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Lake County Schools’ initiative to improve student achievement by realigning funding priorities continues in the second year of EngageLCS.

EngageLCSOver the course of the next few weeks, a list of realignment ideas will be explored on the school district’s virtual town hall at http://engageLCS.mindmixer.com. Input is encouraged from students, parents, teachers, school staff and community members. The list of realignment ideas is comprised of three areas: ideas that were outlined in Year 1 but were not tackled due to time constraints; ideas that are a continuation of work done in Year 1; and ideas that are newly added.

EngageLCS is an unprecedented measure for Lake County Schools — significantly improving student outcomes without a large increase in new money. By reallocating resources, the School District is looking to increase student achievement by focusing on targeted instructional priorities:

    • Immediate investment in struggling schools & ELL students
    • Talent Development Pipeline
    • Program Evaluation & Innovation
    • Teacher & Principal Induction & Development
    • Personalized Learning

After Year 1, Lake County Schools was able to reallocate $10.1 million to support its instructional priorities. Some of the investments that were put into place this school year include:

    • School-based Acceleration Resource Teachers, Florida Standards Teachers and Para Professionals to support literacy
    • Talent Development Pipeline bonuses for teachers
    • Additional Instructional Coaches for new teachers
    • Implementing the Program Evaluation and Innovation program
    • Beginning a focus on personalized learning for students
    • Initiating personalized learning for teachers and leaders through additional collaborative time for teachers

To learn more about EngageLCS or to participate in the conversation regarding realignment opportunities, log on to http://engageLCS.mindmixer.com.

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Next school year every elementary student attending Lake County Schools will start and end the school day at the same time.

Same goes for middle and high school students as Lake County Schools is standardizing bell schedules for the 2014-2015 school year. The new bell schedule is:

  • High school — 7:20 a.m. to 2:35 p.m.
  • Elementary school — 8:25 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.
  • Middle school — 9:20 a.m. to 4:10 p.m.

“With many schools having an independent bell schedule, it presented challenges for Transportation to ensure each student arrived at school on time,” said John Davis, Chief of Operations for Lake County Schools.

A uniform bell schedule was proposed as part of the High School Redesign opportunity outlined in the EngageLCS initiative. Through the $1.2 million, grant-funded EngageLCS project, Lake County Schools is evaluating the best use of its existing financial resources to ensure students continue to get a great education. The new bell schedule — coupled with transitioning high school schedules from a block model (four periods a day) to a seven-period day — will increase the instructional time for each high school class period by as much as 40 hours per year.

“There are a lot of good things happening in our schools, but we have noted some areas of concerns,” said Dr. David Christiansen, Chief Academic Officer for Lake County Schools. “These changes will have a positive effect with student achievement, resource optimization, teacher support and meeting the needs every student to ensure they are college and career ready upon graduation.”

EngageLCS is an unprecedented measure for Lake County Schools — significantly improving student outcomes without a large increase in new money. By reallocating resources, the School District is looking to increase student achievement by focusing on five instructional priorities:

  • Immediate investment in struggling schools & ELL students — Closing the achievement gap of English Language Learners and struggling schools
  • Talent Development Pipeline — Adding transparency to career progression in LCS, and additional stipends for leadership roles and service at the district’s neediest schools
  • Program Evaluation & Innovation — Implementing a process to initiate, evaluate and extend programs based on their impact on student achievement
  • Teacher & Principal Induction & Development — Implementing robust coaching support for principals and teachers to increase effectiveness and speed movement up the learning curve
  • Personalized Learning — Building differentiated support for teacher/leader professional development and individualized student learning, supported by technology

To learn more about EngageLCS, log on to http://engageLCS.mindmixer.com.

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A plan developed by Lake County Schools to rollout personalized learning initiatives over the next decade is receiving a significant investment courtesy of a grant award.

Personalized learning is a rising and significant change in how students receive instruction. Research shows that students who experience one-to-one instruction achieve at a far greater pace than students who experience traditional classroom instruction. Personalized learning helps tailor what a student learns — and how, when and where they learn it — based on his or her needs, skills and interests.

“Personalized learning incorporates student voice and choice in the learning process and allows teachers to adjust the pace and delivery of instruction to address each student’s individual learning strengths and needs,” said Kathy Halbig, Manager of Innovative Learning at Lake County Schools. “The student-teacher relationship is critical to student success, and personalized learning helps maximize the most precious resource in a classroom: Teacher’s one-on-one time with students.”

