Thursday, March 27, 2014

Boone County Journal: Path Denied at Dist. #100

By James Middleton

Two items came for discussion in last weeks’ meeting
of the Belvidere School District #100 Board of Education
meeting that have caused considerable debate in many
public school districts. The items included 1) teacher
evaluations and 2) stimulating student growth.

The items came near the end of the Monday meeting as
an action item that asked the Board members to approve an
Agreement to adopt a consultant firm’s recommendation to
manage teacher evaluations and to enhance student growth
However, in a roll-call vote, only one member, Board
President Mike Rathbun voted to approve the hiring of the
consultant firm. The opposition was led by Board member
Karla Mayville.

Ms. Mayville said after district administrators had
presented a review of the consultant group, “I am surprised
at what I have heard here. I expected a recommendation
from the committee (a committee found to investigate
consultant firms that could help with student growth
and teacher evaluation activities) and I have one
recommendation from the district administration and one
from the Belvidere Education Association (BEA).”
Ms. Mayville added, “I am voting no because I don’t
feel comfortable with only receiving information from the
administration of the district.”

The firm that was being recommended by the
administration was the ECRA Group of Rosemont. They
were one of two groups the responded to a request directed
to them by District #100.
The ECRA website described the group assisting school
districts and others with executive searches, strategic
planning, administrator and teacher evaluations and
surveys and focus groups, among other services. The firm
describes itself as “educational consultants and research

District #100 assistant superintendents Joel Moeller and
Cheryl Gieseke co-authored a letter that was delivered to
Board members discussing the proposal from the ECRA
Group. In the letter, the administrators suggested that
the Board approve the ECRA Group to consult with the
district to implement a “student growth” component into
the district’s teacher evaluation plan.
Mr. Moeller said that the search for the consulting
firm resulted from activities after the November 2013
meeting of the Board of Education. In that meeting, Board
members approved conducting a search for a consulting
firm to aid the District in teacher evaluation and student
growth initiatives.

A committee was found to evaluate the search that
included teachers and administrators from District #100.
The committee was formed to evaluate the two offerings
provided for consulting services. Mr. Moeller added that
the ECRA Group was the strongest firm of the two and that
the administration was recommending that they be hired to
manage these needs.

The letter from Mr. Moeller and Ms. Gieseke added
that a dedicated consultant would work with the district to
inform administrators of research, assessments, evaluations
and other areas of focus in teacher evaluations and student
growth. The letter reported that a pro-rated cost for the
program through the balance of the 2013—2014 School
Year would be changed to the District but the pro-rated cost
was not identified. The letter further reported that the cost
for the program to run through the 2016—2017 School
Year would total $84,521.

It was the opinion of Mr. Moeller and Ms. Gieseke
that, in their words, “Over the course of the contract all
cost incurred through ECRA’s compensation and fee
schedule will be cost neutral (e.g. downsizing/reduction of
administration/administrative duties and responsibilities).”
After Mr. Moeller finished with his comments during
the Board meeting, Ms. Gieseke took the floor to describe
in greater detail why the ECRA Group was chosen. The
essence of that choice resulted from the wider body of
services that ECRA promised to provide District #100 over
the other firm that also submitted a bid and proposal.
Ms. Gieseke explained, “The student growth component
and the process if governed by law.”

She also went through an explanation of the process
that composes the student growth evaluation and teacher
evaluations that emerged from student performance on
standardized tests. A graph describing how the process and
the component parts of the evaluations are related provided
for in her words, “a qualitative and a quantitative analysis
of teacher evaluation models.”

Ms. Gieseke also said, “The joint committee process is
vital to the student growth model.” She went on to explain
that the ECRA Group provided a more complete package of
services than the other firm. Ms. Gieseke added that there
are advantages to “using a firm that has broader analysis
ability to provide more data for teachers, administrators,
Board members and the public.”

At the conclusion of Ms. Gieseke’s comments, Mr.
Moeller added, “Adopting this model (by the ECRA
Group) would allow for better decision to be made.”

