Nebraska’s ESUs serve students, educators, school districts

Educational Service Units – ESUs – are called “service units” because their main objective is to serve the needs of Nebraska’s school districts, educators and students. 

Created by the Legislative in 1965 to provide services to enhance educational excellence, ESUs exist in order to provide access to core services deemed vital to a child’s education by the state of Nebraska. ESU services across the state can include high-quality professional learning for educators, technology and network infrastructure, library and media services, and support with curriculum, assessment and services for students with special needs.

ESU 18 is rather unusual in serving more than 42,000 students at Lincoln Public Schools, which means that service unit has the ability to focus on the needs of a singular district.

ESU 18 funds a variety of programs to enhance education for LPS students, including these major areas: 

  • Ongoing leadership coaching for principals
  • Access to technology for students and staff
  • Information management
  • Large scale state and district assessments
  • Data analysis
  • School improvement planning
  • Professional learning
  • Student access to high-quality library and media resources, both online and in print

However, no ESU in Nebraska works in isolation – they are especially powerful and effective because they work as a network. Nebraska’s ESUs, along with the ESU Coordination Council, have built a tight network of collaboration that not only benefits educators, but makes a direct impact on the quality of education each child receives in Nebraska.

That means single-district ESUs often partner with the greater ESU network for the benefit of Nebraska students, collaborative efforts that directly impact student access to rigorous curriculum and content – as well as saving time and money for other districts and ESUs.

For example, in addition to the core services ESU 18 provides to LPS, the service unit contracts with other Nebraska ESUs and almost 40 school districts to provide services for students who are deaf and/or hard of hearing.

ESU 18 also partners with other ESUs and school districts across the state to provide coordinated access to distance learning opportunities. Thanks to the ESU’s NVIS (Nebraska Virtual Instruction Sources) students have access to almost 300 courses, such as architectural design, Chinese and pre-engineering – courses that may not be available in their home district.

Published: September 23, 2019, Updated: September 26, 2019