By IASA Communications
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IASA PodcastDec 01, 2023
Being Proactive About Indoor Air Quality
In our latest episode, we discuss the need for schools to be proactive about indoor air quality. Our guest Jeffry Faust, Vice President of Environmental Consultants, discusses air pollutants, mold, radon and the potential of the state mandating testing.
Importance of Investing in School Communications
With a finite amount of dollars in the budget, many superintendents wrestle with investing in a communications staff. In this episode, we talk to Steve Wilder, superintendent of Sycamore CUSD #427, and Lauren Holtz, Director of Communications and Community Engagement, about why having a strong communications department is worth every penny.
A Look Back at Vision 20/20
October 18 marked the first meeting for the Vision 2030 Working Group. The statewide group of educators will collaborate to develop a new long-range blueprint for public education in Illinois. Long before there was Vision 2030, there was Vision 20/20. In this episode, we speak to Ralph Grimm about how groundbreaking Vision 20/20 was and what the major accomplishments were.
Building a Support Network in the Superintendency
Being a superintendent can be a difficult, lonely position -- if you let it be. In this episode, Jason Grey and Dr. Alex Kashner share how building a strong support network can assist you in navigating the ever-changing job of the school superintendent. Jason is superintendent at Riley CCSD #18 and Dr. Kashner is superintendent at Eastland CUSD #308.
Compliance Plus Participants Share Feedback
In this episode, hear from Andy Johnson, superintendent at Effingham CUSD #40, and Jeff Abell, superintendent at Griggsville-Perry CUSD #4, about how IASA Compliance Plus is benefitting their districts. In addition, Robert Wolfe shares how he's helped districts with everything from transportation, EBF reports, bid proposals and indirect costs. Furthermore, Robert discusses a new resource he and Cheryl Graff created that is exclusively for IASA Compliance Plus participants.
EBF Making a Difference: Lansing SD #158
We once again go beyond the test scores and learn how Evidence-Based Funding is Making a Difference in Lansing SD #158. Our guest is the school district's superintendent, Dr. Nathan Schilling. In this episode, Dr. Schilling shares how EBF has helped the district expand supports for students. In addition, Dr. Schilling details how the Property Tax Relief Grant has helped the district abate $11 million over five years.
EBF Making a Difference: Bunker Hill CUSD #8
We once again go beyond the test scores and look at how Evidence-Based Funding is Making a Difference in schools. Our guest this episode is Todd Dugan, superintendent of Bunker Hill CUSD #8. Todd shares how EBF brought stability to his district, helped improve facilities and opened up new learning pathways for students.
How A New Playground Can Improve School Culture and Climate
How can something like a new playground make a big impact on school climate and culture? In this episode, we speak to Dr. Merryl Brownlow, superintendent of Palos Heights #128, on the palpable effect a new inclusive playground is already having on the district.
Previewing IASA's 59th Annual Conference
Want to know more about this year's keynote speakers? Learn how IASA picks breakout sessions? And gain practical tips to maximize your conference experience? This podcast is all about IASA's 59th Annual Conference, Sept. 27-29 in Springfield. Our guests are Dr. Roger Alvey, IASA President, and Dr. Courtney Orzel, Associate Director of Professional Development.
EBF Making a Difference: Midwest Central CUSD #191
Check out Part 2 of our EBF Making a Difference series. In this episode, we learning how Evidence-Based Funding is helping Midwest Central CUSD #191 bring back programs cut during proration of General State Aid and invest in recruiting and retaining teachers.
EBF Making a Difference: Big Hollow SD #38
IASA's series on how Evidence-Based Funding is helping Illinois students returns in podcast form. In this episode, learn how the state's investment has helped Big Hollow SD #38 gain its footing financially and add more academic and behavior supports for students.
IASA Compliance Plus
IASA has expanded our team to launch IASA Compliance Plus, a pilot program for the 2023-24 school year designed to help districts save time on compliance matters. In this episode, hear from IASA Executive Director Dr. Brent Clark, IASA General Counsel and the two people picked to facilitate this initiative, Cheryl Graff and Robert Wolfe. Cheryl is a retired regional superintendent and Robert retired after serving as Chief Financial Officer of ISBE. Visit the IASA website to learn more and apply.
