The Omaha Public Schools prepares all students to excel in college, career and life.
Managing Editor: Deb S. Christiansen Garza
Dear OPS Community:
As the 2018-2019 school year concludes, I wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a relaxing summer break and thank you for a successful school year.
Together, we’ve achieved a number of accomplishments in which we should collectively take pride. Throughout the summer, our board of education will begin developing our school district’s new strategic plan. This plan will guide the direction and future of our school district. Our current, proposed preliminary goals for the plan include: meeting post-secondary expectations, growing our own highly-qualified and effective staff, recruiting and retaining top talent and demonstrating financial sustainability for our school district to include designing goals that are tied to our desired student outcomes.
The future of our school district is bright, and that radiance comes from the dedication of our school leaders, teachers and district staff and our community. Thank you for your commitment to nurturing our promise for our 53,000 young people, and for your continued support of the Omaha Public Schools.
Have a fantastic summer!
Cordially yours,
Cheryl J. Logan,  Ed.D.
Omaha Public Schools
"Sup for the Soul" Podcast - May 2019

Please take a few minutes to watch the latest "Sup for the Soul " podcast , filmed at the University of Nebraska Omaha's Baxter Arena prior to Benson High Magnet School's graduation ceremony. This month, we highlight this year's accomplishments for each of the seven high schools and preview early results of the OPS Summer Reading challenge. In addition, we discuss what's to come as we develop our new strategic plan and reflect on my first year as your superintendent.
Superintendent's Top Seniors Breakfast

Dr. Cheryl Logan hosted a Top Seniors Breakfast at the University of Nebraska Omaha Thompson Alumni Center on May 17. Our outstanding students were chosen based on their leadership, academic performance, role modeling for other students and community service. High school principals, members of the Board of Education, district leadership and parents were also invited to attend. Thank you to the Omaha Public Schools Foundation for their support.

Students recognized included: Dean Hohn – Benson; Ni Htaw Gaw – Benson; Niaysha Mitchell - Blackburn; David Tenorio-Fernandez – Bryan; Salma Mohamud – Bryan; Elizabeth Richardson – Burke
Caroline Hites – Burke; Orestes Cooper III – Central; Alison Doody – Central; Al'Brion Lang - Integrated Learning Program; Christina Martinez - Multiple Pathways; JeLani Ladd – North; DaNya Horne – North; Cung Thawng – Northwest; Valkyrie Gilkison – Northwest; Jonathan Rodriguez-Rosas – South and Tania Neri-Rodriguez – South.
Superintendent and
Pete the Cat Launch
Summer Reading Program
Research has suggested that students who fail to read at least 20 minutes each day during summer break can lose up to a full grade level of reading skill, so that very cool dude, Pete the Cat accompanied Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Logan on her Ollie the Trolley tour of four elementary schools to help launch the district’s summer reading program on May 10. The program is a collaboration with Scholastic Books to encourage summer reading. During the school visits, students in grades kindergarten through third grade were challenged to read a collective 1,000,000 minutes throughout summer break and track their time online. Thanks to a generous donor, students received a bag of 10 free books that included such titles as “Pete the Cat,” "National Geographic" and “Dog Man" to take home to get them started on their reading quest. The event aimed to help students think critically about content, encourage them to connect with their local libraries and book stores to get more books over the summer…and help them learn more about different authors, plots, characters and topics. Parents will be able to access the OPS Reading Tracker at and insert the number of daily minutes’ students read.
Sherwood Summer Reading Program

To help students meet their summer reading goals, a number of school libraries will be open throughout the month of June. Students and their families can also join the Omaha Public Library's Summer Reading Program to improve their reading skills and clock time.
Kindergartners Ask Questions, Give Advice to Departing Seniors

They're OPS kindergartners now but these future  # OPSGraduates   want to know what high school is like! Check out one of the cutest videos of kindergartners interviewing OPS high school seniors!  #OPSProud  
Omaha Public Schools'
Strategic Planning Process

It’s been five years since the Omaha Public Schools updated its strategic plan. With a new Superintendent and several new board members onboarded, the district will move forward with research and designing the stakeholder meeting process for the new strategic plan.
At the April 15 Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Logan presented an overview of the process, and shared the planning goals and projected timeline.
“If we are going to be able to deliver the promise we made to our 53,000 students and families, we have to pay attention to our strategic plan very carefully,” Logan said.
The board drives the strategic planning process. The district’s strategic planning partners will provide the board with a brief presentation in June. Those partners are: Rebecca Ryan, futurist; David Trautenberg, financial expert; and Kecia Ray, K-20 expert.
Four goals have been identified as part of plan development:
  1. Identify research based practices to support the assessment of the district's budget and development of the strategic plan.
  2. Engage stakeholders in the evaluation of the budget and establish strategic plan goals.
  3. Facilitate community meeting to create opportunities for reviewing goals and assembling parts of the strategic plan.
  4. Finalize a draft of a strategic plan that is data driven and evaluated by the superintendent and Board of Education for approval.

