The First Six Months  

February 20, 2018

As I began thinking of what to include in my first board report, I came up with the idea of sharing the journey of my first six months at ESU 10. I thought it might be interesting to get a peek behind the curtain and see what this has looked like as I moved from the role of classroom teacher to that of Teaching and Learning Coordinator.

My first six months at ESU 10 have been full of great experiences working with colleagues to serve our schools. I have enjoyed the opportunity to tap into the incredible talent and knowledge that fill the halls of this place, and to get the chance to help bring our expertise to schools from one end of ESU 10 to the other.

I had the chance to jump in quickly, working with administrators during our summer Strategic Leadership Workshop, traveling to Ord to work with Social Studies teachers on curriculum alignment, and presenting in Cozad on the Marzano Instructional Model. This was just the start of a whirlwind first few months that led me from Elm Creek to Riverside and from Gothenburg to Loup City with stops in between at Wood River and Gibbon. I have enjoyed the variety of subjects and topics that I have had the opportunity to research, prepare and present and have loved meeting dedicated teachers and administrators from across our service area.

One of my favorite aspects of this new job has been the chance to learn and grow as a professional. I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to engage in high quality professional learning on a broad scale. Some highlights of this first six months were the presentations on building school culture from Jimmy Casas at Fall NETA, and Tammy Heflebower’s workshop on the New Art and Science of Teaching. I also really gained a lot from the technology workshops that I have attended. One presentation in particular, called Zen Slides from John Unruh-Friesen, has really changed the way I look at creating presentations for teachers and administrators.

In early November, I attended the Association for Middle Level Education National Conference in Philadelphia. There, I had the chance to see a variety of national presenters on topics that affect our ESU 10 schools. Some highlights were Grace Dearborn’s keynote and presentation on engagement and numerous “nuts and bolts” presentations on literacy, social/emotional growth, and mentoring. My favorite presentation was from Beth Houf, co-author of Lead Like a Pirate. She had a great story of intentionally building school culture and community involvement at her school in Fulton, Missouri. I left with tons of “quick win” strategies that I look forward to sharing with our stakeholders here at ESU 10.

Finally, one of the most rewarding aspects of my journey this first six months has been the great collaborative relationships I have enjoyed with professionals from around the state. From our amazing staff here at ESU 10, to the many talented ESU employees from all over that we work with during our ESUCC PDO and SDA meetings, to the leaders from school districts all around the state involved in the NWEA certified facilitator program, it has truly been a joy to get to work with such a caring, capable group focused on impacting students.

As I reflect on my first six months, It has been very busy, but undeniably rewarding. look forward to what the next phase of my first year at ESU 10 will hold as I spend time out in schools, and continue to serve the people that work so hard to ensure that our students are ready for college, career and life.

-by Jeff Janda, Teaching and Learning Coordinator

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