The Omaha Public Schools prepares all students to excel in college, career and life.
Managing editor: Deb S. Christiansen Garza
A message from the Executive Director of
Student and Community Services
Dear OPS Community,

Student and staff safety is a top priority for our school district. Over the years, the Omaha Public Schools has worked diligently with the Omaha Police and Fire Departments to implement and practice emergency response safety drills. These drills have provided ongoing opportunities for school leadership, staff and students to practice and be adequately prepared in the event of a real incident.

This year, the Omaha Public Schools has aligned its safety efforts with the Nebraska Department of Education by adopting the Standard Response Protocol, a nationwide campaign aimed at using a common language, common protocols and common signage throughout school districts. Standard Response Protocol brings consistency and continuity to safety measures for students, staff, parents, the community and first responders.

School leadership is currently in the process of training staff and students on Standard Response Protocol throughout the month of September. We want to make certain you are familiar with the four basic components of the program and fully understand the signs and required actions associated with each response. For greater clarification, please click here to see a poster, or you may watch the video provided below. In addition, please feel free to access the Standard Response Protocol website at the following link: .

As always, the school principal or program director is an excellent resource if you have questions.

Thank you for your continued support!

Every student. Every day. Prepared for success.

Lisa A. Utterback
Executive Director of Student and Community Services
Omaha Public Schools
You're Invited to an Open House for the
Omaha Public Schools' Foundation

The Omaha Public Schools' Foundation has moved its office to a new location and Omaha Public Schools' staff, students, parents and the community are cordially invited to see their new surroundings.
To RSVP, please click here.
OPS names principal for new school at 32nd and Burt Streets

Ms. Kimberly Jones has been selected to serve as the principal of the Omaha Public Schools' new 32nd and Burt Streets school located just south of the Teacher and Administrative Center.

For the last three years, Jones served as the principal of Minne Lusa Elementary and prior to that at Sherman Elementary. She joined OPS in 2001 and served as a curriculum consultant/supervisor for 14 schools, both elementary and middle. She taught at Fullerton Magnet Center and Alice Buffett Magnet Middle School. Prior to coming to OPS, she taught third through sixth grade in Olathe, Kansas, and the Washington D.C. area.

"I am looking forward to connecting with each parent to learn more about the rich history and traditions of our school community," said Jones. "I am certain that through collaborative efforts, we will be able to maintain a laser-like focus on improving student achievement in a safe, positive learning environment while providing extended learning opportunities that will help our students continue to grow as environmentally-friendly citizens."
In Honor of Supporting
Our Troops
Hartman Elementary teacher Mark Baden nominated Principal Shelly Burghardt for the Department of Defense's Patriot Award in recognition of her support during his six tours of duty that took him to Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and Kyrgyzstan. Baden is a Master Sgt. in the Air National Guard's 155th Security Forces Squadron and is frequently gone for training missions.

His nomination letter follows:

"Mrs. Burghardt 'leads by example' and possesses qualities many civilian and military wish to obtain. Her leadership qualities raise your level of performance and motivate an individual to continue to grow as an educator. This motivation transfers over into my military career as well.

"I am required to fulfill many training requirements, which involve both long and short- term absences from my employment. These absences can cause some inconvenience to any daily routine, but Mrs. Burghardt and the staff at Hartman have always been willing to accommodate and provide the extra support to make the transition a smooth one."
Civilian volunteer Lou Wagner (l) and Hartman Elementary special education teacher Mark Baden (r) presented Burghardt with the award before the start of the school day on Aug. 22.
Girl Scout Earns Silver Award
Former Picotte Elementary student Evelyne Brown spent this past summer creating fun games for students to play on the school's playground as part of her "It's Your World - Change It!" Cadet Journey to earn her Silver Award. The silver is the second highest award a Girl Scout can earn. The project took 75 hours to complete and the result is fun, interactive activities for Picotte students to participate in during recess.

Just a few of the numerous games include "Chutes and Ladders," "Twister," "Leap Frog," "Hop Scotch," and "Follow the Leader," on the primary playground and a full-size "Tic, Tac, Toe," on the intermediate playground. Students in Kristy Nixon's kindergarten class can be seen below enjoying the activities.

Brown is currently an eighth grader at Buffett Magnet Middle School.
Welcome to Omaha STEM Ecosytems

by Julie Sigmond , Director of Omaha STEM Ecosystems

The Omaha STEM Ecosystem is excited to partner with the Omaha Public Schools to share STEM resources, events and other information with students, families and educators. The cornerstone of our organization is to ensure that all students and adult learners have access to STEM-related educational programs and resources.

