June 2019 Issue

From the Executive Director:
The Flood Waters Have Receded. We Need to Advance.

GRANTEE SPOTLIGHTS
YOUTH PATHWAYS TO SUCCESS

MOEC Updates Vision, Creates Stronger Impact on Student Success

THRIVING PLACES

Fundraising Course Connects and Inspires Nonprofit Leaders

ECONOMIC GROWTH & OPPORTUNITY

Uniting Communities Through Neighborhood Revitalization


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MOEC Updates Vision, Creates Stronger Impact on Student Success

Raising the Bar | Youth Pathways to Success | June 2019

In December of 2018, the foundation awarded a one-year $200,000 general operating and capacity building grant to support the Metropolitan Omaha Education Consortium (MOEC).

MOEC is a collaborative organization dedicated to ensuring all public school students in the Omaha metro area receive the highest quality education – from cradle to career. The consortium first began meeting in 1988 as a forum for school districts to share best practices. In 2016, members recognized the organization had the right people around the table to make an even stronger impact on the state of education in the Omaha metro area.

Soon after, Martha Bruckner, former Council Bluffs Schools Superintendent, took the lead as executive director and was charged with guiding the organization through a transformation from an information-sharing group to one focused on collective impact. Under Martha’s leadership, the group developed a mission focused on all children receiving a great education, success metrics, and a strategic plan to dramatically improve regional education outcomes. The group also expanded to now include 12 school districts, two community colleges, and the University of Nebraska Omaha.

“[MOEC] has always been a valuable resource to Omaha-area school districts, but the re-imagined role of MOEC—MOEC 2.0—with its emphasis on educational goal-setting and collaboration has elevated the group’s role and significance.”

– Andy Rikli, Superintendent of Papillion-LaVista Public Schools

Bruckner has seen the organization from multiple angles as a one-time member and now current leader. She finds it a remarkable achievement that “twelve school districts, two community colleges, and a university are all working together of their own volition.”

The organization is currently focused on several priorities which include goals such as: developing metrics by which they can measure and report on their work, increasing the number of students who complete FAFSA applications, and increasing dual enrollment for high school students. These efforts are intended to prepare and facilitate greater college enrollment and career readiness for metro-area students.

An early focus for MOEC has been improvement of student success in math. The organization has approached this priority through professional development for math educators.

The consortium recently hosted the MOEC MATH Cohort for high school teachers. The seminar involved teachers and leaders from 10 districts, 17 schools, and two community colleges in collaborative professional development designed to improve student success in high school mathematics.

“This is the first time that I can remember the entire metropolitan area coming together under one initiative to focus on one area where we can all improve: Math,” says Superintendent of Westside Community Schools, Blane McCann.    

“When teachers return from training and they are clamoring for more, you know you have hit the right cord,” says Jim Sutfin, Superintendent of Millard Public Schools.

Due to popular demand, the high school cohort will expand by adding another district and five additional high schools next year; a similar middle school cohort is also planned.

Bruckner remains amazed at the high level of collaboration between education leaders and says “there is a growing trust and understanding of roles.” She acknowledges that members of MOEC are asked to step outside of their individual comfort zones. Each one is responsible for the success and leadership of their own organization but they have pledged to work together.

Bruckner credits the foundation for its support of MOEC’s early planning and re‑imagining which helped the consortium get its new vision off the ground. Next year the consortium intends to add an early literacy component along with their continued focus on mathematics. MOEC has thirty metrics established for measurement and a strategy to address them all. “We have to remember it’s not a quick change,” says Bruckner, “but it’s a move for good.”

View The YPS MOEL Faces of MOEC Poster.