ESU 13 SPED Weekly Message


Thought for the Week

During the holiday season, we are often inspired to do things for others. Looking through my newsfeed and reading stories of random acts of kindness is a sure-fire way to brighten the day! After talking with two awesome ESU 13 staff members I was inspired to look up this movie. I think this clip is a great reminder that we can make a big impact on the world, even if we are only one person. I encourage you to think about this concept as we are working with students, families, and teachers this year.
Pay it Forward Video Clip - YouTube.mp4
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Christmas Cheer at the Meridian Concert

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Working With Students Who Have Behavioral Health Concerns

We partnered with the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska to provide training to district staff on working with students who have behavioral health concerns. They have broken the training down into clips that are less than 10 minutes in length. These are a great resource to our ESU! View them here.

Staff Biography

Name: Michelle Hollingshead

Position/role: Early Development Network Services Coordinator

How long have you been at ESU 13: 1.5 years

Education: CDA

What you like best about working at ESU 13: Getting to work with a variety of families and coworkers

Hobbies and interests: Reading

Staff Biography

Name: Lori Frank

Position/role: Meridian Para

How long have you been at ESU 13: 6 years

What you like best about working at ESU 13: Teaching, helping and watching each student grow and working with an amazing staff/team.

Hobbies and interests: Working with wood, building and refinishing things. Spending time with friends and family.

LifeLink Team Presents at National Conference

Bill Moore, Jan Barber, Teresa Halley, and former LifeLink student, Adam Scott, presented at The State of the Art Conference on Postsecondary Education and Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities in Fairfax, Virginia. LifeLink was one of 30 programs from across the nation, selected to present. They were honored in the general assembly for outstanding program employment statistics.

Adam was one of three students presenting on a Keynote Student Employment Panel with students from George Mason University and Camden Community College of New Jersey.

To assist in the presentation, a video was prepared by Charter Media. You can view the video at this link:

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North Pole Express Brings Christmas to Life for Deaf Kids

Sara Peterson, Teacher of the Deaf for ESU 13 and Assistant Coordinator for the Central/Western Nebraska Partnership for Children who are Deaf of Hard of Hearing, organized a Storytelling Festival for elementary-aged children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Here is a story about the awesome event from NTV News.

"The sounds of the season are everywhere. Sleigh bells ring and Christmas carols play in church and at the mall. So imagine experiencing the holiday without all that.

Kids who are deaf or hard of hearing can still have a rich experience, which was definitely the case at Stuhr Museum in Grand Island.

"All aboard," the conductor shouted in a message kids understood. The train they boarded doesn't go anywhere, sitting inside a museum shop.

But it doesn't have to move to transport kids to another world.

Sara Peterson works with deaf kids and their teachers through the Central and Western Nebraska Partnership.

She said, "For these kiddos, the hands-on experience is something they don't get anywhere else. They can read about the book but getting to experience, when they go back to the classroom they can pull upon the experience of being in one."

As the conductor read from the book "Polar Express", these kids may struggle to relate to the sound of the railroad.

So museum staff had to re-think an event filled with music. They cranked up the bass so kids could feel it rumble, while appealing to all the senses.

Stuhr Museum Volunteer Coordinator Renae Hunt said, "There are the sounds of the season, but we have other senses. Hot chocolate they have to smell. We have a treat, so there's taste. Stories where they can feel things."

Hunt just happened to work as a deaf interpreter previously.

"I have a soft spot in my heart for deaf and hard of hearing kids. They are a joy to be around," she said.

Hunt was all on board when she learned 90 students were planning a visit. For the kids, not only are they experiencing Christmas, it's a rare opportunity to meet others they can relate to.

Peterson said, "A lot of the kids who come to our events may be the only kid in their district. They may never have met an adult who is deaf and signs and is successful, so the experiences they have with that group of people is awesome and to experience it in a place like this, is like none other."

And kids told Santa they'll see him again soon.

"Bye!" students shouted as Mr. and Mrs. Claus passed through the train car."

By Steve White, Grand Island Bureau Chief

Inspiring Others

Don't forget to get those names in for nominations for your co-workers who are doing great things through their work at ESU 13! Nominations can be sent to Steve or Laura at any time. The drawing is held monthly.

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