The ESUs’ Impact Series: SEL and Wellness – Episode 2

In each episode of this series, we chat with educators from different ESUs across Nebraska to learn more about how they serve and support the school systems in their respective regions of the state. This conversation focuses on the topic of social-emotional learning and wellness and features Jen McNally of ESU 5, Theresa Ritta-Olson of ESU 10, and Lynne Herr of ESU 6. Each of these ESU colleagues shares insights about the work they do in support of SEL and wellness on behalf of educators and learners in their area schools.

The ESUs’ Impact Series: Education Technology – Episode 1

This episode is the first in a series of pods dedicated to highlighting the local and collective efforts the Nebraska ESUs are making in service to education in Nebraska. Each week, we will focus on a topic and showcase the current conversations and work being done in that area. Episode 1 takes a look at ed-tech and the breadth of the ESUs statewide support, ranging from pairing tech integration with instructional best practices (Dr. Lynne Herr, of ESU 6 – 0:00) to the Canvas Consortium and districtwide LMS implementation (Shara Johnson of ESU 2 – 22:00) and the latest on Cyber Security in Nebraska schools (Bill Pulte of ESU3 – 35:40). We hope you enjoy this pod and the entire series!

A Conversation with S.E.M. Elementary’s National Rural Teacher of the Year

Laurie Smith, 4th-grade teacher at Sumner-Eddyville-Miller Elementary, was recently recognized by the National Rural Education Association as the National Rural Teacher of the Year. In this episode, Jack Moles, the executive director of NRCSA (the Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association) joins Laurie for an insightful conversation about teaching, leading, and fostering relationships in the rural school setting.

Learn more about NRCSA on their website

Digital Citizenship Resources and Contest for Nebraska Students

In this episode, Peg Coover of ESU 10 joins us to share the ESUPDO TLT Digital Citizenship work group’s efforts to take what was once their in-person Digital Citizenship Symposium online. In the spring of 2021, their number of participants multiplied by nine times to involve 2,000+ Nebraska students on this important topic. In the pod, you will learn more about how students can access this year’s DigCit content and get involved in the statewide competitions. For more information, listen to this conversation and then visit

Practical Ideas for Diversifying Our Approach to Intervention

In this episode, we are joined by Andi McNair, author of Genius Hour: Passion Projects that Ignite Innovation and Student Inquiry — and — A Meaningful Mess: A Teacher’s Guide to Student-Driven Classrooms, Authentic Learning, Student Empowerment, and Keeping it All Together without Losing Your Mind. Andi shares on the topic of interventions, looking specifically at the strategies, voice, and motivation being utilized when a learner is struggling to grasp a concept. This pod shares a great reframing of the approach to intervention along with strategies for how to practically make those adjustments in the classroom.

Mentioned in this episode…

Daniel Pink’s Ted Talk, The Puzzle of Motivation

Follow and Connect with Andi McNair Through Her Blog

Immersive Social-Emotional Learning Readings and Activities from Peekapak

In this episode, CEO and co-founder of Peekapak, Ami Shah, shares her backstory and the formation of her ed-tech company. Peekapak provides CASEL-aligned stories, lessons, and learning games that help keep social-emotional learning (SEL) engaging wherever learning happens. For information on Peekapak, visit their website at to learn more about the work that they do in support of SEL for students.

Meaningful Beginnings to the New School Year

In this episode, Tisha Richmond, author of Make Learning Magical, joins us for a conversation on the M in her M.A.G.I.C.A.L. acronym, Meaningful Beginnings. Tisha shares about ideas for how to build culture and community at the start of the school year.

To connect with Tisha via her website at

Ideas for New Teachers and the Educators Who Support Them

In this episode, professional learning specialists Amy Schultz and Kristen Slechta of ESU 9 join us for an energetic and practical conversation about supporting new-to-the-profession teachers. Join us to learn more about everything from relationship building strategies to routines and procedures, and we enjoy as we have some karaoke fun along the way!

World Languages and the Nebraska Seal of Biliteracy

In this episode, we take a close look at what it means for learners to earn the Nebraska Seal of Biliteracy and how that distinction can be a future academic, career, and financial benefit to students. To explore this topic, we are joined by Chrystal Liu, World Language Specialist with the Nebraska Department of Education, and Nick Ziegler, World Language Coordinator and Tech Integrationist at ESU 5. Together, Chrystal and Nick share a wealth of information that speaks to the amazing work being done to enhance language learning and development across our state.

The Nebraska Seal of Biliteracy Site

Distance Learning Courses on the ESUCC’s NVIS Site

For more on how Distance Learning Courses work in Nebraska, access this testimonial from Barry Schaeffer, Superintendent of Arthur County Schools.

Contact Nick Ziegler at for information on receiving World Language Courses via Distance Learning.