CPPRT Uncertainty in FY 2024
In May, the Illinois Department of Revenue released a memo that indicated school districts, and other government bodies, would see a reduction in Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax funding. On the IASA Podcast, we spoke to Dr. Vic Zimmerman, IASA Field Services Director, about this announcement and what it means for school districts trying to budget for FY 24.
ISBE Extends Deadline of Early Childhood Block Grant
Illinois State Superintendent Dr. Tony Sanders joins IASA for a quick podcast about ISBE extending the application deadline for the Early Childhood Block Grant to June 30. Also, we ask Dr. Sanders about his new leadership team and the role they will fill.
Community Eligibility Provision
CEP is an alternative to collecting, approving, and verifying household eligibility applications for free and reduced price eligible students in high poverty local educational agencies (LEAs) for schools participating in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. In this episode, IASA speaks to Roxanne Ramage, ISBE's Nutrition Principal Consultant, about the advantages the federal program offers to school districts. More information about CEP can be found at https://www.isbe.net/cep or requested via email at email@example.com
Reimagining Rural Leadership
IASA is accepting applications for our newest cohort - Reimagining Rural Leadership. In this podcast, hear from cohort organizers about why you should apply, what each session will entail, what guest speakers to expect, how a cohort learning experience can help you grow professionally and personally and much more! Our guests are Dr. Courtney Orzel, Todd Dugan, Dr. Jennifer Garrison and Larry Lovel.
Capitol Watch Legislative Update
Madeline McCune and Emily Warnecke join the IASA Podcast to provide a legislative update on where things stand. Ms. McCune and Mrs. Warnecke discuss unfunded mandates, curriculum mandates, literacy initiatives, the teacher shortage and more. The IASA Podcast is sponsored by American Fidelity.
Women in Leadership Roundtable
In honor of Women's History Month, IASA asked the group of female leaders who helped launch Women in Leadership in Illinois. This podcast features a lively an inspiring discussion about the history of WIL, misconceptions about the initiative, barriers women face entering the superintendency and why it's important that Illinois continues to grow the number of female leaders. Guests are Dr. Courtney Orzel, Sara Boucek, Dr. Carrie Hruby, Dr. Crystal Johnson-Maden, Dr. Bhavna Sharma-Lewis and Julie Kraemer. The IASA Podcast is sponsored by American Fidelity.
A Conversation With Dr. Sonya Whitaker on Equity, Politics, Black History Month and More
In honor of February being Black History Month, IASA invited Dr. Sonya Whitaker on the podcast to discuss a variety of issues around equity and diversity in public education. Dr. Whitaker is the Deputy Superintendent of Schools at Dolton School District 148 and serves as National Education Policy Director for PUSH Excel. In this podcast, we discuss her work at PUSH Excel; the teacher shortage and increasing the pool of black teachers and educators; tips for school leaders on maximizing Black History Monty; polarized politics in school board races and much more! The IASA Podcast is sponsored by American Fidelity.
New Approach to Substitute Teacher Shortage
Like many districts, Oakwood CUSD #76 struggled attracting substitute teachers. Earlier this month, district hosted its first ever Aspiring Substitute Academy to recruit and educate people from the community about what it takes to become a substitute teacher. In this episode, Oakwood's superintendent, Larry Maynard, discusses the substitute teacher shortage, what the academy entailed and how big of a boost the district has already seen in its applicant pool. The IASA Podcast is sponsored by American Fidelity.
Leading Through Chaos: New book by Dr. Lisa Leali
IASA interviews Dr. Lisa Leali, superintendent of Lake Bluff ESD #65, about her new book, Leading through Chaos: Ten Strategies for School Leaders during Crises. In the interview, Dr. Leali discusses why she wrote the book and shares different strategies for school leaders. The book is available for purchase here. The IASA Podcast is sponsored by American Fidelity.
What Participants in IASA's New Elevate SuperWomen Cohort Can Expect
Registration is now open for Elevate, IASA's new cohort for female superintendents. In this episode, Dr. Courtney Orzel, Dr. Carrie Hruby and Dr. Crystal Johnson-Maden share why they designed this first of its kind professional development opportunity for female superintendents in Illinois. In addition, the three leaders share what will occur in each session, how the cohort will elevate your leadership capacity, how WIL has helped them grow personally and professionally and what makes Elevate unique from other Women in Leadership opportunities. The IASA Podcast is sponsored by American Fidelity.
