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State Education Conference

November 18-20, 2020

2020 State Education Conference Program (pdf)

This conference, presented annually the week prior to Thanksgiving, traditionally offers school leaders the latest in educational information and technology through such activities as preconference workshops, keynote presentations, breakout sessions, and commercial exhibits.
Due to local DHM's and restrictions across Nebraska, the 2020 Conference is being held virtually

2020 State Education Conference Agenda 

Wednesday, November 18
1:00 to 4:00 PM - Pre-Conferences

Thursday, November 19
8:30 to 9:00 AM - Exhibitor Engagement - LIVE!

9:00 to 9:45 AM - Opening General Session
Commissioner Matt Blomstedt

9:45 to 10:30 AM - A Sessions

10:35 to 11:20 AM - B Sessions

11:25 AM to 12:15 PM - Exhibitor Engagement - LIVE!

12:15 to 1:15 PM - General Session 
Superintendent of the Year Presentation
State of the Associations w/ NASB & NCSA Leadership
1:20 to 2:05 PM - C Sessions
2:10 to 2:55 PM - D Sessions
3:00 PM - Hollywood Squares with American Fidelity
Join the State Education Association Team and American Fidelity for an afternoon of laughs. We'll have prizes throughout the afternoon, and if you stick around, you'll also be entered to win a grand prize valued at $200!  We have a team of local celebrities filling the squares and you will not want to miss this!  Just click on the session in Pathable for the link to join.
Friday, November 20
9:00 to 9:45 AM - E Sessions
9:50 to 10:35 AM - F Sessions
10:40 to 11:25 AM - G Sessions

2020 Registration 

Registration fees for the virtual conference are as follows:
Member REGISTration = $275 
Non-Member Registration = $575
(No refunds after November 17, 2020)

** All Conference content will be viewable in real-time on the designated days/times of the agenda above.  The content will also be viewable on demand until December 31, 2020. **

Registration Instructions:

  • Sign In to the "My Membership" tab of NASBonline.org with your email and password
  • Click on Events inside menu bar.
  • Click on Register under the Events tab.
  • Use the drop down list of contacts to select who you would like to register.
  • Select 2020 Virtual State Education Conference from the list of events.
  • After you have selected your items, hit the “Add Registration” button. This may take a moment to refresh.
  • You will see a summary of items for which you have registered.
  • After you have registered all your members, please select your payment option at the bottom of the screen and hit the Continue button.

2020 Sessions 

Wednesday, November 18
1:00 to 4:00 PM - Pre-Conferences

Risk Dial Turned Red
Three months into the school year, and things continue to change by the week--sometimes by the day. This presentation will look at COVID-19 from a variety of disciplines. You’ll hear real experiences from school administrators, followed by a discussion of legal issues for boards and administrators to think about for the coming months. The next portion of the presentation will go through considerations for moving into the winter activity seasons with Dr. Bellar. We’ll conclude with a discussion from the public health perspective with Dr. Rauner, who has been tracking and informing board members, administrators, and the public on COVID-related issues since the beginning of the pandemic. Most importantly, we’ll have plenty of time for questions and group discussion whether you’re tuning in remotely or attending in person.
Presenters: Jay Bellar - NSAA; Karen Haase & Bobby Truhe - KSB School Law; Dr. Bob Rauner - Lincoln Board of Education & Medical Doctor; Panel of School Leaders

A Silver Lining: Digital Learning in the COVID Era
The COVID-related school closures in the spring and the subsequent hybrid and remote learning approaches that have continued into the fall semester have brought the importance of technology in education to the forefront. This session will discuss the fundamental requirements to ensure your district is not merely surviving with technology but thriving. We will take a deep dive into the rocky legal terrain that must be considered when schools rely on technology to deliver instruction. We will close the session with a celebration of success, sharing examples that illustrate great technology integration in Nebraska schools.
Presenters: John Skretta & Jamen Hall - ESU 6; Andrew Easton - ESUCC; Justin Knight - Perry Law Firm

