Champions for Equity in Education

in 2016 we roll out our strategic plan which literally gave direction and vision in regards to where the state needed to go for education needed to be a living document and it also needed to be something that was clear not only to the board but to the staff in the department and to our schools that we weren't asking them anybody to do something that wasn't feasible one of the basic foundations of our strategic plan was equity making sure that all of our students every one of them are given the same opportunities the same chances to move forward we have a very diverse state in geography we have a very diverse state in population we now have a very diverse state as far as ethnicity equity has a lot of meanings when we're preparing all Nebraskans for learning earning and living we have to think about the circumstances in which they they come from and the circumstances which they reside I want school leaders to think about equity in making the best opportunities possible for their students for their families for their communities that they possibly can given the conditions that they they have and I want the state to take the responsibility to fill in gaps where they feel they need additional help we selected priority schools in part because we knew we weren't being that champion for schools with circumstances where they had large achievement gaps by by race or ethnicity by poverty by special education we really began to look at establishing priority schools as a model for us to build on so we can figure out better how we could support schools and also how schools could feel supported by the state of Nebraska i-i know often that that folks may see that as a label but in my view the the label is on the state of nebraska that this label is something that it's a challenge that we're supposed to take on that we're supposed to help schools like like Druid Hill in Omaha I'm very proud of the efforts that took place there but not proud because of what we've done proud because of what they've done so many years Druid Hill has been a school that has been identified as a very low achieving school and that you wouldn't want your child to attend that school because they don't have what other schools have and now the conversations have led us to be one of the schools where parents are trying to get into our school and making our teachers and my myself and my administrative team feel like champions now that we're someone that people are racing over to come get to when we came into Luke County you know I smile because it's a it was the type of challenge that a small community of community that I've been kind of like home almost home to me from where I grew up and I looked at Luke County and and I said this is a this is a tough thing for the state to walk in that door and say we're gonna make a difference but I think as we work together we've shared the responsibilities for improving and improving the results for kids and and doing that work together has been both beneficial for for the department but also I think for schools that might look like Luke County I really think that inde has taken a genuine interest in rural schools dr. bloom says done a good job of reaching out and talking and communicating people and listening to people the state board members from out here have done a good job coming to the school and again making themselves available and wanting to know that wanting everyone to know that it is a cooperative effort you're just mounted on a little island out here so that's been very much appreciated from rural superintendents with Santi it's it's very much the same way the sense of community and pride in our in our Native American cultures needs to come through our work in priority schools and when we go in and regard and build great relationships with with the board members that are there the community members the certainly the teachers and staff that we were dedicated to their success and and they have to know that we are primarily Native American so right now our board is currently trying to build relations with our tribal council and with our other tribal entities and trying to work with them and basically we just try to build relations with our school district within our school helping develop a better school for our community we've just started in working with Skyler and that's that's been yet another lesson for us it was an area in which we hadn't necessarily been in before as a priority school it's not our expertise as can make a difference it's their expertise but how do we help facilitate and support what they need in order to improve it what they need in order to serve their students we have a lot of challenges that we're gonna be able to address together but the end result is each one of the people that arrived in the state of Nebraska and that are in the state of raska deserve all the opportunities all the success though that we can prepare them for you

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