Test Environment

How now brown cow, and here is an edit!


The following web sites are provided as a resource and are not endorsed by the Nebraska Department of Education.


National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE)
NAPE is a consortium of state and local agencies, corporations, and national organizations that collaborate to create equitable and diverse classrooms and workplaces where there are no barriers to opportunities.

Results That Matter: 21st Century Skills and High School Reform
High schools need a relentless focus on the results that matter for student success in the 21st century according to The Partnership for 21st Century Skills.


The following web sites are provided as a resource and are not endorsed by the Nebraska Department of Education.

For information on how to extend learning time through an afterschool program, click here.

International Center for Leadership in Education: Willard Daggett
The International Center sponsors the Successful Practices Network, a nonprofit membership organization that provides a mechanism for schools to share data, experiences, technical assistance, and best practices with one another.

Rigor and Relevance Framework 

National PTA: Every Child, One Voice 
Parent information related to child development, ideas for helping students with academics at home, parent information in Spanish.

New Horizons: Teaching and Learning Strategies
You will find information on some of the best researched and the most widely implemented methods of helping all students to learn more successfully, including how the teaching and learning strategies work, where they have been applied, and results.

Resources for Instructional Strategies 
Website Developed by Professional Development Consultant, Lenny VerMass, ESU #6 

Teacher Expectation Student Achievement (TESA) 
TESA is a staff development program for all educators, grade levels, and subject areas. Results of classroom implementation indicates improvement in student academic performance, gender and diversity awareness, attendance, classroom climate and a reduction in student discipline problems.

Behavior Support

Nebraska Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support 

Diverse Learners

Continuous Improvement Process: Equity and Diversity

Achieving Diversity: Race-Neutral Alternatives in American Education U. S. Department of Education

National Evaluation and Technical Assistance Center for the Education of Children and Youth Who Are Neglected, Delinquint, or at Risk 

Early Childhood

Nebraska Department of Education Office of Early Childhood 

Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) Early Childhood Education Assessment State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards (ECEA SCASS) 
The ECEA consortium’s focus is on early childhood learning and developmental outcomes, appropriate assessment, program evaluation, and using data for system accountability.

Early Childhood: http://www.ccsso.org/Resources/Programs/Early_Childhood_

School Readiness: 

Nebraska Early Learning Guidelines Ages for Birth to 3 
The Early Learning Guidelines are based on research and evidence about child development and practices that result in the best outcomes for young children – birth to age 3. 

Nebraska Early Learning Guidelines for Ages 3 to 5 
The Early Learning Guidelines are based on research and evidence about child development and practices that result in the best outcomes for young children – ages 3 to 5.

Nebraska Early Learning Guidelines for Ages Birth to 3, Spanish

Nebraska Early Learning Guidelinesm for Ages 3 to 5, Spanish

Kindergarten Early Learning Guidelines for Language and Literacy, English

Kindergarten Early Learning Guidelines for Mathematics, English

Early Learning Guidelines, Nature Supplement

Planning the Use of Time in Kindergarten
A brief discussion, including charts, of time-related issues in full- and half-day kindergarten programs.

Position Statement Executive Summary

Position Statement, May 2010

October 12: Purposeful Play-Connecting Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction for Effective Early Childhood Outcomes (video)

October 19: Nebraska’s New Kindergarten Early Learning Guidelines (video)

The Primary Program: Growing and Learning in the Heartland
A comprehensive curriculum framework designed to assist local educators in developing challenging learning environments for kindergarten/primary-age children.
Primary Program: Growing and Learning in the Heartland

English Language Learners

Nebraska Department of Education English Language Learners and Immigrant Education Webpage 
English Language Learners and Immigrant Education Webpage

Developing Literacy in Second-Language Learners: Report of the National Literacy Panel on Language-Minority Children and Youth – Executive Summary Edited by Diane August,Principal Investigator and Timothy Shanahan, Panel Chair

The National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition & Language Instruction Education Programs (NCELA) NCELA collects, analyzes, synthesizes and disseminates information about language instruction educational programs. 

