Educational Service Unit # 13


January, 2015 Newsletter

Mission Statement

Educational Service Unit #13...

Striving to achieve educational excellence for all learners

through strong partnerships, service, and leadership.


Association of Educational Service Agencies (AESA) Legislative Agenda for 2014-15

I attended the AESA Educator’s Call to Action back in September in Washington, D.C. The conference was a unique and important opportunity for ESU leaders to explore issues being discussed on Capitol Hill and speak directly with our Senators and Representatives about the issues that are important to Nebraska and ESU #13.

In today’s article, I would like to share with readers the Federal Legislative Agenda for ESUs in the area of Education Technology. I feel it is important to update Title II Part D (Enhancing Education through Technology or EETT) as a part of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The Senate bill includes an education technology program, the House version does not. The realities of providing a 21st century education require a dedicated, sustained investment in education technology supports from the federal level.

E-Rate: The FCC voted on proposed changes to the E-Rate program on July11, 2014. Final changes focused on how the $2 billion will move through the E-Rate program in a manner that supports the call to connect 99% of students to broadband. The changes include elimination of some services such as phone, voice over IP, webhosting and pagers.

AESA members delivered a strong message to the FCC, many of the last minute changes to the proposal were in response to the voices of school superintendents and ESU leaders. AESA supports modernization and places a priority on a two-pronged approach, one that pairs programmatic changes (streamlined application process, allowing bulk/joint purchasing and applications, lighting dark fiber, expanded access to internal connections, etc) and an increase in the Universal Services Fund cap.

In the coming months I will share with readers the additional information on the legislative agenda of AESA.

Educationally yours,

Dr. Jeffrey D. West

Administrator, ESU #13

SOAR (Sharing Opportunities and Achieving Results)

Rigorous Curriculum Design

Staff developers came together recently in Omaha to continue their training in curriculum design. Presenters from The Leadership and Learning Center walked us through their Rigorous Curriculum Design process. The message continues to focus on the need for school districts to utilize their adopted standards to build a strong curricular foundation for every content area, grade, and course. Emphasis on taking incremental steps over several years supported our discussion and action planning sessions. Like suggested in the The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, schools should also begin with the end in mind by examining the standards to understand what a student should be able to know and do by the end of each school year. Once standards are prioritized grade to grade and course to course they should be organized into units along with the big ideas and essential questions. Assessments should be created before planning the actual learning experiences and instruction. Thus a clear “end” is in mind before making decisions on how to involve students fully in the learning of the standards. A clever graphic to represent the outcome of this process went a long way in helping all of us remember that the reason for this work is to create engaging learning experiences and success for all students.

EnvironArt Student Competition January to March

Competition, Science and Art combine in the winter student event Environ Art. An artist and naturalist combine their expertise to bring science and art together for this classroom program. The naturalist teaches about waterfowl & their unique adaptations, migration, and the importance of wetlands as seen through the eyes of a scientist. The artist then uses this scientific observation to teach the students how to begin a realistic painting of a North American duck, goose, or swan, as an entry for the US Fish & Wildlife Service Jr. Duck Stamp Contest. Presenters will travel to Sioux County, Alliance, Bridgeport, Sidney, Scottsbluff, Kimball, Potter-Dix and Gering to support students in beginning their drawings. For the first time we will try delivering the information via distance learning to Garden County and Hay Springs. The judging will take place on March 27 at the Gering Civic Center.

February Conference is Around the Corner!

Within the next couple of weeks you will receive and email confirming your conference selections and location of the sessions. A new flyer is available on our website or you may use the following link.

SPED Department

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Congratulations Laura!

Please join me in congratulating Laura Barrett on being selected the NASES (Nebraska Association of Special Education Supervisors) New Administrator of the Year. Way to go Laura. All of your hard work has been recognized.

Remembering Raul

Raul Garcia a student at Meridian School passed away peacefully in his home on December 29, 2014. He will be missed by students and staff. If you are in the Scottsbluff office please come down to the Meridian hallway and see Raul's memorial wall.
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Here is a link to the January ESU 13 Migrant Education Program newsletter, and a few photo highlights from the month.


Here is a link to our VALTS newsletter. Enjoy!


5 Essential Microsoft Office 2010 Tips for Everyone

Love it or hate it, Microsoft Office is here to stay. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and even now Outlook, have become de facto software across most industries, as well as in education, government, and non-profit organizations, too. The problem with software that becomes a standard is that many people learn only what they need to know to get by day to day. When it's time to expand their skill set and savvy, they find workarounds using tricks they already know.

Even if you're self-taught, becoming more proficient takes requires that you know the right terminology (you can't search for "tricks with macros" if you don't know what a macro is) or have someone nearby to show you, whether a friend, co-worker, or instructor. There are certain tricks that could potentially save you hundreds of hours of trouble-shooting or crafting new workarounds, that you'll just never come across unless someone points them out to you. If you've ever wasted time trying to open a document that was created with an older version of Word ("I thought this software was backward-compatible!"), you know exactly what I mean.

The five tips we've collected here aim to introduce you to some essential tricks that you can do in any program that's part of Microsoft Office. From learning about keyboard shortcuts to understanding "the ribbon," to opening up documents that were created in prior versions of Word or Excel, these five functions are the kind of things that, once you learn them, you'll find come in handy often.

