Educational Service Unit # 13


February, 2016 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) Call to Action Conference

On Wednesday, January 20th, I attended the Association of Educational Service Agencies (AESA) Call to Action Conference in Washington, DC. This year I will be serving as the Chair of the AESA Governmental Relations Committee. The Governmental Relations Committee initiative states: “We will strengthen our ability to affect education policy through appropriate and effective governmental relations activities.”

The Governmental Relations Committee supports the role of the federal government in education guided by the following principles:

· Public education is the cornerstone of our representative democracy.

· The federal government plays an important role in support of the state responsibility for public education. Federal resources must be focused on providing support to public education.

The overarching position of AESA is that strengthening the nation’s educational service unit network will increase their effectiveness in serving the teachers and students of their member districts.

On Wednesday, January 20th, the AESA Legislative Meeting Agenda consisted of the following topics:

9:15-10:15 Funding: State and Federal Trends to Watch in 2016

10:15-11:15 What School Leaders Should Know about Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

11:15-12:30 Federal Regulations, the Supreme Court and Education

1:00-2:00 Perkins/Career Tech Panel

2:30-4:30 Visits to Capitol Hill

On Thursday, January 21st, the Governmental Relations Legislative Committee met to formulate our AESA Legislative Agenda for 2016.

AESA believes strongly that education is the best investment for economic development. Funding for education programs should remain one of Congress’ top priorities.

One of the more concerning issues that I heard about while in Washington, DC was a national effort that is underway to pass resolutions calling for a Constitutional Convention to rewrite the U.S. Constitution to sharply limit what the federal government can do to advance the nation’s priorities, invest in the country’s future, and protect the rights and opportunities of all Americans. The U.S. Constitution can be amended in two ways. The first method is the one the country has always used: Congress proposes amendments to the states for ratification. The second method is one that has never been tried: states formally ask Congress to call a new constitutional convention, opening the U.S. Constitution to change. Congress is required to call a convention if at least two-thirds (34) of the states request one. As many as 27 states have passed resolutions calling on Congress to convene an Article V convention to propose a balanced budget amendment.

As I see this issue, there are some primary problems with a constitutional convention and balanced budget amendment. First, calling a Constitutional Convention is very dangerous. If this were to happen, the country could be thrown into great turmoil, a period of extraordinary tension and deep anxiety, and likely find itself quickly mired in momentous, lengthy legal and political battles of great consequence to the nation’s future. Secondly, states cannot limit the agenda for a Constitutional Convention so it would open up the Constitution to whatever amendments its delegates chose to propose. Lastly, a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution would be a highly ill-advised way to address the nation’s long-term fiscal problems. By requiring a balanced budget every year, no matter the state of the economy, such an amendment would raise serious risks of tipping weak economies into recession and making recessions longer and deeper, causing very large job losses. That’s because such an amendment would force policymakers to cut spending, raising taxes, or both just when the economy is weak or already in recession.

AESA serves as a national voice for educational service units, provides professional growth opportunities, advocacy and research, and help educational service units promote, distribute, and leverage their knowledge, products, and services.

SOAR (Sharing Opportunities and Achieving Results)

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ADVISER is the new data system that will soon replace the current NSSRS system used to record staff and student data by the Nebraska Department of Education. These data systems are intended to enhance the ability of Nebraska to efficiently and accurately manage, analyze, and use education data, including individual student records. These systems also help districts, schools, educators, and other stakeholders make data-informed decisions to improve student learning and raise student achievement.

This new system will be a web-based dashboard and will communicate with school and district data systems to provide stakeholders with live time data. In the 2013-14 school year, 9 districts were chosen across Nebraska to participate in piloting the new system. The second phase has begun with ‘Early Adopter’ Districts working on transitioning data in the current 2015-16 school year. All remaining districts are expected to join implementation within the next two years.

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Final AQuESTT classifications are in. Under AQuESTT, schools and districts are classified and up to three priority schools in the state are designated as needing support and improvement. Classification levels are Excellent(4), Great(3), Good(2), and Needs Support for Improvement(1).

Of the 21 districts supported by ESU #13, one district scored Excellent, nine districts scored Great, ten districts scored Good, and one district scored as Needing Improvement. Of the 86 schools supported by ESU #13 (within these 21 districts), only 5 showed areas needing improvement. None of our schools were listed as ‘Priority Schools’ designated in need of support by the Department of Education.

We, in the SOAR Department, are using these results and AQuESTT reports to designate areas of need and support in our schools. We will be working with districts to better interpret these rankings and use them for the betterment of our schools and improve student learning.

Special Education Department

We have a new para in the Meridian classrooms. Tara Ewing joined our staff on February 16th. She previously worked in Mitchell and brought a student to Meridian last year. We are excited to have her on board!

