First Things First
Educational Service Unit #1
Serving Cedar, Dakota, Dixon, Knox, Thurston and Wayne Counties
Vol. 16, No. 2 Wakeﬁeld, NE November 2006
From The Top What’s Inside
Psychology ............................. pages 2-3
Facing the Future
By: Dr. Bob Uhing, Administrator
ILCD ........................................... page 4
s we begin quarter number two, I realize that a great
deal has already occurred this school year for schools
in the ESU #1 district. Some of the positive highlights Speech ..................................... page 5
include: a Blue Ribbon School, a ﬁnalist for Nebraska
Teacher of the year, a Dropout Prevention award, and a Transition .............................. page 6
host of schools that have increased scores on their state
report card and that are excelling in school activities. Staff Development ............. page 7
ESU #1 has also been busy in a number of areas. Our focus continues to be
supporting schools as they address student achievement and technology issues. This and That ....................... page 8
Legislation also continues to be an issue for all of us. Recently, Senator Raikes,
chair of the Education Committee, sent a survey to schools and ESUs. According ESU #1 Happenings ............. page 9
to the Senator’s aid, the school survey was similar to one that was sent to schools
ten years ago – what a reminder of all the changes schools and ESUs have Contact Information........ page 10
experienced in the last decade.
The ESU survey contained a couple of interesting questions. The ﬁrst asked for new programs/services that have been
provided in the past three years. I was very surprised at the number of services in just three years that have been added here
at ESU #1. We actually counted twelve new services and programs. Since the Unit adds services based on school requests,
each of the services we listed has had a direct impact on our school districts.
The second question of interest that was asked was what future trends in services we might foresee. While I will not profess
to be a psychic, I do believe this is a question that will determine the direction our Unit takes in the types of services we
provide and possibly even within the delivery model. For example, ﬁve years from now will we still have a media delivery
van? With the changes in technology, will video streaming replace VHS tapes and CDs? What and how will technology be
used in classrooms? These and other questions are endless.
How we respond to the future involves how we work in partnership with our schools. Nebraska schools will work with
ESUs to prepare for quality assessment reviews, on-going curriculum alignment, data retreats and school improvement.
Essential education will include career ﬁelds, personal learning plans and early childhood programs. I expect the blending
of special education into general education, thus generating more support and consultation for regular educators attempting
to make accommodations for, and meeting the needs of, students with disabilities. Job coaching for teachers will include
demonstrating instructional strategies in the classroom. Finally, high schools will include online classes, alternative high
schools and virtual high schools.
One of my favorite quotes by Will Rogers is, “Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
Change is not a one-time event...it is constant. We all need to realize that how we perform does make a difference. To keep
progressing and moving forward, we need the help of our school districts. We ask our schools to please continue to provide
feedback so that we can effectively keep our focus on serving schools.
ESU #1 - Providing innovation, leadership and service
Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew
By: Ellen Notbohm
A book summary by Nicole Degen
1. I am ﬁrst and foremost a child. I have Autism. I am not primarily “autistic.”
Autism is only one aspect of a child’s character. It does not deﬁne them as a person. Are you fat
(overweight), myopic (wear glasses) or klutzy (uncoordinated, not good at sports)? Those may be things a person
sees when they ﬁrst meet you, but they are not necessarily what you are all about!
2. My sensory perceptions are disordered.
This means that the ordinary sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches of every day that you may not
even notice can be downright painful for a child with autism. The very environments in which we live can
seem hostile. Children with autism may appear withdrawn or belligerent but they are really just trying to defend
3. Please remember to distinguish between won’t (I choose not to) and can’t (I am not able to).
It is not that children with autism don’t listen to instructions. It’s that they can’t understand you. When
you call their name from across the room, they hear “#$%^*&^%$&&*, Billy. #$%^*&^%$&&*.” Instead,
approach the student and speak directly to them in plain words: “Please put your book in your desk, Billy. It’s
time to go to lunch.”
4. I am a concrete thinker. This means I interpret language very literally.
It is very confusing for a child with autism when you say, “Hold your horses, cowboy!” when what you
really mean is, “Please stop running.” Don’t tell them something is a “piece of cake” when there is no dessert in
sight. Idioms, puns, nuances, double entendres, inference, metaphors, illusions and sarcasm are usually lost on
children with autism.
5. Please be patient with my limited vocabulary.
It is hard for a child with autism to tell you what they need when they don’t know the words to describe
their feelings. Be alert for body language, withdrawal, agitation or other signs that something is wrong.
