Spring Conference

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The 2019 NRCSA Spring Conference

The 2019 NRCSA Spring Conference will be held on March 21 & 22, 2019 at the Kearney Holiday Inn and Convention Center. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding the Spring Conference please contact Jeff Bundy at (402) 202-6028 or via e-mail at jbundy@nrcsa.net.

Registration Forms


Member Registration

Registration forms for the 2019 NRCSA Spring Conference are available through the links below. Simply complete one of the forms and submit it to NRCSA to register. The District will be sent an invoice for payment of registration fees. Exhibitors DO NOT use these forms.


The cost to register is $200.00 per person for NRCSA member districts. The cost for non-member districts is $350.00 per person. $5.00 of every registration goes to support scholarship and awards funds. Registrations may be changed or cancelled until March 19, 2019. Districts will be responsible for all registration fees after that date.



2019 NRCSA Spring Conference Member Registration Form (on-line version)


2019 NRCSA Spring Conference Member Registration Form (WORD version)


Exhibitor Registration


Exhibitor registration is closed; all spaces have been sold.


Exhibitor Directory


NRCSA encourages your support of our Business Affiliates.



2018 NRCSA Exhibitor Directory




Keynote Speakers


March 21, 2019 Thursday Morning Keynote


Dean Jacobs


 Since 2001, Dean Jacobs has spent five years traversing across the globe exploring over 52 countries on a low budget adventure, propelled by a desire to understand the world. He graduated from Wayne State College, earning a degree in biology, with minors in earth science and art.


Eventually, this path led him to Pfizer Pharmaceuticals where he was employed in sales/marketing for 10 years. After a great deal of soul searching, Jacobs left the security of corporate America, and decided to pursue other dreams. This was the beginning of a process that would lead to a travelling adventure that would span 22 months and cover 28 countries.


Taking photos became a natural expression of the journey for Jacobs as he documented the common ground of our humanity. Since this beginning, Jacobs' travels have led to working for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Other adventures have taken him on journeys to explore the Nile in Africa, the Amazon of South America and the Trans-Siberian railway of Asia.


These days, when Jacobs is not travelling, he keeps busy as a contributing newspaper columnist, photojournalist, children’s book author and keynote presenter across the country.


March 21, 2019 Thursday Noon Keynote


Dr. Matthew Blomstedt; Commissioner of Education


Dr. Matthew Blomstedt was named Commissioner of Education by the State Board of Education on January 2, 2014.


Dr. Blomstedt served as the Executive Director of the Nebraska Educational Service Unit Coordinating Council until December 2013. He previously served as the first full-time Executive Director of the Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association, a research analyst for the Education Committee of the Nebraska Legislature, and has worked in a variety of policy research roles over the past 16 years. Dr. Blomstedt earned a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Higher Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as well as a Master’s Degree in Community and Regional Planning.


Dr. Blomstedt is a native Nebraskan whose career has focused on local, regional and statewide education issues. Blomstedt’s experience includes education finance and organization, assessment and accountability, professional development, and the development of systems to enhance blended and distance learning opportunities across the state.


His address is a welcome opportunity to hear the latest happening with the State Board of Education and the Department of Education.



March 22, 2019 Friday Keynote


John Cook


When John Cook took over the reins of the Nebraska volleyball program, the challenge facing him was daunting. Cook replaced one of the sport’s legendary coaches in Terry Pettit, who won 694 matches and guided the Huskers to 18 consecutive NCAA appearances and six National Semifinals.


Cook, who left an emerging power in Wisconsin to guide the tradition-rich Husker program, had his own vision for Nebraska volleyball. He saw a program that had even more potential to grow. To date, Cook has led the Huskers to four National Championships, five Finals appearances, eight Final Four appearances, 12 Conference Titles, and 16 top-10 final rankings since 2000. Coach Cook currently has 692 career wins and is the fifth-winningest coach in NCAA history. Under Coach Cook, the Huskers have achieved 52 All-Americans and 19 Academic All-Americans, both among the best in the nation. He is a two-time AVCA National Coach of the Year, six-time Conference Coach of the Year, a recipient of the USA Volleyball All-Time Great Coach Award, and was inducted in 2017 to the AVCA Hall of Fame.


