August 2022
A portrait of Omaha Public Schools superintendent Dr. Cheryl Logan
Dear Omaha Public Schools Community,

Welcome to the 2022-23 school year! We are so excited for students to return.
We are moving forward together as one district community. Omaha Public Schools’ Strategic Plan of Action focuses our work on staff, academics, financial accountability and our ethic of care. Our district values guide how we reach the destination.

From early childhood through senior year, we are one team working toward the Portrait of an Omaha Public Schools Graduate. Our students are prepared to succeed and lead.

This month brings unique hope and excitement after three disrupted years. We know there are challenges, too. The moment calls for each of us to be part of the solution in new and expanded ways. We look forward to working together and welcoming you to school events throughout the year. We value our families as essential partners in each student’s success.

Enjoy a wonderful school year ahead.

Cordially yours,
Cheryl Logan, Ed.D.
Back to School Bash Draws Thousands to Celebrate a New Year
It was a back-to-school celebration so big that only Omaha Public Schools could have hosted it.

Saturday, thousands of people packed the parking lot at Baxter Arena to kick off the 2022-23 school year. After two years on hold due to the pandemic, the event was bigger than ever.

“I wasn’t expecting this large of a crowd,” said parent Cheryl Madsen. “I like it. We need to get back to community; we need to get back to being a village and really caring about all children and our future.”

All 65 elementary schools had a welcome table to visit with families. DJ Houston Alexander, school mascots, cheerleading squads and dance teams kept the energy up all day. “It’s crazy. We know Omaha Public Schools is a huge district, but you see something like this, how many people are here? It boosts your energy. School means something to people,” said South High student Hannah Kubiak.
With donor support, families enjoyed complimentary food and treats. Omaha Fire organized a splash pad and the Omaha Police Department ABLE1 helicopter landed nearby. Community partners were on hand to connect families with activities and resources ahead of a new school year.
Sasha Cervantes was there as a district staff member and parent. “I got to see my teachers,” said Cervantes’ daughter Esmerelda, who is already looking forward to robotics at school.
Teachers and principals felt the energy, too. “I’m so excited to see our students. I can’t wait for them to come back,” smiled King Science and Technology Middle Principal Jane Laughlin. “Omaha Public Schools is family-oriented, and I feel the joy. Our district values are reflected in the event I see today.”
Strategic Plan of Action Guides Work to Prepare Students for Success
Fifty-four thousand new, internet-connected iPads for students. Growing our own talent with teacher pipeline programs. Raising the number of students on track for graduation.
Two years in, the 2020-25 Strategic Plan of Action guides our work to prepare all students for success.
Board of Education members adopted this plan in February 2020. Their approval followed months of future-focused work. Students, staff, families, community members and national experts all played a role. Two “futures labs” explored needs and opportunities years down the line.

Our Strategic Plan of Action focuses on four priorities. They are:
  • Academics
  • Staff
  • Financial Accountability
  • Ethic of Care

Weeks after approving our plan, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated some goals. One example is our 1:1 technology adoption in just five months. In late 2021, our Board of Education updated several goals based on the opportunities and challenges of our new environment.

The work to come includes a deeper focus on early literacy, environmental stewardship and growing participation in advanced courses. Look for continued updates in Inside OPS, Sup for the Soul, on our district website and more.
New Schools and Much More
Bond Work Continues at Existing Buildings
Families filled gymnasiums and made their way through classrooms this summer as Omaha Public Schools opened four new schools.

While each new building benefits our school communities, more work is underway to improve the quality of education for our students. Our district's $409.9 million 2018 Bond Program includes 25 projects. As of this month, all but five are complete and remain within budget and on schedule.

"The bond program helped our district work toward alleviating capacity issues in high-growth areas of the city," said Brad Boganowski, Omaha Public Schools bond administrator. "It also allowed us to address high priority items outlined in our existing facilities plan."

Aside from new schools, projects include significant capital improvements and renovations at existing schools and programs.

At North High, for example, work continues to address mechanical, electrical and plumbing needs. South High's projects include a new chiller in the mechanical room, chimney stack repairs, flooring improvements and more.
Pictured above: North High
mechanical equipment
Pictured above: South High
chimney stack
At Central High, the domed skylight received new panels and brightened the indoor courtyard. Upgrades to the building's HVAC system also took place along with several other capital improvements. Crews replaced Blackburn's skylight this summer too, and paving is underway to upgrade the building's parking lot.

“Once we started peeling back the layers of the onion, we identified areas of need tied to the health and safety of each building,” Boganowski explained.
Pictured above: Central High
domed skylight
Pictured above: Blackburn
skylight replacement
The 2018 Bond Program also allowed for classroom additions at some schools and other renovations that will directly benefit students for many years to come.

Omaha Public Schools updates each project, including the cost, scope of work and timeline, regularly at
Omaha Public Schools Enrollment Fair Underway

Omaha Public Schools invites families new to our district, and current families requiring a new school due to a change in address, to attend our student enrollment fair. The event takes place August 8 - 19 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily at the Teacher Administrative Center (TAC) board room located at 3215 Cuming St.
RULER Summit Supports Social-Emotional Learning

Omaha Public Schools hosted a guest presenter from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence this summer. Staff participated in the RULER Summit. The RULER method helps school communities understand the value of emotions, build emotional intelligence and support a positive school climate. The Summit supported our Strategic Plan of Action goal of reducing behavioral incidents in schools.

More information about the RULER Summit is available in the video below or on our website under District News.

August STEM Learning

Julie Sigmon, Omaha STEM Ecosystem Director
Get ready for back to school with these August STEM programs. Search our comprehensive catalog for current and upcoming offerings for students, educators, and professionals. Here are some of our top picks for August.

  • Science, Engineering, and Teamwork: Join the Gifford Park Neighborhood in this fun, interactive program to learn about physics and the energy of the future. Kids will be able to compete in teams for great prizes. This program is offered free by the Gifford Park Neighborhood Association. 
  • Healthy Waterways & Pollution Solutions - Curriculum & Resource Kit: Educators can take advantage of this free program with Keep Omaha Beautiful and participate in hands-on activities to discover how stormwater impacts our local ecosystems. Students will get to utilize maps to explore how the Omaha watershed fits into the global water system. 
  • To register for these opportunities or to find more STEM programs, visit the STEM Community Platform Portal. 

To register for these opportunities or to find more STEM programs, visit the STEM Community Platform Portal.
... to Jannette Castro-Gomez of South High for receiving the John Parr Youth Award for extraordinary civic engagement and leadership.

… to Joseph Bristol of Wakonda Elementary for being recognized by the Nebraska Art Teachers Association as the 2022 Art Educator of the Year.

… to those who participated in opening celebrations for Omaha Public Schools’ new elementary schools, Forest Station and Pine.

… to our elementary students for logging more than 1.5 million minutes of reading in our Summer Reading Challenge.
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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.