The Omaha Public Schools prepares all students to excel in college, career and life.
Managing Editor: Deb S. Christiansen Garza

Dear OPS Staff and Community:

I invite you to watch my first podcast of 2019! I had the opportunity to visit Crestridge Magnet Center, where I talked about parent math nights, Alice Buffett nominations, kindergarten roundup, open houses and more!

Cheryl J. Logan,  Ed.D.
Omaha Public Schools
CHI Health and Omaha Public Schools are partnering to honor teachers across the district. 
Starting this month, CHI Health is seeking nominations of Omaha Public Schools teachers who are changing the lives of students.

Each month, they’ll surprise a Top Teacher nominee with a gift basket and a gift card. Winners will be drawn on the last Friday of the month. CHI Health will select winners from each grade level (elementary, middle and high).
Anyone can nominate a Top Teacher at .
Thank you for your support of our teachers and for your support of the Omaha Public Schools.
Morton Magnet Middle School Basketball Team - 2018 City Champions

...Morton Magnet Middle School's boys seventh and eighth grade basketball team, which earned the 2018 City Championship in a game v. Davis Middle School. The final score: 38-35. The school congratulated the team during a tunnel walk through the halls of the school.
Administrator of the Year
...Burke High School teacher Dr. Andrew Walters, who is this year's Nebraska Thespian Administrator of the Year. This award recognizes administrators who promote educational theatre and is presented by the Nebraska Thespians - an Educational Theatre Association Affiliate. Walters is seen pictured with Millard West teacher Brooke Phillips, who received this year's Teacher of the Year.
Parents, it's Time for Kindergarten Round-up!

Students are age-eligible to attend kindergarten at the beginning of the school year if they have attained the age of five on or before July 31, 2019. Kindergarten round-ups are held at home attendance area schools every January to enroll students for the following school year. To see this year's schedule, please click here . Parents who have questions may contact the Student Placement Office at (531) 299-0302.

Enrollments are also accepted after round-ups at the neighborhood school or at the Student Placement Office located at the Teacher and Administrative Center (3215 Cuming St.) between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Contact your home attendance area school or the Placement Office for more details. Forms are available at round-up if a student wishes to attend an option school within the Omaha Public Schools and qualify under the Student Assignment Plan Partner Plan. Parents can determine their home attendance area school by clicking here .

Parents must bring the following information to kindergarten roundup to enroll their child: 1) child's immunization records, 2) a legal birth certificate (hospital certificates do not qualify) and 3) address verification/proof of residence. Acceptable documents include a utility, phone or cable bill, a lease or home purchase agreement.
By Julie Sigmon, Omaha STEM Ecosystem Director

The Future is STEM, and We Will Connect You to It !

As we reflect on the past year and the dawning of the new, the Omaha STEM Ecosystem is looking forward to the challenges and excitement that 2019 has in store.

Over the past several months, we have highlighted the skills behind the acronym STEM. We have explored the important ways that studies in S -science, T -technology, E -engineering, and M -mathematics, impact our lives. But what does that really mean for the Omaha STEM Ecosystem community and more specifically to you - as a parent guiding your child, a high school student considering the next steps to possible career, a seventh grader passionate about conservation or an educator looking for something unique to inspire your students?

In a previous article, we outlined how the Omaha STEM Ecosystem is a network of community partners, including yourself. Together, with over 700 interested members, we help create the innovators, educators, researchers and leaders of tomorrow and inspire them to keep Omaha a vibrant community. We connect business partners to educators for real-life experiences; we host professional development opportunities such as Math with an Architect and we share resources on our website,

While a great portion of formal education takes place in the classroom, the greatest influence on student’s career pathways is their own interest and experiences (63 percent) as well as parents and other family members (42 percent). The question many parents ask is, “How do I help prepare my child for the future, for careers that have not even been developed?” The Omaha STEM Ecosystem offers resources and makes connections to assure students have the technical skills, critical thinking and imagination necessary to be successful in STEM professions. We encourage you to become a member on our website for ultimate access to our notices, newsletters and resources. 

Here are some of our favorites:

10 Tips to Help Your Child Be a STEM Thinker
Zero to Three-Early Childhood Resource

The Importance of Internships for High School Students

Spring Break and Summer Programs
It’s never too early to start thinking of STEM-related programs for spring break or summer.   Our website calendar lists many opportunities with more updates on a regular basis.  
Omaha STEM Ecosystem Collaboration Activities in the
Omaha Public Schools
The ACE Mentoring Program of Greater Omaha is a non-profit organization that connects mentors from architecture, construction and engineering industries, to high school students. The ACE Mentoring program is an outstanding pipeline for exposing student to the multitude of educational resources and career opportunities available with -in a variety of industries. Operating across the Omaha area, ACE is in five OPS high schools and the Career Center. This year, ACE has collaborated with Omaha STEM Ecosystem and Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium for its 2018-2019 project.
The UNO Biomechanics Research Building has partnered with the Omaha STEM Ecosystem and area school districts, including Omaha Public Schools, in a National Science Foundation Grant that provides professional development to elementary school teachers. The BODYMODELS grant allows these educators to learn biomechanics - the mechanical laws associated with the movement or structure of living organisms and create lessons that are utilized in the classroom. This project allows educators to engage their students and develop a deeper understanding of the STEM disciplines and careers.
Attendance Matters!
Did you know?