Concurrent Sessions


Before You Build

This session will discuss the provisions of state law that mandate when licensed architects and/or professional engineers are required to design, and observe construction of, K-12 building projects including new buildings, additions, and portable classrooms.Presented by Lindy Rauscher & Molly Mayhew; Nebraska Board of Architects & Engineers


Champions for Equity in Education

 Join the Commissioner of Education and State Board of Education for a panel discussion on the statewide vision and priorities for Nebraska education as it relates to rural community schools.  Much of the session will be devoted to question and answer opportunities with the panelists. Presented by Dr. Matthew Blomstedt, Patsy Koch Johns, Lisa Fricke, Rachel Wise, John Witzel, Patricia Timm, Maureen Nickels, Robin Stevens, & Deborah Neary; Commissioner of Education & State Board of Education


Check Your 6 on Title IX

We're going to talk about transgender students, sex-based discrimination, and how frustrating it is that the federal government continues to spend your money--what else could we say to convince you to attend?!  Seriously, though, the 18-19 school year has seen incredibly important changes to the Title IX law and enforcement. This session will discuss your changing obligations now and into the future, both as a board member and administrator. Presented by KSB School Law


Crazy School Discipline Issues in 2019

In this day and age of the threat of school shootings, student nicotine consumption from a device the size of a USB drive, and other school discipline issues large and small, schools are often left wondering how to keep their buildings safe and orderly.  This presentation focuses on the issues of arming teachers in the classroom, what to look for and how to combat the ever-growing Juuling epidemic on campus, and a hodgepodge of other school discipline issues that will leave you feeling informed and ready to tackle (figuratively) the next wave of student mayhem in your school. Presented by KSB School Law


Developing and Implementing a School-Wide Digital Communications Program

Bayard Public Schools developed a communication plan that addresses the needs of our community and utilizes data to track the effectiveness of the programs that we are using. Programs that will be discussed will be our research including survey results, our methods of communication including (Scripted phone conversations, Facebook, Remind, Newsletters and more). Our focus was to increase our level of care within our community by actively spreading the news of what our school does well. Attendees will leave with our communication plan, survey results and way to ensure your teaching staff have a roadmap toward being better at communicating with parents, the community and other stakeholders in your community. Presented by Dr. Travis Miller & Matt McLaughlin; Bayard Public Schools


Do We Have a Deal?

 This presentation will outline and discuss the legal and practical aspects of entering into, performing, exiting and enforcing legal agreements. Presented by Nicholas Lesiak; Koley-Jessen Law Firm


EHA: 2019/2020 Renewal

This presentation will review benefit changes for the 2019/2020 EHA Renewal as well as medical trends. Presented by Cortney Ray & Greg Long; Blue Cross Blue Shield of NE & Educators Health Alliance


eSports in Small Rural Schools

Known as esports, competitive games are hardly new. Their history goes back all the way to the very beginning of video games, in the arcades of the ’70s and ’80. As the game industry matured, so did its competitive side. In the late ’90s, leagues and tournaments formed around first-person players.  Those early years were marked by a certain type of fragility, not much different from the formative years of any sport, from baseball to arena football. Leagues arose, then folded, then were replaced by others, which in turn folded.  Over the past half-decade, however, the industry has undergone a complete change. Viewership is skyrocketing.  Colleges are offering scholarships.  Advertisers are dumping millions into the industry.  Meanwhile, thanks to advances in video-streaming technology and Internet broadband, esports are more accessible than ever before. Thus, the want and need for public schools to join the trend.Presented by Linda Schafer; Scribner-Snyder Community Schools