The Next Generations System Initiative (NGSI) grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is awarding Lake County Schools with $400,000 for Phase II of the three-phase NGSI grant. Phase II funding will support select schools through the planning process, from May through December 2014, of designing full-scale implementation plans for personalized learning for students. The grant award makes this planning step possible as funding will provide for necessary professional development for teachers and school administrators, as well as technology and software support. The 2015-2016 school year will mark the official launch of full-scale, personalized learning at select schools with four to six additional schools coming online with personalized learning in each subsequent year.

Lake County Schools’ push to incorporate personalized learning models into its instructional delivery began several years ago and is occurring in a handful of classrooms across the district.

“The addition of student mobile devices, the introduction of Bring Your Own Device at schools, upgrades to the district’s network and bringing Safari Montage to the district to manage the delivery of digital curriculum have all helped lay the groundwork for a more focused, district-wide initiative on personalized learning,” said Dr. Creed Wheeler, Executive Director of Information Technology for Lake County Schools.

Lake County Schools received a $100,000 planning grant in October, Phase I of the three-phase NGSI grant, to develop a district-wide strategic plan for the successful implementation of personalized learning in Lake County Schools. With important collaboration and input from an advisory group which included University of Central Florida staff, Lake County business and community leaders, LCS teachers and administrators, and focus group input from Lake County students, a design for a full-scale personalized learning system was developed. The NGSI Phase II grant award is the next step in moving the plan forward.

The NGSI grant coordinates with the EngageLCS initiative by expanding on personalized learning. Through the $1.2 million EngageLCS project, also supported by the Gates Foundation, Lake County Schools is evaluating the best use of its existing financial resources to ensure students continue to get a great education. This is an unprecedented measure for Lake County Schools — significantly improving student outcomes without a large increase in new money. By reallocating resources, the School District is looking to increase student achievement by focusing on five instructional priorities:

  • Immediate investment in struggling schools & ELL students — Closing the achievement gap of English Language Learners and struggling schools
  • Talent Development Pipeline — Adding transparency to career progression in LCS, and additional stipends for leadership roles and service at the district’s neediest schools
  • Program Evaluation & Innovation — Implementing a process to initiate, evaluate and extend programs based on their impact on student achievement
  • Teacher & Principal Induction & Development — Implementing robust coaching support for principals and teachers to increase effectiveness and speed movement up the learning curve
  • Personalized Learning — Building differentiated support for teacher/leader professional development and individualized student learning, supported by technology

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Lake County Schools’ EngageLCS initiative moves to another phase next month as a draft of the Three-Year Strategic Finance Plan (SFP) is released.

The objectives of the SFP is to identify the District’s instructional priorities, estimate the cost of those priorities and describe the actions to be taken that will save or realign money to fund those priorities. The draft of the SFP is on the workshop agenda for the Lake County School Board on Monday, Dec. 2, at 2 p.m. at the Institute of Public Safety, located at 1565 Lane Park Cut-Off, Tavares.

Parents, students, staff and community members are invited to a town hall meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at 5:30 p.m. in the County Commission Chambers of the Lake County Administration Building, located at 315 W. Main St., Tavares.

“I want to thank our stakeholders for their participation in the EngageLCS initiative to this point,” said Dr. Susan Moxley, Superintendent of Lake County Schools. “Their ideas and comments were significant contributions to developing the Three-Year Strategic Finance Plan. Please join me on Dec. 3 to learn about this draft plan and how it will be used to build the 2014-2016 budget.”

The SFP represents a change toward a comprehensive budgeting approach that holds raising student achievement at its core. In the traditional approach there is only an indirect link between District priorities and spending. In contrast, the SFP approach is focused on identifying instructional priorities that will meaningfully impact student achievement and aligning funding to these priorities.

For more information about EngageLCS, log on to http://engageLCS.mindmixer.com.

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Lake County Schools’ initiative to improve student achievement by realigning funding priorities continues with an important step as the District released today a preliminary list of how the District might divide its budget differently in order to fund its instructional priorities.

“It is important to remember that the list of potential actions to shift funds is only preliminary and not recommendations,” said Dr. Susan Moxley, Superintendent of Lake County Schools. “The ideas were collected from numerous internal and external stakeholders, including those that posted ideas to our virtual town hall at http://engageLCS.mindmixer.com.”