Passing the Superintendency Baton
A major component of leadership is creating a transition plan to ensure the district can function well going forward after you leave, whether that be from retirement, transferring or a separation agreement. In this episode, Dr. Vic Zimmerman shares advice and insights into his experience of passing the superintendency baton when he retired from Monticello CUSD #25. The IASA Podcast is sponsored by American Fidelity.
Township HSD #214 Recognized as Lighthouse District for Career Pathways
In May, Township HSD #214 was named a Lighthouse District by AASA for its career pathways program. In this episode, IASA speaks to Superintendent Dr. David Schuler about the district's journey and how school leaders can strengthen career exploration for students in their districts. The IASA Podcast is sponsored by American Fidelity.
Naperville CUSD #203 Recognized as Lighthouse District for Social-Emotional Learning
In May, Naperville CUSD #203 was one of 13 districts across the country named as a Lighthouse District by AASA for its emphasis on social-emotional learning. In this podcast, Dan Bridges shares why Naperville CUSD #203 doesn't approach SEL as another program on top of a crowded plate, but rather the district approaches SEL as the plate. The IASA Podcast is sponsored by American Fidelity.
Effective Communications: How Evanston/Skokie SD 65 Told its Story
Earlier this year, Evanston/Skokie School District 65 received the Golden Apple from the National School Public Relations Association for its “outstanding communication and engagement efforts.” In this podcast, Superintendent Dr. Devon Horton and Melissa Messinger, executive director of communications, discuss how an effective communications plan was pivotal in the passage of new student assignment plan. In addition, Dr. Horton and Messinger offer tips about programs and platforms the district uses to engage the community. The IASA Podcast is sponsored by American Fidelity.
Why Harvard CUSD #50's Dual Language Program Was Recognized as a Lighthouse District
In May, the School Superintendents Association (AASA) announced Harvard School District 50 as a “Lighthouse” system, serving as a model to transform America’s education system. Harvard CUSD 50’s Dual Language program was selected for designation by a panel of independent education leaders from across the country. In this podcast, hear from Dr. Corey Tafoya on how the the Dual Language program prepares students to be future-ready, but also enhances their social, emotional and cognitive skills. The IASA Podcast is sponsored by American Fidelity.
Keep Kids Fed Act: What Schools Need to Know
In this IASA Podcast, we speak to Tara Thomas, AASA Policy Analyst, about the Keep Kids Fed Act and the implications the new law has on school districts.
Update: Since the podcast was recorded, the USDA issued or extended six waivers for Summer 2022. Click Here to read a blog post from AASA about what this development means for schools.
Webinars: In the podcast, Tara mentions webinars on the Community Eligibility Provision. Here are the links:
CEP Kickoff Webinar – Preparing for SY22-23 – Recording
CEP: Overcoming the Loss of School Meal Application Data - Recording
CEP: Implementing in States that Require Alternative Forms – Recording
Making CEP Work with Low ISPs and Partial District Implementation – Recording
Get Your CEP Questions Answered - Recording
High Impact Tutoring
State Superintendent Dr. Carmen Ayala joins the IASA Podcast to discuss the Illinois Tutoring Initiative. Tune in to learn more about the initiative, including how it works and what school districts are eligible to apply. The IASA Podcast is sponsored by American Fidelity.
Electrify Your School Bus Fleet: Why Now is the Time to Act
The federal government plans to distribute $5 dollars over five years (FY 2022-2026) to replace existing school buses with clean and zero-emission models. In this podcast, learn how the Future Green Energy Consortium can help your district make the transition to an electric bus fleet. Guests are Dr. Brent Clark, IASA Executive Director; Haj Young, Associate Manager of the Future Green Energy Consortium; and Tim Farquer, superintendent of Williamsfield CUSD #210 and leader of the Bus 2 Grid initiative. The IASA Podcast is sponsored by American Fidelity.
Capitol Watch Legislative Update
Is the substitute shortage going to improve? What's the latest on school construction and paid administrative relief? And is it true that school administrators might not have to fill out as many redundant reports with ISBE? Those questions and more will be answered on this episode of the IASA Podcast, sponsored by American Fidelity.
Does Remote Learning Still Have a Place in Schools?
