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NCSA TODAY A PUBLICATION OF THE NEBRASKA COUNCIL OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS

Senator Sullivan’s Educational Vision Commissioner Blomstedt: Vision for NDE

Roadmap for the Future of K-12 Education in Nebraska

Criminal Background Inquiries

Nebraska Council of School Administrators

Spring 2014

www.NCSA.org


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CONTENTS

2 Senator Kate Sullivan’s Educational Vision Becomes Law in LB 1103 BY ELISABETH REINKORDT

3 Commissioner Blomstedt Provides Vision for NDE BY ELISABETH REINKORDT

4 LB 907 Criminal Background Inquiries on Employment Applications BY DR. KEVIN CHICK

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NARSA China Trip a Hit

NCSA EXECUTIVE BOARD 2013-2014 Chair ............................Chris Stogdill Vice Chair.......................Tim DeWaard Past Chair....................... Dave Kaslon NASA Representatives President ........................Mike Teahon President-elect ..................Mike Apple Past President .................Tim DeWaard NASBO Representatives President .....................Kelli Ackerman President-elect ..................Rick Haney Past President ................... Jill Pauley

BY BOB MEYERS

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NCSA Introduces Megan Hilabrand, Event Coordinator

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The Final Step BY DR. MICHAEL TEAHON

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EHA New Dual Offerings Give Schools Greater Flexibility

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NASES Representatives President........................Brenda Tracy President-elect.............Sally Giittinger Past President ..................Jane Moody

Affiliate Awards

NSASSP Representatives President .....................Brian Tonniges President-elect............ Ryan Ricenbaw Past President ................Chris Stogdill

Tech-savvy Superintendnets Trading Places on the NITC

NARSA Representative President ........................Larry Sweley

BY GREG LONG

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NAESP Representatives President .......................Mike Janssen President-elect....................Rod Engel Past President ...............Ann Jablonski

BY TOM ROLFES NCSA STAFF

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How to Create a Plan to Go Green BY DAVE RAYMOND

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A Vision for the Future of Education BY DR. MIKE DULANEY and DR. DAN ERNST

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National Convention Dates Upcoming Events Calendar of Events

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 $335 (active members), $100 (associate members), or $40 (student members). NCSA Today is published quarterly. Send address changes to NCSA, Membership, 455 South 11th Street, Suite A, Lincoln, NE 68508. Copyright ©2014 by NCSA. All rights reserved.

Dr. Michael S. Dulaney Executive Director/Lobbyist Dr. Dan E. Ernst Associate Executive Director/Lobbyist Megan Hillabrand Event Coordinator Amy Poggenklass Finance and Membership Director Carol Young Executive Administrative Assistant Michelle Smith Administrative Assistant Elisabeth Reinkordt Communication Specialist The opinions expressed in NCSA Today or by its authors do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Nebraska Council of School Administrators. SPRING 2014

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ED UCATION ROAD MAP

Senator Kate Sullivan’s Educational Vision Becomes Law in LB 1103 BY ELISABETH REINKORDT, Communications Specialist

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he pinnacle accomplishment of the Education Committee of the Legislature this session was the passage of Legislative Bill 1103, which was signed into law by Governor Heineman on April 2, 2014. The bill, which sets forth a strategic planning process led by the Education Committee for developing a statewide, comprehensive set of goals for education and related statutes, was Education Committee Chair Kate Sullivan’s priority this session. “This has never been done at the state level,” Senator Sullivan said. NCSA Today spoke with her a couple of weeks after the bill passed to talk about her vision in seeing the bill into practice. “There are lots of issues and entities interested in education in Nebraska, but we’re lacking a common vision,” Sullivan began. “We are having siloed discussions, despite a lot of overlap of fields.” While she envisions this process as focusing the sharing of concerns, she added that it is also “about recognizing that we have more things that are the same than are different. We need to bring our ideas together and make common goals.” The bill tasks the Education Committee with undertaking the work, but the process is deliberately loosely structured. “It’s a bit uncomfortable,” Sullivan said. “There’s no chart, no path,” but rather, Sullivan is hoping to keep an open mind for how to structure input from a wide variety of stakeholders. Senator Sullivan looked to what other states had done, and decided this process would be a worthy approach for Nebraska. However, rather than hiring a consultant, Sullivan pressed for the process to be owned instead by the Education Committee. Acknowledging that they were all entering into uncharted territory, she nonetheless feels this will be the best means for crafting goals that are relevant and meaningful in moving forward. “We spend a lot of time talking about money,” she added, “and not a lot of time talking about our goals.” The Education Committee met in late April to begin identifying their mission, vision, and goals. Senator Sullivan emphasized that partnership with the Nebraska Department of Education and the State Board was going to serve as the primary nexus of communication between the committee and the broader education community. 2

