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

Welcome back! I hope everyone enjoyed a relaxing and rejuvenating holiday break.

As we begin the second semester of the school year, we will move into the final phase of the 2014 bond program. All work is scheduled to be completed by 2020. The work has not only helped us secure our buildings, but has allowed us the opportunity to improve learning environments and upgrade technology. All of which would not have been possible without the tremendous support of the Omaha voters. Thank you! The Board of Education is expected to vote this month on the proposed Phase 2 bond issue that will be placed on the ballot in May 2018. 

Later this month, the board also intends to begin interviewing candidates for the next superintendent. I ask for your continued support as the district takes on these important tasks.

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!

Warmest regards,
Mark Evans, Superintendent
Omaha Public Schools
Congratulations to...
...Davis Middle School's boys basketball, girls swim and girls volleyball teams for earning city championships during first semester of the 2017-2018 school year.
...Omaha Public Schools' science supervisor Dr. Chris Schaben for being selected as a 2017 Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in recognition for his contributions to science and technology, scientific leadership and extraordinary achievements across disciplines. He and the other 395 honorees will be recognized at the 2018 AAAS Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, Feb. 17.
...Spring Lake Magnet Elementary School counselor Erin Ellis for being selected as the 2017 Elementary School Counselor of the Year by the Nebraska School Counselor Association (NSCA) in November at the NSCA's School Counselor Academy.
...Druid Hill Elementary longtime, preschool volunteer Rosetta Herron for being nominated for the national Jefferson Awards by KPTM FOX42. FOX42 selected Herron as their November honoree, which automatically adds her name to a pool of candidates who, if selected, will travel to Washington, D.C., for the Jefferson Awards ceremony. FOX42 presented Herron with her medal and certificate during a surprise ceremony at the school on Nov. 28. The Omaha Public Schools extends it gratitude for Herron's dedication and service as well.
...Central High School music teacher Pete Wilger, who was recognized as the Nebraska Educators Association's Outstanding Music Educator of the Year for 2017. This is Wilger's 33rd year of teaching.
...District Communications' coordinator of marketing and visual communications, Kala Morrissey, for receiving an Award of Excellence for her Omaha Public Schools re-branding campaign. She was presented the award during the Nebraska Chapter's 2017 Public Relations Society of America's (PRSA) Annual Paper Anvil Awards Ceremony held at the Embassy Suites in La Vista on Dec. 6.
...Monique Farmer, Director of District Communications, who received the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Nebraska Chapter PR Professional of the Year Award and an Award of Merit for her Student Transportation communication strategy for fall 2017. Farmer is pictured with her husband, John and children (front to back, clockwise) Jordan, Aaliyah and John III. Farmer received her award during the Nebraska Chapter's 2017 Public Relations Society of America's Annual Paper Anvil Awards Ceremony held at the Embassy Suites in La Vista on Dec. 6.
Superintendent's Annual Greeting Card

...Highland Elementary fourth-grader Zane Rodriguez-Gordon whose artwork was selected to be on the cover of the Superintendent's 2017 holiday greeting card.

Hope everyone had a great holiday break!
The Omaha Public Schools
2017 Athletic Hall of Fame

The Omaha Public Schools is proud to present its 2017 Athletic Hall of Fame inductees: (left to right, front to back) Thomas Warren, Technical High School; Gary Graner, Burke High School; Jim Fuxa, Community Contributor; Mikaela Grimes Perry, Northwest High School; Jessica Haynes Jackson, Central High School; Andre Woolridge, Benson High School; Stu Pospisil, Community Contributor; James Lund, Middle School; Dave Underwood, North High School; Terrance Badgett, South High School and Terry Eyman, Bryan High School.
Transforming Kindergarten Through Purposeful Play

"The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination." -Albert Einstien

This month, as parents begin enrolling their children in kindergarten for the fall of 2018-2019, they may hear the term ‘purposeful play’ used by teachers during classroom visits. 

For those unfamiliar with term, it is a 60-minute block of time built into students’ day that aims to give them opportunities to explore their imaginations, solve problems, engage in conversations with peers, reenact favorite stories, make mistakes, become flexible thinkers, develop core social skills (negotiation, collaboration and empathy) and use higher levels of thinking. While it may sound like 'child's play,' it is hard work and according to child expert Stuart Brown, it is “as essential to one’s health as sleep and food. Equally important, it connects us to the world and to each other and offers unlimited possibilities.” ( Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul ).