“If we look at our model for success, the most important thing for this particular planning process is that we have to spend a lot more time on our financial accountability and sustainability,” Logan said. “We have to look at how we are spending our money. We have to look at it programmatically and determine our expenses. Evaluating those is really difficult work because everyone loves their programs and wants to see them succeed.”
Logan also shared the preliminary goals for the plan. The goals will likely be adjusted and finalized as the district completes the strategic planning process, she said. The proposed goals are:

  1. Omaha Public School students are prepared to meet post-secondary expectations (early literacy, college prep, career readiness, instructional resources; climate conducive for learning).
  2. Omaha Public Schools has highly-qualified and effective staff in every division (grow your own; retention; recruitment; professional development; advancement and growth).
  3. Omaha Public Schools demonstrates financial sustainability tied to student outcomes (desirable programmatic offerings - state of magnet programs; facilities; operations; finances).

The tentative timeline and focus areas for the strategic planning process is as follows:
Research and Budget Review:
  March - April 2019
  • The team conducts research, reviews the budget and meets with key stakeholders to measure outcomes.

Stakeholder Engagement:
April - May 2019
  • Board and Superintendent evaluation and engagement of stakeholders.
June - September 2019
  • Establish strategic plan goals and host community meetings to build consensus.

Development and Data Connections:
September - October 2019
  • Draft and revise plan with community stakeholders and connect data to proposed strategic plan goals.
Strategic Plan Solidification:
  October - December 2019
  • Finalize strategic plan.
  • Align staff in the work of established goals and conduct Board presentations for review.

Strategic Plan Launch: January 2020 (tentative)

“Although we have a five-year plan, we have a yearly opportunity for accountability,” said Logan. “We will create some key performance indicators that are simple enough to address the big rock items and measure success since we know that our board members have a lot to manage. As we participate in the planning process, we have to remember that we should also allow room for change and make sure our goals align with our organizational values as we move forward.”

The district received a grant from a philanthropic donor to cover the cost of the strategic planning process. To view the slideshow from the Board of Education meeting, visit:
OPS Announces New Supervisor of Counseling Services

The Omaha Public Schools is pleased to announce it has selected Kathryn Hecht-Weber as the next school counseling supervisor. Her appointment becomes effective Aug. 1, 2019.
Hecht-Weber has worked for the district for 18 years. She is currently serving the district office as the school counseling secondary lead. Prior to serving as the secondary lead, she was the school counseling director at South High Magnet School and a school counselor at Burke High School and Beveridge Magnet Middle School. She began her career as an art teacher at King Science and Technology Magnet Middle School.
Hecht-Weber holds a bachelor of arts degree in art education from Nebraska Wesleyan University (2001) and went on to earn a master of science degree in counseling from the University of Nebraska at Omaha (2008).
OPS Boundary Change Process

The Omaha Public Schools will continue collecting feedback from the community regarding its proposed boundary changes until May 31.

To learn more about the boundary change process, please watch this video. You may also visit to see the boundary option maps, review frequently asked questions and take a survey.
CHI Health and Omaha Public Schools Partner to Honor Teachers Across the District
CHI Health wants nominations of Omaha Public Schools' teachers changing the lives of students. Each month, they'll surprise a Top Teacher nominee with a treat basket for the teacher's lounge and a personal gift card. CHI will draw winners on the last Friday of the month. CHI Health will select one winner at the elementary, middle and high school level.
Anyone can nominate a Top Teacher at .

If you would like to view the latest CHI newsletter devoted to youth issues, please click here .
Thank you for your support of our teachers and for your support of the Omaha Public Schools.
April CHI Health Teacher Recipients
Mahala Jankowski
Jefferson Elementary
Andrea Yeager-Neuzil
Morton Magnet Middle School
Erin Sackett
South High Magnet School
Morton Magnet Middle School Principal Sherri Wehr
Receives the Kerrie Orozco Volunteer Award
. . .Morton Magnet Middle School principal Sherri Wehr who received the Kerrie Orozco Volunteer Award for her years of devotion to the OPS Special Olympics Fellowship Games. The award was presented by Omaha Police Department Officer Robert Orr (right) and Sgt. Marcus Taylor (left).

