One Child at a Time


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


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Public schools across the country have one common goal: educating our youth. However, that role has expanded immensely over the years. Schools are responsible for making sure all students succeed – taking into special consideration the different ability levels that exist in each classroom. The challenge becomes both recognizing students’ needs and learning styles and determining the different teaching methods needed to ensure each individual student receives the best education possible.

This Nebraska Loves Public Schools addition to The State of Education in Nebraska series explores how schools around the state identify unique learning needs and support each student to enhance their success. From gifted learning to special education and from alternative learning to ELL (English Language Learners), individualized teaching practices impact all students throughout their school experience – no matter where they fall on the spectrum of ability.

“It’s no longer just your reading, writing, arithmetic; there’s this whole social piece. How do you get involved with students in their lives [to] make sure that they have the kind of supports they need to be successful young people? I don’t know if the larger public really understands how big of a job public education really is, because it's more than just academics."

               — Nick Dressel, Chadron Middle School Principal




Lessons in Independence

The Nebraska Center for the Education of Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired (NCECBVI) works tirelessly to help their students and families set clear and achievable goals and learn how to attain them.

Making Special Education Truly Special

At Norris Public Schools, special need students’ individual learning needs are supported by a team of educators who recognize that inclusion coupled with access to resources can help make any student successful.

OPS Dual Language Program

At seven schools across Omaha, students learn to read, write, and speak Spanish through content and course work delivered in both languages.

Liberty Elementary —
A Community Solution

Watch how one Omaha school supports the entire community in order to help its students succeed.

Montessori for Middle School

At Millard Public Schools’ Central Middle School, Montessori-based teaching techniques create empowered, thoughtful and self-motivated young adults.

Finding a Different Path

See how a dedicated team of teachers and administrators care for kids with challenging personal circumstances and empower them to discover a different path to success.




Susan Aguilera-Robles
Spring Lake Elementary Principal
Mullai Balamurugan
Clinton Elementary Parent
Cece Bartek
Spring Lake Elementary Reading Teacher
Dan Bartek
Metropolitan Community College Upward Bound Math and Science Director
Traci Deland
Spring Lake Elementary Speech Pathologist
Lisa Donahoe
Central High School Counselor
Nick Dressel
Chadron Middle School Principal
Patty Driscoll
UNO/OPS Middle College Parent
Carolyn Haar
Clinton Elementary Gifted Resource Teacher
Michael Hart
Norfolk Junior High Principal
Carolyn Hinrichs
Chadron High School Guidance Counselor
Angee Luedtke
Clinton Elementary Assistant Principal
Jerry Mack
Chadron High School Principal
Bobi Mayfield
Spring Lake Elementary Parent
Heather McLaughlin
UNO/OPS Middle College Program Director
Danielle Roby
Clinton Elementary 5th Grade Teacher
Laura Stephenson
Clinton Elementary Special Education Teacher
Leann Widhalm
Norfolk Junior High School Special Education Instructor

Dr. Jennifer Wiehe
Omaha Public Schools Psychologist

Dr. Caroline Winchester
Chadron Public Schools Superintendent



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.