Educational Service Unit # 13

SERVING THE PANHANDLE OF NEBRASKA

October, 2015 Newsletter

Mission Statement

Educational Service Unit #13...

Striving to achieve educational excellence for all learners

through strong partnerships, service, and leadership.

ADMINISTRATION

Educator’s Call to Action: Federal Advocacy

I had the honor to attend the Association of Educational Service Agencies (AESA) Call to Action Conference in Washington, DC on September 16-18th. This conference is a great opportunity to participate in an action-oriented gathering on critical Federal education issues on Capitol Hill.

On Thursday, September 17th, I met with Congressman Brad Ashford’s staffer Matt Manning, Congressman Jeff Fortenberry’s staffer Patty Sheetz, Senator Deb Fischer and her staffer Sharon Burd, Senator Ben Sass and his staffer Allye Senger and Congressman Adrian Smith and his staffer Matt Reynolds.

The main topics I discussed with the Nebraska delegation focused on the following Federal education issues:

Affordable Care Act (ACA)
30 v 40 Hours. The ACA defines full-time employment as anyone who works 30 hours. This becomes the threshold that triggers employer sponsored health benefits. This poses a burden and obstacles to school administrators who must balance staffing needs within an operating budget. AESA endorses the 40 Hours is Full Time Act.

Federal Funding: Budget and Appropriations

I thanked them for restoring most of the sequester cuts in FY 2014. I asked them to continue to support REAP for rural educational needs in Nebraska as well as to increase funding to support investment to underserved populations through Title I and IDEA.

ESEA Reauthorization

AESA opposes the House bill’s inclusion of Title I portability. AESA also opposes any amendments to expand or insert any language related to portability or vouchers. We have terrific public schools in Nebraska. While some may see removing public dollars from public schools and allowing those dollars to follow the student to a private or parochial school as good competition, what is left in the public school in may cases is a higher concentrate of poor, minority students who are unable to transfer to a private school.

Support of the BOLD (Build on Local District) Flexibility in IDEA

Under IDEA (the Individuals with Disability Education Act), school districts must maintain 100% fiscal effort for special education and related services with few exceptions. To address this, I asked the congressional members of the Nebraska delegation to consider co-sponsoring Representative Walberg’s Act in the House. When state and federal IDEA funding levels decline school districts must be allowed to apply for a waiver to the state to reduce IDEA maintenance of effort on a one year basis as long as they do not cut funding for special education students disproportionately and are providing free appropriate education.

Reauthorization of the Carl Perkins CTE Act

I asked our delegation to maintain the current Basic State Grant Funding formula and preserve the state maintenance of effort provisions in current law. I also asked them to ensure Perkins funding for secondary and post-secondary institutions remain separate. Finally I asked them to consider replacing the local Perkins plan with a local needs assessment.

Legislative Efforts to Make Title I Funding Portable to Public and Private Schools

I shared with our Nebraska delegation that vouchers or public school portability runs counter to the original intent of Title I. It has the effect of directing dollars away from the very schools that need, and stand to gain the most, from Title I dollars. Portability undermines local control and will result in less efficient and effective Title I programs and services. Keep public funds in public schools.

I always look forward to the Call to Action Conference, as it is a unique and important opportunity for me to explore the hot issues being discussed on Capitol Hill and speak directly with our Nebraska Senators and Representatives about issues that are important to our school districts and ESU 13 here in Western Nebraska.

I want to publicly thank Senators Fischer and Sass as well as Congressmen Smith, Fortenberry and Ashford for taking the time to meet and talk with me during my trip to Washington, DC.

Educationally yours,

Jeffrey D. West

Nebraska moves to AQuESTT

(information retrieved from AQuESTT.com)

In 2014, the Nebraska legislature enacted legislation requiring a new accountability system for public schools and districts. The new system is AQuESTT – Accountability for a Quality Education System Today and Tomorrow.