Purposeful play is at the heart of the Omaha Public Schools’ Transforming Kindergarten initiative to ensure its youngest learners are in the best learning environment possible. While kindergartners have always had centers where they could complete puzzles, play house, use building blocks, etc., they now have a teacher-guided allotment of time to help them make the most of what they do best - play. 

OPS’s Transforming Kindergarten initiative was a collaborative project led by Liberty Elementary teacher Luisa Palomo Hare and elementary education supervisor Donna Dobson. In 2013, the two met with other kindergarten teachers, and collectively, the group discussed topics important to them (reading, classroom management, math, play, centers, behavior, etc.). The result was the creation of Kindergarten Look Fors, so that all teachers, administrators and coaches would know what a kindergarten classroom should look like. As the project evolved, integration of curriculum and resources resulted in a curriculum guide for teachers to use as they work to incorporate purposeful play into their daily schedule. 

For parents who would like to learn more about purposeful play, Kristine Mraz, Alison Porcelli and Chery Tyler’s book “A Mindset for Learning” gives an overview of the theory and how it is incorporated into the classroom. Parents can also follow their blog at .
OPS Teachers Participate in IMS Technology Workshop at DoSpace
Omaha Public Schools' teachers participated in a technology workshop at DoSpace to help develop the skills they need to better integrate technology into their classrooms and share with other educators in their building. Information Management Services (IMS) technology trainer, Melissa Cleaver is seen assisting Sherman Elementary teacher, Nicole Larsen, with a software question during the session on Team Planning. Other interactive stations included ClassFlow and Class Hacks.
Civil Rights Activist Ayanna Najuma Visits Three Omaha Public Schools Elementary Buildings
Civil rights activist Ayanna Najuma visited Howard Kennedy, King and Minne Lusa Elementary Schools in November to share her story of social activism with students in an effort to help them understand the importance of advocating for themselves, realizing their talents and using their abilities to improve their communities.

When Najuma was 7-years-old, many water fountains, schools and restaurants were segregated, so she and her friends decided to take action by initiating a sit-in at a local Katz Drug Store in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Prior to the sit-in, the children received extensive training by adults on how to handle the negative actions of others. On the first day of the sit-in, Najuma and her friends donned their Sunday clothes, walked into the drug store and sat at the counter where they politely asked to be served. Although initially rejected, the group persisted day-after-day until eventually the town became integrated. The movement proved the power young people have to make a difference in their community, nation and the world.

Najuma was presented The Trailblazer Award in 2014 by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Oklahoma Department of Corrections, Oklahoma Corporation Commission and the Oklahoma Historical Society for her work in the civil rights movement. In 2015, she received the Juneteenth Book Festival Heart of Courage Award in Washington, D.C. The Martin Luther King Day Committee in Midwest City, Oklahoma, honored Ayanna in 2016 as one of the original sit-inners in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Today, in addition to speaking engagements, she writes a column featured on, hosts a radio talk show and serves as a principal for Lincoln-McLeod.

Najuma (far left) is seen here with students at Minne Lusa Elementary School and OPS Title I supervisor, Tina Forte'.
Alfonso Davis Middle School Honors Scholar Student-Athletes

Alfonso Davis Middle School honored 10 scholar student-athletes in December for maintaining a 4.0 GPA throughout the first quarter of the 2017-2018 school year.

Students honored were: Front row (l to r) - Danielle Schlader, Claire Williams, Logan Simmons, Robert Cotton and Gavin Hanel; back row (l to r) - Lilianah Orr, Alexandria Drummond, Brooklyn Busby, Danielle Peterson and Colin Kelley. Their coach, Dr. Allison Temple, is seen pictured on the far left.
Marrs Magnet Middle School Presented
its First "Toughness" Football Award

Marrs Magnet Middle School's varsity football coach, Tom Harskamp, presented student-athlete Julian Mejia with the school's first "Toughness" Award in honor of former student Douglas "Dougie" Carmichael, who passed away from cancer earlier this year, after courageously battling the disease for 15 months. Mejia received a plague and Carmichael's football jersey and a plague are now on display in Marrs' athletic hall. Principal Bryan Dunne and members of Carmichael's family attended the ceremony.
Omaha Public Schools' Holiday
Charitable Efforts a Huge Success

Our thanks to the Omaha Public Schools' Winter FunFest Committee for their efforts to spread holiday cheer to the residents of Lydia House during the holiday season. The committee held Jeans Fridays and a holiday basket raffle, and with the help of staff members, raised more than $4,882
to donate to the shelter.