"Students with good attendance generally enjoy school more and achieve higher grades. Grades go down when you're not around!"

Every student. Every day. Prepared for success.
The School Selection Process Can
Seem Overwhelming, but We're Here to Help!

It's the time of year when many families will begin the process of trying to decide which school they wish their student to attend for the 2019-2020 school year. Because we know trying to understand the process can seem overwhelming, the following information aims to help make the selection process easier. This information will only apply to families whose student wishes to attend a school other than their home attendance area school .

School Placement Process

January – School Selection Applications
The school selection process begins in January. Any student at the final grade in his/her building (transition grade) will receive a school selection form for the following school year and may apply to attend non-neighborhood schools. Students in non-transition grades can also use the school selection process to apply to another school for the following year. A student can select three option schools to apply to and should mark if he/she has a sibling that is currently enrolled and will continue to be enrolled at his/her school the following year. Space in all buildings is limited and applications will only be approved where there is space available. A sibling is defined as a child residing in the same household on a permanent basis who have the same parent/guardian or who are stepbrother or stepsister to each other.
February – School Selection Processing
All school selection applications received by the deadline, are processed in a lottery using the placement criteria. The school district uses staffing projections, student enrollment projections and facility space available to determine the number of open seats available at each school and each grade. The District aims to staff efficiently and in many instances, there is no additional space for a student who would like to attend outside his/her neighborhood. However, regardless of projected space, a neighborhood student is guaranteed placement if he/she requests their neighborhood school.
All applications are processed using an app built into the school district’s student information system, Infinite Campus. For each grade, all first option applications are processed and students are approved if there is existing space or if space has opened because of another student’s move. Once all possible movements have been made at each grade level, first option selection is closed and the process is repeated for second and third option schools. The District attempts to place as many students in their first option school as possible, but because second and third option movement can open a seat at some locations, a second or third option student could get in over a first option student.
Placement Criteria – Elementary and Middle School
The placement criteria described below is for elementary and middle schools and seeks to prioritize students living in the school’s neighborhood, siblings of currently enrolled students who will be enrolled the following year, providing transportation within the partner zone and allowing for diverse choices via a socioeconomic split line. This “line” splits schools into two groups based on socioeconomic data like census poverty rates, median household income, and school free/ reduced lunch participation rates.
  • Neighborhood school – placement is guaranteed.
  • Students who have a sibling currently enrolled at the requested school and will continue to be enrolled for the next school year. First, siblings residing with the partner zone and second, siblings residing outside the partner zone (not eligible for transportation).
  • Students residing in the partner zone – OPS remains committed to diversity in our schools. Applications are prioritized within the partner zone between schools with significantly different neighborhood characteristics.
  • Students residing outside the partner zone (not eligible for transportation) – applications are prioritized for any remaining space between schools with significantly different neighborhood characteristics.
Placement Criteria – High Schools
The placement criteria at the high school level is tied to a student’s self-reported lunch eligibility on the school selection application.
  1. Neighborhood student – placement is guaranteed
  2. Sibling – integrative to application school
  3. Sibling – not integrative to application school
  4. Sibling – no lunch eligibility reported
  5. Integrative to application school
  6. Not integrative to application school
  7. No lunch eligibility reported
March – School Selection Notification
A student in a transition grade and those who submitted a school selection application are notified of his/her school selection results through U.S. mail.
April 15 – Student Transfer Requests (STRs)
For students who did not go through school selection or whose circumstances have changed, the student transfer request process opens for school enrollment changes for the following year. These requests are processed as they are submitted and approval is subject to available space at each school and grade level. Students whose requests are granted before June 15 and are eligible for transportation under the student assignment plan framework will be included in the transportation routing process.
May – Student Transfer Requests Continue
Student transfer requests continue to be processed.
June 15 – Student Transfer Requests and Transportation Routing Deadline
Elementary and middle school students – all enrollment and address changes for the following school year made prior to June 15 will be included in the transportation routing process. Stops may continue to be added for a student who enrolls at a school within his/her partner zone or change addresses after this date if there is a bus (with space) and a stop available on that route within the appropriate distance to the student’s home. Stop additions will not be made when it will extend the ride time beyond one-hour.
High school students – all enrollment and address changes for the following school year made prior to June 15 will be included in the transportation routing process. Students who make school or address changes after this date for the following year will only be eligible for transportation if there is a bus (with space) and a stop available on that route within the appropriate distance to the student’s home.
July – Student Transfer Requests Limited Transportation Eligibility
Student transfer requests continue to be processed but transportation eligibility is limited to already established stops.
August – December – Student Transfer Requests (STR) and Enrollment Fair
The annual OPS Enrollment Fair occurs the week prior to the first week of school and continues through the first week of school. The fair is designed to 1) assist students who are new to the school district and have not enrolled at a school and 2) assist current students who have experienced a change in residence. The enrollment fair takes place at Teacher and Administrative Center (3215 Cuming St.). 
The Omaha Public Schools strives to protect the academic integrity of coursework once a semester has begun. Research shows that students, who change schools while a term is in session, run the risk of substantial academic problems. Once a term is in session, student movement between schools will be restricted. The approval of an STR is subject to:

