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ESU 10 Workshops


Connector March 2014


24 Special Ed. Quarterly Training 26 LAN Manager Meeting

April 01 Academic Quiz Bowl Grades 9-12 15 iConnect, iTeach, iBloom with iPads 15 Beyond Social Skills 22 Art Teachers Workshop 29 Beyond Social Skills


30 A Google Buffet

May 02 CTE Advisory Council and Coordinators Spring Meeting 05 Title III Consortium Mtg and Training with NDE 06 Beyond Social Skills 28 Structured Teaching (2 days)


10 Windows Server Administration: Active Directory Services (2 days) 16 Big 5 of Reading (5 days) 76 Plaza Blvd • PO Box 850 • Kearney, NE 68848-0850 • Ph: 308.237.5927 • Fax: 308.237.5920 •

Educational Consultant Coming

Information Technology Solutions Step Away…


k c a b s e’


Sponsored by Planning Region Team #10 and Central Region Early Learning Connection

Stress Management in the Face of Power Struggles Even the most rational teachers and parents get into power struggles from time to time. In this active session, participants will gain a better understanding of how power struggles occur and will learn the best strategies for avoiding them. Participants will have fun learning about the most common patterns of behavior people fall into when frustrated, stressed, or angry and stress management options for support. This information on dealing with behavior has application for all levels (young children, students, parents, co-workers, administrators, family members).


Dan St. Romain, Educational Consultant


ESU 10, 76 Plaza Boulevard Kearney Nebraska


April 11, 2014 from 9:00 am - 3:30 pm


No Charge


h on Luncr own you

Dan is a national educational consultant who provides staff development and consultative services to educators PreK-12. Dan is passionate about helping educators shift their perspectives on behavior, in order to help them understand the best ways to provide support, given the challenges posed in today’s classrooms.

Please Note: Space is limited for this workshop. Pre-registration is required. Click on the link below to register: or contact Roxanne at 308-698-1986 or 76 Plaza Blvd • PO Box 850 • Kearney, NE 68848-0850 • Ph: 308.237.5927 • Fax: 308.237.5920 •

Middle School Academic Quiz Bowl Congratulations to the winners of the 25th Annual Quiz Bowl sponsored by ESU 10. The competition was held on Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at the University of Nebraska Kearney where 34 area schools competed. The purpose of the quiz bowl competition is to encourage higher order thinking, recognize outstanding achievement, and promote academic excellence among participating middle school students.

1st Place - Grand Island

2nd Place - Gothenburg

3rd Place - Kearney

4th Place - Shelton


76 Plaza Blvd • PO Box 850 • Kearney, NE 68848-0850 • Ph: 308.237.5927 • Fax: 308.237.5920 •

Should I Retain this Child?

by Patrice Feller, ESU 10 School Psychologist

At this time of year, parents and teachers often worry about the future of students whose academic performance is low, who seem socially immature, who demonstrate behavior difficulties, or whose primary language is not English. They often ask, “Should I retain this child?” When a child repeats his or her current grade level again the following year, this is known as grade retention, flunking, failing, being held back, or non-promotion. No matter what it is called, parents and teachers need to work together to make this decision. They need to understand what the research says about the effectiveness of retention. They need to know what options are available to help the student. Most importantly, they need to realize that the real task before them is to plan specific intervention strategies so that the child’s academic, social, and emotional development is supported. Research on Retention Researchers have compared the outcomes of groups of low-performing students who repeated a grade level with the outcomes of equally lowperforming students who moved on to the next grade. Overwhelming evidence from the research tells us the following:

• Students seem to temporarily benefit during the year they repeat a grade. Two to three years later, the benefits


actually decline. Across time, most retained students simply do not “catch up.”

• When students have been absent for many school days, retention may help, but only if the student’s attendance improves.

