Omaha Public Schools is revamping how it chooses new principals by creating a pool of candidates to be selected and assigned a school instead of allowing them to apply for a specific school. District officials say the change will create a "pipeline" of principals they can assign to schools that best fit their skills.
Student teachers in the secondary education program at the University of Nebraska Omaha are receiving more classroom time co-teaching and collaborating with mentors and instructional coaches. The college students spend two hours a day for five weeks working in a classroom during their junior year, and a year co-teaching during their senior internship. "Teaching is a practice, and teaching candidates need practice," said Sarah Edwards, the university's education department chairwoman.
Students at Omaha Benson High School in Nebraska will have more opportunities for real-world learning thanks to three new career academies that include apprenticeships. For example, students in the Benson Electrical Systems Technology program can become eligible to work as paid apprentices with a local trade union. Students in the small-business and science academies also will have opportunities to work with employer partners.
Educators in a Nebraska district formed book clubs for boys in an effort to close the gap between boys' reading assessment scores and the higher scores of their female peers. The clubs appeal to the boys' interests -- focusing on books that include weapons and adventures -- as well as their desire to be part of a team. Schools also are working to improve boys' reading skills by stocking more nonfiction in schools and redesigning libraries.
Nebraska, which opted out of the Common Core State Standards, now has authorized a company to compare its own standards with those adopted by 45 other states. The examination comes as some educators have speculated that the state's decision on the common core could be costly if Congress ties the reauthorized No Child Left Behind to the adoption of the common core.