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NCSA Launches Statewide Leadership in Technology Conference October 29-30, 2009

Nebraska Council of School Administrators

September 2009

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4 Educational Administrators Technology Conference 8 Race to the Top BY SARAH F. SULLIVAN, NCSA Staff Correspondent

5 Behind of the Scenes of Nebraska State Accountability



Nebraska P-16 Update

NAESP Representatives President . . . . . . . . .Sarah Williams President-elect . . . . . .Midge Mougey Past President . . . . . . . . . .Mary Yilk

A Tribute to Ron Raikes

We’re There Because We Care (NCSA Communications Campaign) Successful Conference BY BILL MOWINKEL,President, NASA; Superintendent, Grand Island Northwest Public Schools

11 11

NASA Representatives President . . . . . . . . . .Bill Mowinkel President-elect . . . . . . . .Jack Moles Past President . . . . . . . .Matt Fisher NASBO Representatives President . . . . . . . . . . .Rick Feauto President-elect . . . . .Robin Hoffman Past President . . . Sandy Rosenboom

BY MIKE DULANEY, Ph.D., Executive Director, NCSA and DAN ERNST, Ed.D., Associate Executive Director, NCSA


Chair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Matt Fisher Vice Chair . . . . . . . . . . . .Ryan Ruhl

BY JAN K. HOEGH, Assistant Director of Statewide Assessment, Nebraska Department of Education

BY MARTY MAHLER, Ph.D., Executive Director, Nebr. P-16 Initiative, and JOE ROWSON, Senior Fellow



Frank Hebenstreit Named NASES Distinguished Special Education Administrator Steven Rector Named 2009 Nebraska Superintendent of the Year


NCSA Announces 2009 Distinguished Service Award Winner


What is the Public’s Attitudes Toward Public Education? BY RON JOEKEL, Ed.D., NARSA President


NASES Representatives President . . . . . . . . . . . .Jane Byers President-elect . . . . .Peggy Romshek Past President . . . . .Ellen Stokebrand NSASSP Representatives President . . . . . . . .Kenton McLellan President-elect . . . .Randy Schleuter Past President . . . . . . . . .Ryan Ruhl NARSA Representative President . . . . . . . . . . . .Ron Joekel NCSA STAFF Dr. Michael S. Dulaney Executive Director/Lobbyist Dr. Dan E. Ernst Associate Executive Director/Lobbyist Kelly Coash-Johnson Training and Development Director Cami Cumblidge Finance and Membership Coordinator Dr. Bill Kenagy NCSA Principal Liaison Angie Carman Executive Administrative Assistant Carol Young Administrative Assistant

NCSA Mission The mission of the Nebraska Council of School Administrators (NCSA) is to be an effective leader for quality education and to enhance the professionalism of its members. NCSA Today is a benefit of membership in the Nebraska Council of School Administrators, 455 South 11th Street, Suite A, Lincoln, NE 68508. Telephone 402.476.8055 or 800.793.6272. Fax 402.476.7740. Annual membership dues are $325 (active members), $100 (associate members), or $30 (student members). NCSA Today is published quarterly. Send address changes to NCSA, Membership, 455 South 11th Street, Suite A, Lincoln, NE 68508. Copyright © 2009 by NCSA. All rights reserved.

Sarah F. Sullivan NCSA Staff Correspondent The opinions expressed in NCSA Today or by its authors do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Nebraska Council of School Administrators. SEPTEMBER 2009




Nebraska P-16 Update BY MARTY MAHLER, Ph.D., Executive Director, Nebraska P-16 Initiative, and JOE ROWSON, Senior Fellow




Leadership Changes: Governor Dave Heineman is the new Chair of the Nebraska P-16 Initiative Executive Committee. He was asked to take on this leadership role by Nebraska Commissioner of Education Roger Breed, University of Nebraska President J.B. Milliken and Liz Koop, President and CEO of the EducationQuest Foundation, all of whom serve as P-16 co-chairs. Gov. Heineman, in turn, has asked Senator Greg Adams, Chair of the Nebraska Legislature’s Education Committee, to also become a P-16 cochair. The changes are intended to help Nebraska P-16 focus clearly on critical statewide issues in education. Nebraska is one of 40 states that have a P-16 effort aimed at strengthening competitiveness through improved educational systems and the creation of linkages among education, business, labor, economic development, and state government. Statewide P-16 Goals As a first step in his new role, the Governor collaborated with the four co-chairs to establish eight statewide goals: 1. Adopt a college and career preparation core curriculum that requires four years of English and three years each of math, science and social studies in Nebraska school districts by the 2014-2015 school year. 2. Eliminate the academic achievement gap between Nebraska’s K-12 Caucasian students and its African American, Hispanic, and Native American students. 3. Develop an effective longitudinal data system that provides information on the Nebraska education system from preschool through post-graduate degree attainment and entry into the workforce to help align resources with strategic goals. 4. Improve Nebraska’s high school graduation rate to 90 percent. 5. Improve Nebraska’s college-going rate to the top10 tier nationally. 6. Provide affordable access for Nebraska students to attend Nebraska’s postsecondary institutions. 7. Improve time to degree completion and increase graduation rates of Nebraska’s postsecondary institutions. 8. Increase by five percent the number of teacher education graduates in the areas of science, technology,



engineering and mathematics (STEM) within Nebraska postsecondary institutions. Each goal will be led by one or more of the co-chairs. Other members of the P-16 Executive Committee and Leadership Council, as well as interested volunteers, will serve on the committees for each of the respective goals. NCSA Executive Director Mike Dulaney represents the Nebraska Council of School Administrators on both the executive committee and the leadership council of Nebraska P-16. In taking on his new role as chair, Governor Heineman emphasized that “action” and “change” are the two key words that will apply to the work of the P-16 Initiative. He said he will begin speaking regularly in public forums about the initiative and champion the changes needed to better serve Nebraska students and to help them move to higher levels of academic achievement. He noted that a recent report on results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) showed Nebraska’s African American students performing below students in the states of the Old South. “Governor Heineman and Commissioner Breed think this is unacceptable,” he said, “and it is the type of issue the Nebraska P-16 Initiative must address.” Governor Heineman added that “Nebraska students are competing in a technology-driven, knowledge-based, global free-market economy, changes must be made now. We cannot afford to lose another generation of minority students to this achievement gap. I believe we can address this challenge, but it requires change. The status quo is unacceptable.” Current Nebraska P-16 Projects: In addition to restructuring its governance and redefining its goals, Nebraska P-16 is also engaged in promoting significant programs in cooperation with the Nebraska Department of Education, and education leaders statewide. American Diploma Project (ADP) Nebraska has now become the 34th state to join the American Diploma Network. These states have pledged to work to make the high school diploma mean that the student who receives it is both college and career ready. The project has the support of Governor Dave Heineman, (continued)