Over the course of the next few weeks, the preliminary list will be refined as some items will be added and others deleted. The process will include input from students, parents, teachers, school staff and community members; further analysis of the District’s current spending and resource allocation; additional research on other districts’ practices; and further research and discussion of the relative impact on students of different investments.

Some of the ideas from the preliminary list of ideas to shift funding are supported by resource analysis. The data shared on Oct. 1 is first of two sets that are part of the ongoing EngageLCS resource alignment work. The second part of resource analysis will be released on Oct. 24. In addition, a refined list of resource alignment ideas will be published on Oct. 24. All information for EngageLCS is available at http://engageLCS.mindmixer.com.

EngageLCS is a $1.2 million project supported by a national grant. The goal of the grant is to increase student achievement by better aligning resources to Lake County Schools’ four instructional priorities:

  • Compensation & staffing — Create a talent development pipeline for teachers and leaders.
  • Professional development — Implement an instructional coaching framework for teacher and principal induction and District instructional coaches
  • Technology — Establish personalized learning through digital support for teacher/leader professional development and student instructional delivery
  • Teaching & Learning — Implement an innovation process to initiate and extend promising initiatives.

To view what ideas are being shared and to submit your own ideas, log on to http://engageLCS.mindmixer.com.

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If you haven’t been paying attention to EngageLCS, now may be the perfect time to get connected.

On Tuesday, Oct. 1, the first set of data comparing Lake County Schools to other school districts from across the nation will be released at http://engageLCS.mindmixer.com.

The data available next week is one of two sets that will be released during October and is part of an ongoing study of how Lake County Schools uses resources. The data evaluation, or resource mapping process, is being conducted in partnership with Education Resource Strategies. The consulting firm works with school districts across the country to compare district data. The resource map analyzes how resources are used from various sources, including: student enrollment, payroll detail, staffing information, budgeting and expenses.

EngageLCS is a $1.2 million project supported by a national grant. The goal of the grant is to increase student achievement by better aligning resources to our instructional priorities. Our four key priorities are:

  • Compensation & staffing — Create a talent development pipeline for teachers and leaders.
  • Professional development — Implement an instructional coaching framework for teacher and principal induction and District instructional coaches
  • Technology — Establish personalized learning through digital support for teacher/leader professional development and student instructional delivery
  • Teaching & Learning — Implement an innovation process to initiate and extend promising initiatives.

To view what ideas are being shared and to submit your own ideas, log on to http://engageLCS.mindmixer.com.

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An 18-month project to redefine how Lake County Schools aligns resources to maximize student success begins in earnest with the introduction of a “virtual town hall.”

EngageLCSTo launch the web-based platform at http://engageLCS.mindmixer.com, Lake County Schools partnered with MindMixer, an Omaha, Neb., startup that helps organizations such as the cities of Orlando and San Francisco gather ideas from their communities. EngageLCS is dedicated to empowering everyone in the community — from teachers and students in the classroom to parents and community members at home — to engage in the process of developing a School District three-year strategic finance plan to guide instructional priorities. While public meetings are a useful forum for tackling community issues, not everyone is willing or able to attend such meetings; thus many voices go unheard. MindMixer provides community members with a forum for discussing relevant topics, voting on and prioritizing issues, sharing ideas, and proposing solutions without leaving the comfort of his or her home or workplace.

EngageLCS serves as an online town hall covering a variety of issues that will confront Lake County Schools as it works to increase six critical capacities: Measuring initiative cost and return on investment; Specialized analytics (primary areas: financial projections and school scheduling); Effective prioritization and strategic decision-making; Building a resource alignment culture; Project management; and Communication. Questions are posed on the site and anyone is invited to submit ideas. The feedback garnered through the EngageLCS MindMixer site is shared directly with committees working on the project, who are able to provide comments back to community members about their ideas and keep the conversation going.

To guide the EngageLCS initiative, Lake County Schools has developed a Theory of Action: “Aligning resources to develop highly effective teachers and leaders and support key student initiatives will advance the goal of developing ‘C2 Ready’ students.” (C2 refers to students that are prepared for college or a career). Instructional priorities outlined in the grant application include:

  • Compensation & staffing — Create a talent development pipeline for teachers and leaders.
  • Professional development — Implement an instructional coaching framework for teacher and principal induction and District instructional coaches
  • Technology — Establish personalized learning through digital support for teacher/leader professional development and student instructional delivery
  • Teaching & Learning — Implement an innovation process to initiate and extend promising initiatives.

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