Breakout Sessions
Thursday, November 19
9:45 to 10:30 AM – A Sessions

A3 - Hot Topics in School Law!
They’re baaaaaaack! We will take you through the most interesting, terrifying, and noteworthy developments in school law over the last year that all board members and administrators need to know. We can only promise you’ll be entertained, and probably a little terrified. Bring your questions, too!
PRESENTERS: Bobby Truhe & Steve Williams - KSB School Law

A4 - A Conversation with the State Board of Education: Disruption & Innovation
Join members of the State Board of Education for a conversation on education policy, including the board’s legislative priorities for the coming year. Much of this session will be devoted to an opportunity for session attendees to share ideas and input with the members of the State Board.
PRESENTERS: Members of the Nebraska State Board of Education

A6 - Sparq Meetings: Paperless Board Meetings The Easy Way
With over half the school districts in Nebraska now using Sparq Meetings, we are excited to announce and show all the new features released this year in the Meetings platform. Make sure to come learn about the new capabilities your district now has available to further streamline your processes and reduce time spent working on daily tasks. See how to use this intuitive, user-friendly platform to create and maintain Regular and Special Meetings for your board, committees, foundations, and other sub-organizations and units.
PRESENTERS:  Craig Caples & Nicole Kobus - Sparq Data Solutions

A7 - National Update on the Teacher Shortage & Vision Planning for the Future
As the pandemic continues and the state of education remains unclear, states will continue to struggle to recruit and retain high-quality educators. While the need to educate our students is consistent, how we get educators in the right placement at the right times will vary from state to state. Join Kelly as she shares what the American Association of School Personnel Administrators (AASPA) has been tracking with regards to the national teacher shortage preCOVID19 and present. Learn what is going on in some key states good and bad that could affect how Nebraska deals with their own shortages. We will discuss some key strategies districts and K12 HR teams can use to improve their recruitment and retention.
PRESENTERS: Kelly Coash-Johnson - American Association of School Personnel Administrators

10:35 to 11:20 AM - B Sessions

B2 - I’m A New Board Member, Now What?
Are you a newly elected board member? Have you recently been appointed to fill a vacancy on the Board? How do you properly prepare for this new role? Who do you reach out to as a resource with your questions about board service? This session will cover the roles and responsibilities of a board, address frequently asked questions, and engage participants in an interactive discussion.
PRESENTER: Marcia Herring - NASB

B3 - Know & Grow Your CEO! Superintendent Contracts, Evaluations & Employment
The school board employs everyone on staff, but the Superintendent is your key employee. Do you conduct the superintendent evaluation in open or closed session? Is the superintendent evaluation a public record, or confidential personnel record? What’s the actual term of your superintendent contract? This presentation will talk through the key issues related to superintendent contracts, evaluations, pay transparency, and more. Clarity is key, for everyone.
PRESENTERS: Bobby Truhe & Karen Haase - KSB School Law

B4 - New Faces, Same Issues; A Legislative Primer for 2021
The 2021 session will usher several new Senators and new Leadership. In addition to a new Speaker, the Legislature will select new leadership for important committees including, Education, Revenue, and Government. With new members come new ideas. With that said, many topics will be familiar to members. Returning Senators have indicated several topics as unfinished business. Senators have signaled legislative ideas that will affect district operations, spending, board authority, curriculum, discipline, and school safety. Come learn how these initiatives may affect your district and how you can prepare to be great education advocates.
PRESENTERS: Colby Coash - NASB; Mike Dulaney - NCSA

B5 - When the Bell Rings
As schools worked through the challenges caused by the onset of COVID 19 in March of 2020, the issues of finishing the 19/20 school year and planning for the 20/21 were daunting to school districts throughout the state. Leadership in the state stepped up to these challenges and once again showed the importance of schools in each and every community. No other group faced the complexities that the school’s faced. No other group could have responded as effectively as the schools. This session will discuss the challenges that were front and center for schools as they planned for the 20/21 school year.
PRESENTERS: Cinde Wendell, Kyle McGowan & Keith Rohwer - NCSA Ambassadors