STATEWIDE Commissioner of Education Roger Breed and the Nebraska State Board of Education. The ADP project was launched by Achieve, Inc. representing the business community, in partnership with the Education Trust. ADP’s 2004 report, Ready or Not: Creating a High School Diploma that Counts, defined academic benchmarks that describe the specific content and skills graduates must have mastered by the time they leave high school if they expect to succeed in postsecondary education or in high-performance jobs. Nebraska’s involvement in the ADP project will provide encouragement and support for Nebraska high schools to make sure their students are prepared to take full advantage of college and career opportunities in today’s technology-driven, global economy. Partnership for 21st Century Skills Nebraska P-16 is working with the Ne-

braska Department of Education and a committee of Nebraska education leaders to consider membership in the Partnership for 21st Century Skills Initiative. Most school improvement advocates recognize the need for a rigorous core curriculum that includes advanced courses in English, math, science and the social studies. The partnership members agree, but also recognize the need for certain skills needed for success in this century to be infused throughout the curriculum. These skills include critical thinking and problem-solving, communication, creativity, innovation, and collaboration. In addition, today’s student must be literate in information and communication technology, and possess certain key life skills such as leadership, ethics, accountability, adaptability, personal responsibility, selfdirection and social responsibility. The partnership calls for assessment of 21st century skills to be integrated into assessments of core academic subjects.

Regional P-16 Partnerships A coalition of education groups led by Nebraska P-16 and the EducationQuest Foundation has obtained a $140,000 grant from the Lumina Foundation for Education to assist in formation of partnerships in regions of the state to promote economic viability and growth based on improvements in educational attainment. The coalition recognizes that, in today’s economic environment, high levels of educational achievement are essential to making progress. Coalition members also recognize that, in most areas of Nebraska, communities must join together to share resources and create a critical mass of leadership if this type of effort is to succeed. The grant funds will be used to provide technical assistance to local leaders who agree to form regional coalitions for this important work. I

P-16 Executive Committee Governor Dave Heineman—Chair Senator Greg Adams—Co-Chair Public Policy Liz Koop—Co-Chair College Access Dennis Baack Stan Carpenter Marshall Hill

Richard Baier Craig Christensen Barry Kennedy

Roger Breed—Co-Chair K-12 Education James B. Milliken—Co-Chair Higher Education Matt Blomstedt Michael Dulaney Catherine Lang

John Bonaiuto Msg. James Gilg Tip O’Neill

P-16 Leadership Council Governor Dave Heineman—Chair Senator Greg Adams—Co-Chair Public Policy Liz Koop—Co-Chair College Access

Roger Breed—Co-Chair K-12 Education James B. Milliken—Co-Chair Higher Education

Dennis Baack John Bonaiuto Craig Christensen Judi gaiashkibos Barry Kennedy Gerry Oligmueller

Richard Baier Wendy Boyer Thomas Christie Msg. James Gilg Catherine Lang Tip O’Neill

Wendy Birdsall David Brown Michael Dulaney Marshall Hill Marc Lebaron Linda Pratt

Bob Whitehouse

Kerry Winterer

Linda Zinke

Matt Blomstedt Stan Carpenter Angel Freytez Kandy Imes Ann Nickerson Leroy Stokes





Educational Administrators Technology Conference


n October 29-30th, the Kearney Holiday Inn will play host to the Educational Administrators Technology Conference. Organized by the Nebraska Council of School Administrators and the Nebraska Department of Education, the conference will introduce educators to the multitude of technologies utilized in Nebraska schools. Today, educators can no longer afford to downplay the role of technology in students’ daily lives. Because they’ve grown up with it and access it regularly, students use technology with an ease that can be unsettling to most adults. Social networking sites, web surfing and video and online gaming are all around our students. Most have cell phones which enable them to access these things from anywhere, even in the classroom. This complete acceptance of an entirely digital world can have a negative impact when students are faced with the comparatively non-digital halls of their schools. Therefore, it is very important for educators to stay informed and on top of technology trends and to incorporate useful technology suited for learning inside the classroom.

October 29-30, 2009 To register, visit http://




The conference’s featured speaker is Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D, one of the country’s leading academic experts on K-12 school technology leadership issues. Dr. McLeod is an Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Educational Administration program at Iowa State University. He is also the Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), the nation's only center dedicated to the technological needs of school administrators. In 2003, Dr. McLeod and his CASTLE co-director, Dr. Joan Hughes, created the first graduate program in the country designed to teach school leaders about technology. Since then, he has worked with several corporate and organizational partners to bring schools into the digital 21st century. Microsoft, IBM, the National School Boards Association, the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the George Lucas Educational Foundation are only a few of the partners and supporters of CASTLE. In addition to all this, Dr. McLeod regularly blogs about technology leadership issues at “Dangerously Irrelevant” and is the creator of “LeaderTalk,” the first blog in the country written by and for school leaders. Dr. McLeod is also a co-creator of the wildly popular video, Did You Know? (Shift Happens). Just by looking at this brief résumé, it is obvious that Dr. McLeod is the perfect speaker for this year’s Educational Administrators Technology Conference. The numerous “Breakout Sessions” that will be offered during the conference are multi-faceted indeed, ranging from discussions about presentation programs like PowerPoint to teaching and learning by utilizing the ever popular iPods. Other presentations will focus on Web 2.0 Tools, using the free computer program Skype and understanding acceptable “digital” behavior. The conference will begin with a dinner at the Holiday Inn at 6 p.m. Thursday, October 29th, followed by Keynote Speaker Scott McLeod’s presentation. To sign up for registration, visit the conference’s website: Registration is $100 (includes dinner, lunch, CD of materials). I


