On October 9, 2015, 8 am – 1 pm, over 800 DeKalb County educators convened at Kishwaukee College for their first county-wide Institute Day in at least 15 years. The DeKalb Regional Office of Education decided to revisit a tradition long since forgotten in DeKalb County with the purpose of providing high quality professional development and building professional relationships across the county. The participating districts were Genoa-Kingston, Hiawatha, Sycamore, Sandwich, and Somonauk and Kishwaukee Education Consortium.
The event was made possible through the contribution of funds from Kishwaukee College in addition to institute funds from the ROE. The Institute Planning Committee, facilitated by Amanda Christensen, Regional Superintendent of Schools, consisted of representatives from each of the participating districts and Kishwaukee College. This committee also collected feedback from participants for future planning.
The program included the keynote speaker, Dr. Anthony Muhammad, author of several books on transforming school culture and addressing achievement gaps. Dr. Muhammad is one of the most sought after educational consultants in North America. He is recognized as one of the field’s leading experts in the areas of school culture and organizational climate. Dr. Muhammad’s keynote was entitled, The Will to Lead: Creating Healthy School Cultures.
In addition to the keynote, over 80 breakout sessions were available for participant selection. The main strands of workshop sessions were content/instruction, assessment, learning standards, social emotional learning, special education, technology, community and school climate, and professional learning communities.
Session presenters brought their expertise from their own districts, ISBE, Illinois Center for School Improvement, NIU, Northwestern Illinois Association, Safe Passage, Streamwood Behavioral Healthcare System, Hillman Pediatric Therapy, Peoria District 86, Pecatonica District 321, and Kishwaukee Intermediate Delivery System (KIDS). Important supporters of education delivered the welcome addresses: Tom Choice, President of Kishwaukee College; Representative Bob Pritchard; and Dr. Lisa Freeman, Executive Vice President and Provost, Division of Academic Affairs from NIU.