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She urged administrators to keep up with communications from NDE to stay informed and give feedback throughout the process. “We are going to be keeping it big picture this year,” she said, adding that “finding commonalities is key.” As the process evolves, Senator Sullivan explained that Senator Kate Sullivan rather than having a series of focus groups, which she felt would overburden already time-crunched administrators, that she and her committee will be seeking input from stakeholder organizations such as NCSA. She suggested that while she and her committee members are “only an e-mail away,” that it would be quite helpful for education-related organizations representing different sectors and from all across the state to have internal conversations and then present a response on behalf of the constituency. “It would be helpful for us if NCSA developed a white paper or the like for us to reference,” she suggested. “We certainly welcome input from individuals, but having a collective response will be important.” It is possible that there will be a hearing or a survey at some point this summer, Sullivan explained, but that there is a plan to have three public hearings in the fall— each of them in different settings. At this point, she envisioned that might include a K-12, an early childhood, and a post-secondary setting. The process, she said, will be a multi-year one, and as the framework develops, it is possible that some entity outside of the Legislature will carry the work forward. So far, she said, the feedback have been very positive. One piece she added was that she would like to see some student involvement in the process, and asked that those who work with students think of ways they might get involved. “Don’t hesitate to contact us,” she stressed. “This is a big task, and it’s going to make us all think.” n


COMMISS IONER’S UPDATE

Commissioner Blomstedt Provides Vision for NDE BY ELISABETH REINKORDT, Communications Specialist

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oday’s Kindergarteners will judge the education system of the future based on the way it is for them now,” muses Commissioner of Education Matt Blomstedt, four months into his tenure as the chief executive of education in Nebraska. With this long view, it is clear Blomstedt takes the helm quite seriously. NCSA Today spoke with the new Commissioner in late April to get an in-depth look at his vision for the Nebraska Department of Education’s role in the state’s education community. Blomstedt, 41, comes to NDE with a strong background in education policy. He left his position as the executive director of the ESU Coordination Commission, and prior to that, he spent time as a research analyst for the Education Committee of the Legislature. Without the traditional ladder ascension to the Commissioner’s office, Blomstedt acknowledges his path is different from past commissioners. “I’m not sure who’d ever be prepared to become Commissioner—the past ones make it look easy!” he joked. “This is an agency with 500 employees with diminished resources. Just like school districts, we’re faced with the same economic trends,” including multiple years of budget cuts. With limited resources, Blomstedt stressed the need for making what he refers to as “key investments.” Among these, he prioritized data, knowledge around technology, P-16 bridging, and a shift in the way interactions with the Legislature are shaped. In terms of data, Blomstedt focused on the practical. “The way we currently organize data collection is full of opportunities to build leadership systems,” he said. “We need to make sure it’s not just a burden, and we need to build efficacy and efficiency,” he added. At this point, he said, “we’re using data and data analysts at their lowest level—we need to move to a place where we’re building the data we’re collecting into information that’s useful at all levels.” He added that while some teachers, principals, and other administrators have taken to data analysis with excitement, not all want to or should have to. Furthermore, he added, “we need to be prepared for the next level—student data tracking,” as students who track their own progress and analyze their own data can

