December 06, 2016
How does this happen every year? The holiday season just sneaks in through the back door and then creates a mad rush through December. My thoughts are with all of you this year as you balance personal and professional responsibilities while artfully leading excited young learners who have visons of sugar plums dancing in their heads. Fortunately for me, working with the highly dedicated ESU 10 staff may be less complicated as they continue “to partner with stakeholders to meet changing needs through professional expertise in providing services, learning opportunities and support”.
It is always great when we facilitate student activities in the building. Today we hosted about 120 4th-6th grade science students working with the Elementary Science Olympiad program. There were many in-depth hands-on experiences designed to utilize ordinary classroom and household supplies and materials. I really enjoyed the reptile and amphibian classroom, but avoided the room making tables out of duct tape. Creative minds and huge quantities of duct tape always make me nervous. This is especially true when guided by creative and mischievous ESU 10 staff.
Four ESU 10 Board members (Gene Libal, Sandra Mann, Gordon Roethemeyer, and Mary Stoltenberg), Ron Cone, Network Information Services Director, and I recently returned from the Association of Educational Service Agencies Fall Conference held in Savannah, Georgia. This annual event is a marvelous collegial learning opportunity for the people from 45 states who work in 553 agencies. Three main keynote speakers and 100 sessions presented by our national peers provided great opportunity for professional growth and fresh ideas to share with our ESUs and local school districts. I attended the following small sessions so you can see what might be influencing my mind in the future: Post and Pray? Not Today!; Forecasting and Budgeting; Building and Flying the Plane…Creating a Behavioral Intervention Team; Involving Employees to Improve Your District through Innovative Ideas; Effective Recommendations – How to Get What You Want; and, Dremel Dreams - Where Digital Technology Meets the Classroom.
Once all of our team shares notes from the conference we will see how some ideas will improve present programs and how other ideas will stretch and expand our current Program of Services. It is always good to learn from our national peers.
Speaking of learning and growth – ESU 10 staff has noticed a disturbing trend in recent months. We know that all in-service participants are busy individuals who carve out time to participate in the many and varied offerings provided at ESU 10. It is disappointing that we have observed that many people exit prior to the end of the planned events. This is happening not only when local staff present, but also when we provide national presenters. It would be our hope that all learners receive maximum benefit and get the most valuable experience possible. I do realize that sometimes duty calls and conflicts arise, but I encourage participants to stay until sessions end. Please let us know if we need to make modifications and adjustments to better meet your needs. Our focus is on serving you.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!