Center on Instruction: Practical Guidelines for the Instruction of English Language Learners: Research-Based Recommendations for Instruction and Academic Interventions

Center on Instruction Home Page

High Ability Learners

Nebraska Department of Education High Ability Learners Website
Nebraska Department of Education High Ability Learners Website

Genius Denied 
Information from the Davidson Foundation on gifted issues for parents, educators and students. Contains articles on such topics as grade acceleration, instructional strategies, etc. 

Gifted Canada 
Contains information regarding early childhood gifted education. List of qualities which young children may exhibit regarding giftedness. 

Gifted Development Center 
Information for parents and educators regarding gifted issues. Also contains information regarding dual identified gifted students.

Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page 
Website for parents and educators regarding instructional, social and emotional information about gifted students. Links to other helpful sites.

Contains articles and digests for parents and educators that can be used with gifted students.

A Nation Deceived:How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students 
The Templeton National Report on Acceleration
Research study which discusses acceleration as an instructional strategy and the different forms of acceleration. 

National Association for Gifted Children 
Contains information for parents, educators, with links to other informational websites regarding gifted issues.

Nebraska Association for the Gifted
Contains information for parents, educators, conference and events, summer experiences for gifted students.

Parenting Gifted Preschoolers 
This article by David Farmer provides some ideas on identifying and parenting gifted preschoolers – as the start of a long road for child, parent and the whole family! 

Promising Curriculum and Instruction Practices for High Ability Learners 

Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) 
Information for educators, parents, general public regarding the social and emotional needs of gifted students. Also contains links to other sites regarding the social and emotional needs of gifted students.

Homeless Children and Youth

Nebraska Department of Education Educating Homeless Children and Youth Website 
Nebraska Department of Education Educating Homeless Children and Youth

Migrant Education Program

About the Nebraska Migrant Education Program (MEP)
Nebraska Migrant Education Program


Nebraska Department of Education Native American Education
Nebraska Department of Education Native American Education

Continuous Improvement Process: Equity and Diversity

Neglected and Delinquent Students

Nebraska Department of Education Neglected and Delinquent Students
Nebraska Department of Education Neglected and Delinquent Students


Continuous Improvement Process: Equity and Diversity

Students with Disabilities

The Access Center 
A national technical assistance (TA) center which provides research and strategies to help improve educational outcomes for struggling elementary and middle school students and students with disabilities.

Council for Exceptional Children: Evidence-Based Practice—Wanted, Needed, and Hard to Get 
While the law requires teachers to use evidence-based practices in their classrooms, the field has not yet determined criteria for evidence based practice nor whether special education has a solid foundation of evidence-based practices. Also, those teaching strategies that have been researched are difficult for teachers to access.

Nebraska Department of Education Accommodations Guidelines 
Practices and procedures in the areas of presentation, response, setting, and timing/scheduling that provide equitable access during instruction and assessments for students with disabilities. 

New Horizons: Special Needs
In this area of our website we offer a comprehensive resource for parents and teachers of those who are challenged physically, emotionally, or cognitively. 

Response to Intervention
Technical Assistance Document, training modules, resources.
Response to Intervention

Professional Development

This section of the CIP Toolkit, Professional Development, is intended to support the overall Comprehensive Improvement Process (CIP). Teacher quality is a key factor influencing student academic achievement. Teachers, like any other professionals, must stay abreast of the latest developments in their fields to continually increase their effectiveness. the information and resources provided aim to help schools and districts incorporate high quality professional development into the overall continuous improvement efforts.

It is crucial that professional development be connected with the school improvement process. This can include whole staff activities, local learning teams, individual work, and other related activities. A professional development coordinating committee or a combination of other local committees or the School Improvement Steering committee may be responsible for developing this aspect of your plan.

Guiding Questions

  • How do the following impact student learning:
    • Teachers providing instruction out of endorsed area?
    • Upcoming retirements?
    • Staff attrition rates and patterns?
  • Do you develop leadership from within to build your future administration?
  • What type of mentorship or induction program do you provide as support for first year teachers and new hires?
  • Does your school utilize a training needs assessment tool to guide professional development planning?
  • Does your educational staff participate in professional organizations specific to their area of expertise or other learning networks?
  • Does your staff ethnically mirror your student/community population?
  • Is your staff ethnically diverse?
  • Does your agency have a professional development plan?
  • Does your school continuous improvement plan address professional development that supports your CIP goals?