  • space availability at the requested school
  • the student’s academic achievement
  • the student’s conduct, and
  • the time of the year when the STR is submitted

To determine which schools your child can attend, please review the Partner Zone information provided by clicking here. Families interested in attending middle school and high school open houses, can obtain date, times and locations here.
We understand parents are busy. The following links will provide you with quick access to district sponsored events, procedures and resources. Please click on the titles below and you will be taken to the correct website.
Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment

District Operational Services

Curriculum and Instruction Support

District Communications

Curriculum and Instruction Support

Health Services

Locations/Hours of Operation
Health Services

Student Placement Office
Making an A+ Choice

The Omaha Public Schools' Student Assignment Plan Partner Plan and High School Plan offers students several school options from which to choose. Plus, depending on where a student lives, he or she may be eligible for transportation to the school of his/her choice.

The selection process begins each year in December and concludes with student selections in late January. At this time, OPS students are encouraged to attend open houses at each of the schools to help them make an informed choice.

Students and parent who have made this decision in years past have seen it as a difficult, yet exciting process. All OPS schools offer exceptional and comprehensive instruction and the same basic curriculum and extra curricular activities. Each school does, however, have its own unique characteristics. As a result, students and families are usually able to find the school that best fits his/her needs.

The Omaha Public School prepares all students to excel in college, career and life; therefore, we feel confident that whatever your decision is, your school of choice will prepare you for a bright future in the 21st century.

To find out what each school has to offer, please click on the school name and the link will take you to the school's website.
The 2018 Phase 2 bond program is already underway and three community meetings are scheduled to take place this month. For dates, times and locations, please see below.
Transition Program Relocation
4839 N. 72 St.
Jan. 17, 2019
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
New Ft. Crook Road Elementary School
Chandler View Elementary School
Jan. 22, 2019
6 p.m. to 8 p.m. 
Pinewood Elementary Renovation Project

Pinewood Elementary
Jan. 24, 2019
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

These are information meetings only.
Phase 2 Bond Work Scheduled for Elementary Schools
Adams, Catlin Magnet, Conestoga Magnet, Edison, Highland, King, Masters, Pinewood and Spring Lake Magnet will all receive capital improvements. Additional capacity will be added at Highland, Masters, Pinewood and Spring Lake Magnet..

Two new elementary schools will be built - one near Ft. Crook Road and the other at 10th and Pine Streets.

Phase 2 Bond Work Scheduled for Middle Schools
Lewis & Clark and Morton Magnet Middle will receive capital improvement with additional capacity to be added at both schools.

A new middle school will be built near the current Gateway Elementary.

Phase 2 Bond Work Scheduled for High Schools
All seven high schools will receive capital improvements.

Two new high schools are scheduled to be built - one at 156th and Ida Streets and another at 60th and L Streets.

Work on the Phase 2 bond is slated to be completed by 2023.
This month, we recognize Marrs Magnet Middle School principal Bryan Dunne for his commitment and dedication to the students and families of Marrs and the Omaha Public Schools.
Video created by District Communications' videographer Alex Hassel.
Your Opinion Matters!

We would like feedback on how well this newsletter is meeting the needs of OPS staff, parents, community members, retirees, community partners and others who receive it. Please take a few moments to complete this brief survey. It is our goal that the newsletter is packed with information important to you.

Thank you!
The Omaha Public Schools' Community Opportunities is a monthly
publication where businesses and non-profit organizations can post
advertisements for our parents to let them know of student and family opportunities taking place in the Metro area. The publication goes live on our website the first school day of each month. If you would like to see this month's ads, please click on the link below:

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.