November 2018

November was a great month!

During the ESU 9 November Board Meeting, Jessica Shepard received “Top of the Line at ESU 9” recognition.Way to go Jessica!

Regarding the new facility: It seems like there is a never ending list of the smallest details we need to complete to officially finish our new conference room. The new projectors still need to be installed along with an audio system. On a positive note, we continue to hold meetings for numerous groups, and everyone remains excited about our new digs. Please keep the positive promotions going.

Our December All Staff Meeting is just around the corner. Please remember to bring your laptops when you come to the meeting.

You may recall that the theme of our opening day was “Well Being.” You also may recall receiving a copy of The Energy Bus on opening day. Please make sure you have read the book prior to our meeting on December 21st. Don’t panic if you haven’t started the book, it’s a quick read.  At any rate, the team has a great day planned for you, and the Energy Bus is one of the topics that will be covered.

The following is an article I wrote in the November Nines Lines Newsletter about the Energy Bus.

Rule #4 says: Focus on Your Vision

The rule says you should make a copy of your Vision/Purpose Statement and hand it out to your team. It also says encourage each team member to review the vision daily. Finally, it asks each team member to visualize the  team achieving their vision. This “vision exercise” should be done for 10 minutes each day.

We live in a time when stopping for ten minutes each day is difficult to do. We have conditioned ourselves to be super busy. We are busy! However, we need to understand that 10 minutes is not lost or a waste of time, it’s actually a sound investment. You have to focus on where your bus is going.

Do you know where your bus is going? Rule #1 says you are the driver of your bus. Life is not a dress rehearsal, so focus on your desired destination.

Thank you for all the good things you do!

Sincerely,

Kraig J. Lofquist

 

 

 

 

September 2018 Communication

Hello Everyone,

As I write this message the weather is cold and rainy. Welcome to another Nebraska fall when the weather provides us with lots of variation and differences.

Last month I wrote about The Energy Busa best selling book written by Jon Gordon. At that time, I was going to follow up with another message pertaining to the book. If you have started to read the book, you will already know Rule #2 which says:  Desire, Vision and Focus move your bus in the right direction.

You can be the driver of your bus, and you can have a vision for your life, health, work and family, but if you don’t have the desire to act upon it, nothing will get done.

I am like everyone else. I am busy, and the challenges just seem to keep coming. It’s so easy to lose focus. However, I have recently learned that inexpensive strategies can have a huge impact to help us move in the right direction.

In this case, Amy Schultz, one of our awesome professional developers, printed some small Energy Bus posters, complete with reminders, and placed them in locations that are frequented throughout our facility. Reading these posters so frequently helps me (and I am sure others) remain focused on positive energy and what we all want to achieve regarding our lives, health, work and families.

If you have not yet read the book, today is great day to start.

The following are some other updates from September.

September Budget Hearings and Board Meeting

Each September, the board is required to approve an annual budget which the ESU 9 Board did after holding a hearing.

Also, the new building was discussed, and it was shared that the pace of work on the addition has picked up.

The board also approved changes to the meal reimbursement rates. The old reimbursement rates were:

Breakfast=$7.00
Lunch=$11.00
Dinner=$23.00

Total=$41.00 per day

After consulting the General Services Administration (GSA) website, the following adjustments were approved starting October 1, 2018.

Breakfast=$11.00
Lunch=$12.00
Dinner=$23.00

Total=$46.00 per day

Thank you all for the work that you do.

Respectfully,

Kraig Lofquist

 

 

August Update

Hello Everyone!

Labor Day 2018 is officially behind us. I wanted to touch base with you with this blog post, and let you know your work is appreciated.

The following are updates and important thoughts as we enter September.

August Board Meeting

The board received an update regarding the 2018-19 ESU 9 Budget, and most of the meeting was spent discussing the new facility. Specifically, as Gary Needham has alluded to in a prior message, construction is behind schedule. It looks like the conference room will not be completed until the end of October.

Opening Day Revisited

You may recall that I shared two important questions with you that come from Gallup Research. First, “Do you have a best friend at work?” Secondly, “Have you been told you are doing a good job in the last seven days?” Remember, if you want a friend, you have to be one, and it’s o.k. for you to reach out to someone to complement their work. Be proactive.

The Energy Bus

Many of you have shared that you have started reading the aforementioned book. Thanks for taking the first step. The following is what I shared in the Nines Lines Newsletter that was recently dispersed.

Rule #1: You’re the Driver of Your Bus

We all have it, and we all read it everyday, all day long. Energy. We bring a certain level of it into every situation, every conversation, every day. The only question is how much and how positive that energy is.

