SPOTLIGHT: news, articles and information about and for ESAS


BrightBytes by John Fitzgerald, Education Reporter
Gathering and inputting data can be difficult and sifting through that data can be time-consuming and lead to confusing results. BrightBytes has developed modules for different aspects of education, including modules specifically for ESAs.


Luman Touch by John Fitzgerald, Education Reporter
Many ESAs and school districts have built their computer systems in an ad hoc fashion, adding a piece of software here and a new program there then expecting the IT department to keep everything running smoothly. Lumen Touch takes a different approach, offering an all-inclusive software system to manage districts. John Vandewelle, the company's CEO, ticks off the software's functions: "gradebook management, student information, learning management, college and career planning, library management, notifications, professional development and data availabilities, among others."


Alaska's Culturally Responsive Solution by John Fitzgerald, Education Reporter
When Alaska's legislature decided to set standards for teacher evaluations, they threw the education establishment a curveball: Not only would new standards include culturally specific requirements, but the requirements had to be blended in with the existing standards. This is a fine idea in theory, but in practice, it created a number of problems. To address  the  standards,  Alaska's  Southeast  Regional  Resource  Center,  or SERRC, told Gerry Briscoe to convene a committee of experts and develop a model that would work in Alaska and, hopefully, in other states as well.

ESAs Combine Technology with Purchasing for Enhanced Member Service by John Fitzgerald, Education Reporter
So what's new under the sun with cooperative purchasing? A group of Minnesota ESAs decided to put a 21st Century spin on the service by incorporating their popular supply contracts into an online marketplace they named Express. According to Jeremy Kovash, the executive director of Lakes Country Service Cooperative, which  took the lead in developing Express, participating schools save by being guaranteed to receive contract pricing.

North East Florida Educational Consortium Superintendent Research Project - Yielding Results! by John Fitzgerald, Education Reporter.
Using a service agency is an excellent way to deliver services to schools in an economic and efficient fashion. It has other benefits as well, one of which is joining districts with similar needs together.

Newest Statewide ESA Network - Up and Running by John Fitzgerald, Education Reporter.
The movement toward more formal statewide networks of ESA's is growing and New York is the newest state to join.The state BOCES have hired Jessica Cohen to assist the 37 New York state Board of Cooperative Educational Services, or BOCES, to work together. Cooperation is important because the state has given BOCES the task of teacher licensing.

Michigan ESA's Deliver Statewide Online Testing by John Fitzgerald, Education Reporter.
The Michigan legislature appropriated about $45 million each year for three years to get the state schools ready for online testing. For technology and infrastructure, they turned to the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators. The group's executive director, Bill Miller,in turn hired Tim Hall to direct the project and he began the arduous task of making the idea of online testing a reality.


AESA Partner News Profile: Cooperative Purchasing - AEPA Style, Saving Districts Money by John Fitzgerald, Education Reporter.
Changing your buying power might seem impossible, but it's not. That's what the Association of Educational Purchasing Agencies does: by acting as a cooperative, it brings the same economy of scale enjoyed by large districts to smaller districts. Read how Blaise Bauer, the District Superintendent in Greenbush Southeast Kansas Educational service Center, saved money by working with AEPA for maintenance and to upgrade facilities.


AESA Partner News Profile: How the Kentucky ESA, GRREC uses AESA Business Partner Corwin to Increase Student Learning by John Fitzgerald, Education Reporter.
If there's one thing that's true about teaching children, it's that change, in theory, is constant. Educators are  always seeking that brass ring that will allow them to better reach their students. That's why it is so important to  keep up on the latest, most practical and most effective teaching methods. And that's why it is so important for  ESAs like the Green River Regional Education Cooperative in Bowling Green, Kentucky, to pair with a company like  Corwin to learn the latest practices in teacher and educator development. Read more about this very successful  partnership.


AESA Partner News Profile: Corwin by John Fitzgerald, Education Reporter. With a prestigious roster of authors, Corwin not only publishes approximately 120 books each year on a variety of education topics, but it also offers seminars, e-learning courses, and institutes for educational organizations.


 Marsden Services Help Handle a Business Within a Business by John Fitzgerald, Education Reporter.
Any superintendent, principal or school board member knows that facilities maintenance is a business unto itself. Taking care of the HVAC, janitorial, maintenance and even security is a specialized job - one that typically isn't covered in formal schooling for a career in education leadership. For most educational leaders and administrators, these responsibilities steal focus from their prime goal: Education. That's where Marsden Services comes in. Marsden Services help handle a business within a business.

The Spirit of Cooperation by John Fitzgerald, Education Reporter.
It's no secret that education service agencies work best when they work together - that's their reason for being. But ESAs, when they comprise a united front, can be effective not only among themselves but also in bigger venues. Several ESAs have state directors that have developed excellent relationships with their state departments of education and use that relationship to not only benefit the ESAs, but the state and ultimately the students as well. There are many of these relationships across the country, and we chose to look at two: Colorado and Wisconsin.


When Done Right, State Networks Can Do What Needs to Be Done by John Fitzgerald, Education Reporter.
Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, state consortiums of ESAs work to achieve member goals in ways that suit that state the best. Two good examples are in Washington and Oregon. Both have found different but successful ways to help ESAs collaborate amongst one another. Rich McBride, the superintendent of Washington's North Central ESD in Wenatchee describes the way nine ESDs work together with a rotating chair (McBride's in the seat at the moment), but they still maintain an independent, entrepreneurial spirit. Jim Mabbott, Executive Director of the Oregon Association of Educational Service Districts, describes how the Oregon ESDs formed a firm set of ground rules and a clear set of goals with equal participation among themselves.


Finding Success in the Kitchen by John Fitzgerald, Education Reporter.
This article is about Brian Albertson's food service company, SLA Management of Orlando and their success going into districts and by controlling costs and using effective management practices, they can improve food quality, increase student participation and return a small profit. SLA assumes all costs and risk, Albertson says, and charges no fees.


Implications of the Affordable Care Act on ESAs and their Members: To Pay or Play - That is the Question. This article, written by Jeremy Kovash, Executive Director of Lakes Country Service Cooperative, Fergus Falls, MN, identifies thoughts regarding ACA’s implications on service agencies and their members.

Whitepaper by Susanna Clavello Garza, iPEC - Failure Is An Option