Friday, November 6, 2015

For the past year Dr. Randy Watson, our new Education Commissioner, and the KSDE staff have been traveling our wonderful state to find out what Kansans think our students need in order to be productive citizens.  Through these meetings Dr. Watson has designed a vision for our state and the future of all of our students.  Take some time to review the information located on the Kansas Can! 
link.  Feel free to share any this information with your staff and students.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Using Google Hangout for Student Services

Wow!  It's hard to believe how fast the year is going.  Autumn is already upon us!  Turning back the clocks will be coming up on November 1, 2015.  We all look forward to that extra hour of sleep!

Fall is my favorite season and before we know it Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here.  Until the first snow flies I hope you all enjoy the beautiful colors of this season.

A few weeks ago I had mention something about a webinar the Jessica Noble had hosted.  The title of it was Using Google Communities and Hangouts for Networking and Interaction (September 2015).
If you click on this link you will have to scroll down to the bottom of the page to access the webinar. Google communities and hangouts are easy to set up and access.  I do want to tell you that ZOOM, the application ESSDACK uses is very similar.  I don't say this to discourage you from Google because I still use both of them within my position.  I really like the community part of it because it's a great way to collaborate with people in my profession.  It could also be a way for students to collaborate.  As you watch the webinar and learn more about the technology you could be asking yourself how could my staff and students benefit from using it.  My philosophy is, if it's good for students then go for it!  

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Lexia and TEEN Information

Just wanted to make sure that you all have this link for Lexia.  To access it just click on the highlighted word Lexia in this blog.  Your username is your ESSDACK email and your password is your first name and initial of your last name.  If you need any assistance with this be sure to give Deb Esau a call at 620-960-6060 or email her at

If you have student that would be a good candidate for the virtual setting through the TEEN virtual school just contact Lena Kleiner.    In the TEEN website you can help a student find both the high school (grades 9th through 12th) and adult enrollment packet.  Don't worry about losing students to TEEN.  ESSDACK does receive a cut of the student count from the TEEN school districts.  Their graduation requirements are 21 credits!   Here is the website link.  TEEN

Contact TEEN

Lena Kleiner, Executive Director
416 S. Date
Hillsboro, KS 67063

Office Phone:  620-947-3184
Cell Phone:  620-877-0237
Office Fax:  620-947-3475

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Great Start!

I don't know about you but I was super excited from meeting with everyone last Thursday. Without a doubt I know that we have a great group of learning center people that are motivated for all the right reasons to enable the success of all of our students.  I know that you are all going to focus on all of the possibilities for our students throughout the school year.  I believe my role is to support you in this process!  Opportunity thinking is the core focus of Level 5 in the 7 Levels of Energy Leadership.  Level 5 has a theme of believing in others.  This belief was so evident as we met last Thursday.  I know some of you have already heard me say this but I believe it bears repeating.  Although we are headed into a school year, and maybe even two school years, of working through the effects of all the uncertainity it doesn't mean that we can't continue to work and support each other throughout the process.  Through this support we will gain the energy we need to be successful!

With that being said, part of the unknown is the auditing process that we will have to go through during this school year.  I would encourage all of you to connect with Jessica Noble this Thursday.  She will be hosting a webinar from 10:00-11:00 a.m.  It is a live webinar so you will need to go through the KSDE Virtual School Website in order to get to the live link. Click on this Link to Webinar and then click on the 15-16 Fall Webinar Series Flyer.  On the August 13th date you will see a "join here" link.  Once you click on it then you should be able to register as a guest and listen to the webinar.  As a follow up session we will have Jessica Noble, KSDE Education Program Consultant, ZOOM into our staff meeting on August 24.  I am very appreciative of her cooperation to help us out and excited that she will actually join our meeting via ZOOM.  

Speaking of
Once we get the video component worked out I believe this will be a great way for us to meet and connect.  I appreciate Max Heinrich in joining our group.  In case you didn't know, Max has been the high school principal at Hillsboro High School the past several years.  Under his leadership, Hillsboro became an innovator and leader in the Career Technical Education field.  I know he will be able to provide all of us some very good advice and direction into the arena of adults learners tapping into the CTE credits. Remember we ZOOM every Monday morning at 9:00 a.m.  Next week we will be joining the ESSDACK Leadership Team.  