Steve Eubanks, OPS supervisor of athletics, wrote the following tribute to Wehr, which the officers shared prior to presenting her the award:

Sherri Wehr is one of the most remarkable people I have ever had the pleasure to know and work with. She is a definite difference maker who positively impacts all she encounters. In fact, all of our lives have been enhanced because of Sherri Wehr. 
Sherri loves to help people discover the beauty in themselves and others. She spreads a message of hope, a message of unity, and is a true champion for all. 
Sherri Wehr is a servant leader and her legacy is steeped in compassion. She showers others with unconditional love. Throughout her career, Sherri has preached honesty, truth, kindness and how to care for others. She encourages all of us to be inclusive, to take bold risks and she has taught us that the greatest danger in life is not taking the adventure.
I believe Sherri Wehr's dream is for all of us to realize that we are family, that we are made for togetherness, we are designed for goodness and must be models for compassion.

Bryan High School Psychologist Receives Outstanding Alumnus Award

. . .Bryan High School psychologist Kyndra Bendickson , who received the Outstanding Alumnus Award in School Psychology from the University of Nebraska Kearney on April 28. This award reflects Bendickson's leadership in the program, her contributions to the field and the respect the university's Department of Counseling and School Psychology has for her.
2019 Alice Buffett Outstanding Teacher Award Winners
. . .the 2019 Alice Buffett Outstanding Teacher Award winners:

  • Jennifer Bailey, kindergarten teacher at Indian Hill Elementary
  •  Kelli Baker, first-grade teacher at Standing Bear Elementary
  •  Leslie Baxter, special education teacher at Chandler View Elementary
  •  Page Dalton, social studies teacher at Burke High School
  •  Jay Daugherty, social studies teacher at Buffett Magnet Middle School
  •  Margaret Douglas, fifth-grade teacher at Wilson Focus School
  •  David Groth, vocal music teacher at Burke High School
  •  Lacie Hansen, language arts teacher at Norris Middle School
  •  Jessica Korth, math teacher at Bryan Middle School
  •  Keith Kramer, information technology/robotics teacher at Marrs Magnet Middle School
  •  Vanessa Kurse, first-grade teacher at Picotte Elementary
  •  Michelle Meyer, English as a second language teacher at Belle Ryan Elementary School
  •  Desseraye Scott, first-grade teacher at Crestridge Magnet Elementary School
  •  Kimberly Wichert, science teacher at Buffett Magnet Middle School        
  •  Donna Wilcox, language arts teacher at Marrs Magnet Middle School
Jennifer Bailey
Kelli Baker
Leslie Baxter
Page Dalton
Jay Daugherty
Margaret Douglas
David Groth
Lacie Hansen
Jessica Korth
Keith Kramer
Vanessa Kurse
Michelle Meyer
Desseraye Scott
Kimberly Wichert
Donna Wilcox
Benson High Magnet Robotics Team Ranked Fourth
in the World
. . .Benson High Magnet's VEX robotics 1045A team, who won their division and went on to compete in finals at the VEX Robotics Championship in Louisville, Kentucky, April 22-26. The team finished fourth out of 585 teams. They are the first Nebraska team to achieve this standing and will advance to the world competition in China. Team members: Isaac Beacom, Tanner Sasse and Chris Schroeder. Coach: Ryan Troxell
Former South High Packer Drafted to the
National Football League
. . .the Denver Bronco's new tight end Noah Fant. The former South High Packer is the first Nebraska high school graduate selected in the opening round of the NFL Draft in 32 years.
North High Magnet Students Place at State Competition
. . .the North High Magnet School students that placed in the Nebraska School Activities Association's State Journalism Contest held in Kearney, Nebraska, on April 23.

First Place
Nathanial Smith (11), Newspaper Layout
Fourth Place
Denaya Lewis (11), Column Writing
Sixth Place
Sofia Rodas (11) and Nathaniel Smith (11), Broadcast Feature
Jessica Stacy (11), Sports News Writing
. . .the Omaha Public Schools' middle school teams that placed in the Nebraska United States Academic Decathlon's Academic Pentathlon program:


McMillan Magnet Middle School, 8th Grade Team
C oaches: Stefanie Conley, John Costanzo and Eric Hagen
Nayeera Abdessalam
Jaelyn Bentzinger
Roman Bolouvi
Dalilah Kirby
Kobe McPhaull
Garrett Riley
Mark Root
Carlo Santos
Bowen Steffen

Beveridge Magnet Middle School, 8th Grade - Team 1
Coaches: Jaclyn Nielsen and Morgan Sammons
Dee-Dee Djon
Noemi Gilbert
Angel Gutierrez-Hernandez
Emmanuella Houndjo
Jazmin Jimenez
Enoc Ortega
Ethan Penkava
Jaden Pospishil
Montaija Williford

