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

Less than two weeks remain in the 2017-2018 school year, and together, we have much progress to celebrate as we reflect on the work we've accomplished this past school year. We are certainly better today than we were yesterday. Our students and staff have amassed a number of awards and recognitions this past school year and we are close to learning whether we will be able to move forward with Phase 2 bond work. We're poised to continue increasing academic achievement, and preparing our students to excel in college, career and life.

For the past several months, I have had the privilege of working with the incoming superintendent, Dr. Cheryl Logan, assisting her with transitioning into this role and helping familiarize her with the day-to-day workings of the district. The Board of Education could not have selected a more capable, talented leader to take the reins and keep building on the momentum we've captured together. The Omaha community has plenty of progress and success to look forward to in the years to come.

As we inch closer to primary election day, I want to remind everyone that Phase 2 of the OPS bond is on the ballot. Results from the May 15 election will determine whether the district can move forward with needed renovations and the construction of new schools. Phase 2 will help provide $409.9 million of improvements, renovation and new schools to alleviate capacity issues, maintain our facilities and help our schools accommodate future growth trends.

Prior to the 2014 bond, the district had not passed a bond in more than 15 years, which put required maintenance needs behind schedule and allowed maintenance and renovation needs to compound. It's time to complete the work we started with the Phase 1 bond.

Our students deserve to be educated in a pre-K through 12 environment that provides equitable, high-quality learning experiences and prepares them to compete in a global, 21st century world with endless opportunities and possibilities. To learn more about the bond, please visit:

Thank you for your continued support of the Omaha Public Schools.


Mark Evans, Superintendent
Omaha Public Schools
Video by OPS District Communications' videographer Alex Hassel
During our Board of Education information sessions, community members and staff expressed concerns about how the district would operate five new schools with the budget cuts it is facing due to its underfunded pension plan. It is important to emphasize that bond funds, which are specifically designated for maintenance, needed renovations and construction costs for new schools are completely separate from the district's general fund, which is the primary budget designated for district operations. To help the community understand how new schools are funded, how bonds are paid off and how the general budget money is spent, we have developed a question and answer document. To view it, please click here . If you still have questions, please visit .
The Omaha Public Schools is proud of the Class of 2018! All of our graduates have worked hard to accomplish this major milestone in their lives. We wish them the very best in the years ahead!
A special congratulations goes out to the seven seniors who are first in their class and will serve as valedictorian for their school's commencement ceremony.
Benson High Magnet School
Blake Zellmer

University of Nebraska at Omaha

Business or Psychology

School Activities
Academic Decathlon, School Store and DECA
Bryan High School
Gelsey Timilsina

Creighton University


School Activities
National Honor Society, Bearclusity, Mayor's Youth Council, Student Council, Trio Talent Search and Educator's Rising

Completely Kids - Gomez Heritage Elementary, Bryan Craft Show and School Clubs

Burke High School
Ryan Tiemann

University of Nebraska at Omaha


School Activities
Marching Band, Jazz Band, Concert Band, Winter Musical, Musical Pit, Concert Choir, Show Choir, National Honors Society, Youth Leadership Omaha, National Merit Scholars Commendation

Church Tech Crew, Church Wee Worship Helper

Central High School
Michaela Galeski

Loyola Marymount

Environmental Studies with a Minor in Studio Arts

School Activities
Soccer, Cheer Team, Tennis, FBLA, Spanish National Honor Society, NHS, IB Program, Senior Class Representative

NorthStar Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Sacred Heart Elementary, Humane Society and the Rose Blumkin Home
North High Magnet School
Grace Erixon

Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management - University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Software Engineering

School Activities
Student Council President, National Honor Society President, Student Ambassadors, Class Officers (Sergeant at Arms), Computer Science Quiz Bowl, CTF Competition Team, Principal's Advisory Board, Varsity Golf

Community Activities
Systems Application Developer Intern at Gallup, GET-HIP Internship, Rejoice! Lutheran Bell Choir, Omaha Girls Who Code, Nebraska
School Activities Association-Student Advisory Team-Communication Coordinator, Side Projects Computer Science Club and Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Metro Omaha Student Advisory Committee

