Kearney, Nebraska
Community Profile


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Informed citizens are successful citizens, and Kearney makes certain everyone has the opportunity to further his or her education.

Nebraska high school students consistently achieve among the best average scores in the nation for both the SAT (Scholastic Achievement Test) and the ACT (American College Test). However, the education and technical training of Nebraska workers does not end with high school. Graduation rates are consistently at or above 95 percent, with 90 percent choosing to enter post-secondary education. The community population is well-educated, with 23 percent having graduated from a four-year institution.

The Kearney Public School system consists of nine elementary schools, two middle schools and Kearney Senior High School. Important parts of the Kearney education picture are Zion Lutheran School, Faith Christian School, Kearney Catholic High School, Central Community College and the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

Providing the solid foundation young children need are nine excellent elementary schools: Bryant Elementary, Central Elementary, Emerson Elementary, Glenwood Elementary, Kenwood Elementary, Meadowlark Elementary, Northeast Elementary, Park Elementary and Windy Hills Elementary.

These schools include 126 classrooms serving 2,112 students, with a teacher- to-pupil ratio of 1-to-21. Two quality middle schools have 94 classrooms for 978 students, with a teacher-to-pupil ratio of 1-to-14.

The high school has 70 classrooms, 1,389 students and a teacher-to-pupil ratio of 1-to-18.

Also part of the Kearney education picture are: Faith Christian School — 74 students, 15 teachers and staff, established in 1995; and Zion Lutheran School — 111 students, 10 teachers and staff, established in 1930.

High school education is a key part of the preparation for success. Kearney offers two excellent facilities — Kearney Senior High School and Kearney Catholic High School.

Kearney Catholic High School is the region’s most established private, college preparatory high school for young men and women. Fully accredited by the State of Nebraska and the North Central Association of Schools, Kearney Catholic is a member of the National Catholic Education Association and operates under the auspices of the diocese of Great Island. The school serves over 310 young men and women in grades six through twelve. Classes are small, so teachers can give full attention to each student with a student-teacher ratio of 16-to-1. Kearney Catholic’s campus is located at 35th and Avenue A.

Kearney High School, built in 1959, has experienced significant expansion to accommodate the growing student population as well as necessary technology and equipment. Administrators, staff and parents associated with Kearney High School are working to create an environment that fosters mutual respect, inspires the love of learning and “expects excellence from all.”

Vocational courses offered in the high school include consumer science, business education, computer science, marketing, industrial technology, power mechanics, welding, woodworking, machining, auto mechanics, drafting, construction technology and a CISCO network management class. A wide range of adult-education programs is available as evening classes. Internet is available at all Kearney schools.

The school district provides for physically and mentally handicapped children from preschool through age 21.

Kearney is served by Educational Service Unit 10, which is headquartered in Kearney and serves 11 counties. Special-needs schools are also offered in the Kearney area. Mid-Nebraska Mental Retardation Services includes an adult center for mentally retarded adults from age 18 and older, providing social services, transportation, basic skills, competitive employment and home-management training.

Vocational Rehabilitation is a state agency and branch of the Department of Education that provides career counseling, job retraining and employment services to anyone with a physical, learning or psychiatric disability. If the disability causes the person to have difficulty finding or maintaining employment, they generally qualify for this program.

The State Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center was started in 1879, when 320 acres were donated by the city of Kearney to construct a two-story brick building and school to house juvenile offenders. The administration strives toward rehabilitation of boys and young men through a program of education, work and recreation. Their goal is to return a well-rounded young man to his community, where he can serve as a useful citizen. The program has a capacity for 150 students from ages 12 to 19.

Kearney is part of Central Community College, which encompasses 25 counties. The college is governed by an 11-member Board of Governors who are elected by the citizens of the area served. The college maintains administrative offices in Grand Island and operates campuses at Hastings, Columbus and Grand Island, and regional centers at Holdrege, Kearney and Lexington. Central Community College works with area industries, retail establishments, and other agencies and organizations in planning in-service and in-plant training programs.

Excellence in classroom teaching is the University of Nebraska at Kearney’s (UNK) core mission. The four-year, accredited university serves more than 8,000 students, providing a range of undergraduate and graduate programs. More than 300 faculty members are dedicated to providing intellectual challenges in a nurturing environment. Its personalized approach, academic support and affordability combine to make UNK’s programs accessible and very attractive to students from a wide variety of backgrounds.

In addition to traditional classroom instruction by some of the best teachers, the university makes the campus, the state and the world available through cutting-edge technology. This network includes the resources of three other University of Nebraska campuses.

UNK offers practical programs with an emphasis on high-quality undergraduate teaching and selected graduate programs in liberal arts, business, technology and education.

The University of Nebraska at Kearney was established nearly a century ago as a teachers’ college serving central and western Nebraska. Today the institution is a comprehensive university and residential campus which enrolls students from more than 30 states and 50 foreign countries. From the beginning, a strong commitment to students has been the hallmark of UNK.

UNK varsity men’s and women’s athletic teams compete as members of the NCAA Division II in 16 sports within the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. The university is the site of numerous special camps for grade school and high school students within the region.
The Honors Program has attracted a record number of top-notch students for several years, with graduates entering medical, dental and other professional schools at a high rate. University musicians have performed at Carnegie Hall to rave reviews, and student research projects have won professional acclaim.

Whatever your interests and talents, the University of Nebraska at Kearney can help you develop them to the fullest.

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