Vocational Rehabilitation Programs Funded

State board members approved a series of contracts aimed at helping students with disabilities. Nebraska VR (Vocational Rehabilitation) requested proposals for the development and implementation of innovative short-term programs to provide career exploration and personal development opportunities for transition students with disabilities during the summer of 2018.

Board members approved contacts for the following projects:

  • Contract with Easterseals Nebraska for students with disabilities to conduct the Nebraska Empowered Youth Camp and the Inspiring ChangeMakers leadership training program.

Easterseals VR Rationale

  • Contract with Educational Service Unit #16 to implement two four-week summer internship programs, Summer Work Education and Employment Program (SWEEP).

ESU 16 VR SWEEP Rationale

  • Contract with Disability Rights Nebraska (DRN) to conduct a Self-Advocacy for Youth and Disability program. DRN will also conduct an instruction, education, and support program for the families of those students with disabilities.

DRN VR Rationale

  • Contract with PTI Nebraska (Parent Training and Information) to implement Family Employment Awareness Training (FEAT), a knowledge-based program designed to help families, including students with disabilities, to develop expectations for competitive employment and gain knowledge about resources to access and maintain employment.

PTI VR FEAT Rationale

  • Contract with Educational Service 13 to provide workplace readiness training and partner with Scottsbluff businesses.

ESU 13 VR Rationale

21st Century Community Learning Center Grants Approved

Afterschool and summer programs will soon be available at four new sites in Omaha and Scottsbluff. Federal grant funds for 21st Century Community Learning Centers were awarded to support programs serving students attending schools with high needs. During non-school hours, these programs offer hands-on learning and activities to improve overall student success, increase student social benefits and positive behavioral changes, and increase active and meaningful family and community engagement.

At the April 6th board meeting, the State Board of Education approved grants for the following new programs:

  • Collective for Youth’s program in Omaha at Florence Elementary School received a $136,875 federal grant.
  • Collective for Youth’s program in Omaha at Burke High School received a $65,600 federal grant.
  • Scottsbluff Public Schools’ program at Lincoln Heights Elementary School and Longfellow Elementary School received a $76,075 federal grant.

In addition, 13 quality programs at schools across the state will continue to receive federal grants for 21st Century Community Learning Center programs.

These grants total $1,346,648.00 of federal funds.

21st CCLC Grants Rationale

21st Century Community Learning Center Grant Press Release

Teacher of the Year Quarterly Presentation

Nebraska’s 2018 Teacher of the Year Michelle Helt presented her busy schedule since taking over in January with board members. Helt said she has felt both grateful and challenged as she takes on the responsibility of representing the state.
Helt shared several highlights including trips to Google, the Kahn Academy and the Primary School, as well as visits to the Capitol and a visit to her classroom from Lt. Governor Mike Foley. Helt also presented to Midland College and to students at the EdRising Conference. She will stay busy with trips to Morningside College, the Student Education Association, Washington D.C., the National Forum on Education Policy, and NASA Space Camp.

Strategic Planning Retreat

Board members met for strategic planning on ESSA implementation after the state board meeting. The discussions spanned a range of topics including AQuESTT, legislation, teacher development, assessment, and early childhood education. The board will now use the information to create a plan moving forward to successfully implement the requirements of ESSA while continuing to focus on getting all students ready for learning, earning, and living.