Dawson County supports three major school districts: Cozad City Schools, Gothenburg Public Schools and Lexington Public Schools. In addition, there is one parochial school in Gothenburg. All these entities provide a first-class education, with a dropout rate between seventh grade and twelfth grade at an unbelievably low 3.3 percent. An estimated 97 percent of eighth-grade students finish high school in Dawson County.
Gothenburg School District No. 20 in Dawson County covers 121 square miles, and is a Class 3, Type K-12 district. Established in 1925, the district provides education through strong instructional leadership, a positive learning environment, continuous assessment of pupil progress, quality staff and a partnership in learning with parents, the community and private businesses.
The elementary school in Gothenburg is accredited by the State of Nebraska, while the junior and senior high schools carry the North Central accreditation. With the passage of a $12.3 million bond issue, construction of the new junior/senior high school and renovation of the elementary school was completed in 2004. The new school enhances the education of children and the morale of the Gothenburg community in terms of economic development. One totally interactive distance learning lab and two satellite-distance learning labs are available. There are 10 computer labs located throughout the school, as well as two mobile labs in the elementary school. The computer ratio is one computer for every three students.
Adult educational programs are held in the Gothenburg Public High School in conjunction with Central Community College. Gothenburg is a member of Educational Service Unit No. 10, which is headquartered in Kearney and serves seven counties. Assistance and programs available through this service unit include school health programs, computer service, special education for trainable handicapped and school psychological services. A list of additional services is available at www.esu10.k12.ne.us.
Cozad City Schools include two elementary schools, one middle school and one high school. All the schools are fully accredited by the State of Nebraska, and both the middle school and high school are North Central accredited. A new middle school was constructed in 2003, and is adjacent to the high school. There has also been renovations to and construction on the elementary schools.
The school system has adopted a comprehensive curriculum review process. New technology and computerization has become a way of life for the Cozad students, and the Head Start Program provides a lively learning environment for the children of Cozad. The South Central Developmental Services (a private, nonprofit corporation) provides residential, social, vocational and recreational services for people with mental retardation.
Lexington Public Schools (also known as School District No. 1) offers four elementary schools, a middle school and a high school. Both the middle school and high school buildings have enjoyed recent renovations completed in 2000. The middle school received new classrooms (including band accommodations) and a media center, as well as an outdoor, lit recreational field. The auditorium now boasts new seats, and ultramodern sound/lighting systems, which were purchased with the assistance of local businesses. The high school additions include a new gymnasium and a vocational technology building that houses classes in construction, architecture, business systems, business law, economics and family living.
Dawson County is part of the Central Community College system, which encompasses 25 counties. A distance learning program was developed in 1992 to provide opportunities for students to obtain degrees through off-campus study in accounting, criminal justice, information technology, business administration, office technology and health information management services. The program uses state-of-the-art teaching technologies for delivery of courses. Satellite courses, computer conferencing and other interactive programs allow students in Cozad, Gothenburg and Lexington to complete degree work without driving to one of the campuses. The college works with area industries, retail establishments and other agencies and organizations in planning in-service or in-plant training programs.