Educational Service Unit 13
« November 2015 »
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Chadron Site
Crites Hall
Chadron State College
Chadron, NE 69337
Phone: (308) 432-6495
Scottsbluff Site
4215 Avenue I
Scottsbluff, NE 69361
Phone: (308) 635-3696
FAX: (308) 635-0680
Office Hours: 7:30-4:30

Sidney Site
1114 Toledo Street
Sidney, NE 69162
Phone: (308) 254-4677
FAX: (308) 254-5371

Office Hours: 7:30-4:30
Educational Service Unit #13...
Striving to achieve educational excellence for all learners
through strong partnerships, service, and leadership.

Click here to learn more about ESU 13
Click Event for Details

Gordon Elementary Butteryfly Tree
     The 3rd grade class at Gordon Elementary School created the Butterfly Tree as a memorial for the fallen soldiers of the Nebraska.  Each butterfly represents a soldier from Nebraska that lost his or her life in combat since 2003.  

     The idea for the Butterfly Tree came from Kids Thank A Veteran (  The Children's National Butterfly Tree Memorial is only display at Arlington National cemetery.  Studens and educators across the nation helped create the official tree back in 2009.
ESU13 Job Coach Training
Led by ESU13 Transition Coordinator Pam Brezenski....Job coaches from schools in ESU 13 attended a training on communicating within their field.

The event was held on October 20th at the Harms Technology Center in Scottsbluff
Importance of childhood eye screenings stressed during Head Start screenings
In a recent article, the Scottsbluff Star Herald highlighted the importance vision screenings for youth.
These screenings are done regularly at area Head Start centers, now a part of the ESU13 system.
State Patrol shows VALTS students the ropes
Great article in the Scottsbluff Star Herald on a cooperative effort between ESU13's VALTS program and the Nebraska State Patrol.
Area Students take over the Wildcat Hills Nature Center
Students from Bayard, Bridgeport, Community Christian, Gering, Minatare, Mitchell ,and  Morrill enjoyed a visit to the Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area during “Branch Out”.  Presentations on forest firefighting, tree identification, and tree usage by man and animals were given by employees of Wildcat Hills, North Platte NRD, Riverside Discovery Center, Scottsbluff National Monument, and Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory.  Students also planted trees and created a journal entry about the landmark SNAG tree in the front yard.

Amanda Filipi and students act out the functions of a tree.

Jana Schwartz of the UNL Extension Service works with students on tree identification.

NPS Ranger Lesley Gaunt discusses forest firefighting skills.

Roy Lyles and students celebrate their tree planting.
ESU13 Receives Governor's Wellness Award
Governor's Excellence in Wellness Award
Governor Pete Ricketts announced this year’s recipients of the Governor’s Wellness Award.  A total of 43 Nebraska employers representing 28 communities are being honored for developing and implementing successful workplace wellness programs.

Locally, Box Butte General Hospital, Cirrus House, Educational Service Unit #13, and Western Nebraska Community College were named award recipients.

“Employers receiving this award are committed to employee health and well-being,” Gov. Pete Ricketts said.  “Worksite wellness programs positively affect the health and productivity of employees as well as the bottom line.  Most importantly, worksite wellness is an opportunity for Nebraskans to live healthy lives, improve quality of life and help grow a healthier Nebraska for the next generation.”

Awards will be presented to this year’s winners at three separate award ceremonies during the months of September and October. The award ceremonies will be held in Gering on September 22, Kearney on September 24 and in Lincoln on October 20.

The Governor’s Wellness Award was created eight years ago to recognize Nebraska employers who dedicate leadership, resources and time to wellness efforts in the workplace.  The Governor’s Wellness award process is a rigorous one.  Each applicant must provide information in the areas of leadership support, data collection, intervention strategies, communication planning, policy support, and evaluation and health outcomes.

