Friday, September 25, 2015

Celebrating Nebraska Public Schools

Below is some interesting information that compares Nebraska Public Schools to the rest of the United States.  Nebraska public schools are out performing the rest of the nation on the NAPE, graduation rates, percent of students taking the ACT, ACT composite scores, average class sizes, and teachers with 20-years or more experience in the classroom.  All of this data is good news for Nebraska students!

There are a couple of acronyms in the document that you may not be familiar with: 
NAPE: National Assessment of Educational Progress (Nation's Report Card)
STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

Enjoy the read!

Information Provided By STANCE: Schools Taking Action For Nebraska Children's Education
Celebrating our SCHOOLS:

Nebraska schools perform substantially better on NAEP than US average in both 8th grade reading and mathematics.

Nebraska schools perform substantially better on NAEP than US average in both 4th grade reading and mathematics.

Nebraska is just one of 13 states in our nation that showed significant gains in 4th grade math performance on NAEP from 2011 to 2013.

Science / STEM NAEP: In 2011, the average score of eighth-grade students in Nebraska was 157. This was higher than the average score of 151 for public school students in the nation. The percentage of students in Nebraska who performed at or above the NAEP Proficient level was 38 percent in 2011. This percentage was greater than the nation (31 percent). The percentage of students in Nebraska who performed at or above the NAEP Basic level was 72 percent in 2011. This percentage was greater than the nation (64 percent). (

Graduates: in Nebraska, nearly 90% or 89.7% of all students earned a high school diploma; the latest national figure show Nebraska beats the national high school grad rate by nearly 10%. (80% national average).

College ready / College aspiring: 88% of Nebraska's seniors took the ACT. Nationally, just 59% did.

Nebraska 2015 seniors' average ACT was a 21.7, eclipsing the National average of 21.0.

In Nebraska, where a much higher percentage of seniors take the college-entrance exam, 43% of our seniors met all college-ready benchmarks on the ACT, while just 39% did nationally.

With 69.5% of Nebraska graduates going on directly to college, Nebraska has one of the highest college-going rates of HS graduates in the nation (7/50). (

Highly credentialed professionals:
Over 95% of Nebraska’s high school teachers are certified in the subject areas in which they teach.

And the percentage of teachers’ with 20 or more years’ full time teaching experience in Nebraska (27.6%) is well above the national average (21.3%). [The link at NCES shows a range of teaching experience levels for all states and national averages.]

Personalized learning environment:
Average class sizes are smaller in Nebraska than national averages


State education data profile:

Notes on School SPENDING:

Nebraska schools average $11.5K in per pupil spending. The national average is $10.7K per pupil.

[Other notes for revision]: Quick Facts doc published by NDE 10-11 offers a nice synopsis of + data points:

Thursday, September 24, 2015

5th Grade Music Class Honors Veterans at Honor Flight Send Off Celebration

On September 24th, 5th grade students in Mrs. Dickerson's music class honored area veterans at the Honor Flight Send Off Celebration that was held at the American Legion in Chadron.  Students have been working hard in music class to prepare the three songs that they sang: "Nifty Fifity", "Our Nation", and "Proud of Our Veterans."  Our students did a fantastic job singing the songs and they were very respectful throughout the ceremony.

The students and staff at Chadron Middle School send our best wishes to the veterans and their guardians during their trip to Washington D.C. and would like to thank all veterans for their service to our great country.

Mrs. Dickerson and Mrs. Hastings prepare kids for the show

Students performing "Nifty Fifty" to a packed house!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

Congratulations to Jacey for winning $100 worth of books and prizes at the CMS Book Fair Raffle!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Nebraska Association of School Boards Visit Chadron Public Schools

On August 26th, members of the Nebraska Association of School Boards (NASB), visited Chadron Public Schools at the invitation of Dr. Winchester, Superintendent of Schools.  The visiting members were eager to see some of the exciting and innovative things that are happening at Chadron Public School system.  A few of the things that they took time to observe included: the Grab and Go breakfast program as CMS, the new boilers and chiller at CMS, the 1:1 iPads at CHS, and the Head Start program.  Follow the link to see the write up that NASB did after the visit.

Chadron Public Schools is proud of our students, staff, and programs and we were excited to share with NASB.  We would like to thank the members of NASB for taking time out of their busy schedule to drop by check things out.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Chadron Property Tax and School Funding Challenges

To support the effort of the Chadron Public Schools' Board of Education and the Office of the Superintendent, I thought I'd share this information. The Chadron School Board has been very active in educating the public as well as political leaders of the challenges in fairly funding schools across the state. The following is a summary of information sent to media outlets recently on behalf of our Superintendent with the support of our School Board.

September 2015
Submitted by Mr. Mack, Chadron High School Principal

Chadron Property Tax and School Funding Challenges

The spike in agricultural land valuations has lessened the State of Nebraska’s constitutional obligation to support (fund) public schools, shifting more of the cost to local property taxpayers.

The shift is particularly intense in the Chadron Public School District where more than 40% of our property is non-taxed (ex. federal and state lands). This results in 10% of our residents paying 40% of the property taxes.

