The Omaha Public Schools prepares all students to excel in college, career and life.
Dear OPS Community:

As many of you know, our Omaha Public Schools’ family lost two valuable colleagues this past week. Tom Dickey, South High Magnet School’s curriculum specialist for its career and technology education department and Michele Ricard, North High Magnet School’s curriculum specialist for its art and science departments. Words cannot express the tremendous loss we have felt with the passing of these two outstanding teachers. Our heartfelt condolences go out to their families, friends and colleagues. They will be greatly missed in the days and years ahead and we are grateful they chose the Omaha Public Schools as the place to pursue their careers. Please keep both families in your thoughts.

It is because of committed teachers like Mr. Dickey and Ms. Ricard that the district is able to continue carrying out our mission to prepare students for college, career and life. Staff continually seek to improve teaching strategies and are committed to improve student achievement and ensure our students are career and college ready when they graduate.

As we near the end of this first semester, we continue improving our buildings and updating technology to ensure that all students have equal opportunities to make the most of their educational careers. The Board of Education recently voted to move forward with the proposed Phase 2 bond issue, which is expected to be on the ballot in May 2018. The board also continues to await applicants for the role of superintendent, which closes Jan. 5.

I continue to be grateful for all of our dedicated staff and the strong partnerships within our community. Thank you to each and every one of you for all you do!

Best regards,
Mark Evans, Superintendent of Schools 
Congratulations to...
...Northwest High Magnet teacher Rachel Burns, who was selected as one of three 2018 Award of Excellence Winners by the Nebraska Department of Education Commissioner's Office.
...Dundee Elementary for being designated as a National Blue Ribbon School for 2017 by the U.S. Secretary of Education. Dundee is one of 342 schools in the nation and one of four in the state of Nebraska to be recognized. This is the second time Dundee has received this award. Saddlebrook Elementary teacher Michelle Scheet, who was one of five teachers across the country to win a $5,000 prize through Science Everywhere - a nationwide challenge by the Overdeck Family Foundation and The Simons Foundation in partnership with to bring math and science beyond school walls. The prize can be used to fund any project on the platform, giving Scheet the option to replicate her project "Super Scientist" for more students at her school, lend support to her colleagues' projects, or make new ideas a reality. Oak Valley Elementary physical education teacher Ann Zessin, for being recognized as the Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year by the Nebraska Society for Health and Physical Education (SHAPE). Zessin received her award at the SHAPE fall conference in Lincoln, Nebr., on Nov. 6 at the Cornhusker Hotel.
North High Magnet Football Team
2017 Class A NSAA State Football Champions

North High Magnet's football team earned the 2017 Class A NSAA state football championship after defeating the Kearney Bearcats 27-20 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Memorial Stadium on Nov. 21. 

OPS Benson and North Magnet Students Compete in World Robotics Competition in China
Robotics teams from Benson High Magnet (Isaac Beacom, Ty Foster, Sher Lah and coach Ryan Troxel) and North High Magnet (Noah Landis, Matthew Nevarez, Trey Smith and coach Jeremy Weimer) traveled 6,480 miles to Beijing, China, this summer to compete in the High School VEX Robotics Competition as part of the World Robotics Conference in Beijing,China. The event was hosted by the Beijing municipal government, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and the China Association for Science and Technology. The trips were funded by BESTIC, a grant from the Sherwood Foundation and host companies in China that provided lodging and food. 

It was a trip of a lifetime and a cultural awakening for these six young techies who’d never traveled outside the United States. Both teams noted two stark differences between Chinese and American competitions: 1) the robot inspections are more relaxed in China and 2) the matches were more intense because referees played a more proactive role towards disqualifications and interaction with other robots. 

OPS Mobile Learning Unit Offers IT Access to Students

Omaha Public Schools Mobile Learning Unit was created to address issues of digital equity in the North Omaha area. Anchored on a powerful district vision and community partnerships, this innovative initiative targets high poverty neighborhoods and schools. The goal: to use a whole-community approach to bring high-technology learning and digital citizenship skills to students and their families. We want more than merely high-quality access and devices for our students - we want to build the knowledge and skills necessary to address the complex community challenges in today’s digital age. Every student. Every day. Prepared for success.

To see the MLU in action, check out our blog HERE.

Story by OPS IMS team members.
Burke High Student Participates in Gene Therapy Trial to Help
 Improve Vision
Molly Troxel, 15, is a typical Burke High sophomore. She enjoys sports, drama, singing, getting together with friends, shopping and thinking about life after high school. What sets her apart from other students; however, is a rare genetic disease – Leber Congenital Amaurosis (LCA) – she inherited from her parents. LCA, which impacts the retina and is an impairment that begins in childhood and can progress to near or total blindness. 

New Artwork on Display at Teacher Administrative Center

Staff at the OPS TAC building are enjoying new artwork thanks to staff who participated in the Minnesota Humanities "Immersion About Place" workshop. Staff visited North Omaha, South Omaha, a Karen community, a Native American community and an African immigrant community and then worked with Omaha artist Deborah Bunting to assemble quilt squares that expressed their journey through Omaha to create an Immersion Quilt about place. 
Northwest High School Hosts
Naturalization Ceremony

Northwest High Magnet hosted a naturalization ceremony for 30 individuals on Oct. 24. North-west's JROTC and concert choir participated in the ceremony. The keynote speaker was Senior Judge Lyle R. Strom. OPS administrators Monique Farmer, Melissa Comine, Pamela Cohn, Susan Christopherson, Donna Dobson and Superintendent Mark Evans were among those in the audience who witnessed the swearing in of the country's newest citizens.
English as a Second Language Department Holds Annual Conference

