April 2021
Omaha Public Schools Community,

As we enter the final months of the 2020-21 school year, we see encouraging signs of a new normal drawing closer. It is rewarding to see more of our students returning to in-person learning. We continue to follow our layered health and safety precautions to protect our students, staff and their families.

We were thrilled to welcome student leaders at our April 5 Board of Education meeting as they presented recommended names for four of our new schools. Student voices guided work among staff and families to brainstorm names and mascots. Each school came away with thoughtful and creative identities, reflecting the imprint of our community. The approved names include:
  • Forest Station Elementary (Fort Crook)
  • Pine Elementary (10th and Pine Street)
  • Buena Vista High (60th and L Street)
  • Westview High (156th and Ida Street)

All schools are scheduled to open in August 2022. Thank you to our naming committees for their hard work, to our printing and publications staff for their design talents and, of course, to the voters who supported the 2014 and 2018 bond programs that made these schools possible for the young people of Omaha. We will bring a recommended name for our new middle school at 42nd and Y Street at a future date. That school is scheduled to open in August 2023.

In March, our Board of Education approved Freshman Academies for each of our high schools, recognizing the important transition from middle school to high school. Beginning in the fall of 2021, all 9th grade students will begin their high school journey participating in Freshman Academy. These academies will help students explore careers while focusing on skills for success in high school and beyond.

Freshman Academy is one of the strategies of the Omaha Public Schools NineforNine, which are the nine strategies designed to support our 9th grade students. They are:
  1. Freshman Academy
  2. Ninth-grade advisement
  3. Freshman orientation
  4. Family and school community engagement
  5. Data walks
  6. Student portfolio
  7. Ninth-grade student engagement
  8. Freshman On-track
  9. Freshman Jump Start

As we enrich our supports for incoming high school students, if your student is a junior or senior student headed for prom, remember our Say Yes to the Prom Dress drive! Thanks to support from Dillard’s, Max I. Walker, Von Maur, Hilton, Goodwill, Omaha Lace Cleaners, JCPenny and the Omaha Public Schools Foundation, we have thousands of dresses available. Regardless of need, we invite your eligible student to shop with us – at no cost to your family. If you have a junior or senior student learning in-person, check your student’s email for information about signing up for an appointment to select a dress. We look forward to celebrating this milestone with our students.

See you next Saturday, April 17 at the Prom Dress Drive Store.

Take care and be well.

Cordially yours,

Cheryl Logan, Ed.D.
Omaha Public School's
Updated High School Student Assignment Plan
Over the past 16 months, the Student Assignment Plan Committee has worked to design a simple, efficient and equitable plan for all Omaha Public School students. After feedback from students, families and staff, the Board of Education approved the updated High School Student Assignment Plan in March 2021.

What is the High School Student Assignment Plan?
The High School Student Assignment Plan determines a student's transportation eligibility and placement priority during the high school choice process.

Why are these changes happening?
New school boundaries were needed to prepare for the opening of two high new schools, Westview High (156th & Ida) and Buena Vista High (60th & L). These assignment plan changes will offer more efficient transportation options and access to student programs.

High School Choice
Choosing a high school that meets a student's individual needs is an important opportunity in Omaha Public Schools. We know that students and families make their high school choice based on a number of reasons such as programming and transportation. This plan provides effective and equitable access to programs and transportation for students across our district.

No matter where a student lives, they will be able to apply to any high school in Omaha Public Schools. The Student Assignment Plan determines their transportation eligibility and priority in the high school selection process.

Neighborhood and Non-Neighborhood Transportation
Our district currently has guidelines for transportation eligibility to both neighborhood and non-neighborhood schools.
  • Neighborhood transportation is for eligible students who attend their neighborhood (home) school.
  • The plan increases neighborhood transportation eligibility to all high schools.
  • Instead of using distance, the plan uses streets to identify transportation eligibility areas in each high school boundary.
  • Transportation eligibility areas are generally located farthest away from the school.
  • Non-neighborhood transportation is for students who attend a school other than their home (neighborhood) high school.
  • The plan creates three partner zones each including three high schools.
  • One additional school has been identified as a plus one school.
  • Students will have priority and be eligible for transportation at other schools in their partner zone and their home school's plus one school.
  • For example, students living in the North High attendance area would be in the same zone as Burke and South High. North High’s plus one school is the new Westview High (156th and Ida). Students in the North High attendance area would have priority selection and would also be eligible for transportation to Burke, South or Westview.
  • All three partner zones offer students access to diverse programming at high schools across our district.
Next Steps
The High School Student Assignment Plan will go into effect in Aug. 2022 as our new high schools open. Our district will communicate with impacted families in April 2021 through August 2022.