With that a motion was placed on the floor to adopt the
recommendation and the Agreement offered by the ECRA
Group. There was a long pause before a seconding motion
was received. Ms. Mayville spoke during the discussion
portion of the motion process and no other Board member

In the vote, the President of the District #100 Board of
Education was the only member that favored hiring the
ECRA Group. The other members, without any further
discussion, were opposed without voicing their reasons for
their opposition.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

School District 200 approves blending pre-school programs

School District 200 approves blending pre-school programs
By Bob Balgemann



….Indicator 6 measures the percent of children with IEPs and where they receive their special education services, which can either be in a regular classroom or in a special education classroom.
In 2012, it was shown that 54.55 percent of District 200 children with disabilities were in a separate class, which included a majority of the children with disabilities. The state performance plan target is 31.10 percent.
Also, the percent of students with disabilities who were included in a regular early childhood program was 0 percent; the Illinois State Performance Plan target was 32.3 percent.
"In working with ISBE and Starnet, providing a blended pre-school program will make North Boone in compliance with Indicator 6," the superintendent said.
A blended pre-school program will combine children from the current early childhood program with those in the pre-school program. There will continue to be two classrooms, with a total of four pre-school sessions.

Go to Facebook to read all of the story, click on following:  Belvidere Daily Republican

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Belvidere Superintendent loses to Johnston, Iowa, school leader - Blogs - Rockford Register Star


by Susan Vela

March 17, 2014 9:51 a.m.


Belvidere Superintendent Michael Houselog expressed disappointment about losing in the  pursuit to next lead the Johnston School District, about 10 miles northwest of Des Moines, in Iowa.
…..“Personally I was attracted to the position because my daughter Amy and her family live in central Iowa very close to Johnston,” Houselog said in an email. “I was honored to be among the ninety qualified candidates who completed application materials, the seven  who interviewed with the board, and finally to interview with the community as one of the two finalists….

Houselog would have moved closer to family and seen his salary move from $197,000 to $225,000 if the Johnston school board had chosen him.
A few years ago, he was named a finalist for the Dubuque School District superintendent position.

Read more:


Monday, March 17, 2014

Stillwater superintendent says move to Iowa a 'good fit' -

Belvidere’s Dr. Houselog loses out  in Johnston Community job.

Stillwater Area Public Schools superintendent Corey Lunn is headed back to the state where he started his teaching career.

The Johnston Community School District near Des Moines, Iowa, has tapped Lunn to be its next leader. Lunn, who has been superintendent in Stillwater for three years, has until Thursday to accept the offer. He beat out 90 other applicants in the nationwide search.

"It's bittersweet," Lunn said during a phone interview from his Stillwater office Monday. "There have been great experiences here, and we've met great people. We live in the community, my kids are in the schools, and they've just excelled.

Read the entire story by clicking on the following:  Stillwater superintendent says move to Iowa a 'good fit' -

See posts which follow regarding Dr. Houselog’s application.

Belvidere Superintendent Michael Houselog will get higher salary if he gets Iowa job - Blogs - Rockford Register Star


BELVIDERE - Schools Superintendent Michael Houselog may get to move closer to his family in Iowa and, if he does, he may get a nearly 15 percent raise.
When the Johnston School District, about 10 miles northwest of Des Moines, advertised for its top administrator position, it listed a potential annual salary of $225,000, according to a recent new report in The Pioneer Press. Houselog’s Belvidere salary is $197,000.
Houselog began serving as Belvidere’s superintendent in 2007. The Iowa native has said he applied for the Iowa position to live closer to his daughter and her family.
Johnston School District could make its decision this month.

Click on the following to read the entire article;  Belvidere Superintendent Michael Houselog will get higher salary if he gets Iowa job - Blogs - Rockford Register Star

Friday, March 14, 2014

» Johnston Community School District Names Two Finalists for Superintendent Position Johnston CSD

More about Dr. Houselog’s application for Johnston

Johnston Community School District Names Two Finalists for Superintendent Position

Community invited to public forums March 10, 11

The Johnston Community School District Board of Education has named two finalists in the search for a new superintendent. Community members and district stakeholders will have an opportunity to meet the candidates at public forums on Monday, March 10 and Tuesday, March 11.

Monday’s forum will be held at the district’s Administrative Resource Center, 5608 Merle Hay Road, in the board room at 5 p.m. Candidate Michael Houselog will speak to stakeholders and answer questions during this time. Tuesday’s forum will be in the same location at 5 p.m. with candidate Corey Lunn. All forums will be video recorded and posted to the district website on the 2014 Superintendent Search page

The two superintendent finalists come from school districts outside of Iowa. Search firm Ray and Associates utilized national school administrator conferences and the internet to advertise the position. In a report to the Board, they said the job opening attracted many candidates nationwide.

