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Friday, September 24, 2010

ESU 4 Special Education - October 4, 2010

Monday Memo
October 4, 2010

In my belief, you cannot deal with the most serious things in the world unless you also understand the most amusing!       -Winston Churchill
We've changed our Memo Page!... You'll notice that we've now launched a new format for our ESU 4 Special Education/Monday Memo page. Because the manila webpage was no longer going to be supported, we had to find another means of sharing information. So, we've adjusted and updated to this 'blog' as opposed to a traditional webpage. This will allow us more opportunities to communicate... you can join the blog and make responses, if you so desire. You can 'follow' the blog, which means you may get emails about updates to the blog. And, even though we've changed, there are some things which are still the same... my calendar is now available on the blog and I've started pages for each of the programs we host here at ESU 4. You'll notice that there are some blanks... I'd love to share content! I'm still trying to learn how to use the blog and get the maximum use out of this device for communication. So be patient and let me know what you think...

The AdvancED Visit Went Well!!! When we started last Sunday night with the QAR team, we told them our goal was to be a "Blow Your Hair Back" ESU. When they left on Wednesday afternoon, I believe that they felt they had visited a "Blow Your Hair Back" ESU! Our exit visit went VERY WELL... ESU 4 is now Nationally Accredited through AdvancED... the first in Nebraska and one of 12 across the country! Well done... You are all AWESOME!

Now begins the challenge of maintaining that 'awesome-ness' and moving forward! We'll be celebrating!

Self Evaluations/Goals-action plans/Individual Development Plans... I am still missing self-evaluations and goals/development plans from Joel and Kathy N. 

It's time for LESSON REFLECTIONS... As part of our new evaluation process, I indicated that I'd be asking each of the certificated staff to complete a "Lesson Reflection" each semester. I think it's a good time to start thinking about this... I'd like you to complete a "Lesson Reflection" worksheet on a lesson, unit, or activity that you taught to a student or group of students. The worksheet is behind the "Lesson Reflection" tab and is page 84. You may want to make a copy of page 84 so you can repeat this activity next semester. You get to choose the lesson, unit or activity. Please include a description of the lesson, unit or activity upon which you are reflecting. I would ask that this reflection be submitted to me by Friday, November 19th. That gives you 7 weeks to complete this portion of the evaluation process. 
Walk-throughs... I'll be visiting districts during the month of October for the purpose of financial visits with superintendents, as well as IEP and student team meetings. I'm going to take the opportunities to complete walk-throughs. Make sure we have your schedule so that I can plan to visit your classrooms while I'm out and about! 

Timesheets and Mileage Reimbursement Requests... We absolutely need you to turn in your time sheets and mileage requests as soon after the 15th as possible. We have to process the paperwork in a short amount of time in order to get payroll done and your mileage checks processed prior to the board meeting. Please use the van mail to your advantage. 

Note: Don't confuse timesheets and mileage requests with your student attendance reports. We need the student information at the end of each month. 

Requests for Professional Development/Workshops... I am getting some requests for people wanting to attend workshops or staff development. As I mentioned at our meeting at NCEC, your requests need to match up with your Individual Development Plan (IDP). So, until I get your IDP, I am unable to okay requests. I would also recommend that you send in a leave request WITH your original request to attend the training; sometimes we get your registration information but I really need that leave sheet. (This might help us in being more accurate and timely with leave forms as well.  Also, be wise in making your requests as I am being asked to pay close attention to the costs associated with professional development among ESU 4 staff. If I can use grant funds, I will and your requests will most likely be approved. If I cannot use grant funds, it might be iffy! 

According to the New York Times, there is no scientific research that proves that life is serious.
So... Lighten up!!!

Frog Update... From "Eat That Frog"... if you eat a frog first thing every day, you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that it's probably the worst thing that will happen to you all day. I'll be posting more as time goes on... but until then, don't be scared to 'eat that frog.'

Make a list (on a daily or weekly basis.) Circle your Frog. Tell someone...

ESU 4 Special Education Mission Statement and Belief Statements
ESU 4 Special Education:
Learning today for success tomorrow through a commitment to communication, accountability, and leadership.
Belief Statements:
A good education fosters the individual needs of each student.
All children have unique strengths and needs, and deserve an individualized, collaborative, quality education.
Every individual is worthy.
Individuals rise to meet expectations.

Program Supervision Mission Statement  (Special Education Director):
Supporting children, their families and the districts of ESU 4 through a commitment to communication, accountability and leadership.
Belief Statements:
We should provide districts with up-to-date information concerning IDEA, Rule 51, and other compliance and regulatory initiatives.
We assist in fostering positive relationships between districts and their families in supporting students.
We provide technical assistance to districts in support of student learning.
It is what it is.

ESU 4 Team 2010-2011 goals... COMMUNICATION: The ESU 4 Team will foster reciprocal communication by using multiple modes (e.g. newsletter, e-mail, personal contacts, on-site visits, web pages, pod-casting) to deepen stakeholder understanding of the ESU 4 mission to improve student learning. ACCOUNTABILITY: The ESU 4 team will utilize the recommendations that result from the AdvancED accreditation process, as well as share the implementation plan for addressing recommendations with stakeholder groups. The ESU 4 team will utilize fiscal resources to maintain current services/staffing and for training needs of ESU #4 team members. LEADERSHIP: The ESU 4 team will develop and implement a comprehensive ESU 4 plan for meeting the needs of all districts that maintains and/or increases stakeholder involvement. The ESU #4 Team will provide vision for the organization and its schools, as well as focus on continuous improvement of individual team members and the organization as a whole.

My Goals for 2010-2011...
     1) Complete training and broadcast webinars for special education teachers and administrators on special education issues.
     2) Increase efforts to promote ESU 4's mission within correspondence and via newspapers, newsletter, presentations and radio.
     1) Develop a profile (or final report) that includes data from the ESU 4 Special Education staff sharing information about their services, staff development opportunities, evaluations, student achievement, program goals, outcomes data, etc.
     2) Implement a staff evaluation/development system that is research/evidence-based, includes the self assessment of professional skills, provides specific feedback to staff, and creates a foundation for each staff member's individual development/training plan. (QOE/PLN project.)
     1) Create a new staff/teacher orientation handbook, explaining the scope of services and mission of ESU 4/NCECBVI.
     2) Develop a profile (or final report) that includes data from the ESU 4 Special Education staff sharing information about their services, staff development opportunities, evaluations, student achievement, program goals, outcomes data, etc.


I'd still like to share your 'and then some' stories through the Monday Memo. I would also like you to look for examples of people sharing their 'Frogginess' which means that they are looking and moving forward to support ESU 4 and it's districts.

How to smile...

Show others you care by giving attention to their needs.
The opportunity to serve is a gift… not an entitlement.
We’re at each other’s service and contact is where it starts.
We’ve got work to do.
It’s where pleasantness begins.

"Failure is in the EYES of the Beholder":
  • Beethoven's music teacher once said of him, "As a composer, he is hopeless."
  • Einstein was 4 years old before he could speak.
  • Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.
  • A newspaper editor fired Walt Disney because he 'lacked imagination and had no good ideas.'
  • Winston Churchill failed the sixth grade and had to repeat it because he did not complete the tests that were required for promotion.
  • Babe Ruth struck out 1,380 times... a major league record.
GO Huskers!!!
Isn't it a great day to be a Husker fan????
The correct answer is... ALWAYS!!!

A weekend off for the Huskers followed by a date with the 'Purple People' on Thursday!

Never stop playing the game!

Educational Service Unit #4, Auburn, Nebraska

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