The OPS English as a Second Language department held its annual conference at the Teacher Administrative Center in October. Teachers from across the Omaha area gathered to review best practices, learn new technology, improve their teaching techniques and have an opportunity to meet with OPS colleagues and teachers from other districts. A continental breakfast and lunch were provided to the group.
Marrs Magnet Middle School Holds Comic Con Event

Marrs Magnet Middle School collaborated with UNO students to present the school's annual Comic Con event to improve students' reading skills and teach them the various genres of literature as they rotated through interactive stations. In the spirit of Cosplay, teachers and students were encouraged to dress up as their favorite book character. 
OPS Green Efforts 
The majority of energy use in Nebraska is powered by coal and natural gas, which creates greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions contribute to air pollution and climate change. The amount of energy use saved at the District equates to significant greenhouse gasses avoided. Since 2011, the amount of emissions avoided at the District equate to saving 500 railcars of coal and the financial savings is also impressive - over nine million dollars in energy costs avoided.  -OPS District Operational Services
The OPS 2014 bond program continues to be on schedule and on budget. Jacobs Engineering Group recently upgraded to a new software - Tableau - to make navigating through information easier. To view the progress of the full bond program, please visit
Belle Ryan and Western Hills Magnet Elementary Schools
Set to Move to New Buildings Over Winter Break
The new Belle Ryan Elementary, located at 1807 S. 60 St., is a 68,141 square-foot, 600- student capacity building that includes four pre-K rooms, three kindergarten rooms,15 regular classrooms, two ACP special education rooms, two SPED/Resource rooms, six multiuse rooms, a library/technology/media center, an art room, music room, cafeteria/multipurpose room, faculty work room, staff lounge, health room, conference room, counseling offices, family/social service community room, administrative offices and additional support space. Students will report to the new building on Wednesday, Jan. 10. Estimated project cost is $19 million. 
The new Western Hills Magnet Elementary, located at 6523 Western Ave., is a 76,859 square-foot, 600-student capacity building that includes three full-day kindergarten rooms, 15 classrooms, one special education classroom, one hearing impaired classroom, four small multipurpose rooms, two medium multipurpose rooms, a library/technology center, a PAC room, STEM lab, collaboration learning center, art room, music room, gymnasium, cafeteria, administrative offices, waiting room, general office area, teacher workroom, faculty dining room, conference room, counseling office, health office, a family/social service/community room and additional support space. Students will report to the new building on Wednesday, Jan.10. Estimated project cost is $19 million.
Beveridge Magnet Middle
Nears Completion

The final phase of Beveridge Magnet Middle School's bond project will be completed by the end of winter break. When students return, classrooms will be up and running and the new sixth-grade wing will be ready to welcome students in the fall of 2018-2019. Scope of work included fire, life safety, security and technology upgrades, capital improvements, renovations to the existing building and an addition to increase capacity by 20 classrooms. A black box theater was also included. Estimated project cost is $35 million.
Sunny Slope Holds Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Sunny Slope Elementary celebrated the completion of their bond project with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 5. The scope of work included fire, life safety, security and technology upgrades, capital improvements to the existing school and an eight-classroom addition to alleviate capacity issues. Attending were Superintendent Mark Evans, Chief Operations Officer Antoinette Turnquist, Board Member Lou Ann Goding and members of Jacobs Engineering Group, Alley Poyner Architects and McCarthy Construction. Estimated cost is $9.6 million.
The Omaha Public Schools' Board of Education is considering a Phase 2 bond issue. The current projected amount is $399 million. To find out more about the second phase, please click here. More updates will be forthcoming once the Board finalizes its plans. Check back to the site for more detailed information.
1)   Transforming Kindergarten - Initiative
    Curriculum and Instruction Support
     Look for an upcoming article in our next issue.

2) Inclement Weather Announcements
    District Communications Office

3) Career Academies - See What Career Academies Offer our Students
    Curriculum and Instruction Support

  4)  High School and Middle School Open Houses
     Curriculum and Instruction Support

     High Schools
     Benson, Jan. 22 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    Bryan, Jan. 11 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    Burke, Jan. 16 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    Central, Jan. 20 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
    North, Jan. 21 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
    Northwest, Jan. 25 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    South, Jan. 18 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    Career Center, Jan. 27 from 10 a.m. to noon

     Middle Schools
     Beveridge, Jan. 25 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
    Bryan, Jan. 25 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
    Buffett, Jan. 18 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
    Davis, Jan. 18 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    Hale, Jan. 11 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
    King Science, Jan. 23 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
    Lewis and Clark, Jan. 23 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
    Marrs, Jan. 18 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
    McMillan, Jan. 11 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
    Monroe, Jan. 21 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
    Morton, Jan. 16 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
    Norris, Jan 9 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

    Elementary Magnet Schools
    Lothrop Magnet, Jan. 18 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
   Crestridge Magnet, Jan. 18 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Second Quarter Ends
Dec. 22, 2017

Winter Recess
Dec. 25, 2017 - Jan. 5, 2018

(* Please note, the Teacher Administrative Center will be open during winter break, except for the following days: Dec. 25 and 26 and Jan. 1 and 2.)

Semester Break/Teacher Work Day
Jan. 8, 2018

Third Quarter Begins
Jan. 9, 2018
Omaha Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy), marital status, sexual orientation, disability, age, genetic information, gender identity, gender expression, citizenship status, veteran status, political affiliation or economic status in its programs, activities and employment and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following individual has been designated to accept allegations regarding non-discrimination policies: Superintendent of Schools, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (531) 299-9822. The following persons have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Director for the Office of Equity and Diversity, 3215 Cuming St, Omaha, NE 68131 (531) 299-0307).