New Teacher Support Cadre
ESU #13 is offering a series to support new teachers in their first three years of teaching during the 2015-2016 school year.   We are hoping to create a networking and collaboration system for new teachers in different districts. Topics will include: Survival 101, engagement strategies, Nebraska Department of Education state standards/assessment, what is my role in at an IEP meeting, behavioral techniques, technology and many more. Over 50 teachers attended the opening session this month.

ACES Behavior Initiative continues.............
ACES teams are focusing on improving outcomes for students by providing behavioral supports. Today we are learning about motivating the unmotivated, the impact of poverty, and de-escalation. This is year 3 of this initiative.Teams met for the first time this month.
ESU13 Reading Institute
52 teachers, paraprofessionals and principals from seven districts are engaged in reading instruction. Let's have a great school year.
ESU13 Host Para Training
Para Training 101! 145 paraprofessionals from 18 districts excited to start off a great school year.

Hay Springs Annual Data Retreat
ESU13's Julie Downing facilitating the annual Hay Springs data retreat!!

Mexican Teachers Helping ESU13 Summer Migrant Programs
Two Mexican teachers are working in the Panhandle, teaching students, learning about Nebraska and making friends.
The Binational Teacher Exchange Program in Nebraska has brought 13 teachers to Nebraska this year to teach at various Migrant Education Program sites. Nebraska is one of 13 states that participates each year.
Marissa Ibarra Trejo and Luis Cárdenas Gámez have been experiencing Nebraska since May 14, teaching in several school districts and seeing the sights on the weekends.
You can read the full article in the Scottsbluff Star Herald.

According to ESU13 Migrant Director Kiowa Rogers students in the migrant programs are getting a wide variety of experiences.

In the pictures above you'll see students making guacamole at Bayard Elementary, singing "La Bamba at Gordon - Rushville Middle School, working with polymers at our North Platte Summer Science Camp, taking a virtual field trip at Gordon Elementary, and middle school student leader assisting at Roosevelt.
The ESU 13 Migrant Education Program currently has six summer programs for our students: Lincoln Elementary in Gering, Bayard Elementary, Roosevelt Elementary in Scottsbluff,  Student Leadership/work experience as a bi-national teacher assistant for Bluffs Middle School students,  North Platte, and Gordon - Rushville.

Busy Spring for ESU13 Meridian School
The ESU13 Meridian School Adopt-A-School partner, the University of Nebraska Panhandle Research and Extension Center truly made an impact on this program this past year with many wonderful activities. One activity that involved many different partnerships was building a number of planting boxes for the Meridian playground. Materials were donated by Aulick's TLC, Carr-Trumbull Lumber and UNL.

Also in May, to recognize and remember Raul Garcia, a Meridian student who passed away during the school year, Amy Seiler from the Nebraska Forest Service, planted a memorial tree in the ESU13 landscape.

Raul's parents, along with Meridian staff and students were on hand to assist in the planting. A special marker has been placed at the base of the tree.

