Walnut Middle School, Grand Island, NE – January 12, 2022 via video

by George J Elbaum

Walnut Middle School in Grand Island, NE, has an enrollment of 786 students in grades 6-8.  The high diversity of the students – 68% Hispanic, 24% White, 5% Black, and 3% all others – with 84% of them from low income families, all add to the challenge facing the school’s administration and faculty in achieving academic performance.  As a result, student test scores in English, math, and science are all below state averages.  Despite these low averages, the questions that the 8th grade students asked during the Q & A after my talk showed their thinking and perception at the same level as schools with much higher scores – the potential was there, but it needed more special effort to bring it to the fore. 

The event was organized by teachers Tyler Madison and Les Westover and attended by principal Rod Foley.  My contact with the school and Tyler Madison was arranged by Kael Sagheer of Omaha’s Institute for Holocaust Education.

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