State Board Update on ESSER Investments

The American Rescue Plan was signed into law in March 2021. As part of this act, $546 million was allocated to the State of Nebraska’s public schools to ensure safe in-person learning and to address unfinished teaching and learning. NDE staff updated the board on new resources on the NDE’s ESSER webpages and high-level updates on statewide investments.

ESSER Impact Stories

Teacher of the Year Nominations

Nebraska has amazing teachers and being able to recognize their excellence is one of the highlights of the year. The Nebraska Department of Education is proud to provide an opportunity to recognize the best teachers in the state through the Nebraska Teacher of the Year Program. NDE staff launched nominations for the 2024 Teacher of the Year. Anyone can nominate a teacher online at by filling out a nomination form.

2024 Teacher of the Year Nominations

Arts Education Data Project

The Nebraska Arts Council provided a $60,000 grant to the Nebraska Department of Education for entry and participation in the Arts Education Data Project (AEDP). The AEDP is a national
project that provides data visualization tools that track student access and participation in
arts education. The AEDP standardizes state-level data and transforms it into a publicly
available, interactive dashboard that is updated annually. The grant funds over a three-year
period will allow the NDE to collect and analyze data to help ensure access to high-quality arts education in K-12 public schools throughout the state.

Arts Education Data Project Grant

Arts Education Data Project Website

Psychological First Aid for Schools

The board approved a grant from the University of Nebraska Public Police Center for training in Psychological First Aid for Schools.

The Engaging Nebraska Educators in Mental Health Awareness Training project will capitalize on
the position of local schools to meet the mental health needs of Nebraska students in grades K-12,
by training educators in the evidence-based intervention of Psychological First Aid for Schools. The crisis team prepares the school district to respond to hazards, threats, and incidents. It also executes and coordinates the response in the event of an actual crisis incident and assists students and staff to recover as quickly as possible with minimal negative repercussions.

Psychological First Aid for Schools (PFA-S) Model

Afghan Refugee School Impact Grant

The board approved a grant from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate support to Afghan refugee students and their families to survive and thrive in the state of Nebraska.

Afghan Refugee School Impact

Revisions to Rules 10, 14, and 23

The state board approved revisions to Rules 10, 14, and 23 involving accreditation and approval of schools and a repeal of regulations for the Basic Skills Competency Test. Revisions to Rules 10 and 14 were to clarify language and bring Rules up to date with recent legislation.

The purpose of the proposed repeal of Rule 23 is eliminate the requirement for educators to demonstrate basic skills competency, when applying for an entry-level certificate. Nebraska is currently experiencing an educator shortage and is looking at eliminating unnecessary and
duplicative barriers for educators related to certification while ensuring high standards are retained. Most research finds that certification exams are not strong predictors of teaching effectiveness. Basic skills competency examinations also add to costs for new educators. Additionally, a baccalaureate degree and completion of an approved educator preparation program (including student teaching) is required for an initial teaching certificate and these requirements demonstrate an applicant has the basic skills to be a teacher.

Proposed Revisions to Rule 10 Regulations and Procedures for the Accreditation of Schools

Proposed revisions to Rule 14 Regulations and Procedures for the Legal Operation of Approved Nonpublic Schools

Summary of Rule 23 Repeal

Proposed Repeal of Rule 23 Regulations for the Basic Skills Competency Testing of Teachers and Administrators

Commissioner Search Update

The applications for the next Commissioner of Education are now closed. The search firm reviewed stakeholder survey results with the Ad Hoc Search Committee.
The committee will meet during the week of March 6-10 to discuss the commissioner candidate
interview schedule and consider details related to the interview process.
The Ad Hoc Search Committee will meet on Tuesday, March 14th to review applications, view
introductory videos submitted by candidates, and identify finalists to be interviewed. It is anticipated that finalists will be interviewed the last week in March.

Commissioner Search Updates