Click here for the full article……….,2817,2387017,00.asp

Just a Reminder

Please help the Meridian Students by saving your bottle caps from Coke products. One of the students enters the code numbers into the website and all of the students are involved in deciding what to purchase with the points.

You may leave the bottle caps in a plastic bag on Jurene Chief Eagles desk or you may leave them in the box in the coffee/mail room upstairs.

Thank you for your help with this project!

The Meridian Students and Staff

Christmas Pot Luck Recipes

If you haven't gotten your recipes to me yet, they can be included in future issues of the newsletter.

Cookies by Kristen Adkins

Cookie Dough:

¾ cup granulated sugar

½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted

2 large eggs

¼ cup milk

1 tsp. almond extract

2¾ cups all-purpose flour

2½ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

Glaze (see below)



1 cup powdered sugar

4-5 tsp. milk

1 tsp. almond extract

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Beat the sugar, butter, eggs, milk and extract in a large bowl with a mixer until well blended. On low speed, beat in the flour, baking powder and salt until well blended.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until the bottoms are a light golden brown. Remove cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Prepare the glaze: Whisk the powdered sugar, milk and extract in a small bowl until smooth.

Dip the tops of the cookies in the glaze, and while the glaze is still wet, sprinkle on the nonpareils. Let set until glaze hardens.

Store cookies airtight at room temperature up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 1 month.

Lori Biesecker’s Pumpkin Sheet Cake

· 16 oz can pumpkin

· 2 cups sugar

· 1 cup vegetable oil

· 4 eggs, beaten

· 2 cups flour

· 2 tsp. baking soda

· 2 tsp. cinnamon

· 1/4 tsp. nutmeg

· 1/2 tsp. salt

In a mixing bowl, beat the pumpkin, sugar and oil. Add eggs and mix well. Combine the dry ingredients and add to the pumpkin mixture, beating until well blended. Pour into a greased 10×15 inch baking pan. Bake for 25-35 minutes at 350 degrees.

Cool the cake completely and then frost it with the cream cheese frosting. Here’s what you’ll need for the frosting:

Cream Cheese Frosting:

· 5 Tbs. butter, softened

· 3 oz cream cheese, softened

· 1 tsp. vanilla

· 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar

· 3-4 tsp. milk

· chopped nuts for the top, if desired

Beat the butter and cream cheese together. Add the vanilla and blend till smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar and mix well. Add the milk a bit at a time until you get it to a spreadable consistency.

Buffalo Chicken Tortilla Pinwheels By Brittain Trave


  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup hot wing sauce or cayenne pepper sauce
  • ¼ cup blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup colby-jack cheese, shredded (4 ounces)
  • ¼ cup green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 pound chicken breast, cooked and shredded
  • 5 large flour tortillas (approximately 10½" diameter)


  1. In a bowl, beat cream cheese on low and add in sauce, blue cheese, colby-jack cheese, and green onions. Beat until blended.
  2. Stir shredded chicken into mixture by hand.
  3. Spread approximately ¾ cup of mixture on top of one of the tortillas. Roll up tortilla tightly, but without shifting the mixture too much. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Place rolled tortillas on a place and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
  4. Remove from refrigerator and unwrap. Slice each rolled tortillas in half and then each half into 3 slices, discarding ends. Place pinwheel slices on serving plate or tray.


--Smaller or larger tortillas may be used, however you will need to adjust the amount of buffalo chicken mixture you add to each tortilla.
--If time is an issue, you can skip the refrigeration before slicing or refrigerate for less time. However, for best results, refrigeration is recommended.

Slow Cooker Jalapeño Corn (Can be used as a side or dip) by Laura Barrett


4 slices bacon, diced

3 (15.25-ounces) cans whole kernel corn, drained

2 jalapenos, seeded and diced

1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

8 ounces cream cheese, cubed

2 tablespoons chopped chives


Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside.

Place corn, jalapenos, sour cream, Pepper Jack cheese and Parmesan into a slow cooker; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir until well combined. Top with cream cheese.

Cover and cook on low heat for 2 hours.

Uncover and stir until cream cheese is well combined. Cover and cook on high heat for an additional 15 minutes.

Serve immediately, garnished with bacon and chives, if desired.


1- 16 oz box Rotini or large elbow mac

½ tsp salt

¾ C Canola oil

¼ tsp garlic powder

1/3 C Lemon Juice

¼ tsp pepper

1 TBSP sugar

1-16 oz can stewed tomatoes

1 ½ tsp Dried Basil

1 ½ C chopped green pepper

½ tsp dried Oregano

1 C sliced green onions

½ tsp crushed red pepper

½ Sliced pitted black olives

Cook rotini/mac as directed, drain and rinse in cool water. While pasta is cooking, whisk together oil, lemon juice, sugar, basil, oregano, red pepper, salt, garlic powder and pepper. In a large bowl, combine pasta, tomatoes, green pepper, green onion, olives and pepperoni. Drizzle the dressing over salad mixture. Toss to coat. Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours. (recipe found in Midwest Living)