Standing Up to Poverty


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

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Having enough to eat, a safe place to live, or a warm bed to sleep in – those are just a few things that many of us take for granted each day. But what happens when a child doesn’t have access to those necessities we consider to be so basic? How does access to comprehensive early childhood education or a family’s ability to understand the language impact their child’s success in the classroom and beyond? Studies show that without proper support and access to life-changing programs and opportunities, children living in poverty will struggle their entire school careers, falling dangerously behind their more affluent peers.

This special Nebraska Loves Public Schools video– part of The State of Education in Nebraska series – explores the issues facing low-income students across our state and the impact they have on an entire school and community. This segment explores a variety of factors that impact a child’s ability to learn and looks at the various programs, organizations, and educators that are working to help children overcome socio-economic barriers so they can succeed. Finally, the program challenges viewers to get involved and offers examples of how communities and individuals can help close the opportunity gap.

“Many people think that the reason students aren’t performing at grade level, or they’re dropping out, or just aren’t successful is because of some failure on the part of the educational institution. But it really starts before that child even steps into the school building. One of the main determining factors in a student’s success is their income level.”
      — Julia Parker, Building Bright Futures Director of Operations



VALTS: Finding a Different Path

Watch 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.

Morton Middle School:
Expanded Learning Opportunities for Young Minds

Morton Middle School's Panther Pack extended-day program provides academic and emotional support for children of working families from all socioeconomic backgrounds.

Liberty Elementary: A Community Solution

Find out how one Omaha school supports the community in order to help its students succeed.





Julia Parker
Building Bright Futures Director of Operations
Cara Riggs
Omaha South High School Principal, Author
Jack Bangert
Omaha South High School Dual Language Coordinator and Education Academy Coordinator
Kyle McGowan
Crete Public Schools Superintendent
Diane Bruha
Crete Public Schools Assistant Principal / Special Ed Director
Connie Lentell
Crete Public Schools Family Literacy Coordinator
Josie Filipi
Crete Public Schools Home Visitor
Abby Domeier
Crete Public Schools Kindergarten Teacher
Ilka Oberst
Omaha Liberty Elementary School Principal
Luisa Palomo
Omaha Liberty Elementary School Kindergarten Teacher, 2012 Nebraska Educator of the Year
Decua Jean-Baptiste
Omaha Franklin Elementary School Principal
Barry McFarland
Lexington Public Schools Assistant Superintendent


Jeff Cole
Nebraska Children and Families Foundation Community Learning Center Network Lead
Shawntal Smith
Omaha Morton Magnet Middle School Boys and Girls Clubs Site Director
Gwyn Williams
Collective for Youth Program Director
Marsha Urban
Omaha Gomez Heritage Elementary School Instructional Facilitator




NET Learning Services
Nebraska Children and Families Foundation
Nebraska Department of Education
Nebraska Loves Public Schools
America’s Promise Alliance Grad Nation
Avenue Scholars Foundation
Buffett Early Childhood Fund
Center for Children, Families, and the Law
Coalition for Community Schools
Lincoln Community Foundation
Nebraska Community Learning Center Network
Nebraska Trucking Association

Project Liftoff
Urban League of Nebraska
United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County

United Way Readers, Tutors and Mentors


© 2013

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