I was lucky enough to hear author and positive thinking guru,  Mr. Jon Gordon speak last year. I bought two of his books. The first three sentences in his book, The Power of Positive Leadership really struck a chord with me. Gordon writes:

“I’m not naturally a positive person. People think I am, because of my books and talks, but the truth is that I have to work hard to be positive.”

I was kind of shocked, but I admired Mr. Gordon’s honesty.  Mr. Gordon followed up those first three sentences with a very open anecdote that proved to be even more transparent. Let’s just say, Mr. Gordon experiences life the way most of us do.

In his book, The Energy Bus, Mr. Gordon introduces us to “George.” George has life happening to him, and he is pretty bummed and negative. Events unfold in George’s life that force him to take public transportation, and it changes his life.

The first lesson George learns is: You’re the Driver of Your Bus. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that you are in control of your life. It seems we all forget that at one time or another. Have you ever asked yourself the following three questions?

 

  • My vision for my life (including my health) is?
  • My vision for my work, career, job is?
  • My vision for my relationship and family is?

No one has visions that include low or negative energy, but it takes dedication and intentionality (like Jon Gordon) to be positive and make those visions come true. If we all focus on those positive visions related to our life, health, work, relationships and family, the positive energy will pay off.

Stay tuned for Lesson #2.

Thank you for all you do.

Respectfully,

Kraig J. Lofquist

 

July Update

Hello Everyone,

Summer always seems to go so fast, especially if you are busy. I wanted to share some important updates as we move towards the beginning of the 2018-19 school year.

Facility

As you know, the construction on our new addition has started, but is moving slowly. In fact, the project is behind schedule as I write this note. While some work has been done, it is not likely that we will be able to hold any large conferences or meetings at the new location through the month of August . As soon as the concrete is poured, the pace of the work should pick up.

Move Update

The office staff are now operating out of the new facility (5807 Osborne Drive West, Hastings, NE  68901).There has been a great deal of work over the past two months moving boxes, furniture, computers, storage cabinets, etc.

Cindy Paczkowski and Lynda have drywalled, sanded and painted several locations in the new building due to the moving of some desks and cabinets.

Gary, Tim and Dallas (intern) have been phenomenal moving and updating our technology while simultaneously keeping disruptions to an infinitesimal amount.

At this time, I think we have turned a corner, although the process of moving will continue (unpacking, filing and locating everything). Thank you everyone for your work!

Board Meeting (July 16)

Budget

We have been winding down the 2017-18 budget, and Larry has done a great deal of work on the 2018-19 budget (in between moving cabinets).

Keyless Entry

The ESU 9 Board voted to purchase and install a keyless entry system at the new location, so we can all use key cards to enter the new building, similar to what we have now. When the new system is installed, we will make sure you get a new key card.

Regarding the old facility: Due to some changes, you can enter the old ESU 9 Building on the east and west entrances using your current key card. However, you cannot enter through the front doors with your current key card.

Personnel

The ESU 9 Board voted to hire Mr. Joe Haney as Interim Special Services Director. The board also voted to hire Ms. Kathleen (Katie) Marten as a part-time Interpreter. Joe has worked for ESU 9 as an SLP, and Katie has been a substitute Interpreter in the past. Congratulations to Joe and Katie.

Finally, we will be having our Opening Day on Thursday, August 16th at the old ESU 9 location. We are working to finalize the agenda, and it will be sent out in the near future.

Thank you all, and see you in the not-so-distant future.

Sincerely,

Kraig Lofquist

May 2018

Another Successful Year

Let me start by sincerely thanking each and every one of you for all of your work this year. Well done! Also, to those of you who have an extended contract, please keep up the great work. It is truly appreciated.

Board Meeting

The ESU 9 Board met on Monday, May 21st. Several decisions were made regarding the new building. An addition will be added to the existing conference room. This work will start on, or around, Monday, June 11th and end on, or around, August 17th. Additionally, a company was hired to add to the existing parking lot. This work will start on or around June 1 and end on or around July 27th. We feel both projects will be completed ahead of schedule. Finally, a company will move the electronic portion of our current sign to the new facility and place it within the current “monument style” sign that is on location. This sign will be completed with an ESU 9 logo.

There were several other items the board addressed that are completed on an annual basis.

Finally, the board did accept four resignation. They were from Peggy Engberg, Kayla Jacobitz, Dawn Mohlman and Cece Gangwish. We wish these ladies the best. They have done an awesome job for ESU 9, students and families. Thank you all.