Remote learning isn't a popular term in Illinois. However, maybe is still has a place in schools. In this episode of the IASA Podcast, we speak to Dr. Victor Simon, superintendent of Gower SD #62. The preK-8 elementary district in DuPage County has continued to offer a Remote Education Program to students. Dr. Simon shares why his district still values remote learning, what the program looks like and if it could become a trend in schools after the shock of remote learning during the pandemic wears off. The IASA Podcast is sponsored by American Fidelity.
Is Your Staff Trained To Use an AED or Perform CPR?
At the age of 28, Heather Baker suddenly went into cardiac arrest during a morning meeting at school. Her life was saved because a school staff member had recently been trained on CPR and how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED). In this podcast, Baker shares her story and offers advice and tips to for how school administrators can provide training to their staff at no cost. The American Heart Association also made this video about her story. The IASA Podcast is sponsored by American Fidelity.
What To Expect This Legislative Session
IASA's two newest additions, Emily Warnecke and Madeline McCune, preview the Illinois General Assembly legislative session and address school administrators biggest questions about EBF, mandates, COVID issues and more. The IASA Podcast is sponsored by American Fidelity. Since 1960, American Fidelity has focused on providing a different opinion for school districts and currently serves 4,300 districts across the country.
IASA Aspiring Superintendent Academy
Applications are now being accepted for the 2022 IASA Aspiring Superintendent Academy scheduled for June 27-July 1, 2022, in Springfield. This four-day academy is intended for school leaders wondering if becoming a superintendent is the right choice for them. Learn more about the academy in this podcast from its three presenters, Dr. Michael Lubelfeld, superintendent of North Shore SD #112; Dr. Courtney Orzel, IASA Associate Director of Professional Development; Dr. Nick Polyak, Leyden Community High School District #212.
Solar On Site: How Illinois' New Energy Law Benefits Schools
Tucked inside the state's gigantic new energy law is a unique provision that creates a pathway for school districts to install solar panels on site at no cost and reduce energy costs. In this podcast, IASA Executive Director Dr. Brent Clark and Haj Young, Associate Manager of the Future Green Energy Consortium, discuss how schools can take advantage of this special opportunity.
Closing the Digital Divide in Pontiac
This episode of the IASA Podcast focuses on one strategy two districts are deploying to close the digital divide in their community. Jon Kilgore, superintendent of Pontiac HSD #90, and Brian Dukes, superintendent of Pontiac CCSD #429, are partnering together to build a LTE system, exclusive to students, that will greatly expand and improve internet connectivity. Learn how the initiative will work, how the districts plan to pay for it and how you can start a similar initiative in your community. The IASA Podcast is sponsored by American Fidelity.
Extending the School Day
Dr. Carol Kilver, superintendent of Pikeland CUSD #10, and Angie Greger, Pikeland High School principal, join the IASA Podcast to discuss the district's plan to extend the school day by one hour for the remainder of the year and bring back high school students five days per week. Dr. Kilver shares how she worked with her board and teachers to implement another "big lift" on an already challenging school year.
Reducing Burnout, Promoting Mindfulness and Improving Culture
Weekly yoga classes, self-care challenges, feeding frenzies, staff surveys, spirit wear days and the promotion of pop-and-sub are among the ways Sparta CUSD #140 has reduced burnout, promoted mindfulness and improved culture this past school year. Dr. Gabe Schwemmer, superintendent of Sparta CUSD #140, joins the IASA Podcast to discuss strategies superintendents can implement to keep your staff's batteries charged and excited to come to work each day.
Work After COVID: What it Could Look Like
Cindi DeCola, a partner with Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick & Kohn LLP, joins the IASA Podcast to discuss what work after COVID-19 could look like for schools. DeCola shares her thoughts on employees wanting to continue to work from home, collective bargaining issues in the future, expanded sick leave, potential demands for safe working conditions and much more in an informative podcast for any school administrator.
Follow-up to Webinar: COVID-19 Point of Care Testing
This podcast is a follow up to a webinar recorded with Dr. Victor Simon of Gower SD #62 on Point of Care Testing and CLIA Waiver process. In this episode, Dr. Simon is joined by Dr. Paul O'Malley, superintendent of Butler SD #53. Both districts are currently utilizing COVID-19 point of care rapid antibody and point of care rapid antigen tests on-site that are carried out by district staff with some early success. Hear from each superintendent about how the process has gone in their districts, what hurdles they have had to overcome, how much testing has cost and how their have communities responded.