McMillan Magnet Middle School, 7th Grade Team
Coaches: Stefanie Conley, John Costanzo and Eric Hagen
Sofia Acosta
Quavatis Cooper
Bryan Garcia Juan
Ella Holtzclaw
Lennon Kiefer
Aaliyah McAfee
Claire Nipper
Elizabeth (Hannah) Waltemath
Caedence Weinman
. . .the Omaha Public Schools' students recognized by the Duke Talent Identification Program:

State Recognition
Richard Brock (McMillan Magnet Middle)
Justin Conley (Buffett Magnet Middle)
Hadley Forsen (Buffett Magnet Middle)
Shruti Garapati (Davis Middle)
Nayeli Gonzalez (Beveridge Magnet Middle)
Kaden Jantzi (Buffett Magnet Middle)
Ashley Mercer (Buffett Magnet Middle)
Grace Morrison (Beveridge Magnet Middle)
Mason Pierce (King Science and Technology Center)
Mercedes Renken (Buffett Magnet Middle)
Melina Scurlock (Davis Middle)
Reed Swartzbaugh (Davis Middle)
Grand and State Recognition
Sofia Acosta (McMillan Magnet Middle)
Kashif Nazmul (Davis Middle)
Manitha Senanayaka (Buffett Magnet Middle)
Brayden Simpson (Buffett Magnet Middle)
The Duke University Talent Identification Program is a nonprofit organization that supports academically talented students in grades four through 12. We offer above-grade-level testing, enrichment resources, year-round learning options, residential summer programs, online courses, and original research to supplement what students receive in school.
. . .the Omaha Public Schools' students recognized at the Destination Imagination regional and state competitions:

Regionals – Spirit of Destination Imagination Award         
Dundee Elementary
Lorenzo Batt
Miles Korb
Theo Puls
State – First Place in Improvisation
R.M. Marrs
Jailyn Brey
Maggie Ernst
Brey and Ernst will both advance to Globals this month.
Destination Imagination
. . .the Omaha Public Schools' student teams that placed in the Golden Sower Reading Championship:

First Place
Harrison Elementary, B Team
Rita Harr
Devin Hoshaw
Hugh Lowe-Weyand
Bethan McDonald
Coach: Laura Beeghly
Second Place
Saddlebrook Elementary, A Team
Cora Bitter
Ava Nance
Claushaud Robbins
Stella Williams
Coach: Shelly Wurth
The ten books students were required to read for this year's competition were those on the Golden Sower Nominee list:

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook
Garvey's Choice
Maxi's Secrets
Save Me a Seat
Towers Falling
The Wild Robot
Sertoma Club Essay Winners

. . .to the Omaha Public Schools’ students recognized by the Sertoma Club for their essays on “What Freedom Means to Me.” They received their awards during a reception on May 14.
Tahtianna Hollis
Pawnee Elementary
Jenna Pospisil
Sunny Slope Elementary
Clashaud Robbins
Saddlebrook Elementary
Addison Strong
Saddlebrook Elementary
Stella Williams
Saddlebrook Elementary
Benson JROTC Drill Team Places in
Des Moines' Meet
. . .the Benson High Magnet JROTC Drill Team. The team placed in every category they entered in the Des Moines North High School Drill Meet and to cadet Malachi Pollard who finished in the top 10 of all cadets in the Individual Drill competition.
  •  3rd Place: Armed Regulation Drill
  •  3rd Place: Unarmed Regulation Drill
  •  4th Place: Regulation Color Guard
  •  4th Place: Regulation Inspection
South High Magnet
2019 Audubon Society Photography Awards 
. . .the South High Magnet School student-winners in the 2019 Audubon Society Photography Awards contest:
Excellence Award
  Yohana Juan-Francisco (9) and Best of Show
  Jenny Martinez Gonzalez (10)
  Zeltzin Mercado Mejia (12)
  Alejandra Sancez-Gavia (10)
Merit Award
Emma Bailey (10)
Maria Hernandez-Nazaruk (10)
Jose Jaimes-Valasquez (11)
Quality Marco (9)
Francisco Morales (10)
Unique Musil (11)
Michel Castaneda Ramirez (10)
Allison Remijio (10)
Carlos Aguero Rios (11)
Dennis Sotelo-Flores (11)
South High Magnet Students Accepted into
Visual Arts Summer Program

. . .the South High Magnet students accepted into the Visual Arts Summer Program "Open Space" at Hastings College June 2-8:
Ana Lopez-Zurita
Janeth Martinez
Monroe Middle School Students Advance to the Interview Round for the Nebraska College Preparatory Academy
at North High Magnet School

