Nebraska has one of the best public school systems in the U.S., earning high graduation rates, solid average test scores, and high levels of proficiency in math and reading. The state’s five best school districts manage to outdo Nebraska’s already-high standard of academic achievement. 

The best school district in Nebraska is Gretna Public Schools, comprising five elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school in the city of Gretna. The district has long been one of the best in the state, regularly earning high test scores and graduation rates above 95%. What’s more, Gretna High School has been named a National Blue Ribbon School for its academic excellence. 

Placing 2nd in the state of Nebraska is Westside Community Schools, the 3rd largest school in the state consisting of 12 schools in the city of Omaha. Schools in the district have earned many honors, including a recent Blue Ribbon School award for Paddock Road Elementary School. 

Kearney Public Schools is the 3rd best school district in Nebraska, comprising thirteen schools in the idyllic city of Kearney. KPS’s 91% graduation rate bests state and national averages. 

Seward Public Schools earns the 4th spot. The modestly-sized district is made up of one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school.  SPS has received an “Excellent” rating by the Nebraska Department of Education for two straight years, and is one of just two districts in its class to do so.  

Filling out the list of Nebraska’s best school systems is Norris School District, which administers four schools serving an enrollment of around 2,400. The district is accredited by the Nebraska State Department of Education. 

Top School Districts in Nebraska, 2020

RankSchool DistrictCity
1Gretna Public SchoolsGretna
2Westside Community SchoolsOmaha
3Kearney Public SchoolsKearney
4Seward Public SchoolsSeward
5Norris School Dist 160Firth
6Bennington Public SchoolsBennington
7Norfolk Public SchoolsNorfolk
8Fort Calhoun Community SchsFort Calhoun
9Waverly School District 145Waverly
10Northwest Public SchoolsGrand Island
11Thayer Central Community SchsHebron
12York Public SchoolsYork
13Springfield Platteview Community SchoolsSpringfield
14North Bend Central Public SchsNorth Bend
15Sidney Public SchoolsSidney
16Aurora Public SchoolsAurora
17Mc Cook Public SchoolsMc Cook
18North Platte Public SchoolsNorth Platte
19Wayne Community SchoolsWayne
20David City Public SchoolsDavid City
21Blair Community SchoolsBlair
22Adams Central Public SchoolsHastings
23Ponca Public SchoolsPonca
24Malcolm Public SchoolsMalcolm
25Crofton Community SchoolsCrofton
26Diller-Odell Public SchoolsOdell
27Pierce Public SchoolsPierce
28Arlington Public SchoolsArlington
29Scottsbluff Public SchoolsScottsbluff
30Auburn Public SchoolsAuburn
31Milford Public SchoolsMilford
32Wahoo Public SchoolsWahoo
33West Holt Public SchoolsAtkinson
34Wisner-Pilger Public SchoolsWisner
35Ashland-Greenwood Public SchsAshland
36Holdrege Public SchoolsHoldrege
37Logan View Public SchoolsHooper
38Cross County Community SchoolsStromsburg
39So Sioux City Community SchsSo Sioux City
40Fremont Public SchoolsFremont
41Valentine Community SchoolsValentine
42Wood River Rural SchoolsWood River
43Columbus Public SchoolsColumbus
44Pender Public SchoolsPender
45Doniphan-Trumbull Public SchsDoniphan
46Battle Creek Public SchoolsBattle Creek
47Ord Public SchoolsOrd
48South Central Nebraska Unified 5Fairfield
49Centennial Public SchoolsUtica
50Falls City Public SchoolsFalls City
51Raymond Central Public SchoolsRaymond
52Chadron Public SchoolsChadron
53West Point Public SchoolsWest Point
54Boone Central SchoolsAlbion
55Mullen Public SchoolsMullen
56Louisville Public SchoolsLouisville
57Ralston Public SchoolsRalston
58St Paul Public SchoolsSt Paul
59Yutan Public SchoolsYutan
60Mitchell Public SchoolsMitchell
61Crete Public SchoolsCrete
62Osceola Public SchoolsOsceola
63Nebraska Unified District 1Orchard
64Minden Public SchoolsMinden
65Southern Valley SchoolsOxford
66Hastings Public SchoolsHastings
67Elmwood-Murdock Public SchoolsMurdock
68Centura Public SchoolsCairo
69Bloomfield Community SchoolsBloomfield
70Broken Bow Public SchoolsBroken Bow
71Lakeview Community SchoolsColumbus
72Lexington Public SchoolsLexington
73Palmyra District O R 1Palmyra
74Beatrice Public SchoolsBeatrice
75Douglas Co West Community SchsValley
76Sutton Public SchoolsSutton
77Kenesaw Public SchoolsKenesaw
78Johnson-Brock Public SchoolsJohnson
79Neligh-Oakdale SchoolsNeligh
80Stuart Public SchoolsStuart
81Heartland Community SchoolsHenderson
82Hershey Public SchoolsHershey
83Conestoga Public SchoolsMurray
84Amherst Public SchoolsAmherst
85Howells-Dodge Consolidated SchoolsHowells
86Humboldt Table Rock SteinauerHumboldt
87Perkins County SchoolsGrant
88Plattsmouth Community SchoolsPlattsmouth
89Wakefield Public SchoolsWakefield
90Cozad Community SchoolsCozad
91Central City Public SchoolsCentral City
92Ainsworth Community SchoolsAinsworth
93Ogallala Public SchoolsOgallala
94Wilber-Clatonia Public SchoolsWilber
95Plainview Public SchoolsPlainview
96Gothenburg Public SchoolsGothenburg
97Franklin Public SchoolsFranklin
98Fairbury Public SchoolsFairbury
99Chase County SchoolsImperial
100Osmond Community SchoolsOsmond


The following variables contributed to the ranking: number of students (K-12), graduation rate, school funding per student, student to teacher ratio, percent of students scoring above proficient in standardized state Math test, percent of students scoring above proficient in standardized state Reading and Language test. Data from a total of 10,247 public school districts were used to compute a score for each school district. The following states were omitted due to lack of sufficient data: Hawaii, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Utah, and Virginia. Note that high schools in some states have their own independent districts.

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