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January 30, 2024

We Send Our Best Wishes to a Longtime Friend of AESA, Jerry Maze

After serving as the Education Service Center Region 12 Executive Director  (Waco, Texas) for 12 and a half years, Jerry Maze, Ed.D., will retire at the end of January 2024. His official notification to the ESC Region 12 Board of Directors was submitted and approved in October 2023. Since his notification to the board and ESC Region 12 employees, he has remained committed to a seamless transition and ensuring continuity and growth for the service center. 


“I looked around, and I’ve been doing this for 37 years. At some point, it becomes fun to think about what comes next,” Maze said. “The center is in a wonderful place that I am very proud of, and I am very proud of the people that work here. I know they will continue to take care of this place and do wonderful things. It’s an easy time for me to leave when I know the organization's mission is being left in talented hands."


On behalf of all AESA staff and members, we wish Jerry a wonderful retirement and joy in his next chapter!


ESA Leader Tim Ackermann Discusses Value of Student Data with AESA Business Partner EdFi

Tim Ackermann on Building a Data Culture in Classrooms

School systems across the U.S. collect plenty of education data, but many struggle with
turning that information into meaningful insights for teachers and students. Dedicated
education experts like Hamilton County ESC Assistant Superintendent Tim Ackermann are working to change that.
In a new interview, Tim shares how he’s leveraged data throughout his career, his vision
for the future of data in the classroom, and how he’s helping transform that vision into


News Roundup


What Does It Mean to ‘Grow Your Own’ Teachers? This Article Suggests "It Depends"
This EdWeek article summarizes a new report that examines the variety of educator pipeline models that fit under the umbrella term of “Grow Your Own” programs. The researchers analyze 94 GYO programs across the nation.


19 States Lack Strong Reading Policies to Support Science of Reading
This article from K-12 Dive presents new analysis from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), which evaluated state efforts to improve literacy instruction, concluding that 12 states currently have strong policies to implement the science of reading approaches and highlighting the design of their literacy programs.


"Amplifying your Impact:  Mastering Effective State Advocacy”
FREE to AESA Members
One-Hour State Advocacy Webinar

This 60-minute  presentation will delve into the art of effective state advocacy, emphasizing the pivotal role of state-level engagement with legislatures, state agencies, and rulemaking authorities.

March 7, 2024
11 a.m.- 12 Noon EST

Presented by: Craig Burford


Advocacy at the state level can yield substantial policy changes and is often a catalyst for broader national shifts. This session will equip attendees with essential strategies and insights to navigate the complexities of state-level advocacy, helping them make a meaningful impact on the issues they are passionate about. Whether they are an educator, administrator, advocate, lobbyist, or concerned citizen, they will leave with a toolkit to drive change at the state level and beyond. 


National Legislative Update

White House Unveils 2024 K-12 Education Agenda
On January 17, the White House released its Improving Student Achievement Agenda for 2024, a list of education priorities it aims to address this year, including improving student attendance, increasing high-dosage tutoring, and increasing summer learning and afterschool learning through a series of commitments and actions to assist states in undertaking these efforts and monitoring their progress. (Additional coverage is available in this EdWeek article.)


Congress Passes Continuing Resolution to Extend 2023 USED Budget
On January 18, the House and Senate passed respective continuing resolutions to extend the deadline to approve the fiscal year 2024 budget for USED and other agencies to March 8, granting Congress additional time to reach an agreement on funding levels. (Additional coverage is available in this K-12 Dive article.)


USED Releases National Education Technology Plan

USED released its 2024 National Educational Technology Plan last week. This is the most recent iteration of a document that has its roots in the 2000 Educate America Act and was most recently updated in 2016. Unlike previous versions that operated more to capture snapshots of the status of ed tech, this issue is more proactive and focuses on three big gaps that are restricting the ability of technology to be transformative in education. Those three areas are:

  • Digital Divide: how students use technology to enhance learning
  • Digital Design Divide: opportunities for education professionals to expand their
    learning/PD to allow them to develop/implement learning technologies that are
    enhanced by technology
  • Digital Access Divide: addressing opportunities for students and educators to gain
    equitable access to educational technology

The document is a helpful resource for framing this important conversation and includes
prompts/considerations that ESAs can work through with their districts as they navigate each of these three divides.


In terms of layout, each section includes recommendations ready for implementation that can help ESAs and LEAs advance the effective use of technology to support teaching and learning. Each section also flags whether the recommendations are intended for states, districts, or school buildings. Each section also includes real-world examples of states, districts, and schools that put these practices into place.

Check it out here:


Happening Soon! Come Join Us

AESA's Business Strategy Workshops are Designed Especially for ESAs!


This spring there are three opportunities for your leaders to learn new strategies and truly - a new way of thinking about how to lead your agency to success!


PLUS! AESA members are graciously hosting these events at ESAs around the country to bring the opportunities closer to all members of AESA! Please check out our website for more information and we hope to see you soon, possibly in your area of the country!


Join us for Next Week's Small Staff Community of Practice Meeting!


Topic: Best Practices in Strengthening Relationships With Your Board

Date:: February 8, 2024, 2 pm Eastern (1 pm Central; 12 noon Mountain; 11 am Pacific; 10 am Alaska) time

Presenter: Valentina (Tina) Viletto, JD

Presentation Description: Strengthening board dynamics is a shared responsibility, one that is built upon trust and communication between the executive director and each board member. This interactive session will focus on practical strategies to promote strong board relationships to ensure well-informed and proficient governance practices that enhance accountability, transparency, and student success. 


If you aren't a member of this Community of Practice but would like to attend this session, please contact AESA Program Assistant Beth Kabes to register at the rate of $25. 



AESA Business Partner News

It's hard to believe, but our partners at E-Therapy are celebrating a milestone — 15 years in the teletherapy business! They're true pioneers in this field, leading the way in connecting schools with vital therapy services wherever they're needed. To give you a sense of how far we've all come, think back to 2009: some of us were just getting the hang of mp3 players or navigating the world with our Tom Tom. It took 9 thumb taps using a flip phone to type "SMS" into the number pad...Time flies, doesn't it?


Throughout these years, E-Therapy hasn't just kept pace with the times; they've been trailblazers, continuously innovating and evolving in the world of teletherapy. As we move through 2024, keep an eye on their journey – it's one to watch and learn from. If you haven't yet explored all the fantastic services they offer, now's the perfect time. Check out their website or drop them a message to say hello. Here's to many more years of success and innovation for E-Therapy! 

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