B6 - Senior Fridays - A Transition to College or Career
Northeast Nebraska Schools are scheduling “Senior Fridays” for their Senior students. Seniors have the option of internships or to take classes at college campuses on Fridays. School Staff, students and Board Members from Bancroft-Rosalie, Battle Creek, Bloomfield, and Osmond will describe how Senior Fridays works at their schools, the options available for students, and how partnerships with Northeast Community College and Wayne State College get their High School Seniors dual credit on a college campus.
PRESENTERS: Jon Cerny - Bancroft-Rosalie Community School; Jake Luhr - Battle Creek Public Schools; Shane Alexander - Bloomfield Public Schools; & Internship Students

B7 - Educational Service Unit 5: 4ALL Mental Health Model
With one in five students diagnosed with a mental health disorder, and educators leaving the profession at over 40% in the first five years - ESU5’s 4ALL Mental Health Model is being seen as the standard for providing mental wellness for all in schools. This session will focus on the impacts of ESU5’s 4ALL model, partnership with UNL & Doane University, evidenced based practices and data to support the model.
PRESENTERS: Jen McNally & Brenda McNiff - ESU 5

1:20 to 2:05 PM – C Sessions

C1 - Sparq Negotiations: Leveling the Playing Field with Transparent, Fair, and Accurate Data
Come see why over half the school districts in Nebraska are using Sparq Negotiations to compile School District data across Nebraska. The Sparq platform provides a quick and easy way for negotiating teams to pull Reports, review a Midpoint Analysis, and project costs for the upcoming school year in real-time. In addition to this, you will have a chance to see how quickly a district can review other school district information, including salary schedules and placement, detailed health and benefits information, and staff summaries.
PRESENTERS:  Craig Caples & Nicole Kobus - Sparq Data Solutions

C2 - Student Voices
Students from Nebraska high schools share their perspectives on issues that are important to the leaders of tomorrow.
Moderator: Travis Lightle - Gretna Public Schools
Students: Hannah Williams - North Bend Central Public Schools; William Welch - Gretna Public Schools; Noah Shackelford - South Central Unified #5; Josie Jenkins - Mitchell Public Schools

C3 - STOP IT! A School Lawyer’s List of Things You Must, Can’t, Should & Shouldn’t Do
They’ve been wanting to do it for years, and they’ve finally committed. We are reviewing a combined 40+ years of notes on all the things school boards and administrators struggle with in terms of legal compliance. This presentation will be great for longtime board members, new board members, and administrators who want to embrace the complexity of school legal issues and FINALLY tackle the most common misconceptions and mistakes on school law issues.
PRESENTERS: Steve Williams & Karen Haase - KSB School Law

C4 - Public Health and the Public School
On March 3, 2020 Three Rivers Health Department and ESU 2 held a joint meeting to discuss the arrival of a new virus to America. Since that day, the joint effort between Three Rivers Health Department and area superintendents, through the facilitation of ESU 2 and other area leaders, has proven to be effective, reasonable and collaborative. This session will help board members understand the complexity of the decisions made over six months ago and how a model of teamwork continues in the days and months to come as health departments and schools work together to combat the coronavirus.
PRESENTERS: Dan Endorf - North Bend Central Public Schools; Mark Shepard - Fremont Public Schools; Terra Uhing - 3 Rivers Health Department

C6 - Transparent and Effective Communications During a Crisis
Effective communication with all stakeholders is a challenge in the best of time. When a crisis occurs; transparent, effective communication becomes daunting. Hear how the Grand Island Public Schools navigated the communication needed during the Covid-19 pandemic through collaboration, by building stronger trust, and expanding its reach to engage with all parts of the community. Come learn how to develop an innovative process to create two-way communication leading to a unified message.
PRESENTERS: Tawana Grover & Bonnie Hinkle - Grand Island Public Schools

C7 Working Together for a Behavioral and Mental Health Support Program
Support for students and teachers in the areas of behavioral and mental health is often difficult to find, especially in rural communities. This session will explore the partnership that has formed between a few schools and a local hospital to provide needed support. Successes, pitfalls, and ideas as to how to start a program in your area of the state will be shared.
PRESENTERS: Brad Best, Dana Reinke & Tim Carr - Heartland Community Schools; Stephanie Knight & Jeri George - Fillmore County Medical Center