Educational Service Unit #13 Awarded $2.8 M Head Start Grant
Head Start and Early Head Start programs in Scotts Bluff, Morrill, Kimball, Garden, Cheyenne and Deuel counties will be administered through Educational Service Unit #13.  On April 8, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) officially notified ESU #13 of its successful application for the $2.8 million program. The award includes Head Start and Early Head Start services to nearly 350 children annually in the counties.
“Head Start and Early Head Start programs have been important to children and families in the Panhandle for many years,” said Dr. Jeff West. “ESU #13 is pleased to be able to fill the important role of working with parents and schools in maintaining this resource.”
In September 2014, a funding opportunity announcement was posted by ACF.  In early November, Head Start Partners, including the schools in Bayard, Minatare, Scottsbluff, Morrill and Mitchell and Volunteers of America along with the Panhandle Public Health District and Community Action Partnership of Western Nebraska unanimously agreed to request that ESU 13 apply for the grant.  The group then worked quickly to hire a grant writer and submit an application by mid-November.
“We anticipate continuing an employment relationship with many of the current staff,” Dr. West stated.  “These people have a long term commitment to Head Start, and important relationships with parents and children.”
“The success of the ESU $#13 application was clearly due to the collaborative efforts of so many in this region.” stated Dr. Jeff West, Administrator. “The collaboration continues as Sarah Ochoa, former Head Start Director at CAPWN has agreed to consult with us as we transition this program,” West concluded.
“I am pleased to be able to work with the ESU to help launch this new phase of Head Start,” said Ochoa. “To me the most important part is the impact we can all have on the lives of children and families. The partners in the Panhandle continue to demonstrate that same commitment” 
Agate Fossil Beds National Monument reaches students through Distance Learning!
This past year ESU13 and its member schools were awarded a $500,000 to upgrade from the USDA to upgrade its distance learning classrooms. Part of the project was also a new partnerships with the two national monuments in our service area.....Scotts Bluff and Agate Fossil Beds. They are now equipped with state-of-the-art video conferencing equipment to provide virtual field trips to schools anywhere. Agate has already made connections with schools in Pennsylvania and recently sent out the following press release highlighting their new programs.
Thanks to a cooperative effort between Nebraska State Educational Service Unit 13 (ESU), which encompasses the Nebraska Panhandle, and the Oregon Trail Museum Association (OTMA), park rangers at Agate Fossil Beds National Monument are able to provide educational programs near and far with the addition of a new video conferencing system.  Distance Learning is the name given to programs initiated at one location, and presented to a distant location via the Internet using a video conferencing system. 
ESU-13’s Technology Director BJ Peters was instrumental in obtaining this equipment.  Peters, with OTMA, applied for a grant that aims to improve distance learning in the rural areas in the 21 school districts in the Nebraska Panhandle.  Agate Fossil Beds National Monument will use this system to bring educational programs to Panhandle students and beyond.  OTMA’s Business Manager Jolene Kaufman was happy to assist.  “OTMA’s focus has been to provide educational interpretation at both Agate Fossil Beds & Scotts Bluff National Monuments since 1956” said Kaufman.

In late Fall of 2014 Peters delivered $10,000 video conferencing systems to both Agate Fossil Beds National Monument and Scotts Bluff National Monument.  Staff at Agate Fossil Beds spent the next month developing programs and getting used to using the equipment.  “Agate Fossil Beds is a unique National Park Service unit because it is not only a spectacular internationally significant paleontology site, but also relates cultural themes through the remarkable gifts of friendship between the Lakota chief Red Cloud and the rancher James Cook,” said Acting Superintendent AJ Legault.  “To be able to present our educational programs to schools across the country is a treasured opportunity”. 
Last Thursday Rangers Lil Mansfield and Maryann Neubert used this equipment to make presentations to two classes of third graders in Newfoundland, Pennsylvania without leaving park headquarters in Harrison, Nebraska.  The school had asked for a program about the American Indian artifacts in the Cook Collection; during each 45 minute session, the rangers showed many authentic items, demonstrated how some of them were made, and answered students’ questions.  In spite of the two thousand mile distance, the rangers were able to interact live with the children, ask questions, and educate them about park resources and ethnographic concepts.  One of the best parts: it was absolutely FREE!

As transportation costs have risen, schools have had to severely limit student field trips.  Although parks are willing to send rangers to schools, they are unlikely to travel great distances to offer educational programs.  Distance Learning allows park rangers to provide multiple programs in classrooms in many locations each day--without leaving the park.  Furthermore, this technology allows rangers to show exhibit items that are too fragile or unique to be removed from the park museum.
Now, many schools and other community organizations in Nebraska and across the country are using this distance learning technology to connect their students with opportunities and concepts that have been previously impossible to experience due to budget, time, distance, weather or other factors that prevent a physical visit to a park.  Agate Fossil Beds National Monument has joined a growing number of National Park Service units across the country offering this educational service.
Agate Fossil Beds National Monument is located just 22 miles south of Harrison, or 34 miles north of Mitchell, Nebraska, on State Highway 29, then east on River Road for three miles to the visitor center. The visitor center is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The park’s two trails are open from dawn to dusk. Admission is free.  For more information, go to or visit Agate Fossil Beds on Facebook.

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