Dr. Michael Houselog

Dr. Michael Houselog is a resident of Rockford, Ill. and current superintendent of the Belvidere Community Unit School District #100, located in Belvidere, Ill. He has held the position since 2007.

As superintendent for the Belvidere Community Unit School District, Houselog oversees a budget of $92.5 million and administration of 10 schools (two high schools, two middle schools, five elementaries, and a K-8 STEM magnet school). Belvidere is the 23rd largest school district in Illinois, with 8,300 students and a workforce of 1,050 staff members.

During his tenure at Belvidere, Houselog has initiated two unique programs: a cooperative dual-credit enrollment program with a local college and a school-based food pantry for low-income resident families. He has worked with the Belvidere Board of Education to close two schools and reduce more than $9 million from the district budget over a four-year period of time. As part of those budget reductions, he has led the process of dramatic boundary line changes, program modifications, and program reductions. Houselog oversaw a number of facilities projects as superintendent: the opening of a 9-12 high school with a 2,000 student enrollment in 2007; renovations to an existing high school in 2008; significant upgrades to an existing elementary school in 2008; and the construction of a new high school stadium in 2008.

Houselog earned his doctorate of education degree in Leadership in Administration from Aurora University (Wis.); education specialist degree in Educational Administration from Drake University (Iowa); master’s degree in Administration from Clarke University (Iowa); and bachelor’s degree in Education from Loras College (Iowa).

Above taken from:  » Johnston Community School District Names Two Finalists for Superintendent Position Johnston CSD

Belvidere Daily Republican: Superintendent Houselog finalist to lead Johnston (Ia.) schools

Below is from Belvidere Daily Republican’s FACEBOOK


  1. Belvidere Daily Republican

    March 11

    Superintendent Houselog finalist to lead Johnston (Ia.) schools
    By Bob Balgemann
    BELVIDERE - For the second time in two years Belvidere Community Unit School District 100 Superintendent Michael Houselog is a finalist to lead a school district in Iowa. And once again family ties are a motivating factor.
    He was scheduled to be interviewed Monday March 10 in Johnston, Ia., a northwester...n Des Moines suburb, with the other candidate, Corey Lynn from Stillwater, Minn., on tap for Tuesday night.
    The Johnston board of education will meet Wednesday March 12 and Laura Dillavou, communications director for the district, said discussion but no decision is expected at that time.
    Spring break is coming up the following week and she said the board had scheduled a special meeting for March 24. If board members have reached a consensus, she said a decision could be made that night.
    The current superintendent, Clay Guthmiller, 62, is retiring effective June 30 after eight years with the district of about 6,700 students.
    Houselog came to Boone County in 2003, where he served for three years as superintendent of North Boone Community School District 200. He then was hired as District 100 superintendent and has been there ever since.
    He called both the Belvidere and Johnston school districts exciting places to be. And if the Johnston board chooses the other finalist, he said that would be all right. "I like this job; I love this area," he said.
    Family was a primary reason he sought to become superintendent of the Dubuque Community Schools last year. The move would have brought him and his Belvidere family closer to his mother. But the Dubuque school board sought another of the finalists for the job.
    He said his daughter, son-in-law and now 5-month-old granddaughter live about one-half hour from Johnston. He said his mother also was interested in that area, should he become superintendent there.
    "Family is really important," he said. But in addition, the Johnston job "is a great opportunity. It's an excellent district."
    As he did last year, he made District 100 board members aware that he had applied for the Iowa position.

Belvidere Daily Republican

Stillwater schools superintendent a finalist for job in Iowa -

Houselog applying to become a highly paid Iowa superintendent.

Members of the Johnston school board plan to visit Stillwater and Belvidere before extending an offer; the board is expected to make an offer by the end of the month, said Laura Dillavou, spokeswoman for the Johnston district.

The Johnston district has 6,700 students, pre-K through 12th grade. If hired, Lunn would be responsible for overseeing one high school, two middle schools and five elementary schools.

Lunn, 47, was not available for comment, but Stillwater school board member Mike Ptacek said Lunn has strong family ties to Iowa -- his wife, Kathy, is from the state. "He liked what he knew about the district already," Ptacek said.