Or, there’s a ﬂipside to this: Children with autism may sound like a little professor or movie star, rattling
off words or whole scripts well beyond their developmental age. These are messages the child has memorized
from the world around them to compensate for their language deﬁcits because they know they are expected to
respond to when spoken to.
6. Because language is so difﬁcult for me, I am very visually oriented.
Show children with autism how to do something rather than just telling them. And please be prepared to
show them many times. Lots of consistent repetition helps any child learn. A visual schedule is extremely helpful
as these students move through the day. It relieves them of the stress of having to remember what comes next,
makes for smooth transition between activities, and helps manage time and meet your expectations.
Continued on page 3
November 2006 Page 2
Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew, cont.
7. Please focus and build on what I can do rather than what I can’t do.
Like any other human, children with autism can’t learn in an environment when they are constantly made
to feel that they are not good enough and that they need “ﬁxing.”
8. Help me with social interactions.
Children with autism may look like they don’t want to play with the other kids on the playground, but
sometimes its just that they simply do not know how to start a conversation or enter a play situation. They do best
in structured play activities that have a beginning and end.
9. Try to identify what triggers my meltdowns.
Meltdowns, blow-ups, tantrums or whatever you want to call them are even more horrid for a child with
autism than they are for you. They occur because one or more of their senses has gone into overload. If you
can ﬁgure out why the meltdowns occur, they can be prevented. Keep a log noting times, settings, people and
activities. A pattern may emerge.
10. If you are a family member, please love me unconditionally.
Banish thoughts like, “if he would just --,” and “Why can’t she--.” You did not fulﬁll every last expectation
your parents had for you and you wouldn’t like being constantly reminded of it. Children with autism did not
choose to have autism. But remember that it is happening to them, not you.
And ﬁnally, three words: PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PATIENCE.
Work to view autism as a different ability rather than a disability. Look past what you may see as limitations
and see the gifts autism brings. With their attention to ﬁne detail and capacity for extraordinary focus, they might
be the next Einstein. Or Mozart. Or Van Gogh. They had autism, too.
A Special Thank You From Military Wife Leah Moritz
ESU #1 is such a wonderful place to work! I had so much support from my coworkers and school
districts served through the ser vice unit over the past year and 1/2 that Ryan was gone.......I won’t
say the time ﬂew by, but work deﬁnitely sustained me! With Ryan’s homecoming, the well wishes
and gifts from co-workers were over whelming. Ryan and I want to thank you all for the kind
emails, phone calls, help with making and hanging ribbons, gift certiﬁcates, and cheering Ryan off
the plane when it arrived on Sunday, November 5th at 6:36 p.m. Our school districts have been so
understanding and supportive of our family as well. Please know that we are very appreciative for
everything you have all done to make the deployment easier on our family. I feel very blessed to get
to work with such an outstanding group of people!! THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!!
Leah, Ryan, Sam, Ben and Maggie Moritz
November 2006 Page 3
Improving Learning for Children with Disabilities
Improving Learning for Children with Disabilities
By: Leah Moritz, School Psychologist
B y now, you may have
received emails regarding
Part B Parent Surveys and are
reporting. The survey data can
be used for ILCD, but it doesn’t
change where you are at in your
to NDE. NDE will then mail
them to ESU #1 to be scanned.
You can upload the results
wondering what is up. The ILCD cycle. In other words, onto your ILCD website at that
short and sweet of it is that this surveying cycle may or point, if you choose to use the
you MUST survey the parents may not ﬁt in nicely with data.
of children involved in special where you are currently at in
education during the year you your ILCD cycle. Please check In the meantime, please don’t
are listed in the cycle. So the list carefully for what year hesitate to contact me with any
that means Allen, Bloomﬁeld, your district is involved in the questions or concerns you have!
Emerson-Hubbard, Ponca, cycle and look for information I am willing to come to your
Umo Ho Nation and Wayne
mailed by NDE during that district and train staff as well.
will be surveying all of their year. Again, two additional ESU #1
school-aged special education staff have been assigned to help
parents this year - even if it NDE will mail the surveys with the ILCD process (Bobbi
was just done last year or it directly to your school district. Hightree and Billie Hightree
was planned for next year. They will include addressed/ Sitzmann). We look forward
This is a requirement by the stamped envelopes so that the working with all of you.
state department for federal surveys are sent directly back
MARK YOUR CALENDARS:
December 5th: File Review for those schools ready to collect ﬁle review data (or those who
would like to do it again to check progress on action planning or corrective action plans).
February 28th: ILCD Training to provide comprehensive information and updates to your
teams and help train new staff. The ILCD training is HIGHLY recommended!!!!