Thanks to everyone who donated and purchased items in the silent auction! We were very excited to have so many bidders.

Head Start/Early Head Start

Head Start reached full enrollment in January 298 Preschool children and 52 Infants and Toddlers being served. Teachers are busy with home visits and sharing information about Kindergarten to those transitioning to the public schools. Teachers and family advocates will be assisting parents in connecting with the public school closest to them for Kindergarten round up and registration.

Some popular family involvement activities have been making play dough with pa and painting with pa in the classrooms. A variety of heart felt projects went home for valentines day.

As the weather continues to change the teachers will be taking more activities outside.


Cristal Perez is our new secretary. Cristal replaces Desira Martin, who will be the new Grants Coordinator. Cristal was a former migrant student in the Bayard school district, and received her high school diploma and career training in Business Technology from Pine Ridge Job Corps. Congratulations, Desira, and welcome, Cristal!

Tyson Schmunk, our Youth Advocate, has begun working with at our migrant high school students in schools on life skills such as short term and long term goal setting, organizational skills, and homework help. He is also working with our out of school youth, reconnecting them with credit accrual programs and GED. We are excited for this new service to our youth!

Pictures of our three new staff members this year are below. For more information, check out our newsletter at:


Like us on facebook!!

ESU13 has made the move into social media and already have 195 likes.

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

Alternative Education

Enjoy the VALTS 3rd Quarter Newsletter. Our students are building electric guitars!

News from the Wellness Committee

We have our first 4 people who have completed the Elevate EHA Incentive program!!! Congrrats to Desira Martin, Teresa Phillips, Pam Cooley and Janie Garza!!!

Remember, all you have to do to get a bonus $150 is:

  1. Complete 3 challenges (This month's is all about doing what makes you happy!!)
  2. Complete your PHA (you also get $25 for this)
  3. Discuss you PHA with a health care provider

If you need help with reporting your EHA progress, please contact Letitia Skelton

EHA Elevate Incentive Program

MORE RECIPES From our staff Christmas Carry-in

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Corn Cheese Dip from Corinna Behrens


· 8 ounce package of cream cheese, cubed and at room temperature

· 4 tablespoons butter

· 1/3 cup milk

· 1/2 teaspoon salt

· Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

· 18 ounce bag frozen sweet corn, thawed

· Diced jalapeños, or green chili's to taste

· 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

· 1package real bacon bits


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium pot set over low heat, melt cream cheese and butter. Stir in milk until mixture is smooth and creamy. Stir in salt, corn, 1/2 the bacon, and (if using) jalapeños.

2. Pour corn mixture into an 8- by 8-inch square (or comparably sized) baking dish. Sprinkle with grated cheddar. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbling.


1. Mix corn, cream cheese, butter, jalapenos/green chili's, milk, 1/2 bag of bacon bits, salt and pepper.

2. Cook on high for 1 hour.

3. Mix in 1/2 the cheddar cheese. Cook for 30 minutes more.

4. Spread the test of the cheddar cheese on top and sprinkle the rest of the bacon on top of the cheese. Cook on low for 30 minutes.

Sweet Potato Casserole From Kiowa Rogers


· 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick)

· 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

· 1/2 cup water

· 1 tablespoon kosher salt

· 1 teaspoon ground ginger or 1/4 cup finely chopped candied or crystallized ginger

· 4 pounds Garnet sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

· 4 cups mini marshmallows


1Heat the oven to broil and arrange a rack in the lower third.

2Melt the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven with a tightfitting lid over medium-high heat until foaming. Add the brown sugar, water, salt, and ground ginger (if you’re using candied or crystallized ginger, it will be added later). Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil.

3Add the sweet potatoes, stir to combine, and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and simmer, stirring every few minutes, until the sweet potatoes are knife tender and starting to fall apart at the edges, about 20 to 25 minutes.

4Add the candied or crystallized ginger, if using, and stir until evenly combined. Transfer the sweet potatoes and any liquid to a 13-by-9-inch baking dish and spread into an even layer.

5Sprinkle the marshmallows evenly over the sweet potatoes. Broil until the marshmallows are puffed and golden brown, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Place the dish on a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Tart Cranberry Quick Bread From Brittain Trave

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 45 min. + cooling

MAKES: 12 servings


· 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

· 3/4 cup sugar

· 1 teaspoon baking powder

· 1/4 teaspoon salt

· 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

· 1 large egg

· 1/2 cup orange juice

· 2 tablespoons butter, melted

· 1 tablespoon water

· 1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped


1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine first five ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk egg, orange juice, butter and water. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in cranberries.

2. Transfer to an 8x4-in. loaf pan coated with cooking spray and sprinkled with flour. Bake 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Yield: 1 loaf (12 slices).

There will be more recipes in the next edition of your newsletter. So if you haven't sent yours in yet, it is not too late. Please send them to