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Scottsbluff Public Schools Awarded $828,000 grant for Career Academy Programming

Scottsbluff Public Schools Awarded $828,000 grant for Career Academy Programming


On Friday, February 3rd, the Nebraska State Board of Education voted to approve Scottsbluff Public Schools Innovation Grant application in an amount just under $828,000. This grant is awarded in support of Scottsbluff High School’s Wall-to-Wall Career Academy Programming as a project “deemed sufficiently innovative, with a high chance of success and statewide significance.”  Along with the annual $305,000  Sixpence Early Childhood grant, this is by far the largest competitive award ever received by Scottsbluff Public Schools and is one of the richer such opportunities offered by the State.  Scottsbluff Public Schools was recommended to the Nebraska State Board of Education as the #1 ranked proposal of all 18 finalists for the Innovation Grant funding.  Four school districts and one Educational Service Unit received awards.  Justin Shaddick, SHS Assistant Principal - Career Academies and Special Programming, led the grant writing effort and will oversee its implementation.

“We are taking this recognition very seriously,” said Scottsbluff Public Schools Superintendent Rick Myles. “We are certainly honored and excited about the significant financial benefits this Innovation Grant brings to Scottsbluff High School. At the same time, by accepting this award, we also assume important responsibilities to ensure that we use these resources in a manner that makes a real difference for our own students and teachers and, at the same time, provides a replicable model for schools all around the State of Nebraska.”

·         The grant dollars will fund specialized equipment and supplies, staff training, a local industry liaison and continued curriculum design all targeted at supporting rich instruction within the Career Academy structure.

·         Scottsbluff High School’s Career Academies incorporate nearly thirty pathways. The Academies consist of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; Business, Marketing and Management; Communications, Arts, and Technology; Health Sciences; Human Sciences and Education; and Skilled and Technical Sciences

“We are grateful to the Nebraska Department of Education for acknowledging our efforts to provide high quality authentic Career Academy programming for all students,” said Mike Halley, Scottsbluff High School Principal.  “These grant dollars will go a long way to provide the resources for students to pursue their passions and graduate from Scottsbluff High School with a meaningful diploma and a plan for the future.” 

Written commitments of financial in-kind support that were included in the grant application include those from:

·         Herbergers

·         WNCC

·         Scottsbluff Public Schools Foundation

·         Allo Communications

·         Platte Valley Companies

·         MAST Enterprises

·         WESTCO

·         Regional West Medical Center

·         Baker and Associates

·         Aulick Industries

·         Twin Cities Development

Additionally, many other partners throughout the community are already demonstrating significant support of the school’s Career Academies

The Department of Education Innovative Grant Fund and the Innovation Grant Program were created with the passage of Legislative Bill (LB) 519  and is largely funded by transfers pursuant to NRS §9-812 (State Lottery Operation Trust Fund and Nebraska Education Improvement Fund). Originally the State Board of Education planned to award $7.8 million through the grant program.  However, state statute allows those funds to also be used for a college readiness assessment.  Due to pending budget cuts during this year’s shortfall, the Department of Education did not award a portion of the funds in order to pay for the ACT exam which will be administered to every public school junior in Nebraska for free for the first time this year. SBPS was awarded 100% of the funding it requested.

The other four awardees are Plattsmouth Public Schools, the Educational Service Unit’s Statewide Coordinating Council, Westside Community Schools and Beatrice Public Schools.

To learn more about Career Academies at Scottsbluff High School visit  For more information on the Nebraska Department of Education Innovative Grant Fund visit