. . . the Monroe Middle School students that made it to the interview round for the Nebraska College Preparatory Academy at North High Magnet School. Students who complete the academy at North receive a nearly full-ride scholarship to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Interviews took place on May 10 and 11. Of the 55 students being interviewed, 25 are from Monroe Middle. Academy semi-finalists included: Caidence Binns , Azzy Carr , JaMeah Cass , Jamirrah Clark , Adali Cruz-Reyes , Amber Donovan , Ahmaya Evans, Noelani Fears , Jomarae Graham , Amira Harrington , Inaya Henley , Lillian Hudson , Chandler Ingram , Lennard Jackson , Ciara Mercer , A'Jinea Moore , Gabe Moore , Nyah Partridge-Butler , Sabrina Sagitteh , A'mya Samuel, Eryk Thomas , John Wade , La'Aszja Williamson , Patrick Wright and Quantrelle Wright .
North High Magnet Students Place at
National Competition

. . .the North High Magnet School students that placed in the Journalism Education Association/National Scholastic Press Association's (JEA/NSPA) National Convention in Anaheim, California, April 25-29. Each student competed in either an on-site write-off competition or submitted a contest entry prior to the conference.

Sydney Hamilton (12), Newspaper Layout
Honorable Mention
Emma Hansen (12), News Magazine Design
Caitlin Pieters (11), Photo Story
Elizabeth Snell (11), News Writing
School Security Officers Receive the Aaron Daily Security of the Year Award
. . .OPS Security Officers Mindy Olson (Walnut Hill Elementary), Ralph Pope (Masters Elementary) and Robert Stubbs (Belle Ryan Elementary). The three received the Aaron Daily Security of the Year Award from the School Safety Office.
Davis Middle School's Girls Soccer Team Earn the
2019 City Championship

. . .the Davis Middle School girls soccer team. The team won the 2019 City Championship against Beveridge Magnet Middle School.
Perfect ACT Score
. . .North High Magnet senior Noah Crawford who earned a perfect score on his ACT college entrance exam. Crawford was recognized by Gov. Pete Ricketts along with other Nebraska students.
Scholarship Award Winner
. . .Central High senior Ilana McNamera who received a $10,000 Phil and Ruth Sokolof Honor Roll Merit Scholarship. McNamera plans to double major in mathematics and viola.
State Champions!
The South High Magnet Packers have done it again by bringing home another state championship. South won the title in a shootout game (2-1) versus Creighton Prep High School. South also brought home the basketball state championship earlier in the year.

McMillan Takes Third Place
at Nationals
McMillan Magnet Middle School swept third place (both seventh and eighth grade teams) at the National Academic Pentathlon. This is the second year eighth grade has earned third place.

By Julie Sigmon, Omaha STEM Ecosystem Director

Building Omaha's Future Leaders
A STEM Professional You Should Know!

Dr. Chris Schaben is the science supervisor for Omaha Public Schools (OPS), the largest urban district in Nebraska. Dr. Schaben is a passionate science/STEM education leader, who inspires teachers and students. His work as principal investigator of several grants has moved his district to a student-centered science program. His efforts have led to two, OPS student-generated experiments flying aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor STS-134 in the initial Student Spaceflight Experiments Program. Dr. Schaben applied the lessons learned from this experience to create a Near-Space Students’ Experiments Program in OPS with over 70 high-altitude balloon launches to date, directly from OPS schools. 

Dr. Schaben is also actively engaged at the regional, state and national levels. He is a past president of both the Nebraska Academy of Science and the Metropolitan Science and Engineering Fair. He is the Advisory Board Chair for the Omaha STEM Ecosystem. He is Vice President and Co-founder of the Nebraska Junior Academy of Science. Dr. Schaben has authored multiple science education journal articles, was promoted to Fellow of AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) in 2017, and is the 2018 National Outstanding Leadership in Science Education awardee from the National Science Education Leadership Association.
-April edition of STEM newsletter
Student Transfer Requests
Continue Through Summer

For families who missed the school selection process in January, the student transfer request process opened for school enrollment changes on April 15. All enrollment changes made prior to June 15 will be included in the Student Transportation routing process for the 2019-2020 school year. All changes made after June 15 will not have guaranteed transportation to the school of their choice. They will be eligible if there is a bus with space and a stop available on the route within the appropriate distance to the student's home.

Families who went through the school selection process should receive a letter this month. If you do not receive a letter, please call the Student Placement Office at (531) 299-0302.

Other questions regarding transfers and placement may be directed to the following individuals:

Special Education Placement: Dan Weidner (531) 299-9679
Student Placement: Patrick Pope (531) 299-9733
ESL Placement: Yadira Servellon (531) 299-9737

To find your home attendance area school or for more information regarding the OPS Student Assignment Plan, please click here.
A Message from Student Transportation

The OPS Student Transportation Office has already started developing bus routes for the 2019-2020 school year. To ensure that eligible students are accurately routed, it is important that your student's information and address is current with the Student Placement Office no later than June 15, 2019.

