Children are born ready to learn. From their first steps, to their first words, to their first day of school, children’s brains are continuously developing, taking in information, and making sense of their surroundings. We know that learning does not only happen within the confines of a classroom or school; children's experiences at home, with family, friends and in their neighborhoods also have a significant impact on their learning and cognitive development. Additionally, having access to basic necessities like a safe home and regular meals impacts a child's ability to concentrate and do well in school. As a result, it's crucial to consider both the environment inside and outside school when assessing a child’s readiness to learn.
Ensuring access to a quality education for all children is an investment in the future of our community. Therefore, it's important to look at the demographics of the children being served through our community’s education system—and specifically the public education system—because access to free public education is a right of all children living in the U.S
Douglas, Sarpy & Pottawattamie County Schools
The counties of Douglas, Sarpy and Pottawattamie include a total of 19 school districts with 137,704 enrolled students in the 2014-2015 school year.
There are unique differences between districts, particularly between Omaha Public Schools, Millard Public Schools and Council Bluffs Community Schools:
OPS uniquely has seen a large increase in refugee students.
Refugees are immigrants to the United States who have been forced to leave their home country becaue of war, persecution or a natural disaster. The countries in which these students were born include Myanmar (formerly Burma), Thailand, Burundi, Bhutan, Nepal, Ethiopia, Congo, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia, and Sudan. Refugee student enrollment in OPS went from 992 students in 2009 to 2,083 in 2014. The largest group of refugee students (27%) is from Myanmar.
While the Omaha Public Schools, Millard and Pottawattamie County School Districts are relatively close in geographic proximity, the make-up of students is very different from district to district. As we think about the future of education in the community, it's critically important to both acknowledge and understand these differences when evaluating student success.
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Source: Nebraska Department of Education & Iowa Department of Education