Behind the Scenes of Nebraska State Accountability BY JAN K. HOEGH, Assistant Director of Statewide Assessment, Nebraska Department of Education



hey come from all areas of our state. They participate willingly, sharing their expertise and time in a collaborative manner to accomplish a challenging task. They leave at the end of each work session, exhausted from expending much intellectual energy, but they say, feeling a great sense of pride as a result of contributing to a worthwhile, educational charge. They, Nebraska educators, are a very important component in the development of Nebraska State Accountability (NeSA), the new state-generated tools that are required through the passage of LB 653 and LB 1157 for the purpose of comparative accountability. I, Jan Hoegh, have been privileged to work with these competent Nebraska educators, behind the scenes, since the onset of NeSA development. You, fellow Nebraska educators, need to be informed and aware of three facets of NeSA: The Participants, The Process, The Leadership. The Participants Our state lawmakers, in the articulation of assessment legislation, demonstrated a great deal of wisdom with the infusion of the requirement that Nebraska educators be involved in the work of assessment development for reading, mathematics, and science. As those educators were selected, two criteria were considered—educational role AND geographic locale. Leaders of the NeSA development process were committed to recruiting classroom teachers, building administrators, central office personnel, superintendents, staff developers, etc., who possess

Leaders of the NeSA development process were committed to recruiting classroom teachers, building administrators, central office personnel, superintendents, staff developers, etc., who possess a high level of content expertise in reading and/or mathematics (science yet to come). a high level of content expertise in reading and/or mathematics (science yet to come). Additionally, in an effort to solidify ownership of the product, it is paramount that our entire state is represented at each work session. If a STATE test is to be developed, educators from across the entire state must be part of the process! And so, at the onset of Nebraska State Accountability, many, many contacts were made from the Statewide Assessment Office to Educational Service Units and school districts, requesting involvement of educators with assessment development experience and content expertise. An over-whelming willingness to allow staff to contribute to this work has been the norm. The educators involved in the process can be described collectively as committed, conscientious, and collegial— without a doubt, qualified for the task of NeSA development! The Process For the purpose of this article, four test development processes (all involving the NeSA participants) are described: • Identification of concepts and indicators to be assessed. • Development of Tables of Specification. (continued on page 6)





A recent math test development workshop

• Development of Performance Level Descriptors. • Development of test items. *Important to note is that content standards revision is also a requirement of the current assessment legislation. Standards revision is occurring almost simultaneously with test development, creating some unique, but manageable, test development challenges. The first significant test development process involves determining which ‘pieces’ of the content standards become (or have the potential to become) part of the state test. Nebraska’s content standards are very comprehensive in nature; therefore, it is not feasible for all concepts and indicators to be assessed at the state level (some content remains the responsibility of the local district to assess). True to most NeSA test development processes, Nebraska educators who possess content expertise are convened to determine test content. The process begins with a thorough examination of the content standards and moves to a prioritization of concepts and indicators. This prioritization is the means to determining tested content and is the basis of all other test development processes. Once the initial identification of concepts and indicators occurs, the outcome of the process is examined by other groups who serve in advisory roles to NDE. For example, the Nebraska Advisory Committee (required by the legislation and appointed by Governor Heineman) offers input for consideration. In fact, the majority of test development processes go through several examinations by experts in the assessment field to ensure high




quality. The next step is the development of tables of specification (TOS). These documents, also known as test ‘blueprints,’ serve as a foundation for item writing and operational form item selection. Very important in the TOS development is the depth of knowledge label for each tested indicator (depth of knowledge is a means for determining cognitive complexity). Additionally, a well-developed table of specification denotes the number of items (typically a range) to be part of the operational test related to each of the identified tested indicators. Who participates in the development of tables of specification for NeSA? As one might anticipate, the Statewide Assessment Team calls upon Nebraska educators with content expertise to accomplish this step in the process. The third test development process is considered by most assessment experts to be the most challenging—the articulation of performance level descriptors. These documents are important in the item writing process and are a primary document in standard setting (which occurs following the first year of operation). Performance level descriptors for Nebraska State Accountability include three levels of performance (basic, proficient, advanced) and two levels of specificity—a policy definition for each level and a more expansive description that incorporates language from the standards document (specifically indicators that have potential to be tested). Finally, the step that occurs following all of the foundational work previously described—test item development. To date, well over 100 Nebraska educators have participated in excess of 25 days of reading and math item development. The fruits of their efforts are approximately 2,000 reading items and 1,800 math items! It is difficult to put into words all that item development encompasses. Participants are the recipients of a significant amount of new information, all relative to effective item writing, through a full day of item development training. They learn about Webb’s Depth of Knowledge, the tables of specification, the test style guide, the item writing template, item development review procedures, and so on. After gaining an understanding of necessary information, item writers work in groups to combine their content expertise with innovative thinking, which results in a test item bank. (continued on page 12)


A Tribute to Ron Raikes BY MIKE DULANEY, Ph.D., Executive Director, NCSA and DAN ERNST, Ed.D., Associate Executive Director, NCSA


ith heavy hearts we bid a fond farewell to a fellow Nebraskan, a statesman, an advocate for public education and children: Senator Ron

Raikes. While many of us were busy celebrating the Huskers’ first victory of the 2009 season, the news began circulating of the tragic event near Ashland, Nebraska. It was all too hard to believe. And yet even the circumstances of his death represented this man so well. Ron allowed his farm helpers to enjoy the Labor Day weekend while he continued on with the work and tasks at hand. He did things on his own and in his own way. Within the history of the Nebraska Legislature in the last few decades there were few members of the body who consistently commanded attention and respect simply by rising to speak on one issue or another. The late Senator Jerome Warner was such an individual. When he rose to speak on the floor of the Legislature you could hear a pin drop. All eyes and ears were open and trained on him to gain whatever insight he might offer on the issue of the day. Senator Raikes, who was appointed to replace Senator Warner upon his death, was also one of those who commanded such attention. His intelligence was renown, as was his self-deprecating, dry sense of humor. His words and actions are on public record. He faced the challenges of so many issues and battles over the course of his tenure in the Legislature, including and especially school finance and organization. And yet there is so much more about this man that many don’t know or realize, including and particularly his passion for early childhood education. He sponsored legislation that incorporated at-risk four-year-olds into the state aid formula and was instrumental in the creation of the Nebraska Birth-to-Three Endowments. Before “Senator Raikes” there was “Dr. Raikes” having earned a Ph.D. in agriculture economics. Long before becoming a Nebraska lawmaker, Ron Raikes was a college professor of economics in Iowa. Lobbyists often referred to him as “Professor Raikes” and recognized the instances when he would attempt to intellectualize a complicated issue with his colleagues in the Legislature, not always successfully. Ron was a man of reason and rationality. That is not to say that everything he said or advocated was universally accepted and agreed upon. To the contrary, many of the issues he faced and the solutions he suggested were found to be disagreeable, unpopular to some, if not many. But on all issues he addressed, from school finance to learning community to student assessment