• Retention actually has a negative impact on all areas of achievement. It also has a negative impact on a child’s • • • •

social and emotional adjustment. Research indicates students who are retained have a greater chance of emotional distress, low self-esteem, poor peer relations, anti-social behaviors and substance abuse. Students who have repeated one or more grade levels typically have a more negative attitude toward school and higher rates of absenteeism. Students who repeated one or more grade levels are 5-10 times more likely to drop out of school. This is not to say that retention caused the student to drop out. Rather, retention is highly linked to school withdrawal and therefore predicts failure to complete high school. Students view retention as one of the most stressful life events that could possibly happen to them. The only events more feared are the death of a parent or going blind. Retention is also a predictor of lifelong negative outcomes, such as an increased likelihood of unemployment and need for public assistance. Strategies to Support Students So, what strategies are recommended to meet the needs of students considered for retention?

Parents • Make sure your child is rested and ready for school, eats a nutritious breakfast, comes to school on time, and has medical needs met. • Help your child with homework by asking to see the work and creating an appropriate place and time for study.

School Personnel

• Promote an optimal learning environment by

using research-based instructional practices to increase student engagement and learning. • Implement early assessment and intervention practices. continued on next page

76 Plaza Blvd • PO Box 850 • Kearney, NE 68848-0850 • Ph: 308.237.5927 • Fax: 308.237.5920 •

Should I Retain this Child? (cont.) • Discuss concerns with your child’s teacher. Ask what help is being given and what you can do at home.

• Involve parents. Communicate with them early

• Work with your child’s teacher to access student sup-

port teams to identify strengths and weaknesses, design effective instructional interventions, and monitor progress.

• • • •

and often. Provide structured activities, materials, and guidance to parents and others who can provide additional opportunities to develop academic or social skills. Involve student support teams to design intensive, targeted interventions and monitor the effectiveness of planned interventions. Promote social and emotional adjustment through comprehensive, school wide positive behavior support practices. For adolescents, provide meaningful opportunities to explore career options and to develop realistic goals and plans for obtaining those goals. Be aware of the school district’s policies and procedures for retention.

In summary, research has determined that retention has either no overall effect or a negative effect on student academic and social development. School personnel are advised to involve parents in problem-solving efforts to support student development. When promotion is in question, the best question to ask is not “Should I retain this child?” but rather “What needs to be done differently during the student’s next year in school?”


References Jimerson, S. and Renshaw, T. 2012. Retention and Social Promotion. [online] Available at: http://www.nasponlin org/resources/principals/NASSP_Grade_Retention_Sept_2012.pdf [Accessed: 14 Feb 2014].

76 Plaza Blvd • PO Box 850 • Kearney, NE 68848-0850 • Ph: 308.237.5927 • Fax: 308.237.5920 •

Career Resources in Nebraska

by Kelly Clapp, Professional Dev. Coordinator

Out of a growing need for developing a career ready workforce in Nebraska, the Departments of Labor and Economic Development in partnership with the Department of Education have created several new resources for educational and public use. The H3 website warehouses the most current information regarding high wage, high demand, and high skill occupations in Nebraska. This resource provides teachers, students and their parents, economic developers, and community leaders with specific jobs that are paying at or above the median wage, the number of annual openings, and the projected growth rate for such jobs. All of these facts can be a huge help for career seekers and those who make career trend decisions. The website can also be searched by region in Nebraska. The H3 website can be found by accessing this link:


Another new resource is the Nebraska Virtual Field trips Organized by the Nebraska Career Clusters, the virtual field trips highlight Nebraska-based industries including interviews with business representatives discussing education levels, work requirements, potential salaries, and job prospects. Currently, there are virtual field trips from the following career clusters and Nebraska businesses, with more to be added soon: Information Technology – Mid America Computer Corporation, Hudl, and Yahoo! Transportation and Logistics - Brown Transfer, Werner Enterprises, and Cash-Wa Manufacturing – Metal Quest, Chief Buildings, and Becton Dickinson Architecture and Construction – Clark Enersen and Kiewit

