Official: Omaha school improved enough to end intervention

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — An Omaha elementary school has made enough progress in one year to remove it from priority status and discontinue state intervention, a Nebraska school official says.

State assessment scores during the 2015-16 school year showed that Druid Hill Elementary increased in several grade levels for math and reading proficiency, the Omaha World-Herald (http://bit.ly/2u5g8a0 ) reported.

Principal Cherice Williams said that while being labeled as a priority school was disheartening, it helped staff focus on achievement.

"The culture of the school has changed," she said.

Nebraska Education Commissioner Matt Blomstedt said some of the goals for the school were to improve student and staff culture, increase attendance and test scores, and reduce office referrals and suspensions.

Druid Hill was one of three schools that were tapped for intervention in December 2015 based on the state's first-ever performance ratings. State law allows intervention in only three schools at a time due to low funds. The three schools were selected from nearly 90 schools deemed in need of improvement.

Blomstedt plans to request Druid Hill's removal during the State Board of Education meeting in August. He said he will recommend that Santee Middle School and Loup County Elementary remain listed for another year.

A school is required to comply with an intervention plan or risk losing accreditation.

State Sen. Mike Groene said he likes Nebraska's approach to intervention.

"In the past, seems like Nebraska's answer was, 'If you're a school in trouble, throw more money at it,'" Groene said. "But what the Department of Ed is trying to do is put a team together of qualified individuals to go into that school and then see what the troubles are and help that school make changes."

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com


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