A Message From Dr. Bell  

December 31, 2011

Happy New Year! That wish is extended to all of you served by ESU 10 staff as we "partner with our customers to meet changing needs through professional expertise, training, and support." I'll even include the retired principal/educator/all star high school hurdler - you know who you are - who called to let me know he was cheering for the lions on my recent trip to South Africa. I'm just impressed and amazed
that this retired educator located his bifocals, figured out how to turn on his computer, and took the time from his busy schedule to call. It verifies the old saying that retired principals never really ever stop being viable educators - they just lose their faculties.

I really do miss all of my former peers out there in retirement world. Your contributions over the years have been a major benefit for all of us.

To keep current in our knowledge bases, three ESU 10 board members and I had the opportunity last month to attend the Association of Educational Service Agencies Annual Conference. This conference is focused on the needs of educational service agencies and is an excellent place to gain knowledge, investigate new products and programs, and just network with peers from around the country.

The keynote presenters all had something to offer that either benefitted or validated work being done or considered at ESU 10. Dr. Michael Fullan validated the current ESU 10 Team Blue effort as we attempt to use the right drivers to build capacity, promote teamwork, identify technology, and use pedagogy to create systemic change in schools. Dr. David Sousa emphasized that education is the only profession that has the purpose of changing the brain every day. He
also highlighted the fact that student working memory has decreased and since students don't remember as many items they instead remember where to find them. Adora Zvitak, a high school student living in Washington, shared her "kid's eye view" on a number of topics that have relevance for teachers and students in the ESU 10 area.

Various workshops that I attended dealt with partnerships for career and technical training, collaboration with other states to provide online learning opportunities, strategies necessary to serve rural school districts in the years to come, and a software solution intended to effectively impact student behavior and create a climate that is more supportive and affirming for all students. Exhibitors also had some good offers and those school districts represented on the ESU 10 Administrator Advisory Council will be offered the opportunity to be a pilot project for a product designed to inspire higher levels of reading, writing, and critical thinking in high school students.

It's always good to learn and grow. Now it's time to stay home and develop, or discard, some of these new ideas to benefit school districts and children. Please feel free to share with ESU 10 staff exciting things that you discover that could benefit all of us. An active exchange of ideas can only make us all better.