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June 2018

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2019 Nebraska Teacher of the Year

2019 Nebraska Teacher of the Year Application, Nomination Form, Flyer, and News Release:

Nebraska Teacher of the Year Application (Electronic fillable form)
Nebraska Teacher of the Year Application (Printable PDF document)
Nebraska Teacher of the Year Nomination Form (Electronic fillable form)
Nebraska Teacher of the Year Program Flyer (PDF document)
Nebraska Teacher of the Year Program News Release (PDF document)


January/February 2018 Application packets available
August 1, 2018 midnight (CST) Postmarked or Submitted deadline for receipt of applications
August/September 2018 Finalists will be selected and notified
September 2018 Finalists will be interviewed in Lincoln
November 1, 2018 Recognition luncheon

Duties of the Nebraska Teacher of the Year:

The Nebraska Teacher of the Year’s duties will be extensive. The selected candidate will maintain a regular teaching schedule while also fulfilling the duties of the Teacher of the Year position. Some highlights of the Nebraska Teacher of the Year may include:

Participating in the National Teacher of the Year Program as a representative of Nebraska (a year of professional learning through the National Teacher of the Year Program with a cohort of State Teachers of the Year from the 50 states, U.S. extra-state jurisdictions, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity);

Speaking at various engagements across the state – Administrators’ Days conference, Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association (NRCSA) conference; Nebraska State Education Association (NSEA) Delegate Assembly and others;

Participating in workshops and local school programs across the state;

Participating in the Council of Chief State School Officer (CCSSO) National Teacher of the Year (NTOY) Program Induction at a location to be determined at this time (this conference is approximately one week);

Participating in the National Teacher of the Year Washington Recognition Week (this event is held in Washington, DC and includes a Recognition Ceremony for the National Teacher of the Year (this event is approximately one week);

Participating in International Space Camp in Huntsville, AL (this event is approximately one week);

Participating in the ECS National Forum on Education Policy at a location to be determined at this time (this event is approximately three days); and

Participating in the National Teacher of the Year Program Next Steps Conference in Princeton, NJ (this event is approximately one week).


The Nebraska Awards of Excellence Program, which features selection of the Nebraska Teacher of the Year, serves to recognize the contributions of the classroom teacher. Candidates must be exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable, and skilled teachers; have the respect and admiration of parents, colleagues, and students; play active and useful roles in the community as well as in the school; be poised and articulate; and possess the energy to withstand a busy schedule. The most important criterion is a superior ability to inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn.

The Nebraska Application Review Committee examines all applications submitted and selects five Award of Excellence Teachers. Each of the Award of Excellence Teachers will be interviewed to determine the Nebraska Teacher of the Year, who will be eligible for consideration as the National Teacher of the Year.

Application Guidelines:

Certified teachers, who plan to continue in an active teacher status in any state-approved or accredited school pre-kindergarten through grade 12, may be nominated. Supervisory and administrative responsibilities are secondary considerations.

Whether nominated by someone else or applying directly for the honor, each candidate must personally complete the application form. All answers must be in the teacher’s own words.

Those individuals interested in nominating a teacher will complete and submit the nomination form.  The teacher will then receive the Teacher of the Year application to be completed and submitted.   Candidates do not need to be nominated to complete the application.  

Although the selection committee will consider all items on the application, effective classroom teaching and the capability to inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn are the most important qualifications.

The Application Review Panel and the Interview Panel want to see one the candidates teaching strategies and how he or she effectively communicates with students.  Candidates are asked to submit an unedited YouTube video of a single lesson, not to exceed 15 minutes, of instruction.  If the instruction is longer than 15 minutes, the video must include either the beginning or end of the lesson.  The video is not expected to be of professional quality, it is important that the Application Review Panel and the Interview Panel can clearly see and hear the applicant, the students, and what is happening in the lesson.


For additional information, please contact:

Lora Sypal, Teacher of the Year Coordinator
Nebraska Department of Education
301 Centennial Mall South, 6th Floor
P.O. Box 94987
Lincoln, NE 68509-4987
Telephone: (402) 471-5059



News Release

2019 Nebraska Teacher of the Year Program News Release

Diverse, Prepared Staff Including Certificated Educators

Quality 21st CCLC programs recruit and retain high quality staff and volunteers who are focused on creating a positive and engaging learning environment. Staff members are diverse in their backgrounds and are representative of the student population that is served in the program. Ongoing professional development is provided based on identified staff needs.

Afterschool Alliance: Afterschool Webinars
Learn from experts and fellow practitioners on the latest in afterschool, including program funding, research and analysis, practical guides, and how to’s.