Websites and Other Resources

Professional Development


Data Sources/Data Information Guides



Creating the Profile: Guiding Questions

  • Is there formalized written curriculum for PreK-12 in all content areas (required in Rule 10)?
  • Does curriculum align to the local vision and mission?
  • Are all instructional staff familiar with the horizontal and vertical alignment of their specific content area(s) to the district’s curriculum?
  • Is there dedicated time for instructional staff to become familiar with the horizontal and vertical alignment of their specific content area(s)?
  • Is curriculum aligned to the Nebraska State Standards or approved local standards?
  • Is curriculum aligned to the Nebraska Essential Learnings for all content areas?
  • Is the curriculum aligned to the Nebraska Early Learning Guidelines?
  • Is curriculum reviewed and revised at regular intervals ( Rule 10)?
  • Does the district have a designated model of curriculum alignment?
  • Are decisions about curriculum and instruction based on data- and research-analysis?
  • Does the curriculum challenge each student to excel, reflecting a commitment to equity and demonstrating an appreciation of diversity?
  • Does curriculum actively involve students in 21st Century skills, i.e. higher-order thinking, problem solving, etc.?
  • Does a system exist for implementing intervention to help students meet expectations for student learning?
  • Is curriculum articulated to ensure P-16 student performance and readiness for employment?
  • Does the curriculum implement technology and media?
  • Are there current local board policies that affect curriculum decisions?
  • Is there a process in place for families and community partners to provide input into the curriculum alignment process?
  • What are best practices for the development, review and revision of formalized written curriculum that is aligned to the district vision and mission?

Creating the Profile

Data Collection

Administrators and teachers should regularly examine the PreK-12 curriculum for horizontal and vertical articulation as well as various developmentally appropriate levels in all subject areas.

Engaging Stakeholders

Curriculum alignment is a professional responsibility that should engage all staff at all levels. Staff should be familiar with the horizontal and vertical alignment of their specific content area(s) as it relates to the district’s comprehensive curriculum. Community and parent representatives should be involved in this process as appropriate.


In order to positively impact the achievement of all students it is essential to examine the full scope of the curriculum and its linkage across all programs

Administrators and teachers can use the same guiding questions to analyze their PreK-12 curriculum alignment. This analysis will help determine if curriculum alignment is the major reason for low student performance or if it should be considered a strategy to assist in remediation of other issues.

Targeting Areas of Low Performance

There are four areas of family and community engagement which, according to the research, have the greatest impact on student learning. Those areas include:

  • engagement in activities designed to support the school’s curriculum and standards,
  • a home environment that encourages learning,
  • a community and a home that holds high, realistic expectations, and
  • two-way communication and participation among all parties.

The district should review the findings of the earlier assessments where the school engaged family and community members in the collection of data. If this information is not available, then the district should go back to creating the profile and develop that. After the goals are set, schools would benefit from selecting one or two strategies and focusing on those, with intentional planning and implementation throughout all school activities during the year.

Through careful design and philosophical buy-in from all stakeholders, schools can make a major impact in family and community engagement using minimal financial investment. Staff development activities may be targeted to infuse the benefits and importance of family engagement. Members of the community and families should be included in discussions of their roles in supporting student learning.

Strength-Based Approaches to Healthy Youth Development

Over the past two decades, researchers have addressed the question, “What factors influence youth and help them grow to be healthy, contributing members of a community?”

The research points to two connected–but very different–approaches to prevention. Traditionally, efforts have focused on preventing high-risk behaviors among youth, such as substance abuse, dropping out of school, and violence. Research has now identified those “risk factors” that increase the likelihood that youth will participate in high risk behaviors.

However, in recent years, prevention efforts have also included “the other side of the coin”, that is, the factors that help to protect young people from engaging in behaviors that can sidetrack their development into healthy, safe, thriving members of society.

There is a connection between these two divergent approaches to prevention. All students are “at-risk” at some point in their lives, because all students face challenges that must be overcome. At the same time, allstudents have personal strengths that can help them overcome these challenges. By increasing and strengthening the protective factors in the lives of young people, the less impact the risk factors will have on them. In other words, the more protective factors young people possess, the greater strengths they will have to resist, or mitigate, the affect of the risk factors they face. And the fewer risk factors they face, the greater the chances are that all students will come to school ready to learn. Families play a significant role in promoting strengths and reducing risks for their children.

