Many are wondering what needs to be changed to improve student scores in Nebraska schools after a bleak State of the Schools Report, writes WOWT.com.
Many are disappointed with the results of the report, but Luisa Palomo, Nebraska's recently announced Teacher of the Year, has a lot of hope for the state's students.
The Nebraska Teacher of the Year was awarded Tuesday at Liberty Elementary School at 20th and St. Mary. Palomo has been a kindergarten teacher at for the past eight years and made her first official address under her new title Thursday at UNO to high school students interested in becoming future educators.
"I did not see it coming, but I'm thrilled, I'm thrilled that I get to share the good things that are happening at our school and in Omaha with people around the country."
Some of the alarming statistics outlined in the report show that Nebraska is falling behind, particularly in math scores. Palomo says steps are being taken to improve Nebraska's education scores, including here in Omaha.
"I think what we can do and what we're doing at Liberty is looking at where we're struggling and then kind of scaffolding backward, so if at third-grade they're struggling with this, what could a second-grade teacher do to help."
Palomo says success in the classroom isn't just up to teachers.
"I think that to increase our graduation rate, to increase the success of all of our students, it can't just be the teachers and it can't just be the parents. It needs to be everybody coming together."
Local parent Kristi Farley agrees:
"I think most teachers are doing a really nice job and I think most parents encourage and support their kids to get an education. Everybody just has to work together and especially when you get to high school, I think some of it is the choices the kids make, too."
Both parents and teachers some focus should remain on the positives surrounding our schools and looking toward a brighter future:
"There's something to be said about focusing on the good going on," said Palomo. "It's sad that a lot of times the negativity is what comes out, but there are so many good things in education and I want to be able to share that."
More of the state report said only 20 percent of black 11th-graders and 29 percent of Hispanic 11th-graders met math proficiency standards.
The report shows the overall graduation rate is at 85 percent, up from previous years.