Educational Service Unit 13
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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
Sidney Site
1114 Toledo Street
Sidney, NE 69162
Phone: (308) 254-4677
FAX: (308) 254-5371

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

ESU13 and Member Schools Undergo Distance Learning Upgrade
The month of July saw a lot of action at the high schools in the ESU13 service area. This past spring ESU13 was awarded a major grant from the USDA Rural Utilities Service program. This $500,000 grant plus $264,000 in matching funds were used this summer to do an overhaul of 20 distance learning classrooms.

The most obvious change was the addition of 4 big flatscreen monitors. Also the entire video system was replaced with state of the art high definition video conferencing hardware. Grant dollars were also used to start a partnership with the two national monuments in the ESU13 service area.....Scotts Bluff National Monument and Agate Fossil Beds National Monument. Both monuments will receive a mobile video conference system that will allow them to deliver virtual field trip experiences to our school districts.
Panhandle Principal Symposium

Senator Harms was one of the guest speakers at the Panhandle Principal Symposium held Friday, June 6.  He discussed the future challenges for our area and leadership characteristics. Sally Barrett from Nebraska Loves Public Schools also previewed their video on Readiness for Kindergarten and provided opportunities for schools and districts to be involved in future videos and blogs.

Principals were able to share ongoing initiatives at their schools and collaborate on the responsibilities of leadership. Networking with other principals from our area helped to build on relationships in our panhandle community and create some time for reflection on the daily work of administrators.

May VALTS Graduates
On May 14th, VALTS graduated 9 students from 5 different school districts. This marked our 513 graduate since the program started in 1998. The Valley Alternative Learning Transitioning School began in 1997 by the Scottsbluff, Gering, and Mitchell School districts and now has grown to include 9 total districts. Morrill, Minatare, Bayard, Bridgeport and Kimball are now part of the program that is housed at the Harms Technology on the campus of Western Nebraska Community College.

There will be some new faces next year at VALTS. Brenda Smith and Beth Still will be moving on to new jobs. Brenda will be taking a counseling position at Scottsbluff High School. Beth will be working in a new technology coordinator position in Gering Public Schools. Between the two of them, they have dedicated 16 years to our program and have greatly helped to enrich the lives of the students. We appreciate everything they have done and we wish them the best on their new positions.
Summer “Vacation” Begins

The three best things about teaching? June, July, and August.

That joke could lead people to believe that teachers do not work during the summer. Those of us in the field know that this is far from true.

 Sure, summer is the time when teachers aren’t teaching (if you don’t count summer school). They are definitely still in the classroom. Now they get to be the students. Whether they are working on advanced degrees, acquiring professional growth hours for advancement in salary, meeting certification requirements, or just wanting to learn, teachers and administrators in our area are participating in a multitude of professional learning opportunities.


Having been out of “school” for only a of couple days, twenty-three teachers and principals from six districts spent two days learning strategies to help their students improve their writing. A few days later, another twenty-one teachers and administrators from ten districts practiced and evaluated data from a screening, diagnostic, and progress monitoring assessment. June started and so did the math class. More than a dozen participants from throughout the Panhandle are building their content knowledge.

 ESU #13 has a variety of professional learning opportunities scheduled for the remainder of the month. Whether you are looking to learn more about science, leadership, math, student engagement, school systems in Mexico, behavior systems, or education we may have something for you.

 To see the complete list of offerings, click the “Upcoming Events” link at the top of the navigation bar on the left.

Dawes County Historical School

The Dawes County Museum, ESU13 and northern panhandle schools partnered again this year to bring the Historical School to third and fourth graders. Vicki Kotschwar is the school Marm in the 1880's setting.  

Students practice spelling, orthography (Handwriting), math and reading.  They also enjoy a lunch in a pail and get to dress the part if they wish.  

Chadron Intermediate students were enthusiastic about the experience and one said, "It is fun to pretend you are in history." Students from several surrounding area schools plan to attend the Historical School this week. 

LifeLink Graduation

Congratulations to the LifeLink Graduates of 2014

At Western Nebraska Community College

Brady, Preston, Cory, Ryan, Patrick and Levi

We are very proud of your accomplishments!

ESU # 13 Hosts Western Region Youth First Conference

On April 2, 2014, The Western Region Youth First Transition Conference was held on the campus of Western Nebraska Community College. 332 persons from twenty school districts participated in the event, which was the 7th annual.
The Keynote speaker was Brett Eastburn, from Indiana. Brett was born with no arms or no legs. He shared his development and life situations with the audience. He dribbled a basketball, opened a soda can, and drew a picture. He explained how he participated in shop class, welding, wrestling, and basketball in high school. He shared how he plays pool, rides a skateboard, drives a car, and travels the world as a motivational speaker. His message was one of hope and having students realize that no obstacle is too big to overcome.

Full Conference Details are at The Conference Blog:

ACES Training Completes First Year
Staff members of ten area school districts wrapped up their first year of ACES training and implementation with Diana Browning Wright. School and district groups spotlighted their progress on wall charts sharing their success with other districts. In addition Diana Browning Wright consulted with teams on problem solving around implementation of strategies for this multi-tiered system.  ACES (All Children Experience Success) is an ESU 13 initiative for the establishment of a comprehensive, school wide system of behavioral supports which match interventions to student needs..  A progressive system of intervention based on a student’s non response to school wide strategies was studied, along with a process to collect data on all students. 
Teams ended the 2013-14 eight days of training by taking a look at identification and interventions around harassment and bullying. The second year of intervention will include a summer workshop, training for new staff, ongoing implementation “road mapping” for administrators and four cadre meetings for team representatives.

The i-Pad Cohort Project announces Graduates of the Innovative Transition Grant with NDE

These lovely ladies completed all the training and assignments of the Six Part course, “Using the iPad To Promote Student Independence, Productivity, Inclusion and Communication.” The virtual trainer was Marsha Threlkeld, from the Washington Initiative for Supported Employment (WISE). The Onsite Trainers and monitors were Janine Barber and Craig Hicks from ESU # 13.
Pictured are: (seated) Kelli Garcia, Sherry Hara, Corinna Behrens, Tammy Shields, Sonja Marx, Angie Vorse, Peggy Welsch. (Standing) Brenda Keller, Heidi Robertus, Maria Frueh. Remote learners completing are: Jill Simmons, Michelle Daily, Brooke Shubert. Not pictured: Robin Davis.
Congratulation to all of you for being part of this very important and unique project. Your creativity and dedication throughout the year was simply amazing!

ESU13 Staff Developer Receives State Recognition
 The Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association (NRCSA) recently announced that ESU13 Staff Developer Julie Downing has been awarded the Nebraska Outstanding ESU Staff Member Award.  The purpose of this award is to recognize excellence in service to rural schools by ESU personnel.

Downing has been employed by ESU 13 for six years and serves the northern tier of schools in the Panhandle.  Her office is on the campus at Chadron State.

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