Omaha is a city of transformation and advancements in STEM fields. Since its early days, Omaha has always been a hub for STEM-related careers - whether in agriculture, transportation, research or technology. The Omaha STEM Ecosystem assures a STEM robust community that not only builds our talent pipeline, but provides opportunities for all young people to be successful in learning scientific thinking, innovation, exploration and critical thinking for finding solutions.

The Omaha STEM Ecosystem is a network of community organizations including educators, businesses, science centers, museums, non-profits, the Omaha Chamber of Commerce and families. Together, we are creating innovators, educators, researchers and leaders of tomorrow. How are we doing that? The Omaha STEM Ecosytem's Action Committees are currently breaking down silos of STEM programs and resources which often make access difficult; developing STEM pathways for PK-career and connecting educators to professional development opportunities in the classroom.

A greater portion of STEM learning takes place in the classroom, but it can happen anywhere. From asking age-old questions (Why is the sky blue?) to discovering solutions to everyday problems (smartphone app development), cooking (the breakdown of baking powder to raise batter) or what color to paint my room (coatings science and metamerism), STEM learning is taking place. Opportunities to learn about STEM are all around us, everywhere we look.

Over the next few months, we will highlight STEM events, resources and cool career options you may never have thought about, as well as activities. Check out our website: or click on the STEM graphic above.
Attendance Matters!
"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.
Back to School for the Omaha Public Schools

The Omaha Public Schools officially started the 2018-2019 school year on Wednesday, Aug. 15 for most grade levels. Upper classmen in middle schools and high schools received an added day of summer break and started the school year on Thursday, Aug. 16. It was business as usual for students on their first day of school - everything from checking out books, getting photos taken for student IDs, having breakfast in the cafeteria, receiving special greetings from principals and the superintendent, meeting new teachers and showing school spirit during pep rallies. Welcome back to all of our OPS students and staff! Have a great school year! #OPSProud
Pawnee Elementary
Catlin Magnet Elementary
J.P. Lord
Florence Elementary
Mt. View Elementary
Field Club Elementary
King Science & Technology Center
Bryan Middle School
Bryan High School
Bryan High School
Bryan High School
Bryan High School
Moving Toward a Zero Waste Lifestyle
In 2009, the Omaha Public Schools, with the help of Sally Hopley of Verdis Group, adopted the Green Schools Initiative (2004-2016) and moved to a single-stream recycling program. Since then, its schools have recycled paper, cardboard, plastic and metals, reduced the use of natural resources and increased its efforts to teach students how to live healthier lifestyles. Among the schools that have received recognition (one of nine national awards in 2014) for their efforts is Fontenelle Elementary under the leadership of Principal Eric Nelson.

Fontenelle’s GSI efforts began when Nelson asked fourth-grade teacher Joey Vickery to start a school garden. Initially, the garden was comprised of small plots planted and tended by students. It later expanded to a community garden for families. Vickery also partnered with The Big Garden’s, Executive Director Nathan Morgan and his staff to teach students more about gardening, cooking and nutrition. Today, in addition to the garden, the school has a greenhouse, butterfly garden, a composting container and yes, chickens. The garden has helped students reinforce science and math concepts, learn about environmental sustainability and eat healthier. During this same time period it also began a recycling program that included moving from Styrofoam plates to paper plates and dividing recyclable items from those that couldn’t be.

To continue reading, click here .
National College Colors Day

National College Colors Day is celebrated across the United States the Friday before Labor Day giving students, parents, family, fans and alumni an opportunity to display their team spirit. OPS and other school districts use the day to promote the importance of staying in school, doing your best and pursuing post-secondary education. Below, Standing Bear students in Mrs. Nordstrom's first-grade class (l) and in Mrs. Paymal's fourth-grade class (r) show their team spirit and their commitment to finish school and go on to college. Davis Middle School staff also got into the spirit by wearing the colors of their alma mater or favorite team.
College Colors Day
Standing Bear Elementary
College Colors Day
Davis Middle School
McMillan Magnet Middle School "Coffee Squad" to the Rescue

Since 2016, McMillan Magnet Middle School teachers and staff no longer have to get up early to get their morning java fix, thanks to the school's "Coffee Squad." Students make and deliver coffee, smoothies and other breakfast items directly to teachers' classrooms twice a week. Eighth-grade math teacher, Mr. Mike Spooner (seen pictured right) receives his coffee and breakfast sandwich in the early morning. According to Spooner, "This program is AMAZING!" Since staff pay for the items delivered to them, the program is self-sustaining.
OPS Honors and Remembers the Victims of 9/11

Burke High School students honored and remembered the victims of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center by displaying flags on the grassy knoll off 120th St. and Burke Blvd., while the Teacher and Administrative Center flew flags at half-staff during the national observance of Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance.

