA,

Rotary Club of Deerfield, IL (Secretary 2014-16)

Advisory board member for the Digital Consortium (AASA)

2016 Superintendent Advisory Council - Center for Digital Education

Member Education Advisory Board - Hon. Bob Dold, U.S. Congressman 10th District

Member of Community Advisory Committee on Education – Rep. Scott Drury (IL-58th)

Twitter http://twitter.com/mikelubelfeld

Bilingual (English/Spanish)

Enrolled in intensive Spanish language and Mexican culture classes at the Cuauhnahuac Institute in Cuernavaca, Mexico; lived with Mexican family, 1992



INSPRA video website

NSPRA (National School Public Relations Association) Superintendents to Watch 2015-2016

2016 LifeTouch Memory Mission to the Dominican Republic represented the AASA

NASS (National Assn of School Superintendents) Superintendent of the Year 2015 Finalist

INSPRA (IL Chapter NSPRA) 2014 Distinguished Service Award of Excellence - Superintendent’s Task Force for Middle Level Education

The science labs won the Learning by Design Award for “Outstanding Project” in the Spring of 2016 as well as an Award of Merit in the Exhibition of Educational Environments Awards at the Joint Annual Conference of the Illinois Association of School Administrators, the Illinois Association of School Boards, and the Illinois Association of School Business Officials in 2015.  


DPS109 Science lab project was featured:

Johnsos, C., Monberg, G. (2015). Built on Value. Update, Fall (Facilties Isssue), 30-33.


Ullman, E. (2016). The Intelligent Use of Space. Tech & Learning Volume 36, Number 5, 34-38.


Received a 1997 Award of Excellence for Caring to Challenge, from the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA)

Selected to represent Illinois on the Social Studies Teachers’ Study Seminar in Germany, sponsored by the ICSS and the Armonk Institute, 1995


Additional -podcasts and edu talk radio interviews

Quoted in:

Gravel. R.J. (2015). Discover, Acknowledge, Commit: Guidelines for Adopting Administrative Software. School Administrator, December, 44-45.

DPS109 Science lab project was featured:

Johnsos, C., Monberg, G. (2015). Built on Value. Update, Fall (Facilties Isssue), 30-33.


Ullman, E. (2016). The Intelligent Use of Space. Tech & Learning Volume 36, Number 5, 34-38.


Received a 1997 Award of Excellence for Caring to Challenge, from the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA)

Selected to represent Illinois on the Social Studies Teachers’ Study Seminar in Germany, sponsored by the ICSS and the Armonk Institute, 1995

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