Accreditation Visitation

AdvanceEd will have a team of external visitors come to ESU 9 from Sunday, March 31 to Wednesday, April 3rd next year. So, we will be in the final stages of preparing for this visit when we convene next year. Thank you all for the work you have all done over the past four years.

Moving

It’s finally here. We have been informed that we will have several days available in June to move to the new building. The exact date has not yet been identified, but will probably be during the week of June 11-15. This will be the beginning of a long process.

Thank you again for all you do.

Sincerely,

Kraig Lofquist

April Update

April Board Meeting

The ESU 9 Board met on Monday, April 9th. The meeting was moved up a week to capture extra time for construction planning purposes.  ESU 9 is now accepting bids to expand the parking lot and add to the conference room. Bids should be brought before the board for approval during the May board meeting.

District #5 Board Vacancy

The board advertised and accepted applications to fill the available board position. During the meeting, the board voted to accept Danna Wolford as the new board member from District #5. Mrs. Wolford will take the Oath of Office at our next board meeting. Welcome Danna.

Licensed Mental Health Practitioner (LMHP)

For the past several years, ESU 9 schools have been talking about the importance and growing need of mental health intervention. Due to requests, ESU 9 has hired Mrs. Megan Welch to work with our schools. Megan has great experience working with youth and families. She has spent the last several years working in Grand Island with Boys Town Behavior Health Services. Welcome Megan!

On a sad note, the board accepted the resignations of Paula Rutten, Paula Southworth and Jessica Moore.

Paula Rutten is retiring from her work with students and families that have deaf and hard of hearing needs. Paula Southworth has been hired by Blue Hill to continue her outstanding preschool teaching abilities. Finally, Jessica Moore will also be working in Blue Hill as a Title I Teacher and Preschool Coordinator. All of these employees will be missed!

So you know, we are still trying to hire for open positions in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Department. Paula was not the only one to retire! We are also in the process of finalizing staff assignments based on school requests for next year. This is an ongoing process that will have an impact on current open positions, including the Director of Special Services. If you have questions, please let me know.

Four New Superintendents

Four ESU 9 area schools have hired new superintendents for the 2018-19 school year. They are as follows:

Doniphan-Trumbull Schools: Mr. Stan Hendricks

Silver Lake Public Schools: Mr. Josh Cumpston

Superior Public Schools: Mr. Martin Kobza

South Central Unified School District: Mrs. Julie Otero

Office Space

The Management Team has spent considerable time (emphasis added) allocating office space. When considering office space several aspects were evaluated including: job duties, proximity to the meeting rooms, how much time each employee is in the building, storage needs, etc.

After numerous deliberations, we have assigned people to office space at the new ESU 9 location. We are in the process of creating a laminated map of the facility (layout) and the aforementioned office spaces. You can find your current office assignment by looking at the map. Please understand that there still may be adjustments as we work through the moving process.

Moving Notes

You may know that Contryman & Associates are currently conducting business in our new facility. Contryman & Associates will be moving to a brand new building located directly to the north of our new facility along Osborne Drive West. We have been in close contact with them, and at this time, they are ahead of schedule. Although we still plan to move during the first week of July, we might be able to start a bit earlier. Please don’t forget to box your current offices, files, etc., so they are ready for the move.

2018-19 Opening Day

Although we have not yet finished the current school year, I wanted to request that you mark your calendars for the 2018-19 Opening Day. We will have our official kickoff on Thursday, August 16th. Typically, we try to schedule this event in conjunction with area school calendars. This year it’s a little different, so please plan accordingly. Right now, we are planning to have the event held at our new location on Osborne Drive West. Please keep in mind that we are at the mercy of construction timelines. In a perfect world, this will not be an issue. I will keep you updated either way.

Thank you all!

Sincerely,

Kraig J. Lofquist, Ed.D.

 

March Update

March Board Meeting

The ESU 9 Board met on Monday, March 19th. The board approved the Main Office Calendar for next year.

Facility Updates

Gary Needham is working to ensure that we have adequate Internet access at both locations when our moving process occurs. The board approved a contract with ALLO to ensure that necessity. They also received an update regarding the new building. Schematics and initial bids should be ready to go when the board meets again on Monday, April 9th.

Salary, Benefits & Employee Information

Also, on March 19th, salary and benefit information was discussed and acted upon for all employees who are not in the Education Association’s bargaining unit.

The board did accept the resignations of Regan Miller and Bethany Gerdes. We wish these two awesome preschool teachers the best in their future endeavors.

We also want to welcome new Speech/Language Pathologist, Mr. Jordon Messersmith. Jordon currently works with Lexington Public Schools, and he is originally from Hastings. Welcome home Jordon!