South High Magnet
Continues Annual Tradition

South High Magnet's JROTC continued its annual tradition of holding a flag raising ceremony on the morning of Sept. 11. Cadets raise the flag to half-staff where it remains throughout the day. Many students and staff attend the ceremony, which is a way of opening a dialogue about how the events of that fateful day still impacts people today.
Honor and Remember

As a member of the Nebraska Honor and Remember Chapter, Lt. Col. Michael DeBolt, the OPS supervisor of military instruction, visited six north Omaha fire stations as part of the 9/11 observance to thank them for their service. DeBolt delivered a dozen roses to the stations and asked firefighters to take a rose home with them to share with their families as a way for them to thank family members for their support.

The mission of Honor and Remember is to perpetually recognize the sacrifice of America's fallen military service members, first responders and their families.

Seen in the photo to the left are firefighters of Station #41 in North Omaha.
Northwest High Magnet School JROTC Cadets Attend
Omaha Home for Boys' "Imagine our Youth" Fundraising Celebration
A group of select Northwest High Magnet JROTC cadets and their instructor Master Sgt. Penaherra and his wife were invited to be guests at the Omaha Home for Boys' "Imagine our Youth" fundraising celebration held at the downtown Marriott Hotel.
Guest speaker for the event was Jose Rene "J.R." Martinez - an American actor, author, motivational speaker and retired U.S. Army soldier. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller "Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength and Spirit," a spokesperson for Operation Finally Home as well as for the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors and Glasswing International.
2018-2019 Omaha Education Week Open Houses
Curriculum and Instruction Support

Omaha Education Week will be held September 24-28 . This is an excellent opportunity for parents to visit with their child's teacher and see the progress they have made during the first few weeks of school. A list of dates and times is as follows:
Monday, Sept. 24
6-8 p.m.
Magnet Elementary Schools

Tuesday, Sept. 25
6:30-8:30 p.m.
Middle Schools

6-8 p.m.
Morton Middle School

6 p.m. - Dedication/Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
6:30-8 p.m.
Norris Middle School

Wednesday, Sept. 26
6:30-8:30 p.m.
Burke High
Central High
North High Magnet

6-8 p.m.
Benson High Magnet
Bryan High
Northwest High Magnet
South High Magnet
Thursday, Sept. 27
5:30-7:30 p.m.
J.P. Lord
OPS Career Center

5-7 p.m.
Columbian Elementary
Independent Studies Program

6-8 p.m.
Elementary Schools
Alternative Education Programs
Gateway to College
Integrated Learning Program
Omaha Virtual School
Transition Program at Career Center
Transition Program at PVA
Transition Program South
UNO/OPS Middle College Program

*Dates and time are subject to change per building needs. Check with your child's building for final dates and times.
Make Life Easy, Prepay for Your Child's Lunch!
It's simple, it's safe, it's easy. School cafe allows parents to prepay for their child's lunch. To access the site, simply click on the schoolcafe logo. For more information on how to sign up click here .
2018-2019 High School Graduation Dates
OPS District Operations Services
Benson High Magnet School
Thursday, May 16 at 7 p.m.

South High Magnet School
Saturday, May 18 at 7 p.m.

Central High School
Monday, May 20 at 7 p.m.

Northwest High Magnet School
Tuesday, May 21 at 7 p.m.

Bryan High School
W ednesday, May 22 at 7 p.m.
Burke High School
Thursday, May 23 at 7 p.m.

North High Magnet School
Friday, May 24 at 7 p.m.

All graduation ceremonies will take place at the UNO Baxter Arena .

  Omaha Education Week
Sept. 24-28

Senior High Conferences
No Senior High Students
Oct. 11

Senior High Teacher Planning Day
No Senior High Students
Oct. 12
Middle School Conferences
No Middle School Students
Oct. 18

Middle School Teacher Planning Day
No Middle School Students
Oct. 19
First Quarter Ends
Oct. 19
To view the full 2018-2019 calendar, please click here .
Several 2014 bond program school renovation projects will be completed this summer and opening events are planned for this fall. Please mark your calendars for the following celebrations:
Dedication/Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies
Norris Middle School
Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 6 p.m.
2235 S. 46 St.

Oak Valley Elementary
Thursday, Sept. 27 at 6 p.m.
3109 Pedersen Dr.

Burke High School
Thursday, Oct. 4 at 5:30 p.m.
12200 Burke Blvd.

J.P. Lord
Saturday, Oct. 13 at 2 p.m.
4444 Marinda St.