Research has identified three key protective factors that have a significant influence on healthy youth development. These include:

  • developing meaningful relationships with family and friends,
  • possessing the life skills necessary to succeed in life, both personally and professionally, and
  • having opportunities for meaningful participation in the family, school, and community.

In the near future this web page will address several frameworks that identify these risk and protective factors.

Positive Behavior Supports

Academic achievement is the result of school personnel and families working together to provide a continuum of support for all learners. School-wide positive behavior support (PBS) is a broad range of systemic and individualized strategies for achieving important social and learning outcomes while preventing problem behaviors with all students. More information about this initiative may be found at the National Technical Assistance Center for Positive Behavior Interventions and Support. For specific information about families and PBS, visit the website.

Attendance: Keeping Kids in School

If a child is not regularly attending school, it stands to reason that student will not gain as much benefit from the educational process as a child who attends school regularly. Therefore, when creating a school profile, it is important to break down the district’s attendance data to consider possible areas of low attendance, such as with a particular age group or at a particular time of the year. Once this attendance data is analyzed, a district is encouraged to work with their families to set objectives to promote more regular attendance for the students.

A district should also address issues that relate to children who “disengage” from school, resulting from such issues as cultural differences, different learning styles, or fear. Families can be an asset in promoting regular school attendance. The National PTA notes a number of ways that families can promote student learning. The National Dropout Prevention Center provides information to educational entities regarding research and strategies to prevent dropouts.


Everyone benefits when the community and the family are engaged in meaningful support of children’s learning. Learning begins at birth, with parents as the child’s first teacher. Over the years, schools have tried multiple practices to close the achievement gaps. Research shows that developing natural partnerships with the family can be a powerful tool in supporting student success. Every family wants their child to succeed in school and in life. When equipped and informed, most will do what they can toward that goal. Every community wants and needs competent, prepared young citizens to become workers and leaders. A community’s economic future depends on the strength of its school system, so businesses and organizations should be encouraged to become a supporting partner. School staff has an extensive workload to accomplish all that is assigned. Having partners in the learning process will, in the end, lighten their load. Forming a community of helpers, in the education of our youth, is a benefit to all, especially the children.



Planning to Improve: Step-by-Step Process

  1. Select instructional strategies that are expected to positively impact learning for all students in your school.
  2. Write steps that are needed for implementing the strategy. Be sure to include how all staff and students will be involved in the implementation of your improvement goal.
  3. Establish a timeline for implementation. Identify who is responsible for implementation, how often assessment information will be analyzed, how data will be used to monitor progress towards your goal, and who is responsible to adjust and monitor your improvement plan based on collected data.
  4. Plan for on-going professional development that will inform and support teachers as they implement selected strategies in their classrooms.

Creating the Profile: Step-by-Step Process

  1. Have a leadership team identify and collect relevant data, research, and resources.
  2. Establish professional learning communities in your district/school that will read and study information selected by the leadership team.
  3. Once all relevant data is collected, staff should work together to analyze information. Data should include information about the students in your district and school, by grade, and by classroom. Data should be disaggregated by subgroups for further analysis. Include representation from all stakeholder groups in the study including family members, students, and community representatives.
  4. Collect relevant research that will assist you as you create your plan.
  5. Collect relevant resources that will assist you as you create your plan.

Creating the Profile: Guiding Questions

  • What does research say about effective instructional strategies?
  • Does the daily instructional planning in your school and classrooms reflect academic support for the diverse populations of students in all of our Nebraska schools?
  • What does research say about effective professional development? What types of professional development are available for the teachers and administrators in your school that will improve knowledge and expertise related to research-based instructional strategies?
  • Are teachers familiar with, and are they consistently using, research-based instructional strategies as they plan and implement daily instruction in their classrooms? Considering the academic achievement of your students, are the strategies utilized effective?
  • Is there consistency across grade-levels, classrooms, and courses in the selection, teaching, and use of specific strategies that will increase achievement for students?
  • Have you identified and utilized the connections across various programs offered in your district/school to increase learning opportunities for students?