On February 7, 2019 Educational Service Unit #11 sponsored the opportunity for area counselors to participate in a networking process that occurs four times each year. Staff Development Director Kate Hatch organized the counselors’ day. During this particular meeting, Brandon Drozd from UNK connected to discuss the opportunity for schools to participate in a Health Science Academy. After that, Kimberley Burr, Mental Health Practitioner from CHI Cancer Center, shared information on liquid and vapor, nicotine addiction, potential and known risks, and special considerations for youth and marketing to youth. Kate also shared information about ACT testing and the Nebraska School Mental Health Conference that will be held in Kearney this summer.
On December 4, 2018, ESU 11 hosted a Professional Learning Community meeting for 7-12 grade Social Studies teachers. PLCs are an ongoing process in which educators work collaboratively to achieve better results for the students they serve. During this session, NDE Social Studies Consultant, Harris Payne, shared a variety of resources that teachers can use to teach the concepts outlined in the standards such as Structured Academic Controversy, Resources from the Library of Congress, Civics Resources, Geo Inquiry Lessons, Media Literacy, and Historical Thinking Skills. He also shared information about the Social Studies standards revision process.
Kate and Jody also showed several resources that teachers can use to help teach standards and increase student engagement. Such tools included the HoloLens, Google Expeditions, Insert Learning and Actively Learn. The next PLC will be held in the spring. Between now and the next meeting, teachers will engage in action research to determine if the shared resources are effective in teaching and assessing the learning targets.
Fifty-four teachers and administrators from the ESU 11 area gathered on November 29 to learn how to successfully develop an MTSS process. Groups worked to conduct an informal inventory to determine all of the programs and procedures that are currently in place to support student achievement. They then took a self- assessment to identify the level of implementation that is currently occurring at each district, analyzed that data, and held professional discussions that centered around areas of strength and areas for growth. Districts then built an electronic “storage system” in order to make all MTSS resources readily available for staff to immediately access what they need for problem solving at the district, building, classroom, teacher, or individual student levels. Participants also developed an MTSS communication plan to discuss next steps with district, school, and community stakeholders. NDE MTSS Consultants Jane Byers and Mary Jo McElhose were the facilitators for the day.
On November 26, 2018 ESU 11 hosted a Professional Learning Community meeting for 7-12 grade math teachers. PLCs are an ongoing process in which educators work collaboratively to achieve better results for the students they serve. During this session, ESU 6 Professional Development Consultant Lenny VerMaas conducted a learning experience entitled: Develop Mathematical Understanding, Flexibility, Adaptability and a Growth Mindset. The following topics were covered during the course of the day:
· How to promote student talk (since the person doing the talking learns the most)
· Alternatives to traditional homework assignments
· Strategies to help students understand that expending energy and making mistakes are an important part of the learning process
· How to help students understand introductory probability and statistics concepts
· Activities that engage students and keep them interesting in learning
On November 19, 2018, ESU 11 hosted a Professional Learning Community meeting for 6-12 grade English Language Arts teachers. PLCs are an ongoing process in which educators work collaboratively to achieve better results for the students they serve. During this session, Dr. Marissa Payzant, ELA Consultant from the Nebraska Department of Education, shared the following with the teachers:
- Explicit Writing Strategies
- Language Dives
- Work-based Language Lessons
Staff Development Director, Kate Hatch, also helped the teachers analyze NWEA MAP data and NSCAS data, to identify potential areas of strengths and weaknesses within their district’s ELA program. The teachers and Technology Curriculum Consultant, Jody Bauer, shared a variety of strategies that could be used to help improve instruction.
The next PLC will be held in the spring. Between now and the next meeting, teachers will engage in action research and utilize at least one of the strategies that Dr. Payzant demonstrated.