Gilder Elementary
Thursday, Oct. 18 at 5 p.m.
3705 Chandler Road
We hope you can join us for these exciting events!
Florence Elementary and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands hold Dedication/Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Florence Elementary celebrated the completion of its 2014 bond renovation project and the opening of its new Boys & Girls Club on Monday, Aug. 13 during its annual back-to-school night. Special guests included City Councilman Ben Gray; the supporters of the Florence Club Howard and Rhonda Hawks; Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands CEO & President Ivan Gilreath; Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Logan; OPS Board Member Ricky Smith; OPS Chief Operations Officer Dr. Antoinette Turnquist; Bond Program Manager Mark Sommer of Jacobs Engineering Group; Donald Prochaska President of Prochaska & Associates; Project Director Kurt Cisar of Holland Basham Architects and Project Superintendent Shawn Anstey of Roloff Construction.
North High Magnet's JROTC presented the colors as Central High student Evelyn Hill sang the National Anthem .
Florence Boys & Girls Club supporter, Mr. Howard Hawks, spoke during the ceremony.
The official ribbon cutting by Principal Dan Hoeck, students and special guests.
Guests enjoyed refreshments provided by Roloff Construction.
Guests (l to r) , Boys & Girls Club of the Midlands Board President, Annette Smith; CEO & President of Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands, Ivan Gilreath and Florence Club Supporter, Rhonda Hawks.
Students enjoyed flying drones and checking out other technology inside the Florence Club. The Club features an area for elementary, middle school and high school students.
Parents and students visit one of the newly renovated classrooms and get acquainted with teacher.
Principal Dan Hoeck answers questions and directs parents and students to their new classrooms.
Western Hills Magnet Elementary School holds
Dedication/Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Western Hills Magnet Elementary celebrated the completion of its new building with a dedication/ribbon cutting ceremony on Sept. 10. Special guests included City Councilman Pete Festersen; Mr. Kenneth Hahn, President of Kenneth Hahn Architects; Mr. David Cavlovic, President of Sampson Construction; Mr. Adam Sawyer, Construction Manager of Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.; Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Logan; Mr. Ben Perlman, OPS Board of Education member; Dr. Antoinette Turnquist, OPS Chief Operations Officer; Dr. Dwayne Chism, OPS Executive Director of School Support and other OPS administrators and former principals. The schools' sixth-grade band and fifth and sixth-grade chorus performed musical selections and Benson High Magnet's JROTC presented the colors during the ceremony. Other guest speakers included teachers Ms. Beverly Carroll and Mrs. Teresa Galligher, PTO President Mrs. Denise Powell and her daughter Ms. Cecelia Powell and students Elijah Hughes (Grade 2), Ms. Michaela Marlenee (Grade 5) and Ms. Sophia Marquez (Grade 1).
Refreshments for the event were generously provided by Kenneth Hahn Architects.
Benson High Magnet's JROTC Color Guard present the colors during the opening ceremony.
Western Hills' fifth and sixth-grade band provided musical entertainment.
The school's fifth and sixth-grade chorus performed " ."
Chief Operations Officer Dr. Antoinette Turnquist accepted the building on behalf of the Omaha Public Schools.
OPS Board of Education Member Mr. Ben Perlman offered congratulations.
PTO President Denise Powell and her daughter Cecilia accepted the building on behalf of the community.
Western Hills students Elijah Hughes, Michaela Marlenee and Sophia Marquez accepted the building on behalf of the student body.
Western Hills teachers Beverly Carroll and Teresa Galligher accepted the building on behalf of the faculty and staff.
Principal Heather Harbison, staff, students and invited guests cut the ribbon.
Western Hills' staff greet former Principal Marjorie Reed-Schmid (seen center).
Guests enjoy cookies and bottled water provided by Kenneth Hahn Architects in the school's new cafeteria.
Executive Director of School Support Dr. Dwayne Chism greets the school's secretary Geri Dunn.
Western Hill's new music room is just on of the many outstanding features of the new school.
One of the school's new classrooms.
One of the school's new collaboration rooms.
The school's new library features portable book shelves.
BCDM Architects' Belle Ryan Elementary School Design to
Appear as an Outstanding Design in the
2018 American School & University Architectural Portfolio
The new Belle Ryan Elementary will be featured in the fall 2018 American School & University Architectural Portfolio as an Outstanding Design. One hundred and sixteen projects were selected nationwide to appear in the publication. The Portfolio is the premier showcase celebrating the best in educational design.

To see the entire list of recipients please click here.
Each month, we feature a video highlighting one of our many outstanding Omaha Public Schools' principals. This month, we honor Principal Boris Moore of Monroe Middle School.
Video created by District Communications' videographer Alex Hassel.
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.