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

And they're off!

Here we go!  Start of the school year is just around the corner.  I feel just like one of those race horses.  So excited to get out of the gate and start the "race" or in our business the school year. As you have already read from my introduction email, I have several years of experience in education as a teacher and administrator.  One of the most rewarding parts of my job in the recent years has to be the involvement of developing a virtual school in my former district.  It was amazing to watch adult learners and high school age students navigate the virtual world and eventually earn an actual high school diploma!  I'm hopeful with my background that I can support you and your staff in helping meet the success of our students.  Part of meeting their needs is to be thinking about what success looks like for them. I've added this link from the U.S. Education website.  You will be able to read and listen to the stories of how much impact organizations like yours have had on a person's life.

Adult Learning Stories

There are a few items that I want to cover.  Most of it is more or less housekeeping than anything else.  For all of us to understand how the process works it is best that all of the site directors review the KSDE webinar put on by Jessica Noble.  Here is the link below.

Webinar on Understanding the 15-16 Alternative and Virtual Funding and Auditing Structure

It's a little over one hour long and the information is very riveting. The picture to the left is how I listened to the webinar.  All kidding aside, it actually is very beneficial information for everyone to know.  Keep in mind that we are wanting all of our students, no matter what age they are, to be a virtual student.  There will also be more opportunities to learn about how the auditing will be structured for virtual students.  There is a "Counting Kids" workshop on September 2, 2015 at ESSDACK.  KSDE representatives will be here from 9:00 a.m. to noon.  To register for the workshop you can go onto the ESSDACK website and enroll online, or contact Pam at, or give her a call at 620-663-9566.  There are also more KSDE webinars throughout the year on auditing and other virtual school services.  Click on the link below and then scroll down for a pdf called 15-16 Fall Webinar Series Flyer.  KSDE Website

You may ask yourself how are the students being counted on count days?  As I stated earlier that all of the students will be counted virtually.  The services won't look much different to the students but on the back end with our paperwork it will look a little different.  Understanding this paperwork will come easier once you listening to the webinars and attend the workshops hosted by KSDE.  As you know for a student to be counted they must go through the school district?  We have three school districts that have agreed to be the "count district" for the learning centers.  The three districts are Hutchinson, Augusta, and Colby.  Our plan is for the Mall Learning Center, Reno County, and McPherson student count to go through the Hutchinson School District.  Haysville, Augusta, and Newton learning center sites will go through Augusta School District.  Oakley, Larned, Stafford, Thomas County, and Barton County will go through the Colby School District.  If we have a student that comes from a non learning center site we will funnel them through the school district which is geographically close.  This may all be a little confusing and overwhelming to understand but it's a process that is very doable when we all work together.  We can discuss this in more detail throughout the year and when we meet on August 6th for our staff meeting.

I'm also very excited to introduce a new way for us to communicate throughout the year.  Starting on August 10th I would like to meet with all of the learning center site directors on ZOOM.  You will need to download the ZOOM application on your computer.  Make sure the computer you are using has video and audio capabilities. Here is my thinking with our ZOOM meeting.  Every Monday morning at 9:00 a.m. we connect with each other through ZOOM. On the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month we connect with ESSDACK's Leadership Team for 15-20 minutes.  The time can be used to brain storm about our challenges and new ideas that we would like to implement.  Here are some examples:  How is the implementation of WorkKeys going for your center?   What can we learn from each other in this process?   How can we implement more of what ESSDACK believes in?  Which is "Learning By Doing", Career and Technical Education (CTE), and Engineering By Design (EBD).  How could we use our communities to implement programs that would send adult learners out to a workplace and they in return receive a credit while learning a skill or trade?  As you can see the questions and collaboration we could have around these topics would be awesome!  I am really excited about using the ZOOM tool and enabling a stronger bond between all of the sites and also between the sites and the leadership team.

As I stated earlier, we will have our all staff meeting at ESSDACK
on August 6th.  We would love to have all of your staff present but I also understand some of them may have other commitments.  We will start at 9:00 a.m. and end at 4:00 p.m.  The morning we will be working with the ESSDACK staff and then the afternoon we will meet as a Learning Center staff.  If you have any questions feel free to send me an email or call me on my cell phone 620-388-2831.