76 Plaza Blvd • PO Box 850 • Kearney, NE 68848-0850 • Ph: 308.237.5927 • Fax: 308.237.5920 •

Brain Based Learning The first week of February was special at ESU 10. We were graced with the presence of Marcia Tate EdD, who is the former Executive Director of Professional Development for the DeKalb County School System, Decatur, Georgia. During her 30-year career with the district, she has been a classroom teacher, reading specialist, language arts coordinator, and staff development executive director. She was in Kearney sharing her knowledge and expertise in two separate workshops; Shouting Doesn’t Grow Dendrites, and Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites. Our hope is to apply her 20 strategies of engagement to classrooms and professional learning opportunities across our region. Eric Jensen was mentioned by Dr. Tate several times in those two days. He is one of the leading translators of educational neuroscience in the world as well as being a highly-engaging presenter of teaching strategies to create brain compatible classrooms. One of the ideas that both Tate and Jensen agree on is using music in the classroom. There are a couple things he thinks you need to consider when deciding what music to play in your classroom to help with brain-based learning. While there are a boundless number of criteria, these would be a good start. State. What emotional state are you trying to produce? Pay attention to what happens to your own body and mind as you listen to a song as well as to the beats per minute (BPM). Songs in the 35- 50 BPM range will be more calming, while those in the middle 55-70 BPM will be more moderate for seatwork. For activities, the pace might be 70-100 and for energizers, maybe 100-160 BPM will REALLY rev it up. The state is also the feelings you want to have within your students. When students complete an assignment, project or even a simple task, I want upbeat celebration music. When we are doing a class stretching or reflective writing, I want slower, uncluttered, calming music. When we are about to start out on a big task, I want inspirational, upbeat, even marching music. In short, use music as a second teacher in the classroom to support the mood. (Jensen)

by Susan Evans, Professional Dev. Coordinator

Age of Listener. What generation am I working with? Stay within your generation! The way to decide is ask this simple question: If they’re adults, what music did they listen to in high school and college? If they’re age 14 or less, what are the current soundtracks to movies that are hot? Type of Music. Do I use music with words or instrumentals only? In general, use words only if it’s for transitions, games that require them or special occasions. Most of the time, instrumentals are better. If you use only one kind of music you’re missing out on some great alternatives. Here are a few recommended music selections from Eric Jensen to try in your classroom: Whistle While You Work, available as a collection of 18mp3 files via download, is specially produced to activate the relaxed focused system. Serotonin may be released and it is a common neurotransmitter that helps us feel pleasant and cheerful. Play this music in the background 7 when you’d like to reduce stress, but encourage productivity. All of these specially produced memorable selections are 100% soothing and easy-to-listen to audio gems. You’ll get positive, enjoyable listening tracks that boost learning and productivity. More Whistle While You Work, is the sequel to the set of files above. It is also a collection of 18 mp3 files via download. These are different (but in the same music family) tunes, and all are specially produced to activate the relaxed and focused system. Play this music in the background when you’d like to reduce stress, but encourage productivity. All of these specially-produced memorable selections are 100% relaxing and easy-tolisten to audio gems. You’ll get positive, enjoyable listening tracks that boost learning and productivity. Your students will ask for these catchy tunes again and again. Greatest Energizer Tunes Ever! Do you have a classroom in need of an energy boost? This audio CD includes favorite classroom tunes that can revitalize a classroom. Its 19 up-tempo songs are paced between 120-165 BPM to raise adrenaline levels and energize classroom spirit! Ultimate Music Variety CD, are you looking for ways to transition from one activity to another? This audio CD continued on next page