Ptacek said the Johnston job also was appealing to Lunn because it would mean a "significant financial raise."

The superintendent position was advertised at a salary of $225,000 a year, plus a comprehensive benefits package, Dillavou said. The current superintendent, Clay Guthmiller, is retiring at the end of his eighth year with the district, she said.

Stillwater schools superintendent a finalist for job in Iowa -

Sunday, March 9, 2014

District wants to add morals clause after DUI plea by Schaumburg superintendent -

By Sally Ho

Tribune reporter

Schaumburg schools Superintendent Andrew DuRoss was reprimanded and will have his contract renegotiated to include a morals clause following his recent guilty plea to reckless driving stemming from his DUI arrest last month.

The Schaumburg Township District 54 school board announced the decision after a three-hour closed-session Thursday night where it discussed possible disciplinary action.

In the weeks ahead, the board will work to renegotiate DuRoss' $195,000, five-year contract that goes through the 2017-18 school year, said board President Bill Harper. The board will pursue a morals clause with penalties, which will be voted on at a future meeting.

Harper read aloud the official letter of reprimand, saying: "Although the incident occurred during non-school hours and off school grounds, you are reminded that as the superintendent, your conduct, during both school and non-school periods, directly reflects on the district, the board of education, the community, our students and their families."

Click on the following to read more of the story:  District wants to add morals clause after DUI plea by Schaumburg superintendent -

Chicago State president's salary reduced -


Watson, hired in 2009 after retiring as chancellor at the City Colleges of Chicago, had been drawing a $250,000 annual salary from Chicago State in addition to an annual pension of about $140,000 from his job at City Colleges.

But under a law enacted last year as part of the state pension overhaul, university employees who are receiving a retirement annuity cannot earn more than 40 percent of their highest annual earnings prior to retirement. If they do, the employer is required to pay a penalty to the State Universities Retirement System equal to the annual retirement benefit the employee is receiving.

The change in Watson's salary reflects how lawmakers aimed to close a loophole that allowed state university and community college employees to retire and draw a pension while still earning close to the same amount in a new university job. Watson's new salary is $146,363 a year.

Click on the following to read all of the story:  Chicago State president's salary reduced -

Friday, March 7, 2014

Johnston superintendent finalists announced | The Des Moines Register |

Mr. Houselog still looking for another job.


….The next superintendent of the approximately 6,700-student district northwest of Des Moines will take over for current Superintendent Clay Guthmiller, 62, after he retires June 30…..

The school board released the list of candidates to The Des Moines Register on Thursday.

• Michael Houselog, superintendent of the Belvidere Community Unit School District in Belvidere, Ill., oversees a $92.5 million budget, according to a news release from the Johnston school district. Houselog’s district includes two high schools, two middle schools, five elementary schools and a magnet school.

• Corey Lunn, superintendent of Stillwater Area Public Schools in Stillwater, Minn. Lunn oversees a $100 million budget, an early childhood family center, nine elementary schools, two junior high schools, two middle schools and one high school.

Click on the following for more details:  Johnston superintendent finalists announced | The Des Moines Register |

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Belvidere Daily Republican: Union, NBCUSD 200school board reach tentative agreement

March 2, 2014

By Tricia Goecks, Editor

POPLAR GROVE – While North Boone educators were meeting with parents and community members at the North Boone Fire District #2 station on Feb. 26 to discuss the educators’ points of concern with the proposed contract and to hear the community’s viewpoints, a second meeting was taking place a few miles away between negotiators from the union, school board and federal mediator.

While the town hall style meeting was still in full swing at 7:40 p.m., a flurry of text messages alerted the teachers that a tentative agreement was reached between the North Boone Educators Association and the North Boone Community Unit School District #200 and signaled a sudden end to the town hall.

“As we were speaking with parents, we receive text messages saying that we reached a tentative agreement,” Mike Winebrenner, eighth grade Social Studies teacher at North Boone Middle School said. “We are all very excited.”

“The three major issues were solved and given to us. It is a good and fair contract. We will have just cause, there is no merit pay and no two tier schedule,” Renee Roen, secretary from NBEA, said.

Read the entire story by clicking on the following and proceeding down to March 2:  rvpnews | Belvidere Daily Republican