Birthday Blessing (Volunteer Coordinator) an Instructor at Elementary School Coding Clubs, Girls Who Code (Teacher Assistant) DoSpace, HTM<elle> Class (Teacher Assistant) Mystery Code Society, Adult ELL Class for Refugees and Early Childhood
Northwest High Magnet School
Adam Strasser

University of Nebraska at Omaha


School Activities
National Honor Society, Student Council, NSAA Academic All-State, Metro Conference All-Academic Team, Varsity Letters for Academics, Music, Track and Cross Country, Honor Roll, Student of the Month, Athlete of the Month, All-City Honors Choir, Superior Vocal Soloist Award, Straight "A" Award, US Bank Believers and Achievers Award, Nebraska State Finance Challenge - Regional Winner and Top 3 in State, Past Secretary and Current President of the Choir Department, Track, Cross Country, Show Choir, Honors Concert Choir, Science Bowl, Personal Finance Club, Finance Challenge Team, Winter and Summer Running Clubs, Computer Science and Robotics Programming Teams

Community Activities
Sings and Plays Fiddle and Hammered Dulcimer in a Three Generational Family Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Band

Service Learning Projects/UNO, American Cancer Society/Relay for Life, Food Bank of the Heartland, Project Linus, American Red Cross,
Make-A-Wish Foundation, Adopt a Family, Bingo with Seniors, Special Needs Sporting Events and Performances at UNMC, Durham Museum, Great Plains Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association Events, Farmer's Market, Music Festivals and Various Parties
South High Magnet School
Alicia Hogan

College of Saint Mary

Biology and Spanish

School Activities
Volleyball, Basketball, Track, National Honor Society, Dual Language Program, Packer Partner Mentor

Special Olympics Sports, JROTC, Omaha Marathon, Race for the Cure, Corporate Cup, South Soccer Game Ball Shagger, UNMC High School Alliance, Banzai Volleyball Club

Buffett Student Performs at Carnegie Hall
Fourteen-year-old Dina Saltzman recently performed at Carnegie Hall with the theater ensemble "Camp Broadway Kids," which were featured in the New York Pops 35th Birthday Gala. She was one of 60 students across the country to be selected for the ensemble. Saltzman, a student at Buffett Magnet Middle School, one day hopes to perform on Broadway.

She is the daughter of Kevin and Linda Saltzman and has one brother, Ari J. Saltzman, who attends Central High School.
Three OPS students were recognized by the Nebraska Department of Education as
World Language Distinguished Scholars for 2018.
Barbara Barrientos, South High
Spanish AP, Level 5+
Sara Curtis, Burke High
Spanish Level 5+
Myo Ka Zin Soe, Northwest High
Chinese Level 1 and 2
Bryan High Prom Royalty
Antoni Gullie and Gelsey Timilsina were selected as this year's royalty of Bryan High School's prom at the Scholar Ballroom. This year's theme: "Phantom of the Opera."

Photo courtesy of Bryan High staff.
Gates Millennial
Scholarship Winner
Benson High Magnet School senior Clair Murphy was awarded a Gates Millennial Scholarship.

The Gates Millennium Scholars Program, funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was established in 1999 to provide outstanding African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American, and Hispanic American students with an opportunity to complete an undergraduate college education in any discipline area of interest. Continuing Gates Millennium Scholars may request funding for a graduate degree program in one of the following discipline areas: computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health or science.

Baylor University

International Relations with a minor in

School Activities
Editor in Chief of Benson High News, National Honor Society President,
Vice-President of DECA, two-time National Qualifier for HOSA, Governor's Youth Advisory Council and Senator at Girls State
D.J.'s Hero Scholarship
Award Winner
Abdinur O. Muqtar

Abdinur Muqtar was honored by the Salvation Army with a $10,000 D.J.'s Hero Scholarship Award on Tuesday, May 5 at the Century Link Center for his perseverance and resilience. Muqtar escaped war-torn Somalia and immigrated to the United States to pursue his dreams. He graduated from the OPS Accelere' Program in December 2017.

St. Cloud State University


Somalia Community Service Inc.
Five OPS Middle Schools to Compete in National Events
The following five OPS middle schools qualified to compete in national competitions this year:

Scripps Spelling Bee
Marrs Magnet Middle School
Washington, D.C.