Please be on the lookout for ﬂyers with additional information about these upcoming events
related to ILCD. Please also be sure to checkout the ILCD link on our newly designed ESU #1
website! There is a lot of information and helpful links to help with the process.
November 2006 Page 4
A Few Things Done Well
By: Peg Roush, Speech Pathologist
R ecently I attended the
and Hearing Convention in
achievement. Those lists were
compared and condensed into
the “Top 40.” After a teacher
and procedures for struggling
students, the use of Secord’s
checklist could provide valuable
Kearney where Wayne A. rates his/her observations in each information and provide a
Secord, Ph.D, University of of these areas, s/he is then asked framework from which to begin
Central Florida, Orlando, spoke at to circle the top ten difﬁculties to address a student’s most
both the morning and afternoon the student demonstrates. signiﬁcant performance deﬁcits.
sessions. His presentation, This rating scale can be much
entitled “Classroom Performance more descriptive of a student’s The “Classroom Communication
Assessment - A Few Things academic performance than & Learning Checklist” has been
Done Well,” reminded me how a standardized measure. Dr. given to all ESU #1 speech-
critical the speech-language Secord’s research has shown language staff. It is available
pathologist’s impact can be on the validity of the checklist to for their use and yours. Use of
a student’s academic and social be 87% as compared to 84% this checklist could help set the
success. Also, I was reminded for the standardized measure he groundwork to begin focusing
of the tremendous importance authored, The Clinical Evaluation on a “few things done well.”
of collaboration of all those of Language Fundamentals- As Dr. Secord said, “We need
involved (teachers, parents, 3. The completed checklist is to ask ourselves, ‘What is the
administrators, SPED staff and shared with the parents, relevant smallest change this child could
students) in a student’s academic staff, and, if appropriate, the make, that everyone helps occur,
experiences and success. student, who can team together that would make a difference if it
to begin addressing reduction happened everyday?’”
To facilitate such collaboration, of some of the difﬁculties. Dr.
Dr. Secord has developed a Secord said that if everyone on
“Classroom Communication & the student’s team could agree
Learning Checklist” that allows on just two or three difﬁculties
a teacher to rate the extent to that they could all address every
which a student demonstrates day in the same way, that some
difﬁculties in the areas of signiﬁcant improvements could
Listening, Speaking, Reading result. These improvements
and Writing. The checklist was could eventually generalize
developed by compiling 300 into other areas of the student’s
teacher interviews listing the top academic performance. With
ﬁve difﬁculties of students who the implementation of Response
were struggling with classroom to Intervention (RtI) policies
November 2006 Page 5
What is Transition?
By: Jim Gunsolley, Transition Specialist
W hat is Transition? All of
us tend to transition from
one thing to another. For some
education, vocational training,
adult services, independent liv-
ing, and community participa-
As a part of determining a stu-
dent’s interest in careers of their
choice, a non-paid job shadow
people, transition might simply tion. Any planning should take may be arranged so that a stu-
mean that they change from the into account the student’s needs, dent can visit a job site and ob-
role of employee as they leave interests and preferences. serve an employee on the job.
work to the role of parent as they The student can then determine
walk into their home. However, At ESU #1, transition services if they are really interested in
for high school students with are provided to our students that type of vocational activity.
special needs, their educational when they reach the age of A job shadow might be for one
transition is the one that takes sixteen. We contact the local hour or it may last for several
them from the high school set- schools and offer assistance to weeks.
ting to what waits for them as teachers and to students so that a
they enter the world of work. pathway to post high school can The ultimate goal of all of this
take place. We also involve adult is to assist each student during
The deﬁnition of this kind of agencies, such as Vocational Re- their transition so that they can
transition may include the fol- habilitation in the process of as- become employed in a position
lowing: a coordinated set of sisting our students with their that they truly enjoy. Since most
activities for a student with planning. adults work for up to 40 years,
a disability, which promotes it is extremely important for our
movement from high school to The Transition Specialist can students to be in positions that
post-school activities. Activi- also assist the student with vis- they really value. A quote from
ties may include post-secondary its to vocational schools, con- a transition brochure states: “If
duct interest testing, and provide you don’t know where you’re
transportation to events that the going, you’ll end up someplace
student may wish to attend, such but it may not be where you want
as the Keys to Success Day held to be.” We want our students to
in South Sioux City each No- know where they wish to go and
vember. how they can get there.
If you have questions about ESU #1’s Transition Program, please
be sure to contact Jim Gunsolley, Transition Specialist, either by
email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at the Central Ofﬁce (402) 287-2061.
November 2006 Page 6
CFI: Career Fields Integration
By: Rhonda Jindra, ESU #1 Professional Development
W ho says Fridays aren’t as pro-
ductive as they could be? On
Friday, October 27th, both K-12
grade-level. These lesson plans will
be made available to each district at
a later time.