76 Plaza Blvd • PO Box 850 • Kearney, NE 68848-0850 • Ph: 308.237.5927 • Fax: 308.237.5920 •

Brain Based Learning (cont.) offers a broad range of songs individually designed to calm, relax, and redirect students’ energy. Running Time: 53 Minutes. Top Tunes for Teaching, 977 Song Titles & Practical Tools for Choosing the Right Music Every Time. Music is a powerful classroom tool that enhances cognition, improves memory, energizes sluggish learners, and makes lessons fun for students of all ages. This resource offers practical tips, suggestions, and lists of songs all personally tested by Eric Jensen during his own trainings and based on scientific research that supports music’s beneficial effects. Wake Up the Young Brain, High-Energy Music For K-5 Learners. This energizing music CD is scientifically paced at 120-165 BPM to activate the adrenergic (adrenaline) system. Its fun, upbeat tracks for younger students are perfect for transition times, games, marches, and lesson openings. Wake Up! the Brain will help you harness the natural energy of this age group and channel it into meaningful learning-rich activities. Your students will ask for these catchy, memorable tunes again and again. All the products above can be accessed online at

STAR LAB TRAINING VIDEO Are you a first-year teacher or new to a school district within the boundaries of ESU 10? It’s helpful to know what and who is ‘out’ there that has information to help with your new transition. ESU 10 Media Center has a wealth of instructional material to share that includes video streaming, DVD, VHS, kits, models, and more. One particular item that students of all ages have enjoyed for many years is STAR LAB, the portable planetarium.


But, before the Star Lab can be reserved and sent to your school, training is required. This 15-minute training video was just recently developed, along with a PDF document. The Set Up and Care document highlights all that is mentioned in the video. After watching the video, please print the PDF (it is just under the video window), sign and mail to: ESU 10, Media Center, PO Box 850, Kearney, 68848 or fax to 308-233-9066, Attn: Media Center, or scan and send to . To find the training video, go to ODIE Library and logon. Type in the search box, Star Lab Training Video and hit return. Then, click on the title and in the next window, ‘click here to view this video.’ You and your students are on the way to learn about the star system, constellations and so much more.

76 Plaza Blvd • PO Box 850 • Kearney, NE 68848-0850 • Ph: 308.237.5927 • Fax: 308.237.5920 •

Identifying High Ability Learners Dallas Lewandowski and I are co-coordinators of the ESU 10 High Ability Learners (HAL) Consortium. Services offered to member schools include consultations, assistance, free participation in ESU 10 sponsored student events, and workshops dealing with HAL identification, curriculum, and instruction. We have recently received requests from several schools for assistance with HAL identification procedures. The Nebraska Department of Education recommends the creation of an Identification Committee, which could include classroom teachers, administrator, school psychologist, counselor, gifted education coordinator, students, and parents/guardians. The purpose of the Identification Committee formed in step one is to develop or revise the action plan for identification, assess the current status of the district’s HAL program, determine the district HAL program’s mission, determine identification and evaluation procedures, and create procedures to identify underserved populations (Nebraska Department of Education, 1997). Creating an identification committee is beneficial because doing so helps to generate a feeling of shared ownership of the district HAL program, which is critical for the longterm success of the program.

by Emily Jameson, Professional Dev. Coordinator

on staff has an understanding of their roles within these processes in order to ensure the district HAL program continues to grow and thrive. I look forward to continuing to work with ESU 10 school districts as they work to improve their HAL programs by clarifying their procedures and processes for identification and evaluation. Nebraska Department of Education. (1997, April 15). High Ability Learners. Retrieved February 10, 2014, from Nebraska Department of Education: http://www.


When considering what measures will be included in a district’s HAL identification and evaluation procedures, it is best to include several indicators rather than relying solely on an IQ score or norm-referenced standardized test score. A balance of both objective and subjective sources of information will give a more complete and accurate picture of a given student. Another consideration for a district Identification Committee is the process for nominating a student to be considered for placement in the district HAL program, including who can nominate students. Many districts allow nomination by the classroom teachers, administrators, parents, peers, and self-nomination by the student. Once a student has been nominated, the Implementation Committee put the identification and evaluation procedures into place as they use these procedures to determine whether or not individual students qualify for the district HAL program. The procedures for nomination, identification, and evaluation must also be shared with all staff, and training must be provided to all staff. It is crucial that everyone