To update your address, please complete a change of address form at any OPS school or at the Teacher and Administrative Center (3215 Cuming St.). Please be prepared to provide address verification. If you have questions regarding transportation eligibility, please contact the Student Placement Office at (531) 299-0302.

Our goal is to efficiently serve the transportation needs of our students.
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.
Sherman Students Attend
Fire Safety Day
The Omaha Fire Department held a Fire Safety and Prevention and Emergency Preparedness event at Sherman Elementary in April. Students were taught what to do in case of a fire and how to safely evacuate their home. They also had the opportunity to explore a fire truck and learn more about firefighters' jobs.
Omaha Public Schools Holds Annual Fellowship Games

Special education students showed off their skills during the OPS Fellowship Games at the Burke High stadium - home of the state track meet. Students participated in relays, long jump, chicken toss, javelin throw, shot put and more.

The Fellowship Games aim to help students progress from physical education lessons into recreational competition, understand the importance and benefits of staying active, build relationships with other students, learn teamwork and fair play and experience the enjoyment of recreational activities with others. MVP awards were presented at the end of the games.

This event is a collaboration between the Omaha Public Schools and Special Olympics Nebraska.
OPS 2019 Middle School Poetry Slam

The Omaha Public Schools' Gifted and Talented Office held its annual middle school Poetry Slam at the B-Side of Benson Theater on April 24. This year's guest speaker was Matt Mason, Nebraska's State Poet.

Slam poetry is a performance poetry that combines elements of performance, writing, competition and audience participation. It is performed at events called poetry slams. The name slam refers to how the audience is able to give immediate feedback. The concept originated in Chicago in the 1980s by Marc Kelly Smith. Today, slam poetry is considered a movement as well as a genre of poetry and spoken word. A National Poetry Slam is an annual five-day poetry slam held in a different American city each year, where teams compete from cities all over the United States and Canada.
Written Division Winners
Left to right:
Gold: Sofia O'Brien (Morton), Bronze: TyTeanna Belvin (McMillan), Bronze: Kathrine Holmes (Norris) and Gold: Emilia Hoyt (Davis)
Slam Division Winners
Left to right:
Gold: Eva Ellefson (Beveridge), Silver: Lola Dow (Beveridge), Gold: Samara Luther (Davis), Silver: Jordyn Hill (Nathan Hale) and Bronze: Anna Ledgerwood (Lewis & Clark)
Northwest Magnet High School
Poetry Slam Team Places Second at Indie Finals
Northwest High Magnet School’s Poetry Slam team placed second in the Indie Finals at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Individual winning students Sharieff Clark and Valkyrie Gilkison took first and second place, respectively. Gilkison tied for second with a student from South High Magnet School.
Bryan High School Holds Second Annual Art Show to
Benefit the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium's
Conservation Program

The artistic talents of 20 Bryan High School students were on display during the school's second annual art show and silent auction to benefit Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium conservation efforts. More than 120 pieces of art - including paintings, ceramics, jewelry and wooden keepsake boxes - were created by students, staff and alumni. This year, the show netted $2,349.25 - up from last year. As a thank you, students were invited back to the zoo for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Desert Dome. It is yet to be determined what this year's donation will help support. Last year's donation was used to help transfer a polar bear to the Kansas City Zoo.
Northwest High Magnet AP Environmental Science Students Present Sustainable Landscape Designs

Northwest High Magnet AP Environmental Science students, in collaboration with students enrolled in University of Nebraska Omaha's Introduction to Sustainable Landscape Design classes, presented their landscape design plans to expand Northwest's outdoor gardens in April. Designs included plans for a Native American, rain, pollinator, medicinal and Lewis & Clark expedition gardens, which will provide outdoor classrooms for students and a quiet respite for the community. UNO staff and Northwest students and staff reviewed the presentations. The project was funded by the Nebraska State Arboretum.
Medicinal Garden
(l to r) Zach Timberley (UNO), Alexandria Larsen (UNO), Megan Blodgett and Lillian Hughes
Native American Garden
(l to r) Nevaeh McKinney, A'mya Gilmore, Cole Neville (UNO) and Bennet Jones (UNO)
Lewis & Clark Expedition
(l to r) Amy Hutton (UNO), Vanessa Nunez (UNO), Victoria Brumfield and Miracle Deavers
Pollinator Garden
(l to r) Bu Meh, New Year, Kailey Fricke (UNO) and Cawly Ruberis (UNO)
Rain Garden
(l to r) Kaylynn Tucker, Ma'Lisa Smith, Franck Lopez (UNO), Alex Wattenhofes (UNO) and Carly Pfeffer (UNO)
Northwest Principal Thomas Lee visits with students who created the pollinator garden.
Blackburn Hosts 8th Annual Spring Fling

