LEXINGTON — The Lexington Public School’s district report card for the 2021-2022 was presented at the school board meeting on Monday, March 13.
The data reflects the uniqueness, in demographics, challenges and expenditures, when compared to the state average.
The school districts across the state continue to see the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown in testing proficiency. Lexington lost 45 in-person instructional days in the spring of 2020.
The Nebraska Student-Centered Assessment System (NSCAS) test administered in the spring of 2021 reflected LPS students proficiency rates in grades 3-8 ranging from 22-39 percent in English Language Arts and 23-42 percent in math.
The LHS ACT proficiency rates ranged from 28-37 percent in science, math and English in 2021.
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Research found, “the impact of the pandemic on K-12 student learning was significant, leaving students, on average, five months behind in mathematics and four months behind in reading. The pandemic widened pre-existing opportunity and achievement gaps, hitting historically disadvantaged students the hardest.”
Looking at the LPS report card, third grade NSCAS ELA percent proficiency for LPS was 36 percent, while the state average was 50 percent. In the eighth grade, there was 38 percent proficiency, while the state average was 46 percent.
In NSCAS math, the LPS third grade was at 43 percent proficiency, while the Nebraska average was 50 percent. In the eighth grade the difference was starker, LPS was at 24 percent, the state average was 41 percent.
For the juniors who took the ACT, the percent meeting expectations in ELA was 25 percent, compared to the state average of 47 percent, in math, 28 percent for LHS, 46 percent was the stat average and in science, 33 percent for LHS, 66 percent for the state.
As for reading scores for the elementary grades, some snapshots offer a look at both growth and retreats.
The percent reading at or above the benchmark in the first grade was 59 percent in the winter of 2022, then 62 percent in the winter of 2023; for second grade, 52 percent in the winter of 2022, 53 percent the next winter; in the third grade, 55 percent the first winter, 62 percent the second winter.
The demographics and ethnicity continues to show the diversity of the Lexington population overall. LPS has 74.7 percent Hispanic students, 13.4 percent white and 9.8 percent Black or African American.
The state average shakes out quite differently at 21 percent, 66 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively.
There were 60.6 percent of students who were eligible for free and reduced meal prices, but Superintendent John Hakonson noted participation in this program was lower than normal through the pandemic because meals were free to all students. The state average was 41.3 percent.
Another large difference from the state is the number of students learning the English language, EL learners. For LPS, 39.9 percent, compared to the state average of 7.8 percent.
The district average daily attendance rate was 94.9 percent, with the state average at 92.3 percent. While the graduation rate for LPS was 98 percent compared to the state average of 87.1 percent, something touted by the district.
Enrollment at LPS has continued to grow, 10.2 percent over the past 10 years. During the 2021-2022 school year, there were 3,190 students enrolled in the district, compared to 3,104 the prior school year.
Hakonson noted they try to keep class sizes around 18-20 students, last year the K-5 average class size was 20 students, 6-8 grades was 18 and 9-12 was 17 students.
Other instructional facts included that there were 20 dual credit classes offered at LHS and 46 extracurricular or clubs available to join. There were 61 percent of students participating in at least one activity or club.
Looking at district staff last year, there were 501 employees, which included 10 building principals, 13 administrators, directors and coordinators, eight central administration assistants, 30 maintenance staff and bus drivers, 32 food service workers, 15 consolers, six nurses and athletic trainers, 120 paraprofessionals, 14 school and program administrative assistants, 244 teachers and nine technology staff.
In another respect that the Lexington district differs from its peers is that they receive a larger share of state aid than other districts that are more reliant on local property taxes.
According to the report, 62.3 percent of LPS’s general fund derived from the state, compared to the state average of 34.7 percent. Conversely, local funds made up 29.2 percent of the LPS general fund, compared to the state average, 55.0 percent.
Concluding with facility facts:
Early Learning Academy, constructed 2009, enrollment: 261
Morton Elementary, constructed 1948, last updated 2023, enrollment: 323
Sandoz Elementary, constructed 1977, last updated 2023, enrollment: 304
Pershing Elementary, constructed 1948, last updated 2009, enrollment: 334
Bryan Elementary, constructed 1948, last updated 2023, enrollment: 283
Lexington Middle School, constructed 1925, last updated 2013, enrollment: 646
Lexington High School, constructed 1960, last updated 2015, enrollment: 960