Ron Raikes 1943-2009 and everything between, he did so with conviction and purpose in mind. One of the landmark issues of his career in the Legislature was the organization of Nebraska schools. “The time has come for us to move to a K-12 organization of school districts in Nebraska,” Senator Raikes said in his opening comments at the public hearing on LB 126 (2005). And so it would be. When Raikes appeared on the scene as a new member of the Legislature in 1997, there were 656 school districts in Nebraska, the bulk of which were Class I, elementary-only schools. When he left the Legislature in 2008 there were roughly 250 school districts in Nebraska, all K-12. School administrators were important to Ron Raikes. He recognized their roles within public education and counted upon their feedback on policy matters. He did not always agree with the viewpoints expressed by some school administrators, and was not afraid to publicly acknowledge these differences. But he did take the time to listen. And it is certainly noteworthy that he accepted every single invitation to speak at NCSA events and activities without hesitation. Dr. Ron Raikes sought to make a difference in the lives and futures of children in Nebraska. And so he did. I SEPTEMBER 2009




Race to the Top BY SARAH F. SULLIVAN, NCSA Staff Correspondent


n the coming months, Nebraska will take part in the nationwide federal competitive investment for school reform, Race to the Top. The fund, which at $4.35 billion is the largest of its kind, is meant to reward states for previous accomplishments in education and to inspire them to make future improvements. Each state will be individually challenged to put forth thorough plans that will fulfill the required four central areas of reform that will drive school improvement. These four areas of reform, as stated by the U.S. Department of Education, are: I. Adopting internationally benchmarked standards and assessments that prepare students for success in college and the workplace; II. Recruiting, developing, retaining, and rewarding effective teachers and principals; III. Building data systems that measure student access and inform teachers and principals how they can improve their practices; and IV. Turning around our lowest-performing schools. The applications, which will include the state’s strategies for reform, can be submitted at two different times, allowing those who did not receive grants in the first phase to try again. According to Nebraska Commissioner of Education Dr. Roger Breed, Nebraska will apply during Phase 1 of the competition, which requires the application to be submitted in December with the awards taking




place in March 2010. Phase 2 will call for applications in June 2010 with awards taking place in September 2010. Leading educators, education organizations and community leaders will join Governor Dave Heineman, State Board of Education President Kandy Imes, and Commissioner of Education Dr. Roger Breed in developing the application for Race to the Top grants. Up to this point, those involved have been in the planning stages, as the final grant requirements are not public until October 1, 2009. When the final criteria emerge, the real planning can begin. Though the application is in its formative stages, Dr. Breed believes that it will have a distinctive “Nebraska Touch” that will stand out among other states’ applications. The size of the grant will greatly depend on the extent of the individual states’ initiatives, however, if selected, Nebraska could be awarded up to $350-$400 million, which will be spread out over a period of four years. The money will then be used to push for reform in the aforementioned four major areas. As with any state, Nebraska has its own areas on which to improve, but according to Dr. Breed, the positives outweigh the negatives. In a recent visit to Nebraska, Michael Cohen, President of Achieve, Inc.—a bipartisan education organization that works with states to develop plans for stronger education—met with members of Nebraska’s P-16 Initiative, superintendents, officials with the Nebraska Department of Education and the Coordinating Commission for Post-Secondary Education in order to review Nebraska’s language, arts and math standards. “His comments were that Nebraska has good, if not excellent, standards that reflect the rigor necessary to have every student college and career ready upon graduation,” said Dr. Breed. Furthermore, Nebraska currently ranks number one in the ACT composite scores out of the 15 states that have 70 percent or more students taking the ACT. “This means that in every Nebraska high school, there is a level of rigor and excellence in terms of teaching that is available,” said Dr. Breed. “The next question to ask is this: is that available for all students and are all students availing themselves to it?” According to Dr. Breed, the number of Nebraska’s dropouts and the National Assessment of Educational Progress results indicate that the state’s education sys(continued on page 9)


We’re There Because We Care The Nebraska Council of School Administrators’ Statewide Strategic Communications Campaign (2009)


he Nebraska Council of School Administrators (NCSA) works to promote the value that quality school administrators bring to Nebraska communities throughout the state. Simply put, school administrators who provide outstanding leadership help create great schools. NCSA ensures that its members have the education, professional network and public support needed to provide that level of leadership. In 2008, NCSA successfully ran a communications campaign that promoted the value of strong leadership in schools. Two professionals offered personal stories on their motivations for becoming school administrators. They shared their desire to impact their students on a new level and to be a voice for their school and community. This year, NCSA is tightening its focus to demonstrate how school administrators personally connect with students to inspire their personal achievement and success. As an important member of a student’s learning and development, administrators provide a level of caring, guidance and support that help turn challenges into success stories. NCSA‘s new campaign, We’re There Because We Care, illustrates how administrators directly engage students to

become leaders and high achievers. The messages are one-minute radio interview segments with actual Nebraska school administrators. The central theme is that administrators believe their role is ultimately to inspire students to do their best. Their interactions with students are essential to their work and the most rewarding aspect of the job. The intended result is to demonstrate how school administrators care about each student’s success, which leads to success of the school as a whole. The spots will air on Nebraska Radio Network, the state’s most comprehensive news network, for several weeks leading up to the start of the school year. Nebraska Radio Network reaches citizens in hometowns across Nebraska by providing them with state news and information that affects their daily lives. Nebraska Radio Network is 39 stations strong, covering the entire state. All of its programming and paid announcements air during radio’s prime listening hours of 6 a.m.–7 p.m., Monday–Saturday. It’s used by state government, state businesses, and nonprofits as an effective, efficient way to create widespread awareness in Nebraska. To listen to the most recent radio segments, visit I

