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February 27, 2024

Member Highlight:
An Important Commentary about Iowa's AEAs

Ted Stilwill serves on the board of directors for ESU 3 in Omaha, Nebraska and has over 40 years of education experience starting as a teacher, building administrator, and central office administrator in Council Bluffs. He worked for the Iowa Department of Education for 18 years, first in charge of elementary and secondary education and then as department director for nearly 10 years.


Following his work in the Iowa Department, Ted worked for a national educational nonprofit helping school districts and state education agencies work toward better outcomes for students. He finished his education career by working locally leading an 11-district consortium of metro Omaha districts in designing and implementing early childhood education centers.


Read what he has to say about the Iowa AEAs.


National Legislative Update

OCR Releases Updates on 504 conditions

This week, the Office of Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education released four new resource documents to “inform students with disabilities, and their families and schools, about their legal rights under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.”

More Legislative News . . .


AESA Asks Congress to Protect Education Funding in FY24 Appropriations  

Congress is (finally) making progress towards finalizing Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 appropriations. Congressional leaders recently announced that they had come to an agreement for funding levels for each spending bill - meaning the top line for Labor-Health and Human Services-Education (LHHS) has been set.  


AESA supported a letter to a LHHS subcommittee urging them to protect federal education investments. Additionally, we strongly supported the prioritization of critical federal formula programs that are the backbone of our nation's education system. The letter was cosigned by AASA; the Association of School Business Officials International; the National Rural Education Association, and the National Association for Pupil Transportation. 


Department of Ed Releases Efficient and Healthy Schools Resources

The Efficient and Healthy Schools Program (EHSP) aims to engage K-12 schools to improve energy performance and indoor air quality, with a focus on practical solutions involving HVAC and other technologies to reduce energy use and advance resilience. This program is led by the U.S. Department of Energy with technical support from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and New Buildings Institute.

Find all the information on this new website.


Business Member Highlights

Free Webinar from AESA Business Partner PlanMember

Free Webinar from Plan Member | Thursday, Feb 29, 1 PM MT


Can a 475b Plan Help Your Employees?

AESA’s trusted retirement plan partner PlanMember has an exclusive 457b plan that can be implemented in any ESA alongside your existing 403b options. There are many benefits of pairing a 457b plan with your 403b plan, such as exclusive pricing for AESA members. Plus, there are no costs to establish a 457b.


Steve Bresler, PlanMember’s AESA Director, is hosting a brief webinar on Thursday, Feb 29 at 1 pm Eastern Time to share detailed information with anyone interested in learning more. He will also discuss details of the Secure Act 2.0 legislation and how that impacts ESAs in 2024. Please join Steve to examine if adopting a 457b plan can benefit your organization and help your employees improve their retirement outcomes. 


Accepting Rachel's Challenge

Colonial Intermediate Unit 20, Easton, PA

School Leaders from Stroudsburg and Easton school districts gathered at Colonial Intermediate Unit 20 in Easton, PA. They attended sessions delivered by Rachel's Challenge CEO, Kristi Krings, on the importance of connection and accepted Rachel’s Challenge. 

(Used with permission.)


Announcing the 2024 National Educational Technology Plan & Districts Survey  

On January 22, 2024, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology (OET) released the 2024 National Educational Technology Plan (NETP)–the nation’s flagship edtech policy document that articulates a vision of equity and calls on all involved in education to ensure every student engages in transformational learning opportunities enabled by technology. 


The 2024 NETP is the first update to NETP since 2017 and reflects the significant changes that have taken place in K-12 education since then, as technology has become more prevalent in our nation’s classrooms. Yet, the benefits of educational technology have not been felt equally by students across the country. This publication serves to provide you and other district leaders with immediate actionable steps to raise the bar for leveraging technology to support your communities and students. NETP provides examples of schools, districts, classrooms, and states establishing systemic solutions to bridge the three divides–the digital use divide, the digital design divide, and the digital access divide–that stand as the barriers to the equitable and effective use of technology. 


We hope that you will share the NETP with your team and colleagues, use the stories from the map to support your local efforts, and consider how the NETP’s recommendations may be relevant for you and the communities you serve.  


Finally, we invite you to submit a response to this short survey that will support OET in identifying how districts are currently reflecting the recommendations made in the 2024 NETP.  


Please don’t hesitate to reach out at for any questions.  


Reminder: Webinar This Week
NTIA Digital Equity Grant Program 

Webinar Series: Advancing Digital Equity - 

Webinar 1: February 29, 2024 |11 a.m. – Noon EDT 

Webinar 2: April 17, 2024 | 2 – 3 p.m. EDT 


In 2024, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will announce new programs to help eligible entities pursue activities to advance digital equity in their communities. Therefore, several organizations – the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the American Library Association, and Common Sense Media – are collaborating to help prepare the education and library sectors, and community-based organizations for this unique opportunity. 


This upcoming webinar and workshop series invites leaders at the state, local, and institution levels to build their awareness of the relevant policy context and learn why this issue is important to their stakeholders. To further support leaders in seeing themselves as a critical component of this national focus on digital equity, the 2-part webinar series will feature experts to showcase diverse “possibility models” of successful and replicable strategies from around the country. Finally, the webinar series will prepare participants for a digital equity workshop to be held during the spring CCSSO Collaboratives:  the Education Information Management Advisory Collaborative (EIMAC) meeting in May, where you will have an opportunity to develop/refine ideas, learn from peers, and develop critical relationships with other leaders in your states/regions. 



*Details and registration for Webinar 2 will be sent at a later date.


Feel free to share this invitation with your colleagues, members, and networks! We look forward to seeing you there! Please reach out to Kimberly Gondwe at with any questions. 


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