State Targets Schuyler Central High

Omaha World-Herald—Members of the Nebraska State Board of Education on Friday designated Schuyler Central High School a “priority school” for state intervention.

The designation means a team appointed by the Nebraska Commissioner of Education will work with the school on improving academic performance.

State officials hope that by aiding the school they can learn how to help other schools coping with large influxes of immigrants.

The superintendent of the small district about 30 miles west of Fremont said Thursday that he’s eager for the help.

Under a 2014 law, the state can designate three struggling schools as priorities in need of assistance. Priority schools are chosen from the lowest performing category of Nebraska’s 1,004 schools. The Nebraska Department of Education classifies schools as excellent, great, good or needing improvement based on test scores and other factors.

Nebraska Deputy Commissioner of Education Deb Frison said the school was selected in part because of the challenges it faces transitioning from a majority white to a majority Hispanic enrollment.

Officials hope the lessons learned intervening in Schuyler Central can be applied to similar demographically shifting schools such as Lexington, Madison and Wakefield.

Class B Schuyler Central enrolls 575 students, 87 percent Hispanic, 10 percent white and 3 percent black.

Last August, the state board voted to remove Druid Hill Elementary School in Omaha from priority status, opening a slot for Schuyler Central.

Druid Hill was one of the first three schools designated for intervention in 2015. It was chosen because it represented urban schools.

Remaining on the list are Santee Middle in Niobrara, representing Native American schools, and Loup County Elementary in Taylor, representing small rural schools.