Race to the Top (continued) tem has a significant gap between those who do well in school and those who don’t. There are also disparities between students who are native speakers of English and those who are learning English while in school. None of these problems are any small matter, and in order for Nebraska to make a qualified attempt for Race to the Top funds, officials need to take a complete look at the P-16 education system. This includes examining input from social and educational resources and ensuring that there are always talented teachers and administrators in every Nebraska school, something Dr. Breed believes we already have. All in all, the Commissioner believes that Nebraska has as good a chance as anyone to secure funding through the competitive grant process. “If the idea is to reward incentives for future im-

provements, then I think with a unified front, we can demonstrate a strong willingness and capability to make future improvements,” he said. “I think we are well positioned to make a good run at it.” And even if Nebraska is unsuccessful in its attempts to receive a Race to the Top grant, Dr. Breed expressed his belief that, in any case, the process of putting the hopes and dreams for Nebraska’s future on paper is a good thing. “If you’re putting those [hopes and dreams] in a document and submitting it to the government, you have at least gone through a process to identify what is needed. So if we can’t get federal funding, we can at least come back to our state and begin to work on what is needed.” I





Successful Conference BY BILL MOWINKEL, President, NASA; Superintendent, Grand Island Northwest Public Schools



elcome back to a new school year. I would like to start by expressing my sincere appreciation in making the 2009 Administrators’ Days one of the largest ever. I want to thank the NCSA staff, Mike Dulaney, Dan Ernst, Kelly Coash-Johnson, Cami Cumblidge, Bill Kenagey, Angie Carman, and Carol Young for their efforts in making this a terrific conference. The Planning Committee of Terry Haack, Drew Harris, Troy Unzicker, Melanie Kreide, Sharon Placke, Robin Hoffman, Beata Rudloff, Kristine Reckeway, Midge Mougey, Brad Dahl, Leon Haith, Nancy Poppe, Joe Sajevic, Randall Klooz, Ryan Ricenbaw, and Don Wagner should also be commended on their efforts. Something was right, as demonstrated by the great attendance. Starting Wednesday morning with Dr. Breed’s presentation, I felt the challenges ahead for education but also the relief of strength in numbers as we are all in this together. A quote from Dr. Breed that hit home to me was, “Out of crisis comes opportunity.” Nothing can be truer; all successful leaders are at their best when they are needed the most. Attending Wednesday’s session I wondered what effect the infusion of the federal dollars will have on education in Nebraska in the future. It will definitely help sustain what we currently do, but will there be a price to pay in the future? Only time will tell, as I look forward to the new year. Mark Scharenbroich: what can I say, if he did not get you excited about school and life, you better see your doctor as something is wrong with you. Hearing this presentation two other times, I find each time I come away more inspired and re-energized. As a superintendent, I choose what classes to visit. I make sure I get to every first-grade class in the district each month to read to the students and just talk. Take time to listen—there is knowledge everywhere. The old saying of “out of the mouths of babes”—take time to listen to them. Another quote that has inspired me is:

A quote from Dr. Breed that hit home to me was, “Out of crisis comes opportunity.” Nothing can be truer; all successful leaders are at their best when they are needed the most.




“No man stands as tall as when he stoops to help a child.” Help students feel good about school and themselves. It is our job to let every student and staff member feel they have a “nice bike.” Thank you to Governor Heineman on attending the conference and sharing some of his vision for P-16 education in the state. It is nice to have a governor who recognizes the importance of education not in Nebraska for Nebraska but also globally. Students from Nebraska should be in demand across the nation and the world. My hope is some of the great things that happen in education in Nebraska can be shared nationally. Due to a District obligation, I was unable to attend Thursday’s social events. What I gleaned from those who did participate, I heard it was great. I know next year I will have to plan my events a little closer so I can participate. Friday morning was the NASA breakfast which we will try to advertise a little better in the future. The networking was great but attendance was low. The general session by Wavelength was outstanding with all present, laughing at the characters and shaking our heads that we know people like that. “Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective Educators” was easy to identify with and left you feeling really good. The last speaker of the conference sent us all out the door with the attitude that there is enough time in the day, we just need to use it better. With all that said I am looking forward to a great year and thank those of you who gave me the opportunity to serve as NASA president this year. I

Future Administrators’ Days July 28-30, 2010 August 3-5, 2011 August 1-3, 2012


Frank Hebenstreit Named NASES Distinguished Special Education Administrator



rank Hebenstreit of Norfolk was named the NASES Distinguished Special Education Administrator at the 2009 Administrators’ Days and will be formally recognized by his NASES peers at their Fall Conference in September at the Henry Doorly Zoo. Frank is the Director of Special Education for Norfolk Public Schools, serving in that role since 1992. He graduated from UNO and taught special education at Omaha Central High School, Millard Park Elementary School and Pierce Public Schools. Before becoming the Special Education Director, Frank developed and implemented Norfolk’s program for students with Behavior Disorders. Among Frank’s many accomplishments is the development of his district’s innovative way to meet the needs of students with mild to moderate disabilities in a setting that blurs the lines between general and special education. Through committee work and with the support of focus groups, Frank led the development of Achievement Centers in the Middle School, Junior High and Senior

High schools, which are open to all students, including verified students. The Centers provide assistance with assignments, learning strategies, assistive technology and peer tutoring. There are plans to expand to at least one elementary setting in the fall of 2009. In the nomination of Frank, Sally Kingston of ESU 8 wrote “Frank is a quiet, confident leader, who inspires others to do everything he can to help kids and teachers succeed. Frank sees his role as helping teachers see students with disabilities differently, by identifying their strengths and helping to build on those strengths.” In a letter of support, Norfolk Superintendent Marlene Uhing identified Frank as a “team player and a problem solver. He will approach very challenging issues and present possible solutions that meet the needs of the students, improve programs and services and yet find a balance between cost and doing the right thing for staff and students.” I