Monies were also raised in October and November to support the American Cancer Society $1,615 and the Omaha Food Bank $1,773.

Omaha Public Schools' staff members also contributed toys, clothing and personal care items to place under the "Giving Tree" located in the main lobby at the Teacher Administrative Center. Items were boxed up and delivered to the shelter prior to winter break.

Committee members: Robb Blum, Sunita Boyer, Amy Crofoot, Toba Cohen-Dunning, Shelly Dutiel, Angie Fischer, Janet Green,
Portia Hogue, Gina Jessick, Jon Lucas, Sara Morgan, Beto Rangel, Matt Ray, Donna Scott and Shirley Vidlak.
Pawnee Elementary Students Donate Toys to Children's Hospital

Pawnee Elementary students held a coin drive and purchased toys to donate to Children's Hospital for its staff to distribute to patients during the holiday season. Collectively, the school donated more than $844 worth of toys. Four classrooms collected $100. Additionally, many students and their families opted to purchase additional toys to add to the donation.

Staff delivered the items to Children's the week before winter break.

Pictured in the back row (l to r) are: Fatima Davila (6), Ava Buggi (6), Austin Tellez (5), Karol Franco (6); front row (l to r) Dalia Hidalgo (6) and Kolbie Minardi (4). Pawnee's staff sponsors for the project were sixth-grade teacher, Karrie Goff and the school counselor, Mallory Paulsen.
Florence Elementary Students Receive Backpacks from Community Partners
Florence Elementary students received a surprise visit from representatives of Oriental Trading and RheaDirect Marketing, who handed out backpacks filled with activity books, games, toys, treats and art supplies. Pictured are: (right foreground) Rhea Cabardo of RheaDirect Marketing and (background) Michelle Johnson of Oriental Trading Company (OTC). Johnson is OTC's manager of corporate communications and community giving.

Florence wishes to acknowledge the following businesses and individuals for their contributions to make this event possible:

Companies: Google, Hy-Vee and Oriental Trading; Organizations: INCGiving and the University of Nebraska at Omaha; Small businesses: Cone Flower, Funny Bone, Himalayan Java, Introvisuals, John Tight Cutz, Lovestiles, New Day Nutrition, RheaDirect and Signs and Shapes International; Individuals: Jonathan Abueg, C.J. Alegros, Apurado family, Justin Cabardo, Nicole Ferrera, Maria Fields, Kristi Jacobe, Eleanor Moninola, Frances Morden, Mylene Novelo, Rhoda Rubic Rose, Jacque Sanchez, Susan Shaughnessy, Bernadette and Christian Suligin, Kenneth Williams and Rachel Wiser.
OPS Schools Participate in Theater Festival at South High Magnet
Omaha Public Schools middle and high school students converged at South High Magnet School for the district's "One-Act Festival: Legends, Myths & Monsters"  in December. The festival provided one-act play troupes an opportunity to receive feedback from three professional playwrights -Ellen Struve, Daena Schweiger and Marie Amthor Schuett - and workshop with other groups. This is the fourth year for the event, which was conceptualized, planned, organized and facilitated by the district's seven drama teachers. Pictured are students of Alfonso Davis Middle School during their presentation of "Kim Arthur and the Nerds of the Round Table."

South is the district's Visual & Performing Arts, Information Technology & Dual Language magnet. To find out more about South High, click here.
OPS Green Efforts 
The District is continually working on increasing its recycling efforts. The recycling program has led to 270,000 cubic yards of material being recycled and $70,000 in avoided costs. Recycling saves non-renewable resources and produces more jobs than landfilling.