2:10 to 2:55 PM – D Sessions

D1 - Extracurricular Events: Legal Issues
Every year, schools run into problems involving extracurricular activities. From unruly fans, prayers before/after games, or student-athlete safety, this session will walk through current events and legal issues that administrators and board members need to know.
PRESENTER:  Justin Knight - Perry Law Firm

D2 - NSAA Update
Come and learn about what the Nebraska School Activities Association has been working on and what they see as important issues for future years.

D3 - IX Things We Love About You!
Title IX has been a topic at every State Conference for the last decade! We are finally able to talk about some certainty...right? We finally, actually, have some answers! Your school or ESU board and administrators have read the headlines, been through policy updates, and started to live in the new and strange world of Title IX in 2020. This fast-paced presentation will take you through a quick overview of the legal landscape and bring you real life examples from the field.
PRESENTERS:  Bobby Truhe, Karen Haase & Steve Williams - KSB School Law

D6 - Conflicts of Interest and More
This session will review and discuss Nebraska’s conflict of interest laws, its nepotism laws and its contractual interest laws as they apply to members of school boards. Real world scenarios will be used to illustrate the application and effect of these laws on school board members. Attendees will be provided with information as to how to seek information and advice when faced with issues in these areas.
PRESENTER:  Frank Daley - Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission

D7  - From Seed to Feed - The High Plains Student Agriculture Education Experience
High Plains Community Schools Agriculture Education program has evolved and expanded in the last 6 years to now include an animal science lab, seed to feed agriculture experience, and hands on learning environment that has enabled our students to dive deeper into their education program than ever before. This session is designed to be student led as HPC students will talk about our Ag Ed. program and its impact on their education at our school. With space to spare, HPC took the initiative to turn a solid program into a great one by creating a living farm 50 feet from our school doors. HPC students are able to utilize our test plot, complete with pivot irrigation, and our working animal farm to learn the basics of farm management as well as the complexities of marketing, pesticide management, and animal care complexities. With partnerships built throughout our program through agriculture industry mainstays like Orthman Enterprises and John Deere along with local teaching experiences through vet techs, agronomists, and fabricators, HPC students get a real word experience throughout their Ag. Education classes at HPC.
PRESENTER:  Tom Hofmann - High Plains Community Schools

Breakout Sessions
Friday, November 20

9:00 to 9:45 AM – E Sessions

E2 - 2021/2022 EHA Health and Dental Plan Changes
Attend this session to learn more about changes to benefits and rates for the EHA Health and Dental plans. Session attendees will be invited to engage in discussion and ask questions to one another about best practices on educating employees on their health and dental benefits.
PRESENTER: Brett Young - BCBS; Greg Long - EHA

E3 - Finally! A Title IX Presentation about Sports
Can we add baseball? Do we have to cap roster spots? Do we have to drop a sport? Can we make cuts? School leaders around the country face these and other questions as they make short- and long-term decisions about their athletic programs. This presentation will discuss Title IX’s requirement that schools provide equal athletic opportunities, and the various alternatives that you can use to show compliance. More than just evaluating your current athletic program under Title IX, you will learn about tools that you can use to help make informed decisions to meet your students’ athletic interests and abilities (and comply with the law).
PRESENTERS: Karen Haase, Coady Pruett & Bobby Truhe - KSB School Law

E4 - School Foundations - National Best Practices
This session will provide attendees the principles and practical ideas for current or future-planned school foundations in the strive for excellence. This session will share the wisdom gathered from 20 states’ school foundations, which developed the National School Foundation Association’s guiding principles for education foundations.
PRESENTER: Wendy Van - Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools

E5 - Rules, Rules, and More Rules!
The rule is changing, and board members need to understand how modifications to Rule 10 will impact the decision-making at the board table. Join us for this session, as we take a deep dive into accreditation of the school district and compliance with Rule 10.
PRESENTER: Marcia Herring - NASB