Challenges Facing Superintendents: A Conversation With Dr. Carol Kelley
Dr. Carol Kelley, superintendent of Oak Park ESD #97, is in a similar position many superintendents face. Her district began the year remotely and is now facing intense pressure from the community to provide in-person learning. In Part 3 of our series, Dr. Kelley discusses her district's journey this year and how she tries to remain calm while she navigates protests and pushback. In addition, Dr. Kelley discusses Oak Park ESD #97's efforts to promote and focus on equity and inclusiveness in its policies and practices.
HR 101: An Overview of Essential Employment Laws and Considerations
Need to brush up on the rules around dismissal of tenured and non-tenured staff? Have legal questions about principal evaluations? What about progressive discipline? This podcast is a must listen for superintendents wanting to strengthen, or refresh, their knowledge on essential employment laws and considerations in Illinois. Our guests are Franczek P.C. attorneys Dana Fattore Crumley and Shelli Anderson.
Part 2: Fully Open in Southwestern Region
We continue our multi-part series of speaking to superintendents across the state about successes and challenges they have faced in their districts during this unprecedented year.
In Part 2, Dr. Courtney Orzel speaks to Mike Sutton, superintendent of Highland CUSD #5. Mr. Sutton's district began the school year five days per week in person. In this episode, he discusses why he arrived at that decision, the importance of communication and how his district navigated positive COVID tests.
Fully Open in the Suburbs
More than ever, superintendents need to support and learn from each other about what has worked and what hasn't. In a multi-part podcast series, IASA Associate Director of Professional Development Dr. Courtney Orzel speaks to superintendents from across the state about the experiences and lessons they have learned through this unprecedented school year.
Part 1 is a conversation with Dr. Mary Henderson, superintendent of Roselle SD #12. The K-8 district in Dupage County opened the 2020-21 school year five days per week in person. Dr. Henderson discusses her decision to open in person, successes and challenges so far, lessons she has learned and shares tips she's learned to manage stress.
Healing a Fragmented System
Everyday, superintendents are trying to navigate new problems in the era of COVID-19 that it's hard to think long term. In this episode, IASA's Associate Director of Professional Development, Dr. Courtney Orzel, speaks to Dr. Hank Thiele, superintendent of CHSD #99, about the strains COVID-19 has caused on school districts and how superintendents need to begin to think long term how they can help heal a fragmented system.
Legal Concerns Related to Students
If you have legal questions related to student privacy, special education, grading and more, this podcast is a must listen. Our guest is Courtney Stillman, a partner with Hauser, Izzo, Petrarca, Gleason & Stillman, LLC. This podcast is the second in IASA's initiative to expand legal services to members.
Positive COVID-19 Test: Now What?
Riverton CUSD #14 recently had the start of the 2020-21 school year upended when someone tested positive for COVID-19, just three days into the new year. In this episode, we speak to Dr. Brad Polanin, the district's superintendent, about how his district responded to the positive test, lessons he learned from the experience and how he plans to move forward.
Remote Learning for 2020-21 School Year
No matter what school will look like in your district this school year, remote learning will be part of the plan. In this episode, Dr. Courtney Orzel speaks to Pontiac CCSD #429 Superintendent Brian Dukes and the district's technology director, Michael McCabe, about how their district plans to maximize remote learning this school year. Kim Darche, who led IASA's recent Remote Learning Rescue Series, also joins the podcast to provide remote learning tips for educators.
IASA Legal Podcast: School Liability in COVID-19 Era
IASA is excited to announce a new podcast as part of an effort to expand legal services to IASA members during the 2020-21 school year. The podcast can be found on the usual IASA Podcast feed but will be hosted by IASA General Counsel, Chad Watkins. Each podcast, Chad will welcome a school attorney to speak about a legal issue facing public educators. In our first episode, we welcome Dawn Hinkle of Engler Callaway Baasten & Sraga, LLC to discuss school liability in the COVID-19 era. Ms. Hinkle provides a legal perspective on liability concerns related to a student or employee testing positive for COVID-19, as well as potential liability risks if districts don't follow ISBE guidance. Listen now and get answers to those important questions and more!