The Commissioner has moved forward with organizing the staff of NDE by establishing and naming 3 deputy commissioners and 2 of 3 chiefs to carry out the plan. The chief operating officer position is nearing finalization so that by July 1, 2018 this Leadership goal can near completion.
In addition, new internal policies and procedures are being developed for the entire department for the next 10 years to consolidate services and ensure efficient delivery of services.
Finally, the Communications Office has begun work implementing a plan to improve NDE stakeholder engagement that began with launch of the new NDE website.
In an effort to understand the scope of high quality services and systems of support provided by the Nebraska Department of Education, NDE has been working on a couple of pieces.
The first, focused on identifying the services and systems provided by NDE using the framework of the Strategic Vision and Direction to categorize the work. In addition, working with the North Central Comprehensive Center (NCCC), we have started an alignment project of the services and systems provided by Educational Service Units in Nebraska as well.
The first segment focused on identifying the technology services and will be followed up with alignment to the SIMPL (Service Implementation Model Process and Log) project among ESU's piloting the work. Once the identification of the systems and services is complete, developing the process for evaluating duplication, impact, and timeliness will occur.
In December of 2017, a cost sharing partnership was established between NDE and ESUCC so that Nebraska might benefit from the Open Educational Resources movement. This move initiated efforts to collaboratively develop a digital repository and support statewide efforts to build equity and access to quality learning opportunities for all learners, teachers, and leaders. Work groups were identified to lead these efforts.
Concurrently, statewide efforts have focused on systemic approaches by which to ensure equitable access to quality professional learning opportunities, such as utilization of ESSA's Title IIA SEA funds to develop a system of supports for NE PK-12 principals.
These concurrent efforts may or may not rely heavily on digital supports and/or a professional learning directory.
The Commissioner participated in the Education Commission of the States Midwest Dual Enrollment Policy Academy in November 2017. The Nebraska team included representation from the Nebraska Postsecondary Coordinating Commission, and Western Nebraska Community College.
The state team also includes representation from the Governor's office. This team will meet again in mid-January 2018 to discuss next steps and to expand the partners involved in the process.
In 2015, Nebraska developed and submitted the Nebraska State Equity Plan in response to a federal directive. In 2016-2017, the Every Student Succeeds Act presented Nebraska with the opportunity to revisit the content of the plan submitted in 2015.
The updated Nebraska Equity Plan was submitted as a component of the Educator Effectiveness section of the Nebraska State ESSA Plan. The US Department of Education and ESSA Peers provided only positive feedback in response to the Educator Effectiveness section of the Nebraska State ESSA Plan.
As such, one might assert that Nebraska has completed Goal 7.1. However, our increasingly equity-focused organization recognizes that there will always be room for improvement with the content of our state Equity Plan as well as rigor of implementation of the Equity Plan.