It Takes a Community


by Nebraska Loves Public Schools (funded by the Sherwood Foundation)


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There are many different factors that go into the education of a child. There’s classroom learning time, extracurriculars, health and nutrition, other basic needs, socio-emotional wellness, and extended educational opportunities outside of school, among others. Traditional models would suggest that schools are solely responsible for student learning: students come into the school classroom, learn new material from the teacher, then go home. However, schools recognize that this simplified process is no longer adequate to fully educate and develop well-rounded and engaged young citizens, especially for students coming from backgrounds of poverty.

With input from teachers, business leaders, and non-profits, this Nebraska Loves Public Schools episode explores the role community partnerships play in public schools. The challenges in public education are a shared responsibility in our society, not simply for an individual teacher, school, or district, but for the whole community to solve. From providing students with greater access to educational opportunities, developing mentor relationships, engaging parents in students’ lives and directing resources to struggling families, everyday Nebraskans are involved with our public schools to ensure the vitality of our state.

“The traditional function of a school is to provide academic and social growth. We understand that kids will be sent to us every day and we will teach them. That’s our traditional model. Students will come; I will impart knowledge; the end. We know that’s not going to create the students that we need. Instead, what schools need to be able to do is to develop well-rounded, diverse, creative thinkers. It’s a big task, and it’s not a task that schools can do on their own.”

               — Luisa Palomo, Liberty Elementary Teacher




Why the Arts Matter

See how Nebraska art programs allow students to express themselves and think creatively, making them more engaged in their studies and impacting their overall school experience
for the better.

Ready to Work

Nebraska's public schools are using
a variety of approaches to deliver
a well-educated and skilled workforce.

Dreaming Big for School and Community

Omaha North High's Civil Engineering teacher
Dr. Lee Kallstrom led the charge,
securing funding to realize
the students’ vision for the Haddix Center.

On the Job in a Most Unique Way

Papillion-La Vista Public Schools believe in giving their students access to 21st century skills. In the Academy programs, high schoolers learn applied science and get a behind-the-scenes look at a variety of career options they may not have considered.

ESU 4 - Energy Academy

See how a group of dedicated educators
and business partners joined together
to create a unique education opportunity for students.

Cody-Kilgore’s Lessons in Entrepreneurship

Cody is A Town Too Tough to Die.
Watch how this rural community in Nebraska's Sandhills rallied around a school project to open
the town's first grocery store in over a decade.




Timothy Burke
OPPD VP Customer Service and Public Affairs
Carol Crook
Arbor Day Farm Nature Interpreter
Jessica Ebers
Arbor Day Farm Tour Coordinator
Greg Eversoll
Chandler View Elementary Principal
Josh Gillman
Completely Kids Program Manager
Mick Hale
The Durham Museum Education Outreach Manager
Perrielle Jackson
Omaha North High School Student and Mentee
Maurice Kimsey II
OPPD Electrical Engineer
Deborah Neary
Midlands Mentoring Partnership Executive Director
Susan Ogborn
Food Bank for the Heartland President & CEO
Luisa Palomo
Liberty Elementary Teacher
Kori Reed
ConAgra Foods VP Cause Integration and Foundation
Rosa Reyes
Completely Kids Project Specialist
Len Romano
YMCA of Greater Omaha President & CEO
Ericka Smrcka
Food Bank for the Heartland Director of Programs
Pat Thraen
Peter Kiewit Foundation Grants Manager
Lisa Utterback
Omaha Public Schools Elementary School Support & Supervision Executive Director
Dana Washington
Mutual of Omaha Assistant General Counsel
Lyn Ziegenbein
Peter Kiewit Foundation Director Emerita




NET Learning Services
Nebraska Children and Families Foundation
Nebraska Loves Public Schools
First Five Nebraska
America’s Promise Alliance Grad Nation
Avenue Scholars Foundation
Beyond School Bells
Buffett Early Childhood Fund

Center on Children, Families, and the Law
Coalition for Community Schools
Lincoln Community Foundation
Nebraska Department of Education
Nebraska Trucking Association
Urban League of Nebraska
United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County

United Way Readers, Tutors, and Mentors

© 2014

American Graduate is funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in partnership with America's Promise Alliance, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.