Getting Ahead of the Teacher Shortage

How do we find and keep quality educators in our districts? What are you doing to combat the teachers shortage? Join this session to learn about strategies to entice young people to become educators through curriculum and career and technical student organizations.Presented by Kelsey Kummer & Kristin Vest, Human Sciences and Education Consultant & Human Sciences and Education Career Field Specialist; NDE


Getting Teachers Prepared to Teach Dual-Credit

This presentation will discuss how districts can work with the state college system to prepare teachers to teach dual-credit courses in high school. The NSCS requested an extension to September 1, 2022 to move all existing (and new) dual-credit instructors to full compliance with the Higher Learning Commission’s faculty qualifications. This plan establishes minimum criteria for graduate content coursework for each academic year, with annual evaluations of dual credit faculty credentials completed prior to the beginning of each academic year. Those individuals who do not complete additional graduate coursework in assigned dual credit content area(s) and provide documentation of the coursework by August 15th of each year would no longer be eligible to serve as dual credit instructors for the Nebraska state colleges. Let’s work together to qualify your high school teachers.Presented by Dr. Nicholas Shudak, Wayne State University


How to Support Students and Families When ICE Comes to Town

This session will review actions taken when an extensive ICE raid occurred in O’Neill in August of 2018.  How do school districts respond to student and family needs both immediate and long term? Presented by Amy Shane, Gladys Godinez, & Jewel Swanson; O’Neill Public Schools


The Lighter Side of Running a School

This presentation is to spend time on the more humorous side of running a school system and dealing with all the stakeholders involved. Presented will be real life situations and real-life experiences. They will encompass dealings with students, staff, parents, boards, politicians, and publics -- all will be nameless, and all will be in generality and all will hopefully lead to an example of the lighter/more humorous side of education. There WILL BE some practical tips and general types of things/advice/examples for administrators as well as board members in the dealings they have as educational professionals -- Lessons or morals to the story. Hopefully it will be a refreshing and enjoyable presentation for young and old, for administrators and board members. Sometimes best way to deal with stress is just laugh at some of the causations. This is not a session for the easily offended… “Any views presented do not necessarily reflect those of NRCSA or NDE or any other educational body, university, college, or local PTA”.Presented by Dan Polk; Elgin Public Schools


Making Cents Out of School Finance

This presentation will give a brief overview of some of the key factors that go into financing schools.  It will include information on the various types of school funds, building a budget, negotiations, and a layman review of the state aid formula. Presented by Carl Dietz & Matt Fisher; Northwest Public Schools & Wilcox-Hildreth Public Schools


NRCSA Closing the Achievement Gap I

In this session schools recognized by NRCSA with Closing the Achievement Gap Awards will continue to share their best practices for closing achievement gaps. They will share the stories of how the districts narrowed the gap between regular education students and free/reduced lunch students (i.e. process, what data did they track, what curriculum or program they used). Presented by NRCSA Closing the Achievement Gap Award Recipients.


NRCSA Closing the Achievement Gap II

In this session schools recognized by NRCSA with Closing the Achievement Gap Awards will continue to share their best practices for closing achievement gaps. They will share the stories of how the districts narrowed the gap between regular education students and free/reduced lunch students (i.e. process, what data did they track, what curriculum or program they used). Presented by NRCSA Closing the Achievement Gap Award Recipients.


NRCSA General Members Meeting

This session will comprise the General Members Meeting for NRCSA. Nominations for leadership positions, and an update on NRCSA services and programs will be presented. Presented by Jack Moles; Executive Director, NRCSA


NSAA Update

This session will review the past year in terms of changes to the NSAA. Jay Bellar will talk about the different topics that have been at the forefront of the organization this past year and what steps we have taken to grow in the direction of our memberships wishes. Presented by Jay Bellar, Executive Director; NSAA


Online Speech Therapy- Currently Being Utilized in our Nebraska Schools

How does Online Speech Therapy Work? Is this an approved method of delivery? Does it really work? Which Schools are currently using it? What about other therapies online? Occupational Therapy? Counseling? Join our presentation, and we will show you how schools in Nebraska and nationwide have successfully utilized these therapies to help their students. Presented by Global Teletherapy; Global Teletherapy is a NRCSA partner