If you would like to learn more about the High School Student Assignment Plan, contact your school office or visit sap.ops.org.
Bond Work Benefits Students Across Our District
Watch the video above for an overview of the 2014 and 2018 Bond Programs.
As new schools take shape and crews upgrade current buildings, bond work is moving at full steam across our district.

The 2014 Bond Program has officially concluded, featuring new construction and upgrades at more than 90 school buildings.
“The 2014 Program was focused on health, life and safety improvements across our district,” explained Brad Boganowski, construction supervisor for the bond programs. “We’re proud to say that the projects were completed on time and under budget, which allowed for additional improvements within the scope of the work.”

As work on the 2014 Bond Program came to a close, the 2018 Bond Program maintained momentum throughout the pandemic. Through daily health screenings, social distancing and other safety measures, the teams kept the bond projects on schedule, ensuring that these learning spaces will be ready for our students.
The 2018 Bond Program features the construction of two new high schools, a middle school and two elementary schools. It also includes upgrades to nearly 20 other schools including HVAC and energy management systems, new doors, windows, roofs, ceilings and lighting as needed.

”So far in the 2018 Bond Program, we’re on schedule with the five-year project with the 25 different structures that we’re in, and we’re on budget,” said Boganowski. “To be able to look back confidently at the taxpayers that granted us the funds and say, we’re on schedule and we’re on budget and we’re doing what we need to do to improve the students’ experience, it’s a huge sense of pride.”

The focus of the 2018 Bond Program is student impact and engagement.

“When you have buildings that kids enjoy coming to and walking into and being proud of, it helps them to be better when it comes to being a student,” explained Thomas Lee, Principal of Northwest High
School and future principal of the new Westview High School (156th & Ida). “This work helps them take pride in their education, it helps them to take pride in the things that are going on in and around their schools and in the community.”

Students had the chance to learn about the program and construction going on at their schools. Through partnerships with a number of local construction firms working on the 2018 Bond Program, some students learned about designing, budgeting and presenting construction proposals. Others designed structurally sound igloos or worked hands-on with construction materials.

"We placed a strong emphasis on various career-building activities at every level of learning," shared Ayanna Boykins, economic inclusion and workforce development administrator for Omaha Public Schools. "Due to the pandemic, the firms affiliated with the 2018 Bond Program brainstormed a number of creative ways to interact with students online."

Cassandra Willey, a 2020 graduate of Central High School, is one student participant who has made a lasting impact on schools across our district. Willey started as an intern with the bond project managing company, Jacobs Project Management Co.
"When I started at Jacobs I didn’t know anything about this job or program," explained Willey. "In high school I worked on Pinewood Elementary, some of the new schools, I was even able to work on designs and provide input at Central High, where I just graduated from.”
Gifford Park Elementary School
Willey now works with Jacobs on the 2018 Bond Program while she attends the University of Nebraska Omaha.

“We believe in the work that we are doing and we’re going to do even greater work with all the projects going on, and all the renovations that are taking place, the new buildings coming in,” said Lee. “We thank our community for supporting that bond because it was needed, and we are grateful for it. Every dollar is being used in the right way to impact our schools, to impact education and to impact our community.”

For more information on the completion of the 2014 Bond Program or for project timelines and video tours of the 2018 Bond Program, visit bond.ops.org.
District Turnaround Model Supports Student Outcomes
The Omaha Public Schools mission is to prepare all students for success in college, career and life. That work is reflected in a new program designed to provide additional supports for our schools and to ensure student success. It’s called the District Turnaround Model.
Belvedere Elementary School
“The District Turnaround Model is all about student equity, and it is built on the foundation provided by our Strategic Plan of Action," said Carri Collins, principal supervisor for the Omaha Public Schools and head of the District Turnaround program.

The district identified potential turnaround schools based on English literacy, math scores as well as overall standardized test scoring. They also looked at the physical needs of the school building itself. The program is designed with equity in mind and is centered around the work of the Strategic Plan of Action. For Omaha Public Schools, equity is making sure every student has the support they need to be successful and thrive in the future.

Some changes, like building upgrades and cosmetic improvements, are already visible at the schools selected for the program. Numerous studies have found that school facilities and learning environments directly impact teaching and learning outcomes.

Long-term elements of the program focus on student achievement in key areas of math and reading.

“Our goal is to find ways to support these schools and encourage better outcomes for our students,” explained Collins. “For each turnaround school, we take an intensive look to find what additional supports we can put in place like student learning resources, additional instructional support and opportunities for staff professional development.”
Minne Lusa Elementary School
The program began in February 2020, shortly before schools shifted to remote learning due to the pandemic. It currently includes three elementary schools including Minne Lusa, Fontenelle and Belvedere. The goal is to add three additional schools to the program in fall 2021.