Wausa and Laurel-Concord staff
were busy examining Career Fields/ In addition, all participants had an
Clusters and their implementation at opportunity to learn more about Ne-
the district level. To encourage col- braska Career Connections (a free
laboration, the in-service was held website available to all Nebraskans),
conjointly at Laurel’s facility. as well as the instructional strategies
Dawn Friedrich, Wausa Career available through Nebraska Career
Fields/Clusters coordinator, facil- Information Systems (NCIS), fund-
itates a large-group discussion. ed through the ESU #1 Carl Perkins
consortium. Both online products
Throughout the day, Dawn and provide career resources to their us-
Shelley and professional learning ers.
community members from each of
their districts, created opportuni-
ties for teachers to collaborate. One
such activity found the teachers
Gregg Christensen, NDE, shares brainstorming what they are cur-
the state vision for Career Fields/ rently teaching and their support for
Clusters implementation Career Fields/Clusters. On another
occasion, teachers began design-
ing a Career Fields/Clusters lesson
With the direction of the Career plan appropriate to their content and Small group discussion + Collab-
Fields/Clusters coordinator for each oration = Enthusiasm for Career
district, Dawn Friedrich (Wausa) Fields/Clusters implementation
and Shelley Groene (Laurel-Con-
cord), facilitated a great day. To
begin the morning’s activities, Additional professional develop-
Gregg Christensen, Nebraska De- ment opportunities will be provided
partment of Education, began with for Laurel-Concord and Wausa dur-
an overview of the Career Fields/ ing the second semester to support
Clusters process in the state of Ne- the integration of Career Fields/
braska. Additional insight related to Clusters, programs of study and
Personal Learning Plans, programs Greg Conn, Wausa Guidance Personal Learning Plans. Funding
of study and Essential Education Counselor, highlighting the Ne- for this process is provided by a col-
were shared through his presenta- braska Career Connections web- laborative Carl Perkins Innovation
tion to the group. site capabilities. grant through ESU #1, 10 and 17.
November 2006 Page 7
This and That
November 2006 Page 8
ESU #1 Happenings
Here are photos from the Rethinking the High School Experience Conference on
October 18th and 19th. Be sure to check out the Innovations Labs - Rethinking the
High School website at http://www.innovationlabs.com/newhighschool/2006/
for more information on the conference and to download a summary.
Innovation Labs assists a Frances and Diane, Innovation Nebraska City works to create
district secondary principal as Labs, capture documentation a do-able plan under Michael
he works with Wikipedia. for the live website. Kaufmann’s guidance.
Micheal Kaufmann, Innovation South Sioux City’s team delves Pender’s team is hard at work creating
Labs, and Rich Katt, Nebraska into a powerful discussion. their district implementation plan and
Career Education (NCE) director, adding it to the Wikipedia site.
facilitate one of the conference
planning sessions. UPCOMING WORKSHOPS
Workshops are continuously being added to the
calendar. Because cancellations and reschedulings
occur from time to time, a complete listing has not
been included. However, you can keep up to date on
the latest workshop information by going to our
website at www.esu1.org. Click on Calendars or
Rich Katt, NCE director, provides
visit the Registration and Staff Development pages.
insight to the Wakeﬁeld district team. Make sure to check back frequently for updates.
November 2006 Page 9
The Educational Service Unit #1 staff welcomes your questions, ideas, and concerns. We look forward to
hearing from you. Below is a listing of our central staff and their email addresses.
Dr. Bob Uhing, Administrator email@example.com
Stuart Clark, Special Education Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Salmon, Business Manager email@example.com
Central Ofﬁce Support Staff
Wendy Ellis, Secretary/Media Assistant firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Elton, Secretary/Receptionist email@example.com
Joleen Gustafson, Special Education Secretary firstname.lastname@example.org
Diane Keim, Accounting email@example.com
Amy Hill, Staff Development Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
Rhonda Jindra, Staff Development Coordinator email@example.com
Shannon Collin, Staff Development Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Strahm, Early Childhood Professional Development Coordinator email@example.com
Jim Hopkins, Technology Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
Jenny Heimann, Media email@example.com
Lanita Recob, Technology/Media firstname.lastname@example.org
Cheri Matthews, Early Childhood Special Education email@example.com
Ron Lorenzen, School Psychologist firstname.lastname@example.org
Leah Moritz, ILCD email@example.com
Peg Roush, Speech Language Pathologist Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim Gunsolley, School Transition Specialist email@example.com
November 2006 Page 10