Open Meetings Issues for Rural School Boards

Any time a Board or a committee of the Board meets, the Nebraska Open Meetings Act comes into play.  In this session, the presenters will walk through common Open Meetings issues that Boards regularly face.  They will also discuss creative solutions to difficult Open Meetings problems. Presented by Perry Law Firm


Personnel Decisions for This Year and Next

Late March is a time to make personnel decisions about the 2018-19 school year and/or to make plans for helping teachers to meet district standards for the upcoming 2019-20 school year.  In this session, Kelley Baker and Josh Schauer will discuss the law, legal requirements, and practical steps to achieve these goals. Presented by Perry Law Firm


Practical Strategies to Meet Students Behavioral and Mental Health Needs in Rural Schools

Participants will learn how to how to utilize school psychologists differently and more effectively to meet the mental health needs of their students.  They will be given practical examples including those from a superintendent in western Nebraska who has rethought the role of the school psychologist as well as specific action steps they can take as they return to their district to make change happen.  Discussion will also include an overview of a school team approach to mental health. Presented by Dr. Travis Miller, Dr. Jill Timmons, & Dr. Marilyn Grady; Bayard Public Schools, Fairbury Public Schools, & University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Public Records & Records Management

This presentation will outline and discuss the legal landscape of the records management and public records responsibilities school districts face. Nicholas Lesiak; Koley-Jessen Law Firm


Rural Education and Rural Communities… Legislation and Issues

This session features highlights from rural schools and communities as it relates to the impact of the national politics and policy…especially after the mid-term elections and moving forward. Presented by Dr. Allen Pratt; Executive Director, National Rural Education Association


School Finance 101

This session will discuss the basics of the school finance. The major factors of the formula (various adjustments and allowances, comparison arrays, etc) will be discussed and explained. Presented by Jen Utemark & Bryce Wilson; NDE Office of Finance & Organizational Services


School Finance Update

This session will provide information on ESSA financial reporting as well as what the Legislature is addressing for state aid and other school finance issues related to the state aid formula, aid certification, and school finance.  In addition, we will also be discussing pupil transportation rule update. Presented by Jen Utemark & Bryce Wilson; NDE Office of Finance & Organizational Services


Services for NRCSA Boards

Attention NRCSA Board Members: NRCSA has some helpful services for our Boards and we invite you to this session to learn all about them. It starts with NRCSA Planning Services – a two-evening event to help your Board with goal-setting and long-range planning. The focus is on developing goals and planning implementation strategies to meet those goals. NRCSA Consultants will walk you through our planning process and explain how this service can help your Board excel. Then, NRCSA Consultants will outline the work of the NRCSA Superintendent Search Service. Now in its sixth year, NRCSA’s service has helped Boards hire quality Superintendents in 22 districts. Our proven, Board-directed process involves faculty, staff, and community members in selecting a school leader who truly fits your rural community district. Don’t miss this session on NRCSA’s services to our Boards. Presented by NRCSA Consultants


So, we've been sued...Now what?!?! - The Anatomy of a Civil Law Suit and Opportunities for the District to Assert Defenses

 In this presentation, we will discuss the typical phases of civil lawsuits and the procedures that school districts can use to assert defenses and avoid liability. Being served with a Complaint is not the end of the world, and school districts do not necessarily need to avoid litigation like the Plague.  We will also discuss instances when it makes sense for the district to prefer litigation to assert its own rights and to preserve your resources. Presented by KSB School Law


Strength Based Schools

 Hershey Public Schools has become a "Strength Based School".  In 17-18 all of our certified staff and school board completed the Clifton Strengths assessment.  This assessment provides information about individual areas that we are most talented in.  In 18-19 we have provided this assessment to students in grades 5-12 to allow students the knowledge of their individual strengths!  Imagine the possibilities when everyone has a knowledge and understanding of their own unique talents and works to improve upon them! Presented by Jane Davis & Jeff Steinbeck; Hershey Public Schools


