Connecting Poverty & Proficiency

Students struggle in two counties

An important part of our mission is helping the community see connections between poverty and learning. As you explore, you'll see data that helps us understand the needs of kids and their families. Please share this helpful information with others and return often for new perspectives.

Increase in Percent of Families Qualifying for Free & Reduced-Price Lunch

Source: Nebraska Department of Education




Poverty Disrupts Learning

In communities across Douglas and Sarpy counties, more children grow up in homes where poverty hurts learning. When poverty goes up, students' grades tend to go down. It doesn't have to be that way. In the Omaha metro area, families are not left to solve this challenge alone. However, more families are struggling.

Think poverty is just a problem in North and South Omaha?


The proficiency gap is a major challenge for Learning Community school districts large and small. How do you determine the proficiency gap? It is the difference between test scores of children living in poverty with students from homes with more stable incomes.

As you explore these pages, you will see poverty affects families throughout Douglas and Sarpy counties. First, take a detailed look at student gains and gaps in test scores across the Learning Community.

Proficiency Gains

Proficiency Gaps


Proficiency Gap Narrows

See promising changes in third grade


A New Start

Learning Community school districts are making progress improving student achievement. The snapshot above shows major gains but also illustrates the challenge. 71% proficiency for children in poverty is unacceptable but we do see strong and more consistent progress.

Source: Nebraska Dept of Education,3rd Grade NeSA, 2010-2011, 2015-2016