Making a Difference  

December 24, 2014
“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” ?
Edward Everett Hale (1)

Last summer, the new Teaching & Learning Department had their first department meeting and Director Denise O’Brien challenged all department members to “make a difference.” At that first meeting, Susan Evans and William Bolen led the team in an activity involving the story about a young man trying to save hundreds of starfish that were washed up on the beach. When asked how he could possibly make a difference, the man threw each starfish back into the ocean one by one, and said “It made a difference to that one.” The quote above by Edward Everett Hale shares a similar message.

The T&L coordinators have certainly been busy this fall following their theme of “Making a Difference.” There are plenty of difference-makers at ESU 10! For example, our staff members support one another when it comes to lending a hand at workshops, assisting with technology issues, mentoring our new employees or simply taking the time to wish others a good day or happy birthday. One of our coordinators [when asked about staff who make a difference] remarked, “Where to begin? We have such an incredible staff. There is a story for every office in the building. Everyone makes a difference at ESU 10!”

Beyond the bricks and mortar of our building, you will see people making a difference in schools across our ESU region! Staff members help schools analyze MAP data and stay in compliance with Title I and NSSRS, participate in external CIP visits and provide feedback to teachers on learning walks, and provide assistance with virtual field trips, video conferencing, video production and technology integration. Our coordinators also make it a priority to be present in the school districts in order to build relationships, and this presence has been noticed by many teachers in our districts, according to the most recent ESU 10 survey of schools.

The T&L Department makes School Improvement its priority, and all services that we provide strive to improve instruction and ultimately student learning. One of our biggest projects, the Adolescent Literacy Project, has impacted multiple schools, teachers and administrators in our service area and built their capacity in effective instructional practices at all grade levels and content areas. Considering that this project has impacted hundreds of teachers over the last three years, it is inspirational to imagine that thousands of students have been impacted as well!

Each month the T&L department has met and a pair of staff members has facilitated an activity that emphasizes our theme of “Making a Difference.” These activities are very important to remind us of our roles at ESU 10, to build our team and to promote positivity along with a growth mindset with “yes, AND” attitudes.

One of our T&L coordinators had this to say, “I, alone, don’t make a difference but along with the Teaching & Learning Team, I feel we make ESU 10 the best in the state.” I tend to agree, however, as Hale said in his quote, everyone can do something, even if it is as small as offering words of encouragement or maintaining a positive attitude, as many of our staff members do. They understand that no matter how small the effort, it might make a difference... “to that one!”

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” - Mahatma Gandhi (2)

1. “Edward Everett Hale Quotes - Goodreads.” 2008. 28 Oct. 2014

2. “Mahatma Gandhi Quotes - Goodreads.” 2013. 28 Oct. 2014

by Peg Coover, Technology Integration Coordinator