A Message From Dr. Bell  

February 06, 2015
I recently attended the Nebraska Association of School Boards Legislative Issues Conference. It was an interesting event with a variety of speakers involved in the Nebraska legislative process. I was struck by two differences that have developed since I first started attending these types of sessions 20 years ago. The first is that there are so many new faces because of term limits. There is not the wealth of history and experience in the legislative body to move good issues forward or to restrain the bad issues that are developed. The other thing I noticed was an increase in partisanship. One thing Nebraska always congratulated itself on was the non-partisan nature of our legislators. I’m sorry to see the new trend.  

It was also educational for me to see the number of senators who serve large areas of the ESU 10 region. With the latest redistricting in 2011, I now count 8 senators who serve the region:  District 33, Les Seiler – Hastings, District 34, Curt Friesen – Henderson, District 35, Mike Gloor – Grand Island, District 36, Matt Williams – Gothenburg, District 37, Galen Hadley – Kearney, District 38, John Kuehn – Heartwell, District 41, Kate Sullivan – Cedar Rapids, and District 43, Al Davis – Hyannis. These are the people I will contact when the need arises to share information as they deliberate on legislation that affects us here in central Nebraska.  

I have already shared with many state and national legislators Jamie Vollmer’s work titled “The Ever Increasing Burden on America’s Public Schools.” This is a poster that shows by decades what changes the public has requested that affect public schools. I have a few copies left of this 12X36 poster if you would like one. Just let me know and it will be sent to you. The Nebraska Department of Education might need a copy as well as there is now discussion of a CPR requirement for graduating students. The burden continues to grow for teachers and administrators. It makes me wonder what standards will be eliminated to make room for new instructional programs.    

The ESU 10 Unit Improvement Team continues to move forward in preparation of an AdvanceEd Readiness visit. I am impressed with the progress of this group under the direction of Kelly Clapp. Serious conversations have resulted concerning the quality and depth of the ESU 10 Program of Services as we “partner with our customers to meet changing needs through professional expertise, training, and support.”  I am continually impressed with staff effort as they move to meet perceived school district needs. Be sure to become part of the process and share your thoughts with appropriate ESU 10 staff members. It’s surprising what we can do together if we attain the right synergy.

With that, it’s time for me to get up and do some MBWA. The basic refreshing of the building has been completed and now we await the final furniture and equipment to complete the new ESU 10 21st Century Classroom. You will hear more about and hopefully experience that teaching and learning area once it is functional.  

We have been doing some marketing planning lately and I stumbled across an anonymous quote that seems applicable for February. Here’s your provocative thought for the month. “I don’t understand why Cupid was chosen to represent Valentine’s Day. When I think about romance, the last thing on my mind is a short, chubby toddler coming at me with a weapon”…Anonymous.  We’re trying to avoid this kind of marketing at ESU 10!