Better Kid Care (Penn State Extension)
Better Kid Care’s online modules provide a great orientation for youth programs. All On-Demand modules are free, however there is a $5.00 fee for certificate of completion.

Click2Science PD
Developed by University of Nebraska Extension and the NOYCE Foundation
The Click2Science website provides STEM professional development resources for out-of-school time program providers including staff development guides, self-directed web lessons and webinars.

GetConnected Nebraska Afterschool Conference
This annual conference provides an opportunity to learn more about planning and implementing a quality afterschool or summer program. Sessions offered target a variety of audiences including program leaders, staff, teachers, administrators, community partners and others interested in afterschool and summer learning opportunities for children and youth.

National Afterschool Alliance (NAA)
The mission of the National Afterschool Alliance is to foster development, provide education, and encourage advocacy for the out-of-school-time community. NAA provides publications, resources, and services that reflect best-practice thinking of the profession.

Nebraska’s Core Competencies for School Age and Youth Development Professionals
February 2015
Core Competencies are what all adults who work with children and youth need to know, understand and be able to do to support children an youth’s development, learning, and success in school and in life. Core Knowledge and Core Competencies provide a broad categorization of knowledge, skills, and attributes that apply across all roles in the school-age and youth development field.

You for Youth, US Department of Education (Y4Y)
The focus of Y4Y is on learning and professional development for every staff member at every level of 21st CCLC programs. Resources include webinars and implementation guides focused on topics relevant to afterschool programs such as project-based learning, family engagement, and aligning your program to the school day.

Engaged Learning

Quality 21st CCLC programs utilize active, student-centered instructional methods that make learning meaningful and relevant. Afterschool and summer experiences are planned based on students’ interests, available community resources and identified student needs. Adults serve as facilitators allowing students opportunities to have ownership in their learning and grow leadership skills.

Americans for the Arts
This website gives detailed information on how to plan, run, provide training and evaluate arts programs for at-risk youth.

Asia Kids Society
This website is linked to Asia Society’s main page, and includes sections for children (Stories, Arts, Languages, Games) and educational resources for teachers, parents and afterschool providers.

Buck Institute for Education
Buck Institute for Education offers several free resources, such as definitions of project-based learning, how to design a project and project-based learning research.

Coming Up Taller
This website offers information about Coming Up Taller Awards, Humanities Programs, Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards, National Book Festival, The National Endowment for the Humanities and The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.

Design Squad Nation 
The Design Squad Nation website is an online community that grew out of the Design Squad television series that aired on PBS Kids. The site targets kids ages 8 and older and features creative activities, engaging video, interactive games, and exciting contests. Use Design Squad Nation activities, animation, video profiles, and episodes in classrooms and afterschool programs, in libraries and museums, at events and at home.

Edutopia: What Works in Education 
This website provides information and resources for implementing Project-Based Learning in the classroom and in the afterschool setting. Fun and Free Summer Learning Resources from Edutopia
Visit this Edutopia webpage for information and resources to help you plan your summer program. (posted 1.30.2017)

SMILE’s learning activities, tools, and services are available to all but are designed especially for those who teach school-aged children in non-classroom settings (like museums, zoos, aquaria, and afterschool or outdoor education programs). SMILE is dedicated to bringing the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activities developed by informal science organizations around the country to the wider informal educator community, while encouraging that community to both use and contribute to SMILE’s growing collection.

Kids Gardening
Educator resources including lesson plans

National Geographic Kids
This website offers children’s games, activities, stories and videos about people, places and animals from different countries.

Nebraska Arts Council
This website of the Nebraska Arts Council, whose mission is to promote, cultivate and sustain the arts for the people of Nebraska, provides grants and services to artists, organizations and communities.

PBS Teachers Education Resource Center
PBS offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. On-line broadband access and digital media are dramatically changing the opportunities available to the nation’s educators. Our recent national educator survey (Grunwald, 2009) indicates that more teachers than ever before are turning to digital media resources to help their students understand concepts, practice new skills and engage in exciting, authentic learning experiences.

Songs for Teaching- Using Music to Promote Learning
This website offers multicultural instrument building instructions for families.

Smithsonian Education: Educators
This website is designed to access lesson plans and resources aligned to state standards (can be searched by state, grade and subject) related to art and design, science and technology, history and culture and language arts.

You for Youth
This website, offered by the United States Department of Education, provides professional development resources and information on a variety of topics relevant to afterschool programs. The coaching module focused on project-based learning provides guidance and tools for implementing project-based learning in the afterschool setting.

