Northern Illinois University

Dist 428-NIU Partnership

Contact:
Dr. Brian Ali 754-2292 Co-Chair
Dr. Anne Kaplan 753-9503 Co-Chair
Partnership School Coordinating Committee

November 3, 2003

Kubelka named principal of
District 428/NIU Partnership School

DeKalb – Scott Kubelka, currently principal at Tyler Elementary School, has been chosen to serve as the first principal of the DeKalb District 428 / Northern Illinois University Partnership school. Kubelka’s selection was presented tonight to the district’s Board of Education.

Kubelka, who has taught in the district and served as Tyler’s principal for four years, was described by Superintendent Brian Ali as having “exactly the right combination of energy, innovation and collaborative spirit needed to help us realize the great promise of this new school.”

“Scott is tremendously well-regarded in this district, particularly for his ability to build strong partnerships between the school, parents, students and community organizations,” Ali said. “Those characteristics, along with his skills in curriculum and leadership development, will serve this new school and this district very well.”

Kubelka says his vision for the partnership school involves three core components: creating learning opportunities for children which fully engage them in the excitement of new discovery; developing strong community connections that give district residents a sense of ownership in the school; and creating new opportunities for staff to increase their own knowledge base and embrace best practices in their fields.

“Everything falls into place when we strengthen the connection between home and school,” Kubelka explained. “Kids can identify with that connection, and it sets the stage for everything else we want to achieve.”

Leading a new school with a stated emphasis on the fine arts and technology is a challenge Kubelka relishes.

“There is no doubt that the fine arts and technology can and should be woven into everything we do at the partnership school,” he said. “We understand that the arts make every subject come alive for kids, and we want to use both fine arts and technology as accelerators rather than novelties at the new school.”

Kubelka pointed to a recent project at Tyler for an example of how arts integration can help improve language arts proficiency. Last year, the Chicago theater troupe “Barrel of Monkeys” spent a week at Tyler school, working with children to write poems and short plays. At the end of the week, the actors performed several of the children’s works in front of the whole school.

“Language arts came alive for those kids in a very special way,” Kubelka said. “That’s one example of what we mean by integrating an emphasis or discipline into the larger curriculum, and we certainly look forward to doing the same thing with technology at the partnership school.”

Other examples of innovative programs Kubelka instituted at Tyler school include partnerships with NIU on the “America Reads” program and local Rotary club sponsorship of a tutoring program at the school.

“Scott certainly brings the right combination of skills to this position from the perspective of the NIU partnership,” commented Anne Kaplan, vice president for administration and outreach at NIU. “We’re thrilled to have such an energetic and innovative educator to work with on this exciting project.”

One of the first issues Kubelka will be working on involves student selection for the new school. A complex set of decisions under study by various committees and the Board of Education are being explored against a wider backdrop of community-wide school redistricting.

Kubelka says he knows parents are anxious to hear about the selection issue.

“Several guiding principles have emerged from our initial discussions on this topic,” Kubelka explained.

“First, the Board of Education has made it clear that they want the partnership school to reflect the rich diversity of our district. Second, we want the process to be one that keeps families together – that is, putting siblings together at the same school wherever possible.

“By focusing on the strengths of the school, taking a proactive approach to building diversity and being flexible with families who have several children in the system, I think we’ll develop a selection process that builds a sense of community from the very beginning,” he said.

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NOTE: Kubelka can be reached at Tyler School at (815) 754-2389.