The annual Blackburn Spring Fling is an amazing collaborative event between the University of Nebraska Omaha, Blackburn and the Adams Community Center's senior program. Each year, Blackburn and UNO sponsor a meal prepared by Blackburn culinary students. Staff and students decorate the serving area, prepare a memorable feast and provide an afternoon filled with entertainment. This year's theme was "Hawaiian Luau." The event included student poems, a special award presentation and a song by Mr. Washington. This community service project is a great reflection of the students and staff, Blackburn and the Omaha Public Schools.
Morton Magnet Middle School Students Attend
Facebook Summit

The National School Alliance piloted the "Engineer for the Week Winter Sprint" Facebook program at Morton Magnet Middle School. The program is dedicated to spotlighting projects that help tackle social issues through events and programming. Morton students K-Vante Brown, TyVell Foster and Ajzeona McKizzie built a "Chatbot for Change" that interacts with their peers about social issues and is based on topics they felt could provide guidance for other teens in both positive and negative experiences.

Their Chat Bot design and the way they linked to social issues won them a spot at the finalist table at Facebook headquarters in San Francisco, California. Only 20 teams were chosen from across the United States. Of those 20 teams, less than five teams were comprised of middle school students.
The all-expense paid trip for the teams gave students an opportunity to meet at Facebook headquarters and compete in a 48-hour team challenge to design & build a game for social change. The Morton students worked alongside Facebook engineers to create a game and presentation called "The Pitch." Once completed, the team had to sell their game to Facebook judges. 
Facebook was so impressed by the focus and drive of these three students, they want to partner with Omaha Public Schools and Collective for Youth on a larger scale.
Former Central High School Student Already Making
Her Mark in the World

Photo and Article Courtesy of UNO's Public Relations Office

Inspired by growing up in North Omaha, business administration student Tiffany Hunter has her sights set on developing her community’s infrastructure and buildings "to contribute to the betterment of the overall community, including public schools."

To continue reading, click here.
Field Club Elementary Holds Career Day

As a part of its No Excuses University and College Decision Day, Field Club Elementary invited guests to come to its annual Career Day. Professionals were asked to share their educational journey, the hard work they had to do to get into college, what college they attended, who pushed them to do their best in school, what advice they would give to someone hoping to go to college and what their career is like. Field Club follows college-bound expectations throughout the building to help all students prepare for college if that is the path they choose to pursue.

The school attempted to find a career/job path for each letter of the alphabet and guests included bankers, carpenters, college professors, military personnel, police officers, forensic investigators and veterinarians among others.

At the end of the day, students were filled with knowledge for college!
Yates Community Center Unveils First Voices Mural

Nestled in Omaha’s most diverse zip code, classrooms at Yates Educational Community Partnership (YECP) bustle with hard-working students from all around the world learning together. On May 10, YECP unveiled its First Voices mural, which recognizes Native American families as America’s first people and refugees and immigrants who are often the first of their family or ethnic group to move to Omaha. The First Voices mural aims to be a beautiful reminder that Nebraska is a welcoming place for everyone to call home. The unveiling ceremony included ethnic food, dancing, singing, and poetry. The project was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Nebraska Arts Council and the Omaha Public Schools Foundation. It was created by artist Gerard Pefung.
Columbian Students Complete Leaves for School's Legacy Tree

Columbian students traveled to Do Space to work with Molly Macklin of Schemmer Architects to engrave the leaves they designed last school year using a laser printer. Macklin provided a brief presentation of how trees removed from Columbian's property were transformed into the blocks of wood for students to burn their designs on. The leaves will be used to create a Legacy Tree, which will be the focal point of the new school's lobby. Leaves were designed by students who will not actually attend the new Columbian because they will or have already moved on to middle school before the school opens in the fall of 2019.
Catlin Magnet Elementary Unveils Peaceable Kingdom
Mural During Annual Art Show

Catlin Magnet Elementary unveiled its Peaceable Kingdom mural that took three years to complete. The work was a collaborative effort between artist Dar Vande Voort, students and staff. "Every students' hands contributed to the creation of this mural," stated Voort. "It's a beautiful piece for students to enjoy." In addition to the mural, students' artworks were on display throughout the school for parents, community members and guests to enjoy. Guests and students could also stop by the Famous Artist photo booth to have their picture taken.
Spring Lake Magnet Elementary Celebrate Former Students'
and Current Staff Member's Achievements