Intentional Programming Aligned with the School Day Program

Quality 21st CCLC programs provide additional time and support for learning outside of the regular school day. Academic support includes homework help and enrichment activities that align to, complement, and enhance the school day curriculum.

The building principal is key to ensuring the alignment between the school day and 21st CCLC afterschool programs in supporting students’s success.

American Institutes for Research (AIR)
Afterschool and Expanded Learning
AIR’s work in the afterschool and expanded learning field supports the creation, evaluation, improvement, and maintenance of high-quality afterschool and expanded learning programs in a variety of ways.

STEM professional development for out-of-school time program providers

National Science Teachers Association: Informal Science Education

Connected Science Learning: Linking in-school and out-of-school STEM learning
Connected Science Learning is an online journal highlighting STEM education experiences that bridge the gap between in-school and out-of-school settings.

NASA Education
NASA is taking a leading role in the effort to inspire interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics through its unique mission, workforce, facilities, research, and innovations. Students, educators and faculty may explore and experience unique space and aeronautics content through NASA’s education programs.

Nebraska 4-H Afterschool
Nebraska 4-H Youth Development aims to increase the quality and quantity of out-of-school time programs that address community needs. Out-of-school time programs are offered outside of school hours, and include afterschool programs.

Nebraska Department of Education

Read Aloud Nebraska
The importance of reading aloud with children is understood and accepted by the educational community, parents, and others as an effective tool in learning success and healthy child development. Their vision is that parents and caregivers, along with the educational community read aloud with all children.

Read Write Think
International Literacy Association and the National Council of Teachers of English
This resource is designed for parents and afterschool educators. Find resources by grade level, K-12, including

You for Youth
Online professional learning and technical assistance for 21st Century Community Learning Centers


Ongoing Assessment and Improvement

Quality 21st CCLC program site-level and state-level leadership teams collect, analyze, and utilize data from multiple sources as part of their continuous improvement process. Data collected and analyzed annually includes program self-assessments  and surveys from multiple stakeholders including students, families, teachers and program staff. This information is used to study the quality and effectiveness of the program, while also highlighting strengths and accomplishments toward achieving  program goals.

Afterschool Alliance
Assessment and Evaluation
Evaluation and assessment are key to providing evidence of success. They will help you make the case to funders, the media and the public and the positive impact that our STEM program is having on participants. Here are tools to measure your program’s impact and outcomes.

Dimensions of Success (DoS) Observation Tool
PEAR Institute (Partnerships in Education and Resilience)
DoS is an overarching framework that defines key aspects of a quality STEM Learning experience. DoS forms the backbone of a suite of tools and guides designed to help out-of-school time programs improve the quality of their STEM offerings. The tool describes four levels of quality across twelve dimensions of a STEM activity.

Nebraska 21st Century Community Learning Centers Statewide Evaluation Reports
Program Evaluation
The purpose of evaluation is to study the quality and effectiveness of a project, while also highlighting strengths and accomplishments toward program goals. The ultimate benefit of evaluation is to provide information and direction to site supervisors, directors, administrators and teachers for program improvement. The Nebraska 21st CCLC Annual Report provides a comprehensive look at the program’s continuous improvement evaluation process.

Safety, Health and Wellness

Quality 21st CCLC programs provide a safe, healthy and nurturing environment for all students. The physical space and the atmosphere of the program promote a healthy learning environment. Health and nutrition are incorporated into daily programming, and there are daily opportunities for physical activity.

All sites are expected to meet or exceed the 21st CCLC Health and Safety Expectations.

Action for Healthy Kids 
The mission of the Action for Healthy Kids is to mobilize school professionals, families and communities to take actions that lead to healthy eating, physical activity and healthier schools where kids thrive.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Kids on the Move: Afterschool Programs Promoting Healthy Eating and Physical Activity
America After 3PM
Afterschool Alliance

Nebraska Department of Education
Nutrition Services
NDE’s Nutrition Services provides leadership that inspires service of nutritious meals to children, students and adults.

Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
Title 391, Children’s Services Licensing
Chapter 4, School-Age-Only Centers
Effective 2/20/13, Operative 5/20/13
Chapter 4
School-Age-Only Child Care CenterThese regulations govern the licensing of school-age-only child care centers by the Department of health and Human Services.

Participation, Access and Support During Transitions

Quality 21st CCLC programs promote consistent and active participation. Programs embrace and value diversity, and have a conscious commitment to help all students thrive by providing inclusive, accessible, responsive, and engaging services. Programs support student transitions between grades and across levels through consistency of staff and experiences that prepare students for the next phase of their educational experience.

Nebraska Department of Education