The previous system, Nebraska Performance Accountability System (NePAS), relied solely on ranking public school and district performance on state assessments and graduation rates. AQuESTT integrates components of accountability, including performance on state assessments and graduation, school and district accreditation, college and career ready education, and the effective use of data into a system of school improvement and support.

The six AQuESTT tenets are College and Career Ready; Assessment; Educator Effectiveness; Positive Partnerships, Relationships, and Student Success; Transitions; and Educational Opportunities and Access. The tenets represent key investments the State Board of Education believes are necessary for a quality education system. The tenets reflect effective practices for schools that will ensure success for every student.

A quality education system helps make our state and communities strong. By collaborating and focusing on AQuESTT’s six investment areas, we can help enhance the education system, positively impact our children and schools, and create a better Nebraska. So where do you fit in?

Positive Partnerships, Relationships, and Student Success

The State Board believes that student engagement through positive partnerships and relationships is fundamental to successful schools and districts. The State Board seeks to support schools and districts to implement best practices in student, family, and community engagement to enhance educational experiences and opportunities.

  • Individualized or Personalized Learning Plans
  • Attendance and Participation
  • Family Engagement
  • Community and Support Services

Transitions

The State Board believes that quality educational opportunities focus on supports for students transitioning between grade levels, programs, schools, districts, and ultimately, college and careers.

  • Early Childhood–Elementary
  • Elementary–Middle School
  • Middle School–High School
  • High School–Post High School

Educational Opportunities and Access

The State Board believes that all students should have access to comprehensive instructional opportunities to be prepared for postsecondary education and career goals.

  • Early Childhood Education
  • Comprehensive Learning Opportunities
  • Expanded Learning Opportunities
  • Blended Learning Opportunities

College and Career Ready

The State Board of Education believes that every student upon completion of secondary education shall be prepared for postsecondary educational opportunities and to pursue his or her career goals.

  • Rigorous College and Career Ready Standards for All Content Areas
  • Technological and Digital Readiness
  • Support for Career Awareness and Career/College Goals

Assessment

The State Board believes the results of multiple assessment sources (national, state, and classroom-based) should be used to measure student achievement of college and career ready standards and be used as an integral part of the instructional process.

  • Individualized/Adaptive Assessments
  • Classroom-Based Assessments
  • State Assessments
  • National/International Assessments

Educator Effectiveness

The State Board believes that students should be surrounded by effective educators throughout their learning experiences, such that schools and districts develop effective teachers and leaders who establish a culture of success.

  • Nebraska Teacher and Principal Performance Framework
  • Professional Development
  • Building Leadership Supports
  • Effective Local Policy Makers and Superintendents

SOAR (Sharing Opportunities and Achieving Results)

NEBRASKA moves to AQuESTT

(information retrieved from AQuESTT.com)


In 2014, the Nebraska legislature enacted legislation requiring a new accountability system for public schools and districts. The new system is AQuESTT – Accountability for a Quality Education System Today and Tomorrow.


The previous system, Nebraska Performance Accountability System (NePAS), relied solely on ranking public school and district performance on state assessments and graduation rates. AQuESTT integrates components of accountability, including performance on state assessments and graduation, school and district accreditation, college and career ready education, and the effective use of data into a system of school improvement and support.


The six AQuESTT tenets are College and Career Ready; Assessment; Educator Effectiveness; Positive Partnerships, Relationships, and Student Success; Transitions; and Educational Opportunities and Access. The tenets represent key investments the State Board of Education believes are necessary for a quality education system. The tenets reflect effective practices for schools that will ensure success for every student.


A quality education system helps make our state and communities strong. By collaborating and focusing on AQuESTT’s six investment areas, we can help enhance the education system, positively impact our children and schools, and create a better Nebraska. So where do you fit in?

Positive Partnerships, Relationships, and Student Success

The State Board believes that student engagement through positive partnerships and relationships is fundamental to successful schools and districts. The State Board seeks to support schools and districts to implement best practices in student, family, and community engagement to enhance educational experiences and opportunities.