South Sioux City Community Schools District Superintendent

Steven Rector Named 2009 Nebraska Superintendent of the Year

S Rector

teve Rector, superintendent of the South Sioux City Community Schools has been named the 2009 Nebraska Superintendent of the Year. Rector was named July 30th at the Nebraska Council of School Administrators Conference. Rector will represent Nebraska in the National Superintendent of the Year Program, which is sponsored by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA). In November 2009 Steve will be recognized and honored at the annual Nebraska Association of School Boards / Nebraska Association of School Administrators State Education Conference. Nebraska Council of School Administrators Executive Director Dr. Michael Dulaney said, “Mr. Rector exemplifies outstanding dedication to his school district, the profession of school administration, and the promotion of public education.” Commissioner of Education Dr. Roger Breed said,

“Steve is a valued and respected leader in Nebraska public education. He has contributed significantly at local, regional and state levels. He has maintained a forwardlooking focus at all times and would, in my opinion, be an excellent representative of Nebraska as the 2010 Superintendent of the year.” Rector has served as superintendent since 1999 and began service to the South Sioux City Community Schools in 1984 as Principal at South Sioux City Senior High School. Special accomplishments include, President of the Greater Nebraska Schools Association and Board of Directors for the Nebraska Council of School Administrators. Rector has also served as Chairman of the Board for the South Sioux City Area Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors for Junior Achievement and Big Brothers/Big Sisters. I





NCSA Announces 2009 Distinguished Service Award Winner



he NCSA Distinguished Service Award is the organization's oldest and most prestigious award. This award is given annually to an individual who has demonstrated exceptional, distinguished leadership, has rendered outstanding and unselfish service and who has contributed significantly to quality education at the state and local level. NCSA is proud to announce the award was recently presented at Administrators’ Days to Director of ESU 16, Mrs. Marge Beatty. ESU 16 Director of Special Services Kris Elmshaeuser, presented the award. Marge Beatty has dedicated thirty-eight years of her life to children and education. She began her distinguished career as a teacher and has ascended to the Director of Educational Service Unit 16, a position in which

she remains an advocate for students. Elmshaeuser in her remarks said, “she has never lost sight of the children; the children have always and are still today, part of every decision she makes”. Beatty has been an outstanding leader for Nebraska Schools and Educational Service Units. NCSA Executive Director Dr. Mike Dulaney stated, “Marge Beatty is a leader among leaders and has made a genuine commitment to utilize available resources to best equip teachers and serve students. Her dedication and ability to recognize and nurture the development of talented individuals, has significantly improved leadership within ESU 16 and service unit schools.” Marge Beatty has served as an excellent role model for Nebraska school administrators. I

Behind the Scenes… (continued) An important component of item development is item review, which occurs within the item writer group AND later by an external group of item development experts. The review process ensures that each item is at the highest level of quality possible. Of course, there are numerous other processes that occur following the development and review of test items, such a field test, analysis of item statistics, operational test form development, an alignment study, etc. It is a fascinating opportunity to be ‘behind the scenes’ during each of these test development processes. The conversations that occur are high level, collegial in nature, and just downright impressive! At a recent item writing session, one participant and I engaged in a discussion about the process during a break. She was adamant in claiming that “item writing is the BEST professional development I have ever participated in!” Each of these processes involves give and take in that participants give of their talents and time, but take much professional learning back to their districts/organizations. The Leadership “It takes a village” is definitely an adage that is fitting for a task as monumental as the development of a state test. However, there is one person who is responsible for ensuring that the assessment legislation requirements come to fruition within the breakneck speed timeline. Dr. Pat Roschewski, Director of Statewide Assessment, is leading the way through this educa12



tional endeavor. Pat has outlined a vision for NeSA and has clearly defined the sequential steps that will lead to a high quality, summative assessment instrument. Other members of the assessment development “village” are my fellow assessment team members, John Moon, Ed Foy, Ted Larson, Jackie Naber, and Carol Bom. This team works collaboratively on a daily basis toward meeting NeSA test development goals, alongside numerous others at NDE who have NeSA responsibilities. Yes, the students and educators of Nebraska are in competent hands when it comes to the process of assessing student learning! With the onset of the 2009-10 school year comes a first for the state of Nebraska in the way it assesses student learning. On March 30th, the NeSA testing window begins, and all Nebraska students in grades three through eight, and grade eleven, will participate in Nebraska State Accountability-Reading (NeSA-R). While there are still many unknowns for educators, students, and parents regarding this process, the passage of time and experience will bring clarity. Most certainly Nebraska has quality schools, teachers, leaders, and outstanding students. At the forefront must be a collaborative effort to create the best possible learning experience for these students, one that includes an exemplary assessment system. My ‘behind-the-scenes’ perspective is that we are well on the way to such a system with NeSA! I

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What is the Public’s Attitudes Toward Public Education? BY RON JOEKEL, Ed.D., NARSA PresidentMiddle School Principal, Minden Public Schools; Chair, NCSA Executive Board


significant number of changes have occurred in America which raises a question of how they have or will impact public education. Some examples of these changes are: • An economic downturn • The election of the first minority president • The Democratic Party gaining control of the White House and both houses of Congress • Failing banks and other financial institutions • Collapse or bankruptcy of many businesses (large and small) • The collapse of the automobile industry • Unemployment like we have never seen • Corruption and unethical conduct in government and the business world • The stock market debacle • Stimulus packages and “bailouts” • An alarming ever-increasing federal debt For 41 years Phi Delta Kappa has conducted a poll with the Gallup Organization to obtain the public’s attitude toward the public schools. The results of the poll have become a valuable resource to policy makers at all levels and it is highly respected by policy makers in our nation’s capitol. The 41st Poll released in September is especially significant as the slogan for President Obama’s campaign was “change.” The question has the public’s attitudes toward public education changed is especially relevant. Phi Delta Kappa with their 41st Annual Poll is one of the first benchmarks available to see whether there are changes. Each year the poll includes new questions about emerging issues as well as previously asked questions to identify shifts in public opinion. TEACHERS In a speech to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on March 10, 2009, President Obama said, “From the moment students enter a school, the most important factor in their success is not the color of the skin or the income of the parents, it’s the person standing at the front of the classroom.” Over the years PDK has explored opinions about public school teachers and questions that were asked in 1984 when compared to this year’s poll revealed: • Today, almost three out of four Americans favor merit