History Day
Lewis & Clark Middle School
Washington, D.C.

Destination Imagination
Marrs Magnet Middle School
Knoxville, Tennessee

Academic Pentathlon
Beveridge Magnet Middle, McMillan Magnet Middle and Morton Magnet Middle
LaVista, Nebraska
Beveridge Magnet Middle School Holds Dedication Ceremony

Beveridge Magnet Middle School celebrated the completion of its 2014 Phase 1 bond renovations on April 19. Invited guests included Sen. John McCollister, City Councilman Brinker Harding, OPS Board of Education Member Matt Scanlan, OPS Executive Director of School Support Roni Ortega, Bond Program Manager Mark Sommer of Jacobs Engineering Group, Architect Mark Brim of DLR Group, Project Director Ryan Sawall of McCarthy Construction, OPS administrators, parents, students and community members.

The ceremony included performances by two student-violinists, the school's choir, a presentation of the colors by the Burke High JROTC Color Guard and speeches by special guests, school staff and students. It concluded with a ribbon cutting. Guests were then invited to tour the school and enjoy refreshments while perusing displays of school memorabilia in the cafeteria.

The scope of work completed at Beveridge included replacement of the fire alarm and emergency generator systems, exterior windows, lighting and interior and exterior doors, safe area construction, installation of a key card access, fire sprinkler, video intercom and a geothermal heating and cooling systems, improvements to the bus/parent drop-off area, infrastructure for wireless Internet connectivity, new interior carpeting and exterior brick tuck-pointing. An addition to increase capacity for 20 classrooms, a black box theater and a dedicated area for its dance program were also part of the project.
Essential Questions for Reflection
By Eileen Heller
The OPS IMS technology team is always looking for ways to improve IT instruction and use in the classroom. The lead teacher of IMS User Support, Eileen Heller, has implemented a new blog for educators to follow called Essential Questions for Reflection. In a recent post, she highlighted how Kellom Elementary teacher Rena Sharp has integrated technology use into her daily life and her classroom.

Parents who are interested in how technology is being incorporated into OPS classrooms may also find her blog interesting.

In my last post, "How Can You Transform Your Teaching to Improve Learning?" I talked about the steps I have seen teachers in our district take to grow and improve. One teacher that stands out in my mind when thinking of a transformational teacher is, Rena Sharp, (seen pictured at right) 2nd grade teacher at Kellom Elementary. I had the opportunity to meet Rena her first year of teaching when she was hired on in 2008 as a 3rd grade teacher at Kellom where I was working as a technology specialist. She was one that came in excited to teach, learn, and share. She also had a natural talent for classroom management and working with students of diverse backgrounds. Rena was a really good teacher from the start, but what makes her great is her constant drive to better her practice. In our district she has risen as a leader by serving as her building's, Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE), and earned an endorsement in our Instructional Technology Leadership program. I had the opportunity to serve as her instructor for one of the courses she took. We introduced the educators in the class to the TPACK model that talks about creating the "total package" for a lesson by purposefully combining Technology, Pedagogy, and Content knowledge seamlessly together. I consider Rena a TPACK superstar! I asked her to share with me a bit about her transformation as an educator over the years that has placed her where she is now. To see view Heller's questions and Sharp's answers click here.

