Addressing the Teacher Shortage in the Panhandle and Beyond

Representatives from Chadron State College presented to the board on the teacher shortage in the Panhandle and throughout the state. Chadron State has a program to help para-educators become certified teachers. They are also partnering with school districts to help grow the teacher pipeline and provide hands-on learning and training.  Districts are also using incentives to recruit new teachers into the program.

Recognize November as National Native American Heritage Month

Board members recognized November as National Native American Heritage Month. President Patti Gubbels spoke to the importance of learning Native American history and culture and their impact on Nebraska. She also spoke about the need to recognize the challenges Native American communities have today.

National Native American Heritage Month


Recognize October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Nebraska VR staff presented on their department and the work they do under the Nebraska Department of Education. Nebraska VR helps Nebraskans overcome disabilities to have successful lives and to be active members of the community. Board members also recognized October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month


Nebraska Teacher Apprenticeship Program

The Nebraska Department of Education is responsible for creating and administering the Nebraska Teacher Apprenticeship Program, meant to “recruit and increase the number of teachers throughout the state by utilizing an apprenticeship model for training.”

NDE has been appropriated $1 million for this program. The State Board approved a contract with the National Center for Grow Your Own (NCGYO) in August, funded through federal Title II set aside funds. Since that time, NCGYO has been consulting with the NDE and led three technical assistance and informational meetings with prospective educator preparation providers and district pairs in Nebraska. The NDE used the recipients of the ESSER-funded Educator Shortage Initiative to narrow the list of prospective partnerships to those implementing paraprofessional to teacher programming.

These projects include:
• Midland University and Omaha Westside – Growing Our Own Educator Assistant (EA) to Teacher
Ladder Program
• University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Lincoln Public Schools – Building the Special Education
Teacher Pipeline
• Chadron State College – Panhandle Para to Teacher Academy
Contracts for this program are in effect from October 2023 thru June 2025.

2023 Statewide Longitudinal Data System Grant from the U.S. Department of Education

The Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) Grant program has awarded competitive, cooperative agreement grants to states since 2006. SLDS Grants are provided to assist states in the successful design, development, implementation, use, and sustainability of K12 and P-20W+ (early learning through the workforce) longitudinal data systems. These systems increase states’ and territories’ capacity to efficiently and effectively manage, protect, and use education, social service, workforce, and other statewide data.  Grants extend 3 to 5 years and require grantees to submit annual reports and a final report on the development and implementation of their systems. The Nebraska Department of Education previously received SLDS Grant awards in 2007 ($3.5M), 2012 ($4.4M) and 2019 ($3.5M).
The Nebraska Department of Education was awarded four million dollars for the 2023 grant cycle.

SLDS Grant Application

Deficit budget request for fiscal year 2023-24

State statute provides for the Governor to make recommendations to the Legislature as to the deficiency funding requirements of the various agencies, boards, and commissions of State government. Deficiency is “any increase or decrease in any fund source for any budget program for the biennium in progress.”
The Department’s deficit budget request must be submitted to State Budget Division for consideration by October 15th, 2023.

Deficit Request

Bipartisan Safer Communities Stronger Connections Grants

President Biden signed into law the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), to reduce the risk of gun violence in our schools and communities. Congress authorized $1 billion to State educational agencies (SEA) to provide students with safer and healthier learning environments.
The purpose is to improve students’ academic achievement by increasing the capacity to “Improve school conditions for student learning”.
This competitive grant is available from the date of award to September 30, 2026.
Nineteen districts applied for the grant with seventeen districts awarded the funds.
Stronger Connections Grants

Priority School Progress Plans for Isanti Elementary and High School

Isanti Elementary and High School have been identified as Priority Schools for three consecutive years. If a school has been designated as a Priority School for three consecutive years, the State Board shall reevaluate the progress plan to determine if:

• A significant revision of the progress plan is necessary
• An entirely new progress plan shall is developed
• An alternative administrative structure is warranted.

Each Priority School is required to submit a Progress Plan for approval by the State Board of
Education. The purpose of the Progress Plan is to identify: goals and areas for growth and
improvement; measurable indicators of progress; strategies and actions to achieve improvement;
associated timelines and resources; and evidence to monitor progress.

The significantly revised plans include feedback and input from school community stakeholders and has been reviewed and approved by their local school board.

Isanti Elementary School Priority Plan

Isanti High School Priority Plan