E6 - AQuESTT System of Support: The Board’s Role in School Improvement
Each year, schools and districts across the state are classified as Excellent, Great, Good, or Needs Improvement. Additionally, schools may receive an additional designation for support including TSI, ATSI, or CSI. This session has three objectives: 1) Briefly describe the classification and designation levels; 2) Identify the processes involved for improvement; 3) Discuss the board role in improvement.
PRESENTERS: Shirley Vargas & Lane Carr - NDE

9:50 to 10:35 AM – F Sessions

F1 - Emergencies, Pandemics and Other Emerging Issues: Preparing for the Next Unknown Crisis
From massive floods to the coronavirus, schools and ESUs need to be prepared to respond to major crises on extremely short notice. This session will walk through recent and current situations and provide guidance and strategies for your board to consider implementing to prepare for the next unforeseen emergency.
PRESENTERS: Justin Knight - Perry Law Firm; Dan Schnoes - ESU 3, Kraig Lofquist - ESUCC; Scott Blum - ESU 3

F3 - Pain in the App 6.0
Your annual update on all things cyberbullying, sexting, technology, and social media use is back again this year! This presentation will cover the trends in student and staff social media use that all board members and school administrators must know as we close 2020 and enter 2021. Whether you’re a “flip phone kinda guy” or “Snapchat usin’ kind of gal,” this presentation will have something for everyone.
PRESENTERS: Karen Haase & Coady Pruett - KSB School Law

F4 - The Thundering Herd: A Holistic View at School Improvement
Gibbon Public School’s school improvement model is built on a foundation of shared leadership and a highly collaborative culture. The Thundering Herd is a collective and collaborative model that provides guidance, direction, and leadership for the entire education family. Our session will illustrate how we successfully tackle multiple initiatives simultaneously with a focus on creating high-functioning collaborative teams, developing rigorous curriculum and assessments, improving budgetary practices, increasing levels of safety and security, implementing professional learning communities, designing professional development, & establishing a healthy climate and culture…and in three short years.
PRESENTERS: Vern Fisher, Brian Kroll & Kim Wadkins - Gibbon Public Schools

F5 - Creating Community Partnerships: From The Strategic Plan to Reality
Creating community partnerships is a goal of every school district. However, getting from the planning/dreaming phase to reality can be a daunting thought. During this session, we hope to share with you our journey in creating community partnerships in our district. We will begin with our strategic planning phase, share information about our reVISION process and then share with you how we intentionally created partnerships with various businesses and farmers in our community. While we are still on the journey of creating meaningful partnerships, we hope to share with other districts a roadmap to success.
PRESENTERS: Matt Dominy, Josh Fields, Paul Duer, Ryne Seaman, Jerry Rumery, Jill Hochstein, Danielle Shipley & Jana Hughes - Seward Public Schools

F6 - The Importance of Visioning…Raymond Central’s Journey toward C-H-A-N-G-E!
As elected officials, it is critical to look to the future anticipating opportunities and roadblocks while preparing for success. Using a targeted planning process, Raymond Central developed goals and objectives to strategically move the district forward meeting challenges of the 21st Century. When developing the strategic planning process, many questions were asked about what the future holds for students. The overarching question remains, how do we prepare students for a future job market we can’t predict? Join the Raymond Central Board of Education and their Superintendent as they share their data-driven strategic planning process titled “Vision 2025”.
PRESENTERS: Harriet Gould & Derrick Joel - Raymond Central Public Schools

F7 - Quality Early Childhood Takes a Community: Lessons from Norfolk Public Schools
The Norfolk Public School Board recognized the value of quality early childhood care and education requirements, and they made a choice to be active in creating solutions. They included this goal in their strategic plan: By Fall of 2023, NPS will, through research-based program development and community collaboration, assure all children entering kindergarten have had opportunities for early childhood experiences that enable them to transition successfully to kindergarten. To reach this goal, they recognized they would need to find ways to support parents and private child care providers within their community. The group formed to move this goal forward, Power of Preschool, includes various providers and community representatives. In this session, we will share the successes and challenges of this broad community coalition.
PRESENTERS: Adam Feser - First Five Nebraska; Melissa Jantz - Norfolk Public Schools

