Ready for the 2016-2017 School Year  

August 19, 2016

The Teaching and Learning Department has had a busy summer training administrators, teachers, and paraprofessionals. Our coordinators took the time to talk with their ESU 10 lead contact schools to plan and prepare for the 2016-2017 school year. We have also taken time this summer to participate in professional learning opportunities to increase our capacity to serve our school districts. 

Patrice Feller and Susan Evans spent a week in Portland, Oregon during the middle of July to become certified trainers in the CHAMPS behavior model to increase our department’s knowledge and skills in the area of behavior for our Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) initiative. Dallas Lewandowski also traveled to Portland to complete a trainer of trainer series in explicit instruction to work with ESU 10 teachers on research based instructional strategies. Our Blended Learning Team attended statewide training with our four ESU 10 Blended Learning Pilot Schools:  Broken Bow, Elm Creek, Litchfield, and Wood River. ESU 10 Teaching and Learning Staff also attended a Nebraska Department of Education Teacher/Principal Evaluation Grant Training. Central Valley, Loup County, Ravenna, and St. Paul have all received $5,000 grants to revise their Teacher/Principal Evaluation System over the next two years.

Peg Coover, Crystal Hurt, and Jami Schaffnitt attended the statewide Google Summit in Lincoln, Nebraska on July 14-15. These ladies are all on our Teaching and Learning (T&L) Blended Learning Team and will take the information they learned to assist our schools in meeting their technology integration needs. Theresa Ritta-Olson and I traveled to Papillion, Nebraska to attend the FIRST Conference on Standards, Grading and Assessment on July 14-15. ESU 10 also had five school districts with participants in attendance including: Grand Island Public, Kearney Public, Northwest, SEM, and Wood River. Theresa and I enjoyed learning the latest research and strategies from four national and international experts. We will continue to share our learning with the T&L department in an effort to support ESU 10 schools in standards, grading, and assessment. 

Members of the Teaching and Learning Staff attended Nebraska Department of Education Administrators’ Days on July 26 to learn about state and federal changes to our education system. As always, this annual day of learning is packed with information that we find vital to equip us for the upcoming school year. Kelly Clapp and I led a new “Lifesize Learning” series for administrators on August 1. We invited all of the ESU 10 administrators to attend the one hour distance learning meeting over Lifesize Cloud to debrief what we learned at Administrators’ Days. We hope to have many of our administrators join us via computer for one hour of conversation and collaboration. Our Lifesize learning sessions will continue to be offered monthly during the school year. Jadie Beam, Director of Professional Learning and Julie Downing, Professional Development Consultant at ESU 13 facilitated a strategic planning session with our T&L staff in late July. We learned about research, tools, and ideas for strategic planning that have been successful in the ESU 13 region. We are excited to take what we learned, apply it in our T&L Department, and share the ideas with our ESU 10 colleagues. 

As you can see, we have had a productive summer of training, learning, and planning. We look forward to new challenges and opportunities ahead of us during the 2016-2017 school year. Most importantly, we are prepared to invest fully in our schools and work to meet their unique needs.

-by Denise O'Brien, Teaching & Learning Director