pay for teachers. • Academic Achievement or improvement of students as measured by standardized tests, administrator’s evaluations, and an advanced degree such as a master’s or doctorate are the three most favored criteria for awarding merit pay. • When asked what personal qualities they would look for in a teacher resulted in some dramatic shifts compared to the same questions in 1983. 1. Dedication to the profession and enthusiasm was rated #1 this year, while it was rated as #6 in 1983. 2. Caring about students was #2 this year, but only #9 in 1983. 3. Intelligence was #3 this year but it was only #8 in 1983. 4. Ability to discipline was #3 in 1983, and was #7 this year. 5. Ability to communicate was #1 in 1983, and #4 in this year’s poll • Three out of four Americans believe we should have national standards for the certification of public school teachers. • Seven out of ten Americans would like a child of theirs to take up teaching as a career, the highest favorable rating in more than three decades. CHARTER SCHOOLS In a speech on June 22, 2009, to the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan reiterated his and President Obama’s support for public charter schools. During the last five years, American’s approval of charter schools has increased by 15 percent, as almost two out of three Americans now say they favor the idea of charter schools. However, Americans really don’t understand charter schools. They were almost evenly split on whether they were public schools, and if they are free to teach religion. The majority continue to believe charter schools can charge tuition and that schools can select the students who attend. NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND How do Americans feel about NCLB after its implementation over seven years ago? (continued on page 15)

GA LLUP SURVEY • Support continues to decline as almost one out of two Americans view it unfavorably • Only one out of four Americans say it has helped schools in their community • By a two-to-one margin, Americans continue to support one element of NCLB, that being annual testing of students in grades three through eight. • Not only do Americans support testing, they also support using a single national test, rather than letting each state use its own test. DROPOUTS Dropouts have become a “hot topic” in many circles, and four new questions were included in this year’s poll to ascertain if Americans agree that not completing high school is a serious problem, and what might be done to reduce the number of dropouts. • Almost nine out of ten Americans believe the dropout rate in the U.S. is either the most important or one of the most important problems facing high schools today. • Eight out of ten Americans said that students failing too may classes or leaving school to take a job or to be a parent are the main causes of dropping out. • Offering more interesting classes was the suggestion offered most often when asked what could help reduce the dropout rate. EARLY CHILDHOOD/PRESCHOOL The President and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan have

Congress passed and the President signed the American Recovery Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the single largest government investment in the economy.This $575 billion spending plan included almost $91 billion for education and related programs.When asked how the education stimulus funds should be utilized,Americans said the first priority should be to keep teachers who were slated to be laid off, followed by providing support to the lowest performing schools.

gone on record supporting investments in early childhood education, and the economic stimulus legislation earmarked more than $4 billion in additional funds to support these programs. Questions in the poll were directed to looking at the importance Americans assign to assisting children and their families before they enroll in 1st grade. • Americans strongly endorse making either half-day or full-day kindergarten compulsory for all children. • On the other hand, Americans are not yet ready for children to start school at age four. • Almost six out of ten Americans said they would be willing to pay more taxes to fund free preschool programs for those children whose parents are unable to pay for them. • When asked where preschool programs should be located, and half of Americans believe preschool programs should be housed in public schools. Eighteen years ago the same question found Americans were evenly divided suggesting public schools, parent’s workplace, or special preschool facilities. ECONOMIC STIMULUS Congress passed and the President signed the American Recovery Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the single largest government investment in the economy. This $575 billion spending plan included almost $91 billion for education and related programs. When asked how the education stimulus funds should be utilized, Americans said the first priority should be to keep teachers who were slated to be laid off, followed by providing support to the lowest performing schools. IMPLICATIONS FOR SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS So what can school administrators glean from the poll concerning attitudes of John Q. Public towards the public schools? Here are is a brief summary of what to look for. • Watch for merit pay and issues surrounding it • National standards for the certification of teachers • Growth and support for charter schools • Support for annual testing of students and support for a single national test • Increased emphasis on reducing the dropout rate • Continued discussion on early childhood/preschool education with emphasis on schools being the preferred location for their existence. • Disagreement how “stimulus funds” for education should be used. If you are interested in the results of the entire 41st Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Annual Poll on the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools, go online to: or Phi Delta Kappa International, 408 No. Union Streets, Bloomington, IN 47404. I




CALENDAR OF EVENTS SEPTEMBER 16 16 16 17 17-18 23 23 26 28 29 30 30 30 30-Oct 1

NSASSP Region I NSASSP Region IV NAESP Region II NASA Region I NASES Fall Conference School Law Update NASA Region V NCSA Tailgate Hispanic/Latino Summit NSASSP Region V NSASSP Region III NASES Region I NAESP Region III Leadership Conf. for Assessment

5:30 p.m. 1:30 p.m. 5:30 p.m. 4:00 p.m. 1:00 p.m. 9:00 a.m. 12:00 p.m. 3:00 p.m. 8:00 a.m. 9:00 a.m. 2:00 p.m. 9:30 a.m. 2:00 p.m.

Cortland Bar & Grill ESU #10 Old Matress Factory Harding & Shultz Henry Doorly Zoo Holiday Inn ESU #13 NCSA Embassy Suites WNCC NECC ESU #6 NECC Cornhusker Hotel

Cortland Kearney Omaha Lincoln Omaha Kearney Scottsbluff Lincoln LaVista Sidney Norfolk Milford Norfolk Lincoln

9:00 a.m. 8:30 a.m. 6:00 p.m. 9:00 a.m. 5:30 p.m. 9:00 a.m. 9:00 a.m. 9:00 a.m. 12:00 p.m. TBD 8:30 a.m. 10:00 a.m. 8:30 a.m. 9:00 a.m. 9:00 a.m. 8:00 a.m. 8:30 a.m. TBD 8:30 a.m. 4:00 p.m. 8:30 a.m. 12:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m.