be very powerful as a learning tool. Fundamentally, he stressed that the state’s education community as a whole needs to start taking a broader view of data—one that is not about accountability alone, but about myriad possible and positive uses of information being collected. More than once, Commissioner Matt Bomstedt Blomstedt wanted to reminded readers that “this agency [NDE] is part of a system,” not the top of a hierarchy. A recurring theme in Blomstedt’s vision is an emphasis on systems thinking. With a Masters degree in Community and Regional Planning among his credentials, this way of looking at complex challenges certainly makes sense. He made a clear distinction between what role the Department has according to statute and what roles it is allowed to or can reasonably play in a state system of education. “There is a lot we have to do, but there is more we get to do,” he said, “and that—what we get to do—that’s where we get to make a difference.” Rather than focusing on what’s mandated, Blomstedt wants the department to take a different approach. “Regulation and compliance is the easy path for NDE—and as Commissioner, that’s not what I want the agency to do,” he said. “If we focus only on compliance, this can diminish our focus on resources.” For many at NDE, this will be a mindset shift. “We are in the process of building systems of support,” Blomstedt said, adding that ideally, the state education agency’s contribution to a system of education should focus on answering the question: “What support is needed across the state that’s better done at the state level?” In many ways, he said, the conversation surrounding LB 1103, Senator Kate Sullivan’s priority bill on education visioning, has “freed us up to think bigger (continued on page 4)

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S CHOO L PERSONNEL ISS UES

LB 907 Criminal Background Inquiries on Employment Applications BY DR. KEVIN CHICK, President, NASPA

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ebraska School Districts need to be aware of LB 907 and how the legislation might impact current employment application practices. Section 12 of LB 907 prohibits public employers from requiring applicants for employment to disclose their criminal background history as part of the application process until the public employer has determined that the applicant meets the employer’s “minimum employment qualifications.” School districts are permitted to require an applicant for employment to disclose the applicant’s criminal record or history relating to “sexual or physical abuse” on the initial applications before assessing whether the applicant meets the minimum employment qualifications. The legislation does not prohibit public employers from creating an employment application which “conspicuously states that a criminal history record information check is required by federal law, state law, or the employer’s policy.” One of the biggest issues that school districts in Nebraska will need to address is what “minimum qualifications” means. Because once it has been established that a candidate has met minimum qualifications, school districts can require candidates to answer questions related to their criminal background. Since the Legislature has provided no guidance as to the definition of “minimum qualifications,” We recommend that each District contacts their attorneys to en-

sure that their application process complies with LB 907. The board of the Nebraska Association of School Personnel Administrators (NASPA) collaborated on this article. Please read below for more information about NASPA. In 2004, a group of Nebraska School Personnel Administrators met to form a professional group to promote the work and goals of bringing high quality professionals to work in Nebraska schools and the association was formed. NASPA’s mission is to foster the staffing of school systems with the highest qualified individuals; encourage and assist in the development and utilization of sound school personnel administration practices; and generally advance the cause of public education. Since 2009, NCSA (Nebraska Council of School Administrators) has partnered with NASPA to help grow membership throughout the state of Nebraska as well as provide a broader scope of services to meet the needs of school administrators across the state. NASPA also enjoys a relationship with AASPA (American Association of School Personnel Administrators) and is an integral part of the annual Missouri Valley Personnel Administrators Annual Conference. Since its inception, NASPA has hosted an annual two-day conference at the Lied Lodge and Conference Center in Nebraska City each June. Superintendents, principals and individuals with hiring, evaluation, payroll or benefits responsibilities are welcome to be members with payment of annual dues of $25. n

Commissioner Blomstedt Provides Vision for NDE (continued from page 3) by creating permission to be creative.” As this process moves forward, Blomstedt urged all sub-entities in education—including the members of NCSA—to bring their voices forward. Further emphasizing this move toward viewing NDE as part of a system, Blomstedt talked about the impact of LB 438 and the development of a state accountability model. As the State Board of Education works to develop accountability systems, he emphasized that all layers of the system play a role in ensuring student success. “As the state education agency, we too are accountable for student success,” he said. “We have to witness what is happening in schools, and help in finding solutions. We can’t intervene without taking responsibility.” Blomstedt added that it is tantamount for administrators to take an active role 4