10:40 to 11:25 AM – G Sessions

G1 - Big Solutions for Small Rural Schools
Learn how Shickley Public Schools (PK-12 enrollment of 180), through creativity, has worked through many challenges facing small, rural school districts. Rural schools in Nebraska continue to do MORE with less. Find out how Shickley continues to do more through its daycare services for students 6 weeks of age through PK, sports cooperative with Bruning-Davenport Unified School, and teacher recruitment & retention efforts.
PRESENTER: Sadie Coffey - Shickley Public Schools

G2 - Creative Solutions For the Substitute Shortage
Papillion La Vista Community Schools requires between 70-100 sub teachers and paras on any given day. During the recent times of sub shortages, district administrators and our Board of Education partnered together, looked at research, and then took creative action to combat the problem. Results have been increased sub engagement, happier school staff, and fewer unfilled jobs. We will share with participants several of our favorite strategies that could work for any size school district.
PRESENTERS: Kati Settles & Valerie Fisher - Papillion La Vista Community Schools

G3 - Preventing Open Mic Night During Public Comment
Public comment can be very useful for board members who value community input. However, some individuals can abuse the public comment. In this session, the Perry Law Firm will address ways that boards should consider establishing public comment rules and regulations. This session will also examine real-world examples of public comment conundrums, such as disruptive patrons, patrons who want to discuss staff or student issues, and patrons who want to turn a board meeting into a political stunt.
PRESENTER: Derek Aldridge - Perry Law Firm

G4 - Rural Nebraska Districts CAN Provide Sustainable Rule 11 Childcare Programs!
You’ve heard many say, that public schools can NOT afford to provide infant and toddler care and be fiscally responsible. Is that true or is it a myth? Morrill Public Schools has been providing Rule 11 Early Childhood programming for children 6 weeks to pre-kindergarten for three years now. Numbers are growing, revenue EXCEEDS expenses, and we are attracting certificated staff to our program. Come learn our process; learn how the TEOSSA Basic Funding + Local Revenue fully funds the program. Learn about how to build a Highly Qualified Effective Workforce in order to meet the needs of your communities.
PRESENTERS: Sunny Edwards & Joe Sherwood - Morrill Public Schools

G5 - Involving Student Voices at the District Level
This session will highlight some of the strategies that Westside Community Schools uses to engage its students with the board of education and senior leadership team. Attendees will learn how Westside’s Board of Education “Student Advisory Council” and “Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council” operate. Presenters will also share outreach endeavors that include our “First Friday Feedbacks,” “Lunch & Learns,” and “Community Coffees.” Finally, an overview of the newly developed, student-led “Warrior Marketing Group” will share how they work with board members and district-level departments to gain real-world experiences while bringing positive attention to their school district.
PRESENTERS: Mike Lucas & Board of Education - Westside Community Schools

G6 - Take Your Board of Education from Great to Excellent Through Governance
Successful school districts are led by successful Boards of Education. In order for our children to be prepared for their future, we have asked teachers and the school district to dramatically evolve. The Board of Education must evolve as well. It is imperative the school board, superintendent and entire school district work together cohesively and unified for children to thrive in an ever changing world. Learn how the Grand Island Public Schools Board of Education formed a Governance Committee to focus on the evolution the board must take to go from a great board to an excellent board.
PRESENTERS: Bonnie Hinkle & Tawana Grover - Grand Island Public Schools

G7 - Best Practices for School Construction Planning
You’ve decided to start planning a school construction or renovation project in unprecedented, uncertain times – what are some of the reasons to proceed and the risks? Join us for an engaging discussion on the steps your district can take to prepare for a facilities project and ensure success. Topics will include construction delivery methods, choosing your team of consultants, potential funding sources, and best practices for initial planning.
PRESENTERS: Emily Bannick & Mark Pfister - Boyd Jones

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