ESU #13 Country Inn & Suites TBD Ramada Inn German Am. Society NCSA Community Center ESU #3 TJ’s Doane College Cornhusker ESU #10 Lifelong Learning Center ESU #3 UNO Holiday Inn Civic Center ESU #3 ESU #10 Evening w/ Friends Wayne State College ESU #10 Holiday Inn

Scottsbluff Lincoln Lincoln Kearney Millard Lincoln Bridgeport Omaha Norfolk Crete Lincoln Kearney Norfolk Omaha Omaha Kearney Gering Omaha Kearney Milligan Wayne Kearney Kearney

9:00 a.m. 2:00 p.m. 2:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 8:00 a.m. 9:00 a.m.

Papillion LaVist Cen. Off. NECC NECC Embassy Suites Embassy Suites Embassy Suites

Papillion Norfolk Norfolk LaVista LaVista LaVista

OCTOBER 5 5-6 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 12 12 14 14-15 16 19 19 19-20 20 21-22 21 21 22 29-30

Student Discipline Workshop Leadership for Continuous Impr. NSASSP Executive Board Student Discipline Workshop NSASSP Region II NCSA Executive Board Meeting NASES Region V Student Discipline Workshop NASES Region III NAESP Region I Assistant Principals Conference NASA Region IV Leadership for Continuous Impr. NASES Region II NAESP Region II Paraeducators Conference Leadership for Continuous Impr. NASA Region II Leadership for Continuous Impr. NASA Region I NASA Region III NASES Region IV Educators Technology Conf.

NOVEMBER 13 18 18 18 18-20 20

NASES Region II NAESP Region III NSASSP Region III NASA Executive Board NASB/NASA State Convention NASA General Membership

NATIONAL CONVENTION DATES ASBO – October 23-26, 2009 – Chicago, IL CASE – November 5-7, 2010 – San Diego, CA AASA – February 11-13, 2010 – Phoenix, AZ NASSP – March 12-14, 2010 – Phoenix, AZ NAESP – April 8-11, 2010 – Houston, TX CASE – July 9-11, 2009 – San Francisco, CA 16



Gold Sponsorships Ameritas


Al Eveland 5900 O St., 1st Floor Lincoln, NE 68510 402-467-6968

Barry Ballou 455 S. 11th St. Lincoln, NE 68508 402-705-0350

CDI Paul Copeland 130 South Town Centre Blvd. Markham, Ontario L6G 1B8

Energy Education Karen Mullins 5950 Sherry Lane, Ste 900 Dallas, TX 940-235-7598

Learning Together Julie Smith 5509 B W. Friendly Ave. Ste 201 Greensboro, NC 27409 866-921-0000

Horace Mann Cindy Dornbush 11329 P St., Ste 122 Omaha, NE 68137 402-331-0509

National Insurance Mike Boden 9202 W. Dodge Rd., Ste 302 Omaha, NE 68114 800-597-2341

National Institute For Direct Instruction Kurt Engelman PO Box 11248 Eugene, OR 97440 541-485-1973

SchoolFusion Andy Houpt 999 18th St., Ste 2150 South Tower Denver, CO 80202 800-906-0911

Smart Technologies Chris Kidwell 20 South Clark St. Chicago, IL 60603 913-385-0806

TRANE Danny Szegda 5720 S. 77th St. Ralston, NE 68127 402-935-9040

UNICO Thomas Champoux 4435 O St. Lincoln, NE 68510 402-434-7252

Virco, Inc. Matt Kirkland PO Box 6356 Lincoln, NE 68506 402-328-8031 fax: 402-328-8162

Silver Sponsorships Jostens

Sports Express

Don Bartholomew 309 S. 8th St. Broken Bow, NE 68822 308-872-5055

Joey Carder 425 Cedar St. Pleasant Dale, NE 68423 402-408-6741

Bronze Sponsorships ARCHI + ETC. LLC Stacy LaVigne 6500 Holdrege St., Ste 007 Lincoln, NE 68505 402-429-7150; fax: 402-464-6810 Awards Unlimited Larry King 1935 O St., Lincoln, NE 68510 402-474-0815 Benchmark 4 Excellence Rick Imig 1411 Rodeo Bend Dickinson, TX 77539 281-910-0113; fax 281-946-5031 Cannon Moss Brygger & Associates, P.C. Bradley Kissler 2535 Carleton Ave., Ste A Grand Island, NE 68803 308-384-4444; fax: 308-384-0971 D.A. Davidson & Co. Paul Grieger 1111 N. 102nd Ct., Ste 300 Omaha, NE 68114 402-392-7986; fax: 402-392-7908 DLR Group Pat Phelan, Whitney Wombacher 400 Essex Ct., Omaha, NE 68114 402-393-4100; fax: 402-393-8747

LifeTrack Services, Inc. Cassie Dunn 1271 Port Dr., Clarkston, WA 99403 800-738-6466; fax: 509-758-2162 Nebraska Public Agency Investment Trust Becky Ferguson PO Box 82529, Lincoln, NE 68501 402-323-1334; fax: 402-323-1286 Union Bank and Trust Charity Kuehn PO Box 82535, Lincoln, NE 68501 402-323-1460; fax: 402-323-1195 University of Nebraska–Lincoln Patricia Fairchild 114 Ag Hall, Lincoln, NE 68583 402-472-9184; fax: 402-472-9024 US Bank Tim Schlegelmilch 233 S. 13th St., Lincoln, NE 68508 402-434-1134; fax: 402-434-1007


Nebraska Council of School Administrators 455 So. 11th Street, Suite A • Lincoln, NE 68508-2105 RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED

4th Annual NCSA Tailgate Party September 26, 2009 NU vs. Louisiana-Lafayette

In appreciation for your dedication to schools in the state of Nebraska and to NCSA, we would like to invite you to join your NCSA friends for some food, refreshments and fun as we prepare for the Huskers vs. Louisiana-Lafayette game. Time: 3:00 pm (kickoff at 6:00 pm)

If you don’t have tickets, come anyway, we will have a great time! THANK YOU to the following sponsors: Ayars & Ayars, Awards Unlimited & The Thompson Co.

Our office is located in downtown Lincoln (6 blocks from Memorial Stadium) on the corner of 11th & K. Please note, there will be limited parking available. Please RSVP to or call 800/793-6272. We look forward to seeing you there!

Profile for NCSA

NCSA Today Magazine, Fall 2009  

NCSA Today Magazine, Fall 2009

NCSA Today Magazine, Fall 2009  

NCSA Today Magazine, Fall 2009

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