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in communicating their concerns and successes with the department. Noting challenges with NeSA and the assessment system, he stressed that “there are so many resources in districts to be tapped instead of making top-down decisions—we need you to tell us what is and isn’t working.” Finally, Blomstedt would like the state’s education system to work in such a way that agencies like NDE free up time so that educators can do things they know make a difference. “If you as a principal know that standing outside your school every morning and giving high fives as the students walk in makes a difference, we need to find ways to support that,” he said. “What policymakers want is the end result—we want students to succeed. It’s up to all of us to figure out how we do it.” n


NCS A NEW S

NARSA China Trip a Hit BY BOB MEYERS

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ctober 9, 2013 found 21 Nebraskans in Sea-Tac International Airport in Seattle ready to board the plane for Beijing, China and to begin a tenday journey that promised to be the trip of a lifetime for most of us. During our five days in Beijing our tour guide, Kathy informed us about Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, The Summer Place, The Great Wall of China, the site of the 2008 Olympic Games, and the Capital Museum of China. A highlight was the rickshaw ride through ancient Beijing (Hutong) and having a meal with a family there. Shopping was on the agenda as well with visits to a jade factory, a pearl farm and a major shopping market. We learned to eat with chopsticks and enjoyed traditional Chinese cuisine, including Roast Peking Duck. Most of us went on the optional trips to a play about a Kung Fu specialist and to an amazing acrobatic show.

Flying from Beijing to Xi’an was next on the agenda. Here our lovely guide Minnie provided a tour of the city, and a visit to the ancient city wall. In Xi’an we visited the famous Terra-Cotta Warrior Museum, recognized as the eighth wonder of the world. Visits to a silk factory, the Wild Goose Pagoda, the Ancient Drum Tower and the Muslim Street Markets rounded out our stay in one of the oldest cities in China. Full days and lots of interesting and informative sights left us tired and ready to return to our homes. I think all would agree that this was an excellent experience and one of the best travel bargains around. Another trip is planned for October 8-17, 2014 with a similar agenda. For more information, contact Bob Meyers at bobmeyers@canadatj.com, rlmeyers@gmail.com, or by calling 402-592-8991. n

NCSA Introduces Megan Hillabrand, Event Coordinator

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he Nebraska Council of School Administrators is proud to announce their new Event Coordinator, Megan Hillabrand. As Megan grew up with a father who devoted to his career to public education, the importance of education and its possibilities was ingrained in her. She chose to study education, becoming a secondary teacher. Her passion for others and the way that people affect the world drove her to focus on the social sciences. After gaining her Bachelor's of Science in Education from the University of Nebraska at Omaha midyear, she began her career as a substitute teacher in many local school districts in the Omaha area until she received a full-time position at Blair High School, utilizing summers to teach at Westside High School. After a few years of teaching, she chose to explore other venues for her skill set. Her position as the residency coordinator in the Surgical Education Program of Creighton University supplied her with the opportunity to work with a diverse population of medical students and surgical residents. During this time she was also afforded the opportunity to further her own education by successfully completing 15 hours of master’s courses in Creighton’s Liberal Studies Program. Following her suc-

cess at Creighton, she chose to further hone her coordination skills by joining a local engineering firm. Time and experience encouraged reflection and she felt a calling to return to her true passion, public education. She considers her experience gained outside of the public education realm to be invaluable Megan Hillabrand and know it will enhance her success with the NCSA. Utilizing her work experience, along with her lifelong passion for education and the support of it, she knows she will continue to grow the professional development programs and great work of the NCSA. She looks forward to working with each of our affiliate groups and getting to know our members, and we are excited that Megan is a part of our team. n