“Changing the culture of a school requires buy-in from everyone involved,” shared Collins. “Schools do not operate as an island. This program is a district effort to better support our students and their futures. That means that principals, teachers, our parents, everyone has a hand in this program.”
Turnaround schools partner with Children’s Literacy Initiative to assist in literacy programs. This partnership provides additional staff training and reading specialists at each school to support students directly. Parent literacy engagement specialists also work directly with families to provide services and resources to further student development at home.

“As we do this very rich and meaningful work with our staff to support our students, we also want to empower our families and empower our parents to see their vital role in their child’s literacy,” Collins said.

As the program continues, Collins looks forward to the positive impact it will have on our students.

“The work we are doing at our turnaround schools mirrors the efforts we are already putting in place around the district,” she said. “This is all so that our students have all the necessary support they need to have success in school and to prepare them for whatever comes next.”
In honor of National Nutrition Month (March 2021), watch this video showcasing the great work our nutrition services team provides our students each school day.
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 teachers' 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 CHIhealth.com/TopTeachers.

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 Omaha Public Schools.
Omaha Virtual Schools Registration

Omaha Virtual School is excited for the 2021-22 school year, where we will welcome back all learners to our blended learning environment. OVS is a program within Omaha Public Schools that currently serves K-12th grade students. Most of the learner's week is spent at home working through the curriculum with the support of their learning coach who is usually a parent or guardian. To enhance online learning and focus on skills, students participate in an engaging, face-to-face class at least once per week at the TAC building. These activities include labs, guest speakers, cooperative learning opportunities and much more. OVS also provides meaningful support for our learning coaches so they feel comfortable teaching their students at home.

Registration for OVS closes on April 16. Click here for details, videos, FAQs and info sessions about OVS.
... to Inia Jones of Central High for being named to the 2021 Girls State Basketball Tournament Class A Team.

... to all Omaha Public Schools students whose artworks are featured on billboards across Omaha in honor of Youth Art Month.
  • Daniel Ner, Marcian Paw, Cai'Lyn Washington, Darlin Molina-Carmona, Carlos Martinez, Daisy Avalos-Hernandez, Peter Jhetyx, Jonathan Kelly, Lilyana Peralta, Jayden Corona, Jaqueline Lopez-Rogel, Sofia Di Lorenzo, Bway Moo, Colton Palmer and Khadro Abdi.

... to all Omaha Public Schools students who qualified for swim and diving finals at the
Nebraska State Swimming and Diving Tournament.
  • Boys Swim and Diving Finalists:
  • Burke High - Charlie Wachholtz, John Gundersen, Drake Nielsen, Jaden Pospishil and Jackson Walenz for swimming
  • Central High - Caleb St. Cyr, Zort Brown, Malcolm Tonje, Gabe Spiess, Nolan Grey and Luke Nieland for swimming, and Alex Castillo for diving
  • North High - Nathaniel Schlader, Davion Scott-Bell, Caiden Williams and Ben Mills for swimming
  • South High - Terin Frodyma
  • Girls Swim and Diving Finalists:
  • Burke High - Maris Grabill, Wesley Hill, Ella Frisbie and Carly Kendeigh for swimming, and Anna Caniglia and Macy Santoni for diving
  • Central High - Daniella Hernandez, Sarah Spomer, Valeria Welk, Christina Spomer and Bea Jackson for swimming

... to Josh Pace of Northwest High School for recognized for the Nebraska State Bandmaster’s Association (NSBA) Outstanding Young Band Director Award.

... to Elisha Mufungizi of Bryan High for earning first place at the Omaha Metro Science
Fair and additional honors from the American Chemistry Society.

... to Central High’s Madalynne George, winner of the 2021 Nebraska State InvestWrite
Fall Contest.

... to Nia Lyon of Burke High for earning a National Silver Key from the Scholastic Art &
Writing Awards for her art project, “Hair.”

... to all Omaha Public Schools students who competed in the Nebraska Educators
Rising 2021 State Leadership Conference. The following students took home first prize
in their event:
  • Job Interview: Natalie Barrera-Mendoza of South High
  • Educators Rising Moment: Manal Suliman of Northwest High
  • Inside our School team presentation: Raeana Spech and Surakchya Risal of Burke High

... to all Omaha Public School students chosen to compete in the Nebraska State VEX
Robotics Tournament.
The following links will provide you with quick access to district sponsored events, procedures and resources. Please click on the categories under each title below, and you will be taken to the correct web page.
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Thank you!
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.