One of the most common phrases in education over the last few years is Social
Emotional Behavior Learning. We have come to understand just how much support our students
need in these areas and how often teachers feel unequipped to provide the support. We have
assumed in the past that students received these supports at home and certainly some of them
do but it doesn’t hurt to receive more in this area. Kids are under significant pressure these days
including everything that comes at them on social media. We need to have extra supports in
place for all students and honestly extra, extra supports for some.
We have amazing staff at ESU 10. So much so that even when their plates are full, they
still ask to take on more that will benefit schools and students. We are starting to get many
things in place in supporting schools and kids in the area of SEBL. Angie Jacoben, Special
Education Coordinator and Amy Walters, ESU 10 MTSS Coordinator came to Denise and I to
ask if they could co-chair an SEBL committee to get a good handle on all the supports we are
offering and make sure that we have a coordinated effort. When good people volunteer to do
important work, you get out of their way and let them go for it!
The two of them have put together a committee across departments and have met to
start their initial work. They will be helping with a mental health summit this summer to support
schools in going through a self-assessment process and help schools determine gaps in what
they are providing in Social Emotional Behavioral Learning. These assessments may also help
the service unit learn where to go with our support. If we can get a global picture of what we are
offering and a global picture of what districts are needing, we can define the gaps and get them
One of the reasons that we can focus on this work is we have been planning for it
financially for a few years so we have seed money to get it started and we were ready to roll.
Then a very exciting thing happened. The Nebraska Department of Education came to service
units and offered money to help get these services started. This allowed us to hire 2.5 licensed
mental health providers for this school year and heavily subsidize the cost to our schools who
wanted to participate and have LMHPs come to their school districts and provide services to
their students onsite. The students who get support through this program need specialized
support in addition to what they receive in their general education environment.
Our school psychologists also support SEBL work through both direct services to
students as well as consultation and training with teachers, school counselors and
administrators. Our school psychologist can support students who need moderate supports as
well as students who need significant supports in the area of SEBL. They also can help teams
with data collection and goal setting so we know if our supports are working.
We also have additional special education staff and our staff from the Teaching and
Learning Department that support classroom teachers in providing universal supports for all
students in general education environments so the environment is safe and students are learning
new skills which may be related to self- regulation, calming techniques, getting work started right
away, getting along with others, etc. We would love to think that all students come to school with
these skills solidly in place, but that is not the case. We take kids where they are and help them
grow and learn. Doing this in the area of SEBL is a higher priority than it has been in the past
but that is what we do, we adjust to the needs of our students and specialize our teaching and
supports so they can develop. We appreciate the support we have received from our board and
from NDE as we start these new programs. We also appreciate the support of our staff who
volunteer for extra work in service to our school districts and students. ESU 10 is an amazing
place to be!