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AF F IL IATE LEADERS HIP

The Final Step BY DR. MICHAEL TEAHON, NASA President

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nother school year has flown by as we are into the final days and weeks of the year. Each year involves a flurry of events including games, concerts, tests, speeches, homework, track meets, and programs. The events are frequent, continuous, and come at a rapid pace. It is easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees. While all of the events that occur within a school year are important at some level, the graduation ceremony represents everything that we do as an organization or entity. Our final product is presented in this amazing celebration. Everyone—from preschool and kindergarten teachers to AP Calculus instructors, the school secretaries and custodians—is rewarded by the accomplishment of these young men and women now ready for the next phase of their lives. Graduation is the highlight of a school year! In the fall of 2009, I received a note in the mail from a lady in Gainesville, Florida. Her father had passed away, and the family discovered his high school diploma. She took time to send the 16 x 22 inch diploma on rolled parchment, and it is currently displayed in our district office. The following is written on the diploma: “The Columbian High School, Gothenburg, NE. It is hereby certified that HERBERT HENRY BRESTEL has honorably completed the Course of Study, as prescribed by the Board of Education for the High Schools, and is awarded this DIPLOMA. In witness Whereof, Our signatures are hereunto affixed at Gothenburg, Nebraska, this 24th day of May, 1912 A.D.” It is overwhelming to think about the history that has occurred in the 102 years since Mr. Brestel’s graduation. Numerous military conflicts have occurred including both World Wars, the stock market crash that resulted in the Great Depression, the evolution of transportation and communication systems, and the advent of global marketing has dramatically impacted the world’s economy. In essence, the world has become smaller as its population has increased.

The diploma was signed 102 years ago and I am sure that many of the 12 members in the class of 1912 made their mark on the world after graduation. On May 18th we will celebrate with the 118th graduated class from Gothenburg High School with the last senior to be handed their diploma being the 6,109th graduate of our school. The 249 school districts throughout the state of Nebraska will graduate over 25,000 seniors at the end of their school years. Twenty-five thousand young people will embark on their next journey, ready to make their mark on the world. Thank you to each and every one who dedicates your professional lives to this endeavor. You do make a difference. Unfortunately, a few seniors each year will not meet the requirements for graduation in some of our schools. It is my hope, and the hope of all Nebraska educators, that we all have exhausted every option to ensure that every senior is encouraged, challenged, pushed, and prodded to meet final graduation requirements. We want every senior to meet graduation requirements and walk across the stage during the Commencement ceremony. Educators are about every child, every day, and while it may be easier to place the sole responsibility on the senior who hasn’t quite held up to his/her end of the bargain, we must get them to that stage using any means possible without reducing the requirements or cheapening the degree. When we think that we have done everything possible, we should do ten things more. A lifetime of success for a kid may be potentially hanging in the balance, and we have the keys. Get them there. No excuses. It is this child, not the honor student, the athlete, or the class officer, who needs us and who will greet us on the street 30 years after we help him get his degree. Professional educators and administrators are blessed with the responsibility of educating our populace and we do amazing things. This is a great and powerful responsibility. People in our lives believed in us when others did not. It is our privilege to pay this forward, this year and every year. n

NATIONAL CONVENTION DATES NAESP—July 10-12, 2014—Nashville, TN • NASSP—February 19-21, 2015—San Diego, CA

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ASBO—September 19-22, 2014—Kissimmee, FL • AASA—February 26-28, 2015—San Diego, CA


Helping schools and families create college graduates with minimal debt.

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HEALTHCARE UPDATE

EHA New Dual Offerings Give Schools Greater Flexibility BY GREG LONG, EHA Field Representative

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s school districts across the state continue to struggle in coping with the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act, the Educators Health Alliance (EHA) is dedicated to lead the charge by assuring our members that our health care plans meet and exceed the federal mandate. While this is only one challenge in the long process to comply with the legislation, it is by far one of the most important aspects as school districts offer affordable health care. To further arm our members with the best options available, the EHA is pleased to announce the expanded offering of dual options. The expanded dual option plans are immediately available for school districts to offer with new and existing subgroups. These plans include the $950 PPO benefit with the $1,650 PPO or the $3,100 high deductible HSA eligible benefit option. The second dual choice includes the $1,250 PPO coupled with either the $1,650 PPO or the $3,100 high deductible HSA eligible benefit option. It is also vital to understand that any dual choice offerings must meet underwriting guidelines, which states that dual choice subgroups must contain at least 10 members who are offered the benefit. PPACA mandates that health insurance must be af-

