News Release

February 23, 2023


Two Nebraska schools are among 55 across the U.S. that have been named 2022 National ESEA Distinguished Schools for the extraordinary success of their students.

The National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators (NAESPA)—formerly the National Title I Association—has been selecting examples of superior, federally funded school programs for national recognition through the National ESEA Distinguished Schools program since 1996 to celebrate the efforts of schools across the country making significant improvements. The program has annually acknowledged the success of hundreds of schools in one of three categories:

  • Exceptional student performance and academic growth
  • Closing the achievement gap between student groups
  • Excellence in serving special populations of students (e.g. homeless, migrant, English learners, etc.)

Two Nebraska schools were among those chosen for the award. Wakefield Community School was recognized for exceptional student performance and academic growth and Crete Public Schools was recognized for excellence in serving special populations of students.

The Elementary Secondary Education Act, as signed into law in 2015, is designed to ensure accountability by “maintaining guardrails and protections for the most vulnerable students and directing federal resources toward what works in helping all children learn.”  Title I is the cornerstone of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)—it is the largest federally funded pre-college education program in the United States.  Together with other federal education programs of the ESEA, they provide funding to school districts to aid primarily in the education of economically disadvantaged students. Finally, these programs are jointly focused on student equity and access.

NAESPA implemented the National ESEA Distinguished Schools Program to highlight selected schools that have effectively used their ESEA federal funds to improve education outcomes for students. More information about all National ESEA Distinguished Schools is available on the NAESPA website:

The 2022 National ESEA Distinguished Schools were honored February 1-4, 2023 at the 2023 National ESEA Conference.

Download List of 2022 Schools.

David Jespersen
Public Information Officer, Nebraska Department of Education