Educational Service Unit 13
« April 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
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
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Transition Students Complete Business and Entrepreneurship Class
Fifteen Transition Students recently completed a 5 week Business and Entrepreneurship Class with Jana Schwartz, UNL Extension Educator.

A variety of activities led students to develop a business idea and plan.  Along the way, they were introduced to other transition students who are now successful business owners.  The culminating activity was a “shark tank” experience, complete with judges and prizes.

Winner:  Jesse                 Alternates:  David and Ruben

Class Completion

This opportunity was provided through an Innovative Transition Grant with NDE and ESU # 13.

ESU13 hosts Regional Science Fair
For the first time, ESU 13 held the NJAS Regional Science Fair for the Panhandle area.  Top winners from local school districts were able to compete for an opportunity to attend the NJAS State Science Fair in Lincoln on April 17. Garden County, Leyton and Mitchell  participated with a variety of projects from a Hover Craft to Controlling Whiteflies. The finalists who will be going to the State Science Fair are
Senior High Finalists
Peyton Stanczyk, Garden County
Middle School Finalists
Caden Knutson, Mitchell Elementary
Josh Kruse, Leyton Junior High
Danielle Higgins, Leyton Junior High
Meg Huson, Leyton Junior High
Kara Barnhart, Garden County Junior High

Judge Katie Juarez, ESU 13 VALTS instructor takes a ride on a Hover Craft built by Mitchell students Eric Wilson and Ashtyn Martin.

Mitchell Elementary Student Keegan Weiss proudly displays his car engine investigation.

Peyton Stanczyk from Garden County  will be attending the State Science Fair Senior Division with his study on Controlling Whiteflies.

Meg Huson from Leyton Junior High shows off her project and Finalist certificate that enables her to compete at the State Science Fair in April.

Caden Knutson, Mitchell Elementary constructed a steam powered craft and investigated the optimal way to move it with candle power. He will also attend the State Science Fair.

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.
Barrett Receives State Award
Congratulations goes out to our own ESU13 Special Education Co-Director Laura Barrett who received the Nebraska Association of Special Education Supervisors New Supervisor of the Year award this week!

Laura's family was able to join her at the ceremony in Lincoln when the award was presented.
The mission of the Nebraska Association of Special Education Supervisors (NASES) is to promote quality educational practices by providing visionary leadership, services and support for its membership.
 She has been in the ESU13 Scottsbluff office for over ten years. Laura is very deserving of the recognition and the award.

Meridian and LifeLink Students Blessed with a Supportive School-Business Partnership 2014-2015
Learning to work and achieving paid integrated employment play a large part of the IEP plan for youth with disabilities during transition age.   We feel very blessed to have wonderful business support within our community.  These are our current business partners and we ask that you thank them with your patronage.

Meridian School – Fullen School of Hair Design, Hairbender Salon, Farmer’s Den, Main Street Market Produce Department, Wendy’s, Flower Basket, Fastenal, Living Stones Christian Church, H & R Block, Monument Shadows Golf Course
LifeLink – Mixing Bowl, Community Christian School, Godfather’s, Turtle Moon, Crossroads Corner Preschool, Dollar General, Monument Physical Therapy, Emerald Court, Bytes Computers, Pizza Hut, Nemnich Automotive, Floyd’s Truck Center, Twin Cities Development, Car Doctor, Anderson-Shaw Construction, Summit Apartments, Buyer’s Realty, Sinclair Super Shop, Runza, Western Nebraska Regional Airport, Sam & Louie’s Pizza, WNCC Plant Maintenance, Main Street Market, Diamond Vogel Paints, Grace Bakery
LifeLink Team presents at National Conference
Bill Moore, Jan Barber, Teresa Halley, and former LifeLink student, Adam Scott, presented at The State of the Art Conference on Postsecondary Education and Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities in Fairfax, Virginia.  LifeLink was one of 30 programs from across the nation, selected to present. They were honored in the general assembly for outstanding program employment statistics.

Adam was one of three students presenting on a Keynote Student Employment Panel with students from George Mason University and Camden Community College of New Jersey.

To assist in the presentation, a video was prepared by Charter Media.  You can view the video at this link:
Aaberg wins 2015 Nebraska Teacher of the Year
Shelby Aaberg, a mathematics teacher at Scottsbluff High School and a Noyce Master Teaching Fellow, was named Nebraska 2015 Teacher of the Year on Oct. 10 during a surprise award presentation. Nebraska Commissioner of Education Matt Blomstedt presented the award.

Aaberg was one of four finalists for Nebraska Teacher of the Year. The following teachers were finalists and will be recognized as Awards of Excellence winners:

Jim Fielder, a science teacher at Hastings Senior High School in Hastings

Christopher Maly, an English teacher at Lincoln High School in Lincoln

Sarah Schau, a business teacher at Westside High School in Omaha

Aaberg said, “I want my energy and passion for mathematics to shine through my instruction and infect my students. I teach my students that sound logic, effective strategies and consistent effort are the primary determinants of success in my classroom.

"I teach my students how to think, not just to comply. No idea any student offers is ever wrong, some ideas are just easier to disprove or refute,” he said in his application. 

"I invest my time, energy and content expertise to equip my students to realize their potential. I enjoy teaching most when I help my students overcome fear of failure and when my students learn to work past frustration,” he wrote.

Scottsbluff Public Schools Superintendent Richard Myles said leadership is one of Aaberg’s most important talents.

"His dedicated passion for students combined with his deep understanding of great teaching provides an exemplar for all teachers in our district,” Myles wrote in his recommendation of Aaberg. “His expectations of excellence ― of himself and of his students ― are such that he empowers others to develop a greater belief in themselves ....”

Aaberg is a 10-year veteran teacher who earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Master’s Degree in mathematics education at the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2009 as well as endorsements in Assessment Leadership and English as a Second Language. He is currently working on his doctorate in education at UNL.

Aaberg started the Scottsbluff High School’s Math Club and has been the sprint coach since 2006. He is active in professional organizations, including the Nebraska Association of Teachers of Mathematics, the Nebraska Council on Teacher Education, the Scottsbluff Education Association and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

A panel of Nebraska educators selected Aaberg as the 2015 Nebraska Teacher of the Year. The Teacher of the Year program recognizes the contributions of classroom teachers who are exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled and teachers who have the ability to inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn.

Aaberg and the Awards of Excellence winners will be honored by the State Board of Education at a November luncheon. Aaberg will participate in the national Teacher of the Year competition later this year.
Two Panhandle Schools Make America's Top High School List
Newsweek Magazine recently published its 2014 America's Top High School list. Only three Nebraska high schools were listed and two are from our ESU13 service area.
Congratulations to Hay Springs (#133) and Chadron (#433) who made the top 500 list, as well as Burwell High School.
Newsweek’s 2014 Rankings highlights schools that do the absolute best job of preparing students for college. This year, the methodology is more stringent than ever with new measures of quality and a higher standard for data.
Quite an accomplishment for two rural Nebraska school districts.

here is a link to the Newsweek article:

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