76 Plaza Blvd • PO Box 850 • Kearney, NE 68848-0850 • Ph: 308.237.5927 • Fax: 308.237.5920 •

The Mental “Save Button”

by Rosemary Cervantes, English Language

I had just finished teaching a week-long unit in Spanish to my class of high school sophomores. I had worked hard on the presentation, given the students the opportunity to practice in pairs, make creative posters of the key grammatical points, and did a review. Right before the unit test I asked if there were any questions. One student raised his hand and said “I don’t understand.” I asked him “What don’t you understand?” He replied, “Nothing.” How could this be possible? Dr. Martha Burns explains why some students remember information taught and others do not. The answer has to do with dopamine, a chemical in the brain that has to be present for information to be retained. Dopamine is released when we are rewarded, when a person gambles, takes drugs like cocaine, or has an exciting adventure. For many of us, learning about new things is a very rewarding adventure that causes dopamine levels to increase in the brain to help us retain that new information. But if dopamine levels are low, the new information literally goes in one ear and out the other. Dr. Burns calls dopamine the “save button” in the brain because when dopamine is present during an event or experience, we remember it; when it is absent, we forget it. There are regions in the brain - collectively called a reward center that is activated by dopamine which increases motivation and interest in activities. The more motivated and interested we are, the more dopamine is released and the better we remember it. It helps us to stay focused and repeat activities that were reinforced through positive outcomes. So how can teachers increase dopamine levels in students? Dr. Burns gives a 3-part solution: make learning NEW, EXCITING, and REWARDING. The importance of NEW in learning is something most teachers think about in planning lessons. This is one reason why teachers are eager to get ideas for new activities, new textbooks or new technology to help present content in a novel way. Increase NOVELTY in a classroom and you increase the dopamine levels of your students. The importance of EXCITING in learning is why teachers try to come up with ways to keep students interested. Dr. Burns mentions activities such as having students act out letters or new vocabulary, teach the computation of area by asking students to determine the amount of paint that would be needed to redecorate their bedroom, or teach students physics by asking them to build a bridge with toothpicks. These types of activities help keep the energy and excitement levels up in a classroom. Increase EXCITEMENT in a classroom and you increase dopamine levels of your students.

The importance of REINFORCEMENT in learning and task completion is well known. Reinforcement is one of the best ways to increase dopamine levels and assure retention of information. Dr. Burns suggests trying this in your class. “Ask a question that most of the students would not necessarily know, then seek out a student who normally does not raise their hand or try to respond, guide the student so he answers the question correctly in front of the entire class, then reward the student with a compliment. A day or so later, ask that same student the question again. What you will find is that student will remember that information even though he might 10 be ordinarily very poor at attending in class or forgetful. Carefully used, reinforcement is one of the greatest memory enhancers in the brain because it is so powerful at increasing dopamine.” Dr. Burns uses the acronym NEAR – New, Exciting And Rewarding to remember these keys to keeping dopamine levels high in the both the students’ AND the teacher’s brain. “Coming up with new fresh ways to present the information, making the content interesting and exciting whenever possible, and rewarding all students for their successes in the classroom keeps motivation and attention levels high and promotes retention. Dopamine can be addictive -- our goal as teachers is to get our students addicted to learning.” Burns, Martha. 2012. “Dopamine and Learning: What the Brain’s Reward Center Can Teach Educators.” Scientific Learning.

76 Plaza Blvd • PO Box 850 • Kearney, NE 68848-0850 • Ph: 308.237.5927 • Fax: 308.237.5920 •

Regional Principal Meetings

by Dallas Lewandowski, Prof. Dev. Coordinator

One of ESU 10’s Continuous Improvement goals is to bridge the gaps of time and distance through maximum utilization of resources. In an attempt to achieve this goal, the ESU 10 Principal Leadership team offered three regional training opportunities for principals in our service area. The three sites for this year’s meetings were held on February 11th at Mid-Plains Community College (Broken Bow), February 12th at ESU 10, and February 27th at the St. Paul Community Library. The ESU 10 Leadership Team facilitated these meetings and strive to achieve the following goals by creating awareness and understanding of the Nebraska Principal Framework.