Things Every Board Member Should Know

This session will be a fast-paced tour of essential education terminology along with recent Nebraska and Federal legal developments every school board member should know. Presented by Perry Law Firm


We Are Family: School + Community + Families = Success

Palmer Public School is proud of our family atmosphere and positive relationships with students. Staff members have attended training at the Ron Clark Academy, an award winning, non-profit middle school located in Atlanta, and through that shared experience have embraced the ideals of RCA, “Fostering an environment that inspires academic excellence, leadership, and collaboration. Teaching in innovative, creative, and inspiring ways while demanding academic rigor.” Come see why students and families choose Palmer Public School! Presented by Kristin Reimers, Jaime Green, Mary Gregoski, Becky Meyer, & Whitney Hake; Palmer Public Schools




The schedule is a DRAFT and subject to change.



Wednesday, March 20, 2019


4:00 PM—6:00 PM   Executive Committee Meeting

6:30 PM—9:00 PM   Exhibitor Check-In & Setup—Ballroom

7:00 PM —9:00 PM  Attendee Registration—Pre-Function Area

7:00 PM                   Hospitality Rooms



Thursday, March 21, 2019



7:15 AM                     Attendee Registration—Pre-Function Area

                                    Coffee and Rolls—Ballroom Exhibit Area



8:00 AM                     General Session—Loper Hall


            Presiding: Dr. Curtis Cogswell, NRCSA President, Supt, McCool Junction Public Schs


            8:05 AM – 8:30 AM Musical Welcome: Alma Public Schools


            8:35 AM – 8:55 AM Scholarships and Awards:


NRCSA Scholarship & Gary Fisher Fine Arts Announcements


9:00 AM – 9:15 AM Introduction and remarks by NREA Executive Director Allen Pratt


9:20 AM – 10:20 AM Keynote Address:                                                                                        


10:20 AM—11:00 AM          Exhibitor Time

11:00 AM—11:50 AM          Thursday Morning Select-a-Sessions



12:00 PM                    Lunch General Session—Loper Hall



            Presiding: Dr. Jon Cerny, NRCSA Past President, Supt, Bancroft-Rosalie Comm Schools


            12:35 PM – 12:55 PM Keynote Address:


            1:00 PM – 1:40 PM Scholarships and Awards:


Gary Fisher Outstanding Music Teacher

Outstanding Elementary Teacher

Outstanding Secondary Teacher

Outstanding ESU Staff Member

NRCSA Closing the Achievement Gap Awards


1:45 PM—2:20 PM   Exhibitor Time                                                 

2:20 PM—3:10 PM   Thursday Afternoon Select-a-Sessions

3:10 PM—3:35 PM   Exhibitor Time

3:35 PM—4:25 PM   Thursday Afternoon Select-a-Sessions

4:30 PM                   Closing the Gap Research Team Meeting – Room F

6:00 PM                   Chuckwagon Buffet—Loper Hall

7:00 PM                   Hospitality Rooms



Friday, March 23, 2018



7:15 AM                     Attendee Registration—Pre-Function Area

                                    Coffee and Rolls—Pre-Function Area



8:00 AM—8:50 AM  Friday Select-a-Session I

9:00 AM—9:50 AM  Friday Select-a-Session II



10:00 AM—10:45 AM          Brunch Buffet—Loper Hall

10:30: - 11:00 AM              Musical Welcome: Twin River Public Schools




10:50 AM                   Closing Session—Loper Hall


            Presiding: Del Dack, NRCSA President-Elect, Supt, Paxton Consolidated Schools


            11:00 AM – 11:45 AM Scholarships and Awards: 

Outstanding Principal

Outstanding Board Member

Outstanding Superintendent


            11:50- AM – 12:45 PM Keynote Address:



12:50 PM                    Thank Yous, Prizes, & Drawings


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