fordable and cannot be more than 9.5 percent of an individual’s salary. As a result, many school districts have or may be planning to offer the minimum value, the $4,000 High Deductible HSA eligible option. These new dual options were created to give schools the flexibility to offer new options to members who may not have been offered health insurance in the past. It is important to note that, according to PPACA regulations, when an employee offers an employee two options for health care coverage, the government considers the cheapest premium as the primary offering, thus helping with the affordability of the health care plan. Members could choose to buy down to the more expensive premium if they choose and it would not count against the district as unaffordable. The EHA continues to make it a priority to be as flexible as possible without risking adverse plan utilization, causing our premiums to increase. It is this very challenge that we are faced with as we move forward in working within PPACA. If you have any questions regarding the new offerings, please contact Greg Long, EHA Field Representative. n

Upcoming Events NASCD Summer Conference June 24, 2014 Omaha Marriott—Omaha register online at www.ncsa.org

Administrators’ Days July 30-August 1, 2014 Younes Center—Kearney register online at www.ncsa.org

NASPA Summer Retreat June 26-27, 2014 Lied Lodge and Conference Center Nebraska City register online at www.ncsa.org

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AF FILIATE AWARDS

NASBO Announces 2014 Outstanding Business Official of the Year

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n April 24, in front of her family, friends, and colleagues, Marilyn Smith was recognized by the Nebraska Association of School Business Officials (NASBO) as their 2014 Outstanding Business Official of the Year. Nominations for this annual award must be active members of NASBO and full time school business officials. The award recognizes individuals who have exhibited outstanding and visionary leadership in school business management. Marilyn is currently the business manager at the School District of Seward where she has worked for the school district for 48 years, serving as Business Manager for the last 34. Marilyn will be retiring this summer. Over the years Marilyn’s job has changed immensely, requiring her to adjust and adapt to new responsibilities. Marilyn has been in the district through consolidation issues with rural Class 1 districts, and she has experienced financially difficult times and times when school budgets weren’t as difficult to balance. She’s

been through rounds of employee reductions, and times when additional staff could be hired to meet the needs of students. She’s experienced the advent of the Portal, ARRA, and several state aid formulas rewrites. She has also adjusted to the increased reporting requirements of state and federal departments. Through all of this change, Marilyn has been a steward of the school district’s Marilyn Smith money. She has the ability to squeeze every bit of good out of each dollar, and she knows where every dollar is being spent. n

Tech-savvy Superintendents Trading Places on the NITC BY TOM ROLFES

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n early April, Governor Heineman appointed, and the Legislature unanimously confirmed Dr. Terry Haack, Superintendent of Bennington Public Schools, to the Nebraska Information Technology Commission (NITC). Haack will serve for a four-year term, and will be eligible for one four-year renewal. Dr. Haack is no stranger to the NITC, having been appointed by the NCSA to the NITC Education Council in 2003, and having served as the K-12 Co-chair since 2007. During his service, the Education Council has reviewed millions of dollars of state I.T. projects and developed and facilitated the NITC strategic initiatives known as Network Nebraska, Digital Education, and the success and closure of the Statewide Videoconferencing Network initiative several years ago. Haack will succeed Dr. Dan Hoesing, Superintendent of Schuyler Community Schools, who has represented K-12 education on the NITC since 2006. Dr. Dan Hoesing, during his tenure on the NITC, oversaw the creation of the statewide network called Network Nebraska, which now serves 94 percent of the public K-12 school districts, 100 percent of the ESUs, and 100 percent of public higher education. Network Nebraska-Education currently enjoys one of the lowest rates for Internet access in the country, and transports more high quality video distance education classes than most other states.