South High Magnet seniors walked the halls of Spring Lake Magnet Elementary to "Pomp and Circumstance" prior to their Saturday, May 18 graduation at the Baxter Arena. They were joined by UNO graduates and a staff member who recently earned her master's degree. This annual event gives current Spring Lake students an opportunity to see former Spring Lake Magnet students who have achieved high school graduation and beyond. The school holds the walk to inspire its current students to work hard, develop a college-ready attitude and to achieve their highest potential.
Wilson Focus Students Present Disney's "Aristocats"

Wilson Focus School students presented Disney's "Aristocats" as part of Disney's Musicals in Schools program sponsored by the Omaha Performing Arts. Wilson's music teacher, Emily Pearce, directed the production with the help of Wilson staff.

Disney Musicals in Schools is a free program offered to a limited number of public elementary schools each year. Through the program schools receive free performance rights and show kit materials to a 30-minute Disney musical written for elementary school performers. Over the course of a semester, professional teaching artists guide school teachers through the process of mounting a musical with student performers.

"When a retired opera singer leaves her inheritance to her cat, Duchess and three kittens, the woman's butler drugs the cats and abandons them in the countryside in order to inherit the fortune himself. Lost in unfamiliar territory, Duchess and the kittens meet Thomas O'Malley, an alley cat willing to help them return to their home in Paris. They meet several kooky characters along the way, including two English geese and an alley cat jazz band."
King Science & Technology Magnet Center Holds
Health Fair and Blood Drive

Community members and students were able to get blood pressure checks, stand inside a 3-D human heart, experience what it is like for a person who has Multiple Sclerosis, use robotic arms to perform surgery, receive a spine assessment from a chiropractor and gather information about health professions. The school also highlighted students' Health Career Academy capstone projects, held a blood drive in collaboration with the American Red Cross and an end-of-year cookout.
United Way of the Midlands Holds End-of-Year "Book Trust" Celebration at Howard Kennedy Elementary

United Way of the Midlands (UWM) and Howard Kennedy Elementary partnered to throw an end-of-year "Book Trust" celebration for students. The UWM-funded "Book Trust" program has allowed students in K-3 to receive more than 5,500 free books during the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 academic years and an additional 3,000 books this year. UWM Emerging Leaders helped to distribute and read books to students at monthly "Book Box Openings" throughout the duration of the program. During the celebration, students played a number of book-themed games and received a treat from Kona Ice thanks to a generous donation from U.S. Bank. Through the "Book Trust" K-3 students received $7 a month to choose and buy their own books from a Scholastic Reading Club. At the end of the school year, each student owns approximately 20-30 books. The program aims to increase students' access to reading materials, empower teachers to create a classroom culture of literacy and inspire students to read.
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.
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The Phase 1 bond program is winding down and Phase 2 bond program projects are underway. It's exciting to watch the transformations happening across the district and the benefits our students will enjoy because of the generous support of Omaha taxpayers!

To help us keep the community updated on the latest progress of projects, we asked Buffett Magnet Middle School students to lend their broadcasting skills to producing monthly reports. Our thanks to them on doing an excellent job!

We hope you enjoy this update on renovations at Boyd Elementary School set to be completed in August 2019.
Economic Inclusion Program Director Karlus Cozart recently shared an update on the Phase I and Phase 2 bond programs with the Omaha Public Schools' Board of Education on May 6.
Phase I Update
On time and on Budget
83 Active or Completed Projects
  • 01 - Bid / Award
  • 00 - Design
  • 09 - Construction
  • 66 - Completed
  • 07 - Closeout
Total Program Budget: $421 million
Total Projected Commitments: $412.1 million or 97.9%
Phase 2 Update
On time and on Budget
13 Active Projects / 52% of Phase-2 Program
  • 05 – Bid / Award
  • 08 – Design
  • 00 - Construction
  • 00 – Completed
  • 00 – Closeout
Total Program Budget: $409.9 million
Total Projected Commitments: $26.5 million (contract amount awarded) + $383.4 million (forecasted commitments) = $409.9 million
For Phase I, the goal was to have 7% of contracts go to small and emerging business. As of March 2019, 11.4% of the contracts have been awarded to small and emerging businesses. That equates to over $43.1 million. The goal for Phase 2 of the Bond is to have 15% of contracts go to SEBs.
Cozart also outlined the key performance indicators for the Phase 2 Bond.
To view the entire presentation presented to the Board of Education, click here.
This month, we recognize Principal Dr. Andrea Haynes for her commitment and dedication to the students and families of Harrison Elementary School and the Omaha Public Schools.
Video created by District Communications' videographer Alex Hassel.
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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.