Information provided by IMS staff.
Budget Advisory Committee Update

On May 3 , the Budget Advisory Committee held its final meeting. During the meeting, the committee reviewed a list of top recommended budget cut line items, which were compiled following prioritization input submitted by the committee during the April 19 BAC meeting.
At the April 19 meeting, committee members assessed a previously prioritized list and ranked it once more. In small groups, committee members held discussions and considered the additional avenues for potential cuts and creating efficiencies. Input from those discussions were submitted, reviewed and compiled to determine consensus amongst the group regarding recommended cuts.  A final list of 12 items , totaling approximately  $29.5 million  was identified. The district is working to identify $26 million  to cut from its 2018-2019 budget. The additional $3.5 million identified will give the board some flexibility as they make decisions regarding budget cuts.
The OPS Board of Education will hold budget workshops, tentatively scheduled for  May 15 and May 31 to discuss the Budget Advisory Committee’s recommendations.
Budget Advisory Committee’s prioritized and ranked list of recommended cuts (from May 3 meeting):
1. $10 million Central Office Reduction
2.     Cut Cell Phone Stipends 
3.     Reduce/Eliminate Travel
4.     Eliminate Extended Day/Year at Nathan Hale
5.     Eliminate Elementary Magnet Allocations
6.     Reduce/Eliminate Elementary Asst. Principals
7.     5 percent reduction in All supply, materials and equipment budgets
8.     Reduce/Eliminate Overtime
9.     Out-Source Secondary Success
10. Reduce/Eliminate Textbook Adoption 
11.  Reduce/Reassign School Support Liaisons
12. Re-assign 50 FTE certified Staff in Buildings to Classrooms 
Next Steps in the Budget Cutting Process
There was some brief discussion regarding the need for the Budget Advisory Committee to remain an active body into the 2018-2019 school year, and to continue studying and assessing areas where additional efficiencies can be made, possibly into the 2019-2020 school year.
The areas proposed by the committee for additional study include:
  • Pension plan path forward
  • Summer school
  • Transportation
These items are only recommendations to the Board of Education at this time. The board has not yet taken action. The board will begin reviewing recommendations made by the Budget Advisory Committee during budget workshops.
Additional information regarding budget cuts:
If you would like to provide feedback to the Board of Education regarding budget cuts, please complete a  feedback form . Input from the feedback forms will be shared with the board.
Scholastic National Student-Poet Visits
Beveridge Magnet Middle School

This year's Scholastic national student-poet Ben Lee - seen in the center of the photo - visited Beveridge Magnet Middle School to share his poems and conduct a mini workshop where he taught students his writing style. During the workshop, Lee gave the students three words to use to create a poem within a set time frame.

Lee was in town to help judge the Louder Than a Bomb: Great Plains Tournament at the Joslyn Art Museum.

Lee's poetry is often inspired by his Korean and Canadian Heritage and his memories on the northern shore of Lake Superior. He explains his love for poetry as his own necessity to rationalize his thoughts and emotions with his surroundings, thereby gaining a larger understanding of his current self and the encompassing atmosphere.

Students pictured (clockwise starting top right) are Ella Hill, Lolon Timmons, Alexis Huckleby and J'ha Merrah Herron.
Highland and Indian Hill Elementary Schools Help Dedicate the
Miguel Hernandez Keith Memorial Park

Highland and Indian Hill Elementary students were invited to help dedicate the Miguel Hernandez Keith Memorial Park earlier this month. Students held flags during the dedication ceremony and later helped plant donated trees to beautify the park.

Keith was a Vietnam War hero who received the Medal of Honor posthumously. Keith was shot on May 8, 1970. Although injured, he was able to check the security of vital defensive positions and stopped five of the enemy soldiers as they approached. After wounding three of the soldiers, a grenade detonated near him. Even though he was gravely injured at that point, he continued to fire at an estimated 25 enemy soldiers. His courageous act of bravery helped turn the odds for his platoon.

Students (clockwise starting top right) Sergio Veles, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Ximena Soria, Max Rodriguez and Jesse Jamies.
Columbian Elementary Students Work on "Our Legacy Tree" Project

Columbian Elementary fourth, fifth and sixth graders recently worked on the school's "Our Legacy Tree" project with Schemmer architect Molly Macklin. Students were asked to write three words that describe Columbian Elementary, their name and the dates they attended the school on a pattern provided to them. That Information will later be engraved on a piece of wood cut from a tree that was removed from the school's property to make way for the new school. The blocks of wood will be used as leaves of a tree that is being created and will be on display in the new Columbian. Students also wrote a poem that will be engraved on the trunk of the tree. A photo of what the mural will look like once its completed can be seen bottom right. Just a few of the words students used to describe the school were fun, awesome, excellent, safe, peaceful, fun, traditional and amazing. The fourth, fifth and sixth graders were selected for the project because they will not attend the new school once it opens in 2019.
Cadence Heath chose the words Fun, Awesome and Cool to describe the school.
Dillon Birge chose Extraordinary, Exhilarating and Unforgettable to describe his time at Columbian.
The "Our Legacy Tree" mural will appear in the school's main entrance when it opens in 2019. The architect, Molly Macklin, wanted to give students who won't be able to attend the new school an opportunity to be part of its history.
Northwest High Magnet School Holds "Shark Tank" Tech Ed Competition