Moving Guidelines

  1. Paper and books are quite heavy.  They should go in smaller boxes, not to exceed the size of a copy paper box.  We will all appreciate this strategy!
  1.  The more we can use equal size boxes, the better.  They fit best and are damaged least when packed with no gaps.
  1.  Please DO NOT use damaged boxes for moving purposes. Make sure all boxes are both close-able and filled completely.  That is the only way to be sure they can be safely stacked as they are moved.

Auditors and Scanners (Janine, Lynda & Cindy P.)

I want to thank everyone who has already helped to make our move as easy as possible. Janine Uden has been AWESOME helping to audit files, so they can be scanned. Lynda Rempel and Cindy Paczkowski have been methodically scanning documents for months. The amount of work they have achieved is truly staggering!! Way to go ladies!!

Cleaning Day

Jackie Ediger has organized a cleaning/packing day at the main office for those who are available this coming Thursday, March 29th. Thank you for being proactive!

Sincerely,

Kraig Lofquist

 

February Updates

Hello Everyone,

January seemed to take forever, and February has moved by so quickly!

I know you have received some updates from Gary Needham and others, but I wanted to share/reiterate some information with you.

ESU 9 Quiz Bowl

This event never ceases to amaze me or anyone else who attends. I learn something new and incredible about the event each year. Thank you to all of you who work to make this possible (there is a lot of you)!

Continuous Improvement Process

The new committees are meeting and moving forward. This is exciting, and thank you all for your work.

Board Updates

The current ESU 9 facility is going to be for sale. During the February 19th board meeting, the board voted to hire Ruhter Auction and Realty, Inc. to list the property.

Also, the board voted to hire WDesign to oversee the construction of an addition onto the facility located at 5807 Osborne Drive West. This is a departure from the “renovation” idea that was originally proposed. WDesign will also oversee the paving of additional parking spaces at the new facility. Moving day keeps getting closer.

Kim Johnson has worked for ESU 9 for 28 years, and she has announced her retirement. Congratulations Kim!!

Also, congratulations to Sarah Modlin, Lori Hodson and Trish Bonifas who were hired by Adams Central. We wish you all the best.

Sincerely,

Kraig Lofquist

January Update

Building & Grounds Update

We have received bids from real estate agents/brokers to help us sell our current property. A board committee and the full board should decide in February who will be hired for this need.

We continue to scan all the documents we can to preclude moving old files to our new location. Many employees have started weeding out antiquated materials. Way to go, and please keep up this great work! The first batch of moving boxes have been ordered and should be here very soon.

January Board Meeting

Ken Spray was elected board president. Mary Yilk was elected vice-president and Rick Poppe was elected secretary for the ESU 9 Board.

Continuous Improvement Process (Committees)

As you know, we have four new committees: Climate, Community Outreach/Marketing, Communication and Data. Everyone is on a new committee for the purpose of our continuous improvement process. We tried our best to give you your first choice regarding committee assignments. We are looking forward to our initial meetings this spring.

Rhonda Fleischer is retiring!

If you have not yet heard, Rhonda is retiring at the end of this contract year. We cannot begin to thank “Rho” for all of the works she has done for students, educators and the State of Nebraska. She will be missed.

December Update

Hello ESU 9!

The following is a quick review for the month of December.

ESU 9 Board Meeting

During the December meeting, the ESU 9 Board officially welcomed new board member Jodi Graves. Dave Fisher, who recently resigned from the board was honored for thirty years of service to ESU 9.

The board also approved the hiring of an architect from WDesign, who will provide the necessary expertise to fulfill the requirements of renovating the new facility.

All Staff Meeting Review

Thank you for your time on December 22nd!!

Amy and Kristen did a great job sharing information about ESU 9s “Service Framework.” We also talked about changes as we move forward with our continuous improvement process (CIP). Specifically, there will be four committees as we move forward: Communication, Data, Community Outreach/Marketing and Climate (Rah! Rah!). We will let you know who is on what committee when the ballots have been counted.

Hearts & Hands Against Hunger

The 90 minutes we spent working on our community service project was impressive. We are one of numerous community groups that have helped fill over 5 million bags of nutritious meals at the Hearts & Hands Against Hunger location. That’s a great deal of food, when you consider that each bag of food can feed six children. Way to go team!!

Moving to the New Building

Finally, this is one of several “friendly reminders” you will probably hear about moving: Everyone is responsible for packing and labeling their personal belongings, files, materials, & supplies. The second semester will pass by as quickly as the first; please plan accordingly.

Thank you all for all you do.

Kraig Lofquist