Nebraska Dropout Prevention Summit


Convened by the Nebraska Children and Youth Foundation, the summit brought together 200 state leaders to concentrate on addressing the dropout rate through strong school-community partnerships that provide the supports that youth need from birth through high school graduation. Governor Heineman, underscored the need to address underlying problems. The State Commissioner of Education illustrated that Nebraska’s overall high school graduation rate hides poor performance in subgroups. Participants represented districts that had the lowest graduation rates and were given an overview of the current resources available to their communities. Communities will plan next steps using the approaches outlined in Grad Nation.

Summit Planning Team:

State Agencies

  • Nebraska Department of Education: John Clark and Bob Beechum
  • Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services: Division of Children and Families
  • Services – Jennifer Severe-Oforah and Sherri Haber, Division of Lifespan
  • Services – Paula Eurek, Dave Palm, Lynne Brehm
  • Nebraska Crime Commission: Audra Cook


  • Governor’s Youth Advisory Council, Foster Youth Councils and Native American Youth Councils


  • State Farm Insurance and Gallup, Inc.


  • University of Nebraska Medical Center: Magda Peck, ScD, Barb Jackson, PhD
  • University of Nebraska Public Policy Center: Alan Tomkins, JD, PhD, Mark DeKraai, JD PhD
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln Center for At-Risk Children’s Services: Ken Gallagher
  • Nebraska University Foundation: Eric Buchanan
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln Early Childhood expert: Helen Raikes, PhD


  • Boys Town: Dr. Tom Tonniges, M.D. and American Academy of Pediatrics member
  • Voice for Children: Annemarie Bailey, Tiffany Seibert
  • Nebraska Children and Families Foundation: Jennifer Skala, Mary Jo Pankoke, Rose Hughes, Jeff Cole
  • United Way of Lincoln - Lancaster County and of the Midlands (Omaha)


  • Buffett Early Childhood Fund: Jessie Rasmussen
  • Sherwood Foundation: Kristen Williams for support of foster youth Independent Living Plan transitions
  • Jim Casey Youth Opportunities

Nebraska's Dropout Prevention Action Plan