  • Individualized or Personalized Learning Plans
  • Attendance and Participation
  • Family Engagement
  • Community and Support Services

Transitions

The State Board believes that quality educational opportunities focus on supports for students transitioning between grade levels, programs, schools, districts, and ultimately, college and careers.

  • Early Childhood–Elementary
  • Elementary–Middle School
  • Middle School–High School
  • High School–Post High School

Educational Opportunities and Access

The State Board believes that all students should have access to comprehensive instructional opportunities to be prepared for postsecondary education and career goals.

  • Early Childhood Education
  • Comprehensive Learning Opportunities
  • Expanded Learning Opportunities
  • Blended Learning Opportunities

College and Career Ready

The State Board of Education believes that every student upon completion of secondary education shall be prepared for postsecondary educational opportunities and to pursue his or her career goals.

  • Rigorous College and Career Ready Standards for All Content Areas
  • Technological and Digital Readiness
  • Support for Career Awareness and Career/College Goals

Assessment

The State Board believes the results of multiple assessment sources (national, state, and classroom-based) should be used to measure student achievement of college and career ready standards and be used as an integral part of the instructional process.

  • Individualized/Adaptive Assessments
  • Classroom-Based Assessments
  • State Assessments
  • National/International Assessments

Educator Effectiveness

The State Board believes that students should be surrounded by effective educators throughout their learning experiences, such that schools and districts develop effective teachers and leaders who establish a culture of success.

  • Nebraska Teacher and Principal Performance Framework
  • Professional Development
  • Building Leadership Supports
  • Effective Local Policy Makers and Superintendents

SPED Department

The Special Education Department has been busy working with students in all 21 school districts. They are serving students in schools, preschools and homes. You just never know where you will see someone pop up! At our monthly department meeting, our staff shared on the great trainings that had attended which included:
  • Deaf/Blind Institute
  • Prematurity Summit
  • Midwestern Conference on Deaf Education


Young Americans

The Central/Western Nebraska Partnership for Children Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing brought the Young Americans to Nebraska to provide a unique experience for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. There is a great news story on it available here.

LifeLink and Meridian

Meridian and LifeLink Students are selling Herberger's Community days coupon books for $5.00 each. Your donation of $5.00 will get you over $500.00 in exclusive coupon savings. All of the proceeds go to the programs. If you are interested in a coupon book, please contact Jurene or Tina in Meridian or Bill or Teresa at LifeLink and they will have students come and sell you a book. Thanks for your support of the programs!!

Migrant

This fall we have been busy assisting young children in enrolling in pre-school. We partnered with Head Start to assist migrant parents in enrolling their children. We were also able to assist students with pre-school tuition (for those who did not have a Head Start near them), transportation, and eye glasses. Our recruiters are busy with school and agribusiness referrals. After school Migrant tutoring has begun at Bayard Elementary, Gordon Elementary, Roosevelt Elementary, and Bluffs Middle School. We are also preparing to take a group of high school students to the Latino Summit in Kearney on October 27. For our full newsletter, click on the link below.


https://www.smore.com/64zb5-esu-13-migrant-education-news

Psychological Services

The ESU #13 Psychological Services Department provides services in counseling, consultation, assessment and intervention to assist educators, parents and other professionals in understanding the learning, social-emotional and behavioral needs of students, and in identifying and implementing effective strategies to help children be successful learners.

The Psych. Dept. is staffed by four school psychologists (Jennifer Lopez, Nicole Ulvestad, Ellen Fiscus, and Paul Smith), one Licensed Independent Mental Health Provider (Drew Marlow), one Educational/Therapeutic Consultant (Dr. Katie Carrizales) and secretarial support by a “shared” secretary (Roxanne Reynolds).

This staff is charged with providing counseling and diagnostic/assessment services to many of our children (age birth through 21 years), and consultative services to staff and parents within our service unit.

