A Message From Dr. Bell  

May 08, 2018

One thought leaped ahead of all others last month and usurped all other thoughts that have been vying for space in my brain. One of the outstanding orthopedic surgeons in Kearney looked at an MRI of my upper spine and sat and looked me right in the eye. He quickly and calmly told me that a surgery was needed sooner rather than later if I had hopes of staying out of a wheelchair in my waning years. Since I am an ESU administrator and know the meaning of efficient and effective service, I nimbly pulled out my calendar and we had a date set for surgery on his first open day which was April 18th.  The surgery was completed and I did wake up from the anesthesia so life is good. Now we work the problem to get the best possible solution.  

Frequent Connecter article readers know what is coming next. This whole ordeal reminds me of the ESU 10 mission “to partner with stakeholders to meet changing needs through professional expertise in providing services, learning opportunities and support.”  I have had the learning opportunity and the services, so now the plan of support is developing. Just like a precision surgical procedure, ESU 10 staff members dissect all information to share vision and results with those that we serve. The goal is always to deliver a long term, systemic plan of support. Professionals working to overcome barriers to maximize success is awesome to observe and extremely satisfying to emulate with others.       

The timing of this whole personal situation brought to mind the words of a Robert Burns’ poem, “To a Mouse” which was written in 1786 and served as the source for the title of John Steinbeck’s 1937 novel – “Of Mice and Men”. (Have I ever mentioned that I completed an English minor as an undergraduate student and have always enjoyed great literature?) The poem was really an apology to the mouse whose nest was upturned while Burns plowed a field. The part that seems applicable to this article are the lines, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley, [often go awry]”.

Plans had been made to complete certain tasks within a certain time frame as I get ready to exit stage south. Being unexpectedly benched for a few weeks has caused the plan to go awry, but here is what is calming at a time like this.  Many step up to fill unit needs so that the delivery of service remains seamless and targeted. One of the best examples of this is the Unit Improvement Team. This group was formed many years ago with membership consisting of three people from each of the four ESU 10 departments. Since ESU 10 has such a wide array of services that are delivered in a wide service area and really only have all staff meetings twice a year as a group, we needed a way to better communicate across the unit. UIT members would do interdepartmental sharing and then communicate with their peers to keep them all informed of the working of the unit. When it came time to achieve international accreditation, this group transformed to a higher level of service and now are stalwarts when it comes to ESU 10’s growth and purpose. All of the terms are voluntary, but the majority of this group has remained intact and is the guiding force for unit improvement. Each person has importance, but the strength of the organization is the dynamic synergy of these people working together for the benefit of all. These meetings are professional and energizing. This is just another example of how ESU 10 will stay true to its mission.  

Well, it’s time to go ruminate on my thoughts for my final Connector article next month. Have a great end to your school year!