Friday, December 18, 2015

A 2016 Poem

Another year will be here soon;
Another 12 months of the sun and moon.

Another opportunity for wishes and dreams to come true;
Especially for those York Dukes in vegas gold and navy blue!

Over the next 12 months, we will learn a lot;
There will be many T's to cross and I's to dot.

I'm very proud of the important work at YPS we've done;
Even though it's often difficult and not always fun.

There's so much more to do - the mission will never end;
Our students need us more than ever before into the "real world" we do send.

I love our students, our staff, this school district, and this town;
2016 will be another time frame we won't ever let down!


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas Joy

Even though the weather is beautiful and might reach 60 degrees today, you can tell Christmas is closing in on us. The excitement is building. Family plans are being finalized. Joy is in the air.

I love Christmas as much as anyone. I love the music. I love the decorative lights. I love the family gatherings.

One thing I've learned over the years, however, is that Christmas isn't fantastic for everyone like I wish it was. Too many children don't get to play games with grandparents on Christmas Eve or wake up to an abundance of gifts under the tree. Too many children dread Christmas because it's another reminder of the hardships they and their families are dealing with.

My heart goes out to these children every year. Each December, some friends and I do our best to make Christmas a little better for 10-15 kids and that to me is the best part of Christmas. It's not what you's what you give.

As you finalize Christmas plans, please be extremely thankful for all you have because there are many, many people that would change places with you in a heartbeat.

Enjoy the Christmas Season!

Go Dukes!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Lots to be Proud of Regarding Nebraska's Public Schools

I love Nebraska and I am so proud of the great work being done around this awesome state in our tremendous public schools!

• Did you know that over 86% of Nebraska Public High School students took the ACT in 2014? Their average composite score of 21.7 is the HIGHEST IN THE NATION for states that had 80% or more of their students taking the ACT! (

• During 2014-15, Nebraska Public School students achieved some impressive results on the NeSA (state assessments). (
o 80% were at/above proficiency on NeSA-Reading (An 8% increase since 2010-11)
o 72% were at/above proficiency on NeSA-Math (A 9% increase since 2010-11)
o 72% were at/above proficiency on NeSA-Science (A 5% increase since 2011-12)
o 72% were at/above proficiency on NeSA-Writing (A 4% increase since 2012-13)

• Did you know the percentage of Nebraska Public School students that qualify for free or reduced meals has grown from 30% in 2000-01 to over 44% now? (
o Nebraska Public Schools are doing more than ever in our communities to offer robust programming to meet the needs of our ever-changing diverse learners and we are PROUD TO DO SO!

• Did you know that 52.16% of Nebraska’s Public School teachers have a Masters’ Degree or higher? This is an increase of almost 7% since 2010-11. (

• The 2014-15 school year marked the 5th year in a row that the average daily attendance of Nebraska Public School students was over 95%! (

• The total number of Nebraska Public School students has increased from 284,912 in 2000-01 to over 312,000 today. (

• Nebraska has one of the best high school graduation rates in the nation, with nearly 90% of our seniors graduating. (

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Snow Days, Cold Days, and Late Starts

Making decisions about full days, late starts, and/or snow days are never fun or easy. All you have to do is check social media and see all of the names we get called on questionable days and you will be able to quickly ascertain this isn’t for the faint of heart! We do the best we can with the information and resources we have at the time. Please remember you can keep your child(ren) home on days that we have school and you think we shouldn’t.

We are fortunate to be one of the few school districts in Nebraska that has an insulated bus barn that keeps all of our buses from freezing during those cold winter nights and early mornings. That, along with the fact we offer over 90 bus stops within town, and basically door-to-door service on most country routes, ensures that we can have school on “cold days” (with or without snow) where other districts shut down. Most districts that shut down on “cold days” do so because their buses are left outside and they’re unable to guarantee they will run the next day. We take extra precautions on extremely cold days and we are glad to be open as we offer heated buildings, warm meals, and a structured environment that many of our kids rely on. Again, if you think we shouldn’t have school on a “cold day” where other districts have shut down, please feel free to keep your child(ren) at home.

If we have any school cancellations this year, the first two won’t be made up as they are allowed for in our existing calendar. For example, if we have two cancellations, school will still end on May 18th as already published on our school calendar. If we would have four cancellations, for example, we would make up two days and school would end on May 20th. So, we build in two free snow days each year. We have no limit on late starts.

Wednesdays are our early dismissal days. If we ever have a 2-hour late start on a Wednesday, that turns into a full day of school and will NOT be an early dismissal. We feel it would be silly to have a late start on a day you get out of school early on. So, Wednesdays are unique in that they COULD turn into a full day of school if we determine a late start is necessary.

Late starts are often used to buy a little time. We feel better about our buses and young drivers navigating the roads during the daylight of a late start than early morning in many instances. It is sometimes common to see a late start follow a snow day as country roads still have drifts, etc. We cancel morning pre-school on late start days but do have afternoon pre-school classes.

Troy Rowe and I are normally in contact with weather professionals, road workers, and area schools to see what the conditions are like. We often drive throughout our district between 4:00-5:00 AM to determine what we feel is needed. Our decisions are never made lightly.

In the event of a school closing, York Public Schools will communicate in numerous ways. Information can be found:
• On our website at
• Listening to KAWL/KTMX Radio
• Watching NTV or KOLN/KGIN TV
• On the York Public Schools Facebook Page
• On Twitter at the hashtag of #yorkdukes
• Through our “NOTIFY ME” instant notification system you can sign up for at (search for the NOTIFY ME tab on the left side of the homepage)
o This will send you text messages and/or emails when decisions are made

We take the safety of our students and staff very seriously. We make what we feel is the best decision for the school district as a whole during these difficult scenarios.

Please remember you can keep your child(ren) home on days that we have school and you think we shouldn’t.