Historically, school psychologists only provided diagnostic services such as cognitive (e.g., IQ) testing to students with educational or behavioral challenges and were designed to either allow students to access special education services, or determine those students to be ineligible. This “Gatekeeper” role is slowly being expanded to include student counseling and staff consultation. These psychologists, who work in schools, have specialized training in child development, learning, and assessment; and can be an integral part of Student Assistance Teams as well as other grade, building and district decision-making teams.

As the need to provide mental health based counseling in our schools has grown, ESU #13 has recognized that need and employs a Licensed Independent Mental Health Provider to meet those needs. Drew Marlow provides those direct services in some area schools including PACES and LifeLink, and he provides consultative collaboration with other providers at even more schools. Drew continues to be an important part of many students’ lives, and a contributor to the welfare of many others.

New this year, is an Educational/Therapeutic Consultant position. Dr. Katie

Carrizales returns to ESU #13 and the Psychological Services Department following a sabbatical in which she completed her clinical psychology internship, which completed her Ph.D. in School Psychology requirements. Dr. Carrizales brings to some of the ESU’s most difficult situations an eco-behavioral perspective that incorporates collaboration with other service providers both in and out of the school setting (medical, counselors, etc.), parents (relatives, friends and neighbors), school staff (teachers, coaches, paraprofessionals, bus drivers, cooks and others) as necessary to gather as complete an understanding as possible of the contributing factors to the situation; and then, building staff capacity to provide the desired service in the home school. At times this may include coordinating existing services and at other times it may include introducing new service areas. Dr. Carrizales is available to assist students throughout the entire ESU#13 area.

Roxanne Reynolds assists each of us by ordering and scoring multitudes of test protocols, processing and tracking student referrals, making forms, and contacting school staff on our behalf.

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TECHNOLOGY

Like us on facebook!!

https://www.facebook.com/ESU13

ESU13 has made the move into social media in the past month and already have over 150 likes.

Please let the tech department know if you have anything you would like to add.

News from the Wellness Committee

The Wellness Committee is very excited to let you know that our staff has been chosen to be a pilot group for the next phase of the EHA Wellness Program! ELEVATE is the new incentive program providing financial rewards for participating in the program. We will be talking to you more about this at in-service on October 16th. Here is some information on the program:

What does ELEVATE mean to me?

By completing the program requirements by Sept. 15, 2016, you will have the opportunity to earn $150 as an incentive! Along the way, we hope you ELEVATE your health and well-being!

How do I get involved?

During the week of October 5, you’ll receive an email with the information to get started. You’ll need to do the following during the year:

1. Complete the Personal Health Assessment (PHA) offered during the year.

2. Complete the form sent to you in the email next week requiring you to visit with a health professional about your PHA results and your overall health.

3. Complete three of the nine available programs offered during the year (like Snack Attack that Oct. 1).

How will I know what I have completed?

When you log in to www.ehawellness.org with your code, you will see your status updated with the items you have completed. For example, when you complete the form, you will see that part of the requirements have been fulfilled. Remember, you have until September 15, 2016 to complete the requirements.

Please keep in mind that we are part of a pilot which means we get to give feedback and help work out any kinks before EHA Wellness launches this to all 250 groups in the program. If you have questions after receiving your email next week (or anytime during the program), please let me know or you can email office@ehawellness.org.

This is a wonderful opportunity for us – there are only 10 other groups in the state who were asked to be a part of this pilot! We were asked to participate because of the EXCELLENT participation that ESU #13 staff has in the EHA programs.

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Alternative Education

VALTS is half way through our forensics unit this quarter. Students have had the opportunity to work with the Nebraska State Patrol on 4 different occasions. Students have learned about fingerprinting, internet safety, crime scene photography, crime scene investigation and the use of drones. Please checkout our newsletter. http://pub.lucidpress.com/b2c74413-7249-491a-bdd5-3aced7b01571/


We have also added 2 new teachers to the Alternative Education Department.