Volume 3 - Issue 1 - January 2020
Managing Editor: Josh Sluiter
Greetings OPS Community:
I think of possibilities and promise as we share this edition of Inside OPS with you. Continuing the momentum in our Phase II Bond Program, we recently finalized a 50 year agreement with the YMCA of Greater Omaha to offer students, families and our community an exceptional space and programming at the site of our future high school near 156 th and Ida streets. We are all excited to see the possibilities of that partnership take shape.
We are also concluding more than a year of work to prepare our future-focused Strategic Plan of Action. Deep dives by educational experts, thoughtful research into district data and hundreds of hours of input from people across our district and city sharpened our focus. Four strategic priorities and five shared values will guide what we do and how we serve our community in the years to come. The Foresight that powers our plan allows us to deliver on the promise of public education for young people in these transformational times. We look forward to sharing more about our Strategic Plan of Action in the weeks and months to come and we thank you for your support.

Cordially yours,

Cheryl Logan, Ed.D / Superintendent
Omaha Public Schools
"Sup for the Soul" Podcast - Jan. 2020
Click Here to see the 2020-21 academic calendar on the OPS website.
OPS Third Grade Students Participate in
NCAA’s Readers become Leaders Campaign
Getting students excited about reading at a young age is crucial to their future success. That is why OPS has partnered with the NCAA in their “Readers Become Leaders” campaign, which promotes good reading habits in our third grade students.

"We've learned the third grade is such a pivotal year in a child's education," said Victor Hill, the Associate Director of the NCAA Team Works program which hosts the Readers Become Leaders campaign. "Between the first and the third grade they learn to read. Starting in the fourth grade it flips. They only read to learn, and many students lose their passion for reading."

To kick off the campaign, OPS staff from the Teacher Administrative Center volunteered to visit third-grade classrooms across the district, reading to the students and gibing them books of their own.

Lisa Utterback, OPS chief student and community services officer, led the way for the NCAA partnership and highlights the importance of student readers. “Reading is the backbone of what we do in education. This is an opportunity for us to work district-wide at all 63 of our elementary schools’ third grade classrooms to nurture this crucial skill in our students.”

The Readers Become Leaders campaign challenges students to read 30 minutes every day and the district’s top third grade readers will be recognized at the NCAA Men’s College World Series this summer.
Omaha North JROTC Hosts Fundraiser for Project Harmony
OPS strives to instill our students with the values of care and generosity, two of our guiding principles. As Omaha Public Schools prepares every student for success, that includes contributing to our greater community. When students take those principles and go far beyond what is expected of them, that is something worth celebrating.

Omaha North High School Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) Cadets Chancellor Glass, Cameron Harman, Joshua Lucky and Westside student Bechtolt wanted to make a difference beyond their school’s walls, but they didn’t know how to do it. The cadets spent weeks researching opportunities in the Omaha area, but once they came across Project Harmony, they knew their work could begin.

“Our program goes through an annual inspection of partner organizations to ensure that the work our cadets do will go to the right place and serve the right people.” Said LTC (RET) Michael DeBolt, OPS director of army instruction. “Then our students do their own research to narrow down the choices and find what group they feel they could most effectively serve.”

Project Harmony is an Omaha-based, non-profit organization dedicated to providing support to child abuse victims and their families. In 2018 Project Harmony staff served more than 5,500 children throughout Nebraska and Iowa. After meeting with Project Harmony leaders to better understand their needs, the cadets ran a fundraiser to collect clothing, toiletries and cash donations for the organization.

“It provides a way to learn interpersonal skills, teamwork, organization and build leadership skills,” said DeBolt. “Service-Learning makes education a collaborative effort as students benefit society by exercising the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.”
160 Years of Excellence in the Omaha Public Schools!

The Omaha Public Schools, founded in 1859, was the first public school system in Douglas County, Nebraska. Two years prior to its opening (1857), the first school board was elected and Omaha was divided into three wards for school. By 1871, the state legislature consolidated all of Omaha into one school district.

Howard Kennedy served as the first superintendent of the Omaha Public Schools.
The district opened with four schools and approximately 450 students. Today, the district serves more than 54,000 students in more than 90 schools and programs.

Over the years, the Omaha community has supported and regularly passed bond issues, since the first one in 1871. Bond issues help maintain existing schools and build new schools to support growing enrollment.

In 1923, Technical High School opened in Omaha as the largest school west of Chicago. It
opened with nearly 3,000 students; proof of its

popularity. The school closed in 1984 and was remodeled to serve as the Teacher and Administrative Center, which opened in 1989. The Teacher and Administrative Center is now home to district offices, teacher/community meeting rooms, a public auditorium, the Career Center and the Omaha Virtual School.

Vice President Hubert Humphrey visited Omaha in 1965 to applaud the opening of Operation Head Start as a full-time program within the Omaha Public Schools.