During the past eight years, the NITC prioritized for the Governor and Legislature many I.T.-related projects, including the convergence of the student information systems of the three state colleges and the University of Nebraska into a single statewide system. The NITC staff also administered a $6.2 million electronic health records grant and has helped oversee the development of the statewide public safety wireless network. Due to his experience and availability, the NCSA has elected to appoint Dr. Hoesing to succeed Dr. Haack on the Education Council advisory group of the NITC. His term begins on July 1, 2014. About the NITC The Nebraska Information Technology Commission was created by the Nebraska Legislature in 1998 and just recently celebrated its 15th Anniversary. The Commission has nine members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Legislature, with the Lt. Governor acting as the chair. The NITC currently has six advisory groups serving in the areas of state government, community, education, ehealth, geospatial information systems, and the technical panel. More information about the NITC is available at http://www.nitc.nebraska.gov/. n SPRING 2014

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AF FILIATE AWARDS

NSASSP High School Principal of the Year

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he Nebraska State Association of Secondary School Principals (NSASSP) recently named Kimball Junior/Senior High School Principal Eugene “Mo” Hanks Nebraska’s High School Principal of the Year. He will travel to Washington, D.C., in September, where he will be under consideration with his peers for National High School Principal of the Year. “This was a very unexpected but much appreciated honor,” Hanks said. “It is an honor not just for me, but for the students, the staff, and the entire community of Kimball. This award reflects on all the positive things that the students and staff are doing at Kimball Jr/Sr High School and is a nice pat on the back for everyone associated with the school.”

Kimball Jr/Sr High has a 7-12 student enrollment of 232 students, of which 147 are in the high school grades. With an increasing English language learner population, Hanks has spearheaded efforts such as bringing high school Spanish students into elementary classrooms to work with ELL students. n Eugene “Mo” Hanks

NSASSP Middle School Principal of the Year

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he Nebraska State Association of Secondary School Principals (NSASSP) recently named Hastings Middle School Principal David Essink Nebraska’s Middle School Principal of the Year. He will travel to Washington, D.C. in September, where he will be under consideration with his peers for National Middle School Principal of the Year. Essink has been in the field of education for over 25 years. He began his teaching career as an English teacher before moving

into administration, is actively involved in leadership organizations, including the Nebraska Council of School Administrators and the Association for Middle Level Education. n

David Essink

NASES Case Award

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he Nebraska Association of Special Education Supervisors (NASES) received the Outstanding Achievement Award for Membership for their continued support of maintaining and increasing Council for Administrators of Special Education (CASE) membership in their unit. NASES reported a 17 percent increase in membership for the reporting period. New member recruitment is an important part of the NASES agenda during Administrators’ Days in late summer. Potential members are identified and recruited throughout the year. The New Member Program’s primary mission is to support new administrators during their first year. n

Ellen Stokebrand and Lee Frye receiving the CASE Membership Award on April 9th at the Council for Exceptional Children Conference in Philadelphia. 10

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PRO GRAM S POTLIG HT

How to Create a Plan to Go Green BY DAVE RAYMOND, K-12 Account Rep., Trane, Omaha, Nebraska

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an taking a school green lead to better grades in the classroom? The answer is yes, according to a recent national report of K‑12 schools, Greening America's Schools, which concluded that green schools could raise academic performance while improving the health, well‑being, and productivity of all who learn and work there. Where to start? Begin with a strategic, objective-driven energy conservation plan outlining a systematic, disciplined method for determining your district’s (or school’s) energy goals. Then, identify and implement energy conservation measures (ECMs) to meet those goals. For example, a minimum goal of 15 percent with a 35 percent stretch goal. Typical results are in the 19-27 percent range. Next, create a cross-functional group to generate district-wide consensus for the improvements and incorporate multiple perspectives. Include outside stakeholders such as parents and staff. Include top administrators, key educators, and important departmental stakeholders. Also consider school board, PTO/PTA, and community representatives. In your first meeting, clearly communicate your energy conservation goals so everyone understands the overall objective. Though you’ll delegate much of tactics, remain involved to ensure the team makes regular and steady progress. In return, your presence and passion for the project will demonstrate the importance of this project to all. Identify Goals To determine the objectives of your energy conservation plan, start by identifying current circumstances and challenges. Create a baseline by developing a 12-month average using utility costs from the past 24-36 months. Include all sources, including water, electric, natural gas, and, if appropriate, propane or fuel oil. From the average, create a utility profile incorporating the utility rate structure with unit price per square foot, per hour, and per month. From that profile, identify opportunities—and in a larger district, specific schools—for improvement. At this point, start setting goals. They may be able to set a realistic per-square-foot energy cost and a timeframe in which this can be achieved. As the team’s leader, you will drive the timeframe based on the school year (keep in mind that significant work, such as replacing a boiler, may need to be completed during the summer months or at least during the holiday break). Collaborate with Experts Once goals are established, consider hiring external resources to help define the plan’s scope and tactics. In most cases, the cost of hiring an external expert, such as an energy services company (ESCO) will be recouped in the energy