Instructional Leadership The principal provides leadership to ensure the implementation of a rigorous curriculum, the use of effective teaching practices, and accountability for results.

The Effective Practices: Vision for Learning-The principal establishes and communicates a vision for teaching and learning that results in improved student achievement

Staff Leadership The principal uses effective personnel practices to select, develop, support, and lead high quality teachers and non-teaching staff.

Continuous School ImprovementThe principal leads a continuous school improvement process that results in improved student performance and school effectiveness.

Mitch Kubicek, superintendent of Dorchester Public Schools and Lee Wolfe, principal of Shoemaker Elementary in Grand Island shared their knowledge and expertise with

Culture for Learning The principal creates a school culture that enhances the academic, social, physical, and emotional development of all students. Systems Management The Principal manages the organization, operations, and resources of the school to provide a safe, efficient, and effective learning environment for all students and staff

the participants through Google Hangouts. The interviews shared will exemplify the leadership qualities needed to successfully lead school districts in the areas of Instructional Leadership and Continuous Improvement. The ESU 10 Leadership Team hopes principals find this to be a valuable training where they can gather to collaborate and network with other professionals and define effective practices in order to enhance teaching and learning in their school districts. To access the Nebraska Principal Framework visit: 11 Standards.pdf

76 Plaza Blvd • PO Box 850 • Kearney, NE 68848-0850 • Ph: 308.237.5927 • Fax: 308.237.5920 •

Leadership Lessons

by Denise O’Brien, Prof. Development.Coordinator

I had the opportunity to read the book All Systems Go: The Change Imperative for Whole System Reform by Michael Fullan in my Education Specialist program at Doane College. In the book, Fullan examines America’s attempts to reform the school system as a whole. Fullan provides several solutions to a systematic approach, showing that real change is both possible and sustainable. He discusses a no “finger pointing” consistent message that promotes a clear strategy and a consistent message that can only be completed by building capacity among the educational community. Three classmates and I pulled leadership lessons from the book that I felt were worth with sharing.

Leadership Lessons Why current reform is not working: • Pie in the sky approach, with unachievable goals • Unrealistic NCLB mandates that do not accurately record the result of state testing • Timelines are too short and often have punitive action if AYP is not met • The current system has no meaning and lacks credibility, it promotes “hoop-jumping” and stifles creativity and capacity building • The current system allows for a lack of fiscal responsibility Build Capacity among your staff: • Utilize the talents of the people in your organization • Collective capacity generates the emotional commitment and ownership to effective change • “All means all” - In order to establish the change desired all necessary parties should be included • Empower local decisions making • Implement “Intelligent Accountability”- build cumulative capacity and responsibility that is internally held and externally reinforced Develop and maintain a set group of core priorities and do them exceedingly well: • Strategies should have precision, focusing on the real issues • Leadership should stay on target, maintaining the primary goals and focus of the change • Precision will accelerate the quality of change. • Focus on a small number of interrelated things that you do well and do them relentlessly, getting better as you go

Student Learning: • Focus on Quality instruction - work towards getting a “small number” of solid practices right • Close the gap between higher and lower learners, continually working to decrease the gap between the two • Place your emphasis on higher order skills that allow for the development of confidence among your learners • Standards and assessment that focus around challenging learning goals is essential • Higher order skills needed for everyone in the system.


The Big Picture: • Understand that “whole system reform” goes beyond basic skills and basic components. • Resources go beyond money/utilize funds appropriately. • Abandon second hand approaches, utilize research and best practices to move forward • School, community, district, and government work together and individually to move education forward in the right direction Thanks to Andrew Farber, DW Holley, and Paul Pistulka for their contributions to this reflection.

76 Plaza Blvd • PO Box 850 • Kearney, NE 68848-0850 • Ph: 308.237.5927 • Fax: 308.237.5920 •

ConnectorNewsletter March 2014