Over the years, Omaha Public Schools students and staff have won countless local, regional and national awards.

Here's to another 160 years: #OPSProud!
Every Student. Every Day. Prepared for Success.
Heading out into the “real world” can be intimidating, but through core academic classes, career education programs and extracurricular activities, Omaha Public Schools students get an early look at what they want to pursue after graduation. One such program is Omaha South High’s Intro to Education.

Omaha South High’s Introduction to Education class, taught by Mr. Sam Bojanski and Ms. Samantha Koehler-Overton, is a multi-year program for students considering a career in education. The first year is a classroom introduction, teaching juniors and seniors the basics of education. This course prepares the students to interact with elementary and middle school aged students and shows them how to best educate and connect with each grade level. This introductory class lays the groundwork for the second portion of the course, the Education Internship.

During the second year of the program, students experience teaching first hand. Each student chooses an OPS elementary or middle school teacher to shadow throughout the school year. Internship students help design lesson plans and deliver instruction.

“The internship course provides seniors the opportunity to teach in a school of their choice every afternoon of the week for a class credit.” Mr. Bojanski said. “The main objective for the course is to provide students the opportunity to experience what teaching is about. They have grown so close to the students in their schools and have all been a positive influence on a young student’s life.”

In many college education programs, students won’t have the opportunity to experience real classrooms until the third or fourth year of the program. Programs like Omaha South’s Intro to Education help prepare students for whatever lies ahead.
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 figt 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 for your support of the Omaha Public Schools.
. . . to Calvin Goodall of Omaha North for being selected as Nebraska’s high school representative for NASA’s “Name the Rover” contest. Calvin’s rover name, Apricity , is in consideration to become the official name of the 2020 Mars rover.

. . . to Ale’jah Douglas of Omaha Northwest Magnet High School for breaking the Class A single-game scoring record by scoring 51 points on Jan. 16, 2020. Douglas is now tied as the sixth all-time career scorer in state girls basketball.
. . . to Bryan High’s Olivia Rickley for being selected as the Runza Student of the Week for her strong work in academics and leadership in class.

. . . to Audrey Anderson of Omaha North for being named a Regeneron Science Talent Search Top 300 Scholar. This award includes a college scholarship for Audrey as well as a $2,000 donation to her school to be used to progress STEM programs and activities.
. . . to Marrs Middle’s Edgar Cid Lutin , Giuseppe Torres and Jonathan Leon for taking second place in the 2019 Congressional App Challenge.

. . . to all students who were able to #StriveFor95 and arrived on time at school over 95% of school days during the first semester. Thank you all for your hard work!
71st All-City Music Festival
This two-day festival will be held at the Holland Center for Performing Arts and will feature many outstanding OPS student musicians.

Performance Times:
  • Saturday, Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m. - Instrumental Ensembles
  • Sunday, Feb. 9 at 2 p.m. - Vocal Ensembles

For more information on the All-City Music Festival, please Click Here.
K-6th Grade Parent Math Night at Prairie Wind Elementary
All parents of K-6 students are invited to attend quarterly Parent Math Nights. Attendees will experience what their students are currently learning in math and become familiar with grade level curriculum, vocabulary and expectations. They will also learn how to support student learning at home and see first-hand how students can apply math strategies. Childcare is not available.

Two Parent Sessions are available this quarter at Prairie Wind Elementary:
  • Thursday, March 19 from 6 - 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 19 from 7 - 8 p.m.
Second Semester Parent Teacher Conferences
High School Conferences - Feb. 13 and 14
  • No school for high school students

Middle School Conferences - Feb. 27 and 28
  • No school for high school students

Elementary School Conferences - March 5 and 6
  • No school for elementary school student
Upcoming Breaks
Presidents' Day
  • Schools and the TAC building will be closed Monday, Feb. 17.

Spring Recess
  • Schools will be closed Monday, March 9 through Friday, March 13. School will reconvene on Monday, March 16.
  • The TAC building will operate under normal business hours.

Julie Sigmon, Omaha STEM Ecosystem Director

Article by Marin Harrington
Seven Critical Skills to Know for the Workplace
It’s never too early to learn the skills that will make you a great employee. Even if you’re still a student, sharpening these skills now will get you far, no matter what career path you choose.
1. Research ability
Successful research skills today extend beyond Googling something and clicking on the first web link you see. Employees need to know how to determine which information is reliable and to connect information from multiple sources to complete more in-depth research.
2. Effective oral communication
From giving formal presentations to brainstorming your ideas with colleagues for a group project, speaking is a constant necessity in the workplace. Knowing when to speak up—and how to do so confidently—is essential for the well-rounded employee. 
3. Writing
Even if employees don’t technically hold a “writing” position, they will need to write more than they might expect. Whether it’s composing an email, memo, research proposal or PowerPoint, the message must be clear, concise and professional.
4. Self-motivation
The best employees can