Educational Service Unit # 13


DECEMBER, 2014 Newsletter

Mission Statement

Educational Service Unit #13...

Striving to achieve educational excellence for all learners

through strong partnerships, service, and leadership.


ESU # 13 Announces Innovative Transition Grant Project for 2014-2015

For the 5th consecutive year, ESU 13 has been awarded an Innovative Transition Grant from The Nebraska Department of Education, in a competitive funding process. The theme of the project is: Entrepreneurship as a Possible Transition Outcome for Students, and will involve students with disabilities and their family members from across the service area. Partners in this project will be: The Montana Rural Institute, Vocational Rehabilitation and Project Ability, SCORE, WNCC Business Incubator Project, University of Nebraska Extension Educators, Social Security Administration, and more. In addition, local young adults from the Scottsbluff area and Front Range of Colorado will share their stories of becoming successful business owners. The project is open to students with disabilities, ages 14-21, their family members, as well as young adults under age 30 (former transition students) and their families.

Why Those With a Disability Rock at Entrepreneurship

It seems that with every generation a new type of entrepreneur emerges to share their vision with the world. Females, techies, and socialites, with their vision of changing the world, have gained plenty of limelight and financial benefit from recent business developments. One group often overlooked, perhaps because of lingering taboos, stereotypes, and inaccuracies, are entrepreneurs with a disability. Not only are these go-getters building and helping to grow fantastic businesses, but they are also doing it on their own terms. They are able to create a business culture of respect and diversity. Quite simply they rock at entrepreneurship! Here are the top four reasons why.

1. They have overcome many failures and hardships. Everyone knows that good entrepreneurs not only make mistakes, but also must be able to brush themselves off and try again. Those with a disability have experienced many difficulties both personally and within the workplace. Resiliency is a way of life and something they are accustomed to.

2. They have realized that sometimes you can’t do everything. Sometimes as entrepreneurs we make the mistake of trying to be everything for our businesses. As many of us realize, though, this can often hinder our effectiveness. Entrepreneurs with a disability have had to let others help them reach their goals and they are fine with that. They know that if they seek assistance in one area, they will be able to use their energy to accomplish the tasks and projects that they do best.

3. They are able to embrace the fact that they are different. One of the things about having a disability is that you are often made to feel very “different.” However, it is often those who take the path less travelled that tend to have the most success. The ability to embrace the fact that they are unique is part of the reasoning why entrepreneurs with a disability come out on top.

4. They understand what is important in life. Often we become so consumed in our everyday lives that we do not take the time to sit back and really examine what is important in life. In many cases, entrepreneurs with a disability have been placed in life-altering situations, which give them the opportunity to re-examine their priorities. They know what is most important and remain true to it while they are out chasing success. They also understand the importance of sharing their achievements with those that matter most.

Entrepreneurs with a disability are a new class of entrepreneurs who are ready to make their methods for change apparent to the world. With a unique spark and go-get it attitude, they are able to harness what they do best—in order to create a brand, product, or venture that will change the way we see them and the world we all inhabit.

Adapted from blog post— 14, 2014.

For more information or to enroll, contact Janine Barber, Transition Specialist and Project Director, at 635-3696.

Payroll News

The end of 2014 is fast approaching!

Please double check the mailing address on your paycheck/stub to make sure it is correct. If there are any changes please notify the payroll office so that your W-2 will be correct.

If you would like to change your withholding allowances, please complete a W-4 Tax Withholding Form and submit it to payroll. The W-4 form can be found on the ESU #13’s website under Employee Payroll Information.

SOAR (Sharing Opportunities and Achieving Results)


Buildings are invited to participate as part of their efforts to develop, enhance and maintain a quality behavior support system. Sessions will be designed to build the capacity of representatives to lead local efforts. The agendas will be responsive to participant needs, but will also include some permanent features:

1.) Presentations on skills and information by some expert(s) in the field.

2.) Collaborative problem-solving protocol with peers

3.) Pacing and practical management strategies to support “getting the job done” in a timely manner.

4.) Some ability to divide into like groups

5.) Specific topics are being developed based on the needs assessment and continued input from participants.

ACES schools will implement an RTI (Response to Intervention) model for assessing students’ social and emotional skills. A universal proactive screening will be done on each child in the school to identify students with social emotional barriers that impact their learning and behavior. Students who are found to be at risk will then be matched to specific, evidence based interventions. Every four weeks, a team will assess the data on whether the intervention is working for each student, or needs to be adjusted or changed. Decisions will be data driven and student centered.

SUCCESS: Behavior Support System Cadre meeting for December was focused on level 3 tier supports and beyond. Teams had time to work and determine the next steps for their individual buildings and what supports would be needed from the ESU #13 staff. We were very excited to have five different schools share their success stories and showcase some of the strengths of each program. Our presentations consisted of the following:

Gering Public School: DAWGS program located at Lincoln Elementary: Pam Barker and Michelle Mauer

Link to Video

ESU #6: Nancy Meyer “SELF: Students Engaged in Learning for their Future”

THANK YOU TO OUR PRESENTATORS!! We are very proud of the work our districts are doing to ensure their students are receiving positive learning environment.

SPED Department

  • Meridian participated in the First State Bank “Gift of Love” program by collecting non-perishable food items and using them to build a “Christmas tree.” All the food collected was delivered to the local food pantry and will be used for families in need this Christmas season.
  • Sara Peterson organized a great Storytelling Festival for Children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. They were able to learn about trains while experiencing the Polar Express. Check out the news story on it here.
  • Meridian hosted some Native American dancers in honor of Native American Heritage Month.

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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Happy Holidays to everyone. Below is the link for our newsletter and a few photo highlights.


Here is a link to our VALTS newsletter. Enjoy!


Teach your staff and students the right way to Google

In the age of the split-second Google search, it’s more critical than ever to train staff and students to distinguish between primary and secondary sources. Here is a great article on some easy to use search tips.