The following are comparisons from the 2006-07 school year to the current 2015-16 year according to data from the Nebraska Department of Education as well as the office of the Superintendent of Chadron Public Schools:

  • Property taxes in the Chadron school district increased 6.0% annually, while the state average increased only 0.1% annually during the same 10 year span.
  • in 2006, state aid to Chadron schools was approximately $2 million more than collected in property tax revenue. In 2015, that scenario is reversed where property tax revenue is nearly $1 million more than state aid.
  • During the last 10 years, state aid to Chadron schools decreased at 1.26% annually, while the statewide average increased by 2.91% annually.
  • During the last 10 years, total revenue (state aid & taxes)  for Chadron schools decreased at a rate of 0.32% while statewide revenue increased to school districts by an average of 3% per year.
  • Spending for Chadron Public Schools has increased by only 0.98% annually over the past 10 years, while the average statewide school spending increased by 3% annually.

The Nebraska Legislature’s Revenue and Education committees will discuss school funding and property taxes over the next couple of months and citizens are encouraged to contact state senators to share their concerns regarding this data.  It is the legislative responsibility to address property taxes and public school funding, by making your voice heard, you can help lawmakers understand the urgent need to take action regarding these challenges.

Monday, September 14, 2015

CMS Students Observe Patriot Day 2015

Last Friday, September 11th, marked the 14th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington D.C., and the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 that crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania .  To honor the men and women that died on that tragic day, 150 of Mrs. Mahr's choir students honored America by singing "The Star Spangled Banner" on the CMS Stage.  Thank you, kids for doing such a good job!

In addition to the National Anthem, CMS had a moment of silence before the Pledge of Allegiance and many teachers and students discussed what happened on 9/11/2001 during class.

5th Grade Fun Night

On Friday, September 11th, 31 CMS 5th graders participated in the annual 5th Grade Fun Night. Students started the night with a scavenger hunt that is designed to help the 5th graders learn their way around the school.  During the scavenger hunt, students work in teams of 3 and 4 to find things around the building.

Following the scavenger hung, students participated in a "Clean Your Room" tournament.  The game's objective is to move as much trash from your team's side of the floor to the other team's side. The team with the most least amount of trash on their side after 1-minute wins.  Students came up with some pretty inventive ideas to clear their side of the floor quickly.

Last, students worked in teams to unravel a saran wrap ball that contained prizes.  The students really had to work to get the prized out this year.  Prizes included a slinky, a light up ball, and lots of school supplies like mechanical pencils, highlighters, and erasers.

Thank you to the CMS Student Council for organizing and running the activities.  We hope that the kids had a blast!

CMS Parent Teacher Conferences

Chadron Middle School will host Parent-Teacher Conferences on Thursday, September 17th from 2:00-8:00 in the CMS Gym.  CMS will have a 1:30 dismissal on that day to accommodate the conferences.  Please note only the middle school has a 1:30 dismissal on that day.  CMS, along with the rest of the district, will have a 1:30 dismissal on Friday, September 18th.

Parent-Teacher Conferences correspond with the end of the mid-quarter, which means that there is only 4-weeks left in the 1st quarter.  Having conferences at mid-quarter allows parents and teachers to communicate about student progress and discuss ways to ensure that students finish the quarter strong.  Parents are encouraged to bring their student(s) with them to conferences.

If you have any questions, please call the CMS office at 432-0708 or email Mr. Dressel at

Thank you.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Community Engagement Meeting - September 9th

Invite to Stakeholders - Community Engagement Meeting Sept 9th

(Open letter to all stakeholders of Chadron Public Schools)

As Chadron's Superintendent of Schools and as President of the Chadron Board of Education, Dr.
Caroline Winchester and Mrs. Sandy Roes would like to invite you to participate in an upcoming Community Discussion designed to obtain stakeholder feedback.  If you are new to the strategic planning process come see us.  If you have been part of the process in the past, come see our progress.

The Board is committed to gathering ideas from stakeholders to guide our school district.  This focussed group of community and school leaders will work together to help formulate a vision of the future, and identify goals and strategies necessary to move the district forward to meet the challenges of the 21st century.  Working together in small groups we reflect, define, and design our community's vision for the future of our schools and students.  We are reaching out to the leaders within our community and are asking for you to participate.  We invite you to attend our meeting on September 9th at 6:00pm in the High School Library.  Please be prepared to share your brief comments on the following:

  1. What points of pride, accomplishments, and achievements, has the district realized?
  2. What challenges will the district face in the next three to five years?
We look forward to working with you on this initiative.  Please contact the school district at 308-432-0700 to let us know if you will be able to join us in this exciting opportunity to assist in shaping the future of Chadron Public Schools.  Working together, we can strengthen our student's learning experience and success.  On behalf of the students of our community, we appreciate your contribution to this and other school support initiatives. 

Respectfully requested, 

    Dr. Caroline Winchester, Superintendent of Chadron Public Schools
    Sandy Roes, President of Chadron Board of Education