Priority school designation proposed

The state’s five lowest-performing schools could be prioritized to receive special assistance by the state Board of Education as a result of a bill heard by the Education Committee Feb. 25.

Under LB438, introduced by York Sen. Greg Adams, an intervention team appointed by the state board would assist the school district and school staff in diagnosing issues and designing and implementing strategies to address them. A school would retain the priority designation until the state Board of Education determines it is no longer necessary.

Adams said the bill would allow for individualized intervention without punishing an entire district.

“We all understand the issues of poverty and mobility and the things that contribute to a lack of success,” he said. “We have districts or buildings where there are big obstacles to education.”

The bill also would create a community school designation and a process to establish an operating council, which would advise the superintendent, the school board and the principal of the community school.

Brian Halstead, representing the state Department of Education, supported the bill, saying it would increase accountability.

“This is the last step in completing a statewide accountability system for Nebraska schools,” he said.

No one testified in opposition to the bill and the committee took no immediate action on it.

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