Happy George Washington’s Birthday – or Happy Presidents Day


    Today is a national holiday – either Presidents Day or George Washington’s Birthday, depending on the state –  with federal, state, and county offices closed. 

     There’s no mail delivery, and banks and other financial institutions are closed. Some cities and school districts observe the holiday, others do not. 

     While the official federal designation for the holiday is Washington’s Birthday, most calendars refer to it as Presidents’ Day to honor all the men who’ve held the office.

     Congress moved Washington’s Birthday in 1971 from his actual birthdate of Feb 22nd to the 3rd Monday of the month to always fall between Washington’s birthday and Abraham Lincoln’s on the 12th.

      While public school students in the Panhandle are off today, this is in-service day for teachers with the 36th annual Educational Service Unit 13 Mid-Winter Conference, offering a combination of in-person and virtual sessions.

       There are 6 in-person sites this year – Chadron State College, the Gering Civic Center, the Harms Center at WNCC, the Western Nebraska Arts Center in Scottsbluff, and KImball and Scottsbluff High Schools – plus Zoom offerings.   

     ESU 13 asks teachers after each conference what topics they’d like covered in the next year’s conference, and the top request for this year was sessions on helping students who are struggling – academically, behaviorally, or both. 

     Because teachers struggle as well, there are also wellness and social emotions sessions this year for teachers. 

     The session in Chadron is titled The School Wellness Wheel: A Framework Addressing Trauma, Culture, and Mastery to Raise Student Achievement – which is backed by educational, psychological, and medical research

     The School Wellness Wheel is a growth-focused framework for supporting the cognitive, social, and emotional needs of students through mastery-based learning, trauma-responsive schooling, and  culturally responsive teaching.

    The presenter in Chadron is Crystal Green-Braswell, a State Leadership Development Coach for the state of Arkansas whose began as an elementary and secondary school classroom teacher. 

     Green-Braswell is a contributing author of The School Wellness Wheel and is working on a holistic wellness certification through American Fitness Professionals & Associates.