Start Early. Start well.

Superintendents' Early Childhood Plan

The Superintendents’ Early Childhood Plan provides the blueprint for a comprehensive approach to serving vulnerable young children, birth through Grade 3, in the 11 school districts of the Learning Community of Douglas and Sarpy Counties.
The goal is to reduce or eliminate opportunity gaps, with a focus on children growing up in poverty or other conditions of high stress and familial challenge. Forty-six percent of K-12 students in Douglas and Sarpy Counties were eligible for free or reduced-price lunches during the 2017-18 school year.


The Superintendents’ Plan is made possible through strong collaborative efforts. The plan was mandated by the Nebraska Legislature (LB 585), funded through the Learning Community of Douglas and Sarpy Counties, developed by the superintendents and district representatives in conjunction with the Buffett Early Childhood Institute, and endorsed unanimously by all 11 superintendents. The Buffett Institute continues to provide leadership for the implementation of the plan.


Everyday practices in early care and education programs and elementary schools look different when viewed through the lens of continuity, quality, and equity. Schools participating in the Superintendents' Early Childhood Plan report some of the ways that practices are changing "how schools do school." These early efforts are important and are helping to fuel transformative shifts in early childhood and elementary school policies and practices. 

  • Improved practices that promote children's social-emotional well-being and stimulate challenging learning and thinking
  • Shifts in care and teaching that are culturally and linguistically affirming
  • Aligned and developmentally informed educational practices
  • More consistency in how programs and schools engage with families from birth through Grade 3
  • Systematic support for children and families as they transition from one program or grade to the next
  • Classroom materials that reflect the culture of students and families within the school, the community, and broadly within the nation
  • Teachers and staff who use language that is inclusive and strength-based

Three Levels of Participation

The plan provides three interrelated opportunities for early childhood programming and capacity-building by school districts and their community partners:


Professional Development for All. A connected series of professional development institutes open to all school leaders, teachers, early childhood professionals, and caregivers who work with young children from birth through Grade 3 in the Omaha metro area. "PD for All" introduces leading-edge research and innovative practices to those who work with young children and families and gives early childhood professionals the opportunity to come together and learn from one another.



Customized Assistance. Several school districts have or are currently receiving intensive assistance and consultation tailored to specific needs. This professional development addresses such topics as social-emotional development, family engagement, and assessment and accountability. Technical assistance provides districts with access to state and national consultation as they engage in strategic planning and improvement efforts that will impact system-wide early childhood education and services.


Full Implementation of Birth – Grade 3 Approach. Ten elementary schools, most with more than half of their students eligible for Free or Reduced Lunch, serve as hubs that connect young children and their families with high-quality, comprehensive, and continuous early childhood education and services. The birth through Grade 3 continuum includes three integrated components: weekly home visiting for children birth to age 3, high-quality preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds, and aligned Kindergarten through Grade 3 curriculum, instruction, and assessment for 5- through 8-year-olds.

By the numbers

Six school districts are participating in full implementation, with 10 elementary school sites (click here for map). Several districts have or are currently receiving technical assistance, consultation, and planning around early childhood services. School and district participation impacts thousands of children and teachers:


Children, birth to age 3, who will receive home visiting.


Children and families across PreK – Grade 3 at the 10 full implementation schools.


PreK – Grade 3 educators at the 10 full implementation schools.


Children across PreK – Grade 3 in districts with administrators and/or teachers participating in the sustained, customized professional development, technical assistance around early childhood programs and services.


The Superintendents' Early Childhood Plan evaluation focuses on implementation of the "School as Hub" for birth to Grade 3 approach. The evaluation has two purposes. First, the evaluation will provide information about the usefulness of the core components of the plan and areas for improvement. Second, it will provide data about the impact of the plan on children, families, teachers/classrooms, and schools. MORE


For more information, please contact Amy Schmidtke, Director of Program Development ( or 402-554-4128). 
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