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Sidney Public Schools releases annual report

Enrollment continues to climb


Enrollment at the Sidney Public School District continues to climb, and reached nearly 1,400 students during the 2014-15 school year. Since 2012, when 1,250 students attended the district's seven schools, enrollment has steadily increased.

Those numbers were recently released as part of the district's annual report to the community.

"The purpose of [the] 'Sidney Report Card' is to communicate how Sidney Public Schools is doing instructionally and financially," an introduction to the report states. "It also provides our taxpayers with demographical information about SPS."

The Nebraska Department of Education requires all school districts in the state to craft similar reports, superintendent Jay Ehler said.

While in past years, the report has been posted in the schools, this year it was sent by email to parents and the media.

"We're trying to do a good job communicating what's going on at Sidney Public Schools with all of our community patrons," he said.

With current projections, student enrollment next year is expected to be at or above what it currently is, he added.

In the past few years, to meet the demands of more students, a modular was placed at North Elementary to accommodate a few additional classrooms, the superintendent said.

"Every classroom in the district is currently being used," he added.

Sidney High School reported a graduation rate of 97.3 percent, more than 6 percentage points above the state average. Nearly eight of every 10 graduates last year are attending a 2- or 4-year college, according to the report.

Ehler said the high graduation rate reflects the value the entire community places on education.

"It's not just an indicator of a good school district, it's an indicator of a good community," he said. "Kids in Sidney are coming from good homes, and they come to school knowing education matters."

Career and technical classes represent the content area with the most available credits in Sidney, at 34.2 percent, followed by fine arts (13 percent), science (12.3 percent), math (10.9 percent) and language arts (10.2). Social sciences, foreign languages, physical education and other content areas round out the available credits.

The average class size for all grade levels is about 20 students.

Slightly more than 30 percent of the district's students qualify for free or reduced meals, which is about 15 percent lower than the Nebraska average. Three percent of students are learning the English language, and about 13 percent receive special education services.

Districtwide, teachers average more than 13 years of experience, and 42 percent of teachers have a master's degree.

Last year, the Sidney Educational Foundation awarded $54,000 in scholarships to the graduating class.

"Sidney Public Schools is a great place to teach and learn," the introduction to the report states. "We are thankful to live in a community that supports education."


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