savings generated by the new systems. In addition to assisting with selection and implementation of ECMs, an ESCO can also help identify—and apply for—financing options such as incentives, rebates, or performance contracts. A performance contract allows building owners to use future energy and operational savings to finance infrastructure improvement projects. It’s an option for funding energy-saving improvements in buildings that provides measurable business results. Collaborate with the ESCO to confirm respective roles. Generally, the school district team may be responsible for tasks such as communicating goals and the timeframe, providing access to the facility, collecting historical maintenance and operations data and providing the energy history to the ESCO. The ESCO may handle defining the scope of work, securing pricing, securing financing, identifying grants, utility rebates, and reviewing the feasibility of the various ECMs. Then, work with the ESCO to select your specific ECMs. Implement the Plan The majority of improvements will be implemented in existing, occupied buildings. Develop an action plan to implement planned improvements. The ESCO will be your project manager. Work with them to avoid disrupting teachers, students and administrators. After your ECMs are implemented, measure your results to demonstrate their benefits. Measure at least quarterly to allow for any needed improvements or small system adjustments. Ongoing measurements may uncover additional opportunities for further cost-cutting. Keep stakeholders informed. Recognize those who were key to the process. Communicate how their efforts are paying off. Involve Students Include students in the process. Incorporate an interactive web-based tool or an energy-efficiency-based educational curriculum that uses school buildings as a teaching tool. Create ownership for student behavior such as turning off lights, recognize the students’ roles, and educate them about the importance of energy efficient improvements. After all, it’s ultimately all about the students and about creating the optimal education environment: to provide them with the best possible education. For more information, contact Dave Raymond, Trane, at 402.331.7111 or dave.raymond@trane.com. n About the author: Dave has more than 20 years of performance contracting experience with Nebraska public schools. To date, Dave has helped school districts go green and save green with almost $100 million in high performance building improvement projects.

SPRING 2014

NCSA TODAY

11


NCSA REPORT

A Vision for the Future of Education BY DR. MIKE DULANEY, Executive Director; and DR. DAN ERNST, Associate Executive Director

Dulaney

Ernst

What can individual members do to participate? LB 1103 requires the Education Committee to conduct a strategic planning process to create the statewide vision for education in Nebraska, which will include (i) aspirational goals, (ii) visionary objectives, (iii) meaningful priorities, and (iv) practical strategies. The Education Committee will soon launch a survey asking for your thoughts and opinions on the future of K12 education in Nebraska. The results from this survey will be compiled and a report will be prepared for review by members of the Education Committee. Why is this important? As Senator Sullivan said in an interview recently granted to NCSA, “This has never been done at the state level,” the Chair of the Education Committee said. “There are lots of issues and entities interested in education in Nebraska, but we’re lacking a common vision,” she added. Senator Sullivan is absolutely correct. Throughout recent history of K-12 education in Nebraska, there has never been a statewide process, established through legislation, to attempt to discern the common vision, the priorities, goals, and objectives of our educational system. The legislation that made this possible was carefully

crafted to be inIt is the intent of the clusive to those Legislature to focus within and outside the K-12 educational resources from all sources in our community. This repre- state toward a sents an oppor- common statewide tunity for us all vision for the future to have a voice through collaborative for the future. School adminis- efforts to achieve the trators will most best possible results certainly have a for all Nebraskans, our significant role in communities, and our this process. We state. — LB 1103 should not allow (2014) this opportunity to pass by. Author Louis L’Amour wrote, “One who does not vote has no right to complain.” In a way, the same can be said of the visioning process before us now. We have an opportunity, perhaps a professional obligation, to participate in the statewide strategic planning effort afforded to us through LB 1103. n

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