Nine Northwest High Magnet technology students recently competed in the school's "Shark Tank" Tech Ed competition. Each student created an app that would help solve a current problem or make life easier for the general public. Tenth-grader Paw Win is seen presenting her "Trash to Cash" app. The app would help people looking for employment connect to businesses. Users would be able to upload their resumes and receive feedback on if it was received by the company and being considered. They would also be able to complete an online interview. Students were awarded prizes for first, second and third place.
Columbian Elementary Holds Groundbreaking Ceremony

Columbian Elementary held a groundbreaking ceremony on May 7 for its new school, which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2019.

The ceremony included performances by the school's band, the student body singing "Our School" and comments by Principal Nanette Beller, Superintendent Mark Evans, City Councilman Brinker Harding and students Anna Bucksner and Santiago Trujillo.

Invited VIPs broke ground during one of two outdoor ceremonies. Pictured is Beller and fourteen student-representatives from each classroom as they prepare to break ground during the second ceremony.

Students representing their classrooms were: Charlie Menin and Cooper Richard (K); Brielle Berg and Charlie Walenz (1st);
Halli Buckley and Aubrey Carder (2nd); Juliet Baker and Hanson Duke (3rd); Sam Logeman and Joshua Shapiro (4th); Lea Hanson and Paige Katz (5th) and Chloe Buckles and Lillian Whittinghill (6th).
2018-2019 Back-to-School Enrollment Fair
Curriculum and Instruction Support

Parents are reminded to make certain any address changes between
now and the end of the school year are reported to the Student Placement Office before June 1. If your address will change over the summer, please report the change of address to Student Placement as soon as possible.

Parents may also attend the district's Back-to-School Enrollment Fair scheduled for Aug. 7-21 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the TAC building in the board room located on the second floor. The fair is for families who have moved, are requesting that their child attend a different school or are new to the district. Schools will open for the 2018-2019 school year on Wednesday , Aug. 15 at their normal times .
Parents who are registering their child for the first time should bring a legal birth certificate, complete immunization records and proof of address. 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 / 
New Teacher Welcome Center
OPS Human Resources

Teachers who are new to the district are invited to visit the Teacher Welcome Center this summer to learn more about district resources available to them.

Thursday, June 21
10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
TAC Board Room

Fourth Quarter Ends - Last student day
May 25, 2018

Building Planning - In-service/Teacher Work Days
May 29-30, 2018

Summer School
June 4 - 29, 2018
Graduation Dates for 2018 - Baxter Arena
Northwest - Sunday, May 20 at 7 p.m.
Bryan - Monday, May 21 at 7 p.m.
Burke - Tuesday, May 22 at 7 p.m.
North - Wednesday, May 23 at 7 p.m.
Benson - Thursday, May 24 at 7 p.m.
South - Friday, May 25 at 7 p.m.
Central - Sunday, May 27 at 2 p.m.

OPS 2018-2019 School Calendar

PLEASE NOTE: The following changes have been made to the 2018-2019 school calendar.
  • Friday, Jan. 4 will be a teacher in-service day.
  • Students return to school after winter break on Monday, Jan. 7.
  • The last student day is May 22.
  • The last teacher day is May 24.

OPS Graduation Dates for 2019 - Baxter Arena
Central - Monday, May 20, at 7 p.m.
Northwest - Tuesday, May 21 at 7 p.m.
Bryan - Wednesday, May 22 at 7 p.m.
Burke - Thursday, May 23 at 7 p.m.
North - Friday, May 24 at 7 p.m.
Benson, Sunday, May 26 at 2 p.m.
South, Sunday, May 26 at 6 p.m.
Each month, we feature a video highlighting one of our many outstanding Omaha Public Schools' principals. This month, we honor Principal Robert Holzapfel of Indian Hill Elementary.
In case you missed the superintendent's recent podcast, it is featured below. Mr. Evans visited Castelar Elementary where he discussed the school's overcrowding and the need for the Phase 2 bond issue.
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 publications 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.