  -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
Omaha Public Schools' 2014 Bond Program Updates

Norris Middle School Bond Construction

The Norris Middle School bond project is in full swing and scheduled to be completed by the start of the 2018-2019 school year. The scope of work includes fire, life safety, security and technology upgrades, capital improvements and two additions to increase capacity for 16 classrooms. Key items to be addressed include installation of a key card access system, video intercom system and energy management system, safe area construction, HVAC system upgrades, roof replacement/ flash-ing repairs and replacement of the fire alarm system, emergency generator, exterior windows and exterior metal doors. The bus/parent pick-up/drop-off area will also be improved. Estimated projected cost is $33 million.
Burke High School
Bond Construction

The Burke High School bond project is moving along on schedule and is set to be completed for the start of the 2018-2019 school year. The scope of work includes fire, life safety, security and technology upgrades and capital improvements to the existing building. Scope of work includes safe area construction, installation of a key card access system, fire sprinkler system and video intercom system, replacement of interior door and hardware, plumbing and fixture system, electrical distribution panel, damaged carpet, an addition to address educational adequacy deficiency, interior wall repairs and miscellaneous exterior wall repairs. Estimated projected cost is $10.5 million.
Florence Elementary 
Bond Construction

The joint Florence Elementary/Omaha Boys and Girls Club (OBGC) project will provide students with a quality before and after school program staffed and run by the Omaha Boys and Girls Club. Funding for the addition was provided by OBGC. The bond renovations to the school continue on scheduled and are expected to be completed by the start of the 2018-2019 school year. Scope of work at the building includes fire, life safety, security and technology upgrades and capital improvements to the existing building. Scope of work includes installation of a security motion sensor, key card access system, video intercom system and media distribution system, safe area construction, replacement of emergency lighting, fire alarm system, emergency generator interior door and hardware and aluminum exterior window, interior wall repairs, CMU wall painting and central air conditioning of the entire facility. Estimated projected cost of the bond renovation is $5.5 million. 

Gilder Elementary Bond Construction

Gilder Elementary is also well under way and is scheduled to be completed by the start of the 2018-2019 school year. Scope of work includes fire, life safety, security and technology upgrades, capital improve-ments and an addition to increase current capacity by 12 classrooms and will provide central air to the entire facility. Scope of work includes installation of a key card access system, fire sprinkler system, video intercom system and security alarm system, safe area construction, replacement of the fire alarm system, interior door and hardware, emergency lighting, damaged carpet, roof and exterior windows. Improvements to the school's drop-off/pick/up area is also a part of the project. Estimated projected cost is $9.5 million.

Beveridge Magnet to Hold Dedication/Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Beveridge Magnet Middle School (1616 S. 120th St.) will celebrate the completion of its 2014 bond project with a dedication/ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, April 19 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Please mark your calendars for this important event!
The Omaha Public Schools' Board of Education is considering a proposed Phase 2 bond referendum. The current projected amount is $399 million. To find out more about the Phase 2, please click here. More updates will be forthcoming once the Board finalizes its plan. Check back to the site often for more detailed information.
1) Inclement Weather Announcements
    District Communications Office

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

 3 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 from 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.
4) 2018 Kindergarten Roundup Schedule  
    Curriculum and Instruction Support
    For a complete list of dates, locations and times click here .
   Parents should bring a legal birth certificate, complete immunization records, proof of address and
   a social security card, if their child has one. To find your neighborhood school, click here

   For questions regarding the District's Partner Plan, please contact the Student Placement Office at
   (531) 299-0302, or visit the website at 

   We look forward to seeing you!

Board of Education Meeting
Jan. 8, 2018
6 p.m.

Third Quarter Begins
Jan. 9, 2018

Martin Luther King Day - Non-student Day
Monday, Jan. 15, 2018
Teacher Administrative Center Closed

Board of Education Meeting
Jan. 22, 2018
6:30 p.m.

Middle/High School Conferences - No school for middle and high school students
Feb. 15, 2018

Middle/High School Teacher Work Day - No school for middle and high school students
Feb. 16, 2018

President's Day - Non-student Day
Feb. 19, 2018
Teacher Administrative Center Closed

Elementary TEAM Planning Day/Conferences - No school for elementary students
March 8, 2018

Elementary Teacher Work Day - No school for elementary students
March 9, 2018

Third Quarter Ends
March 9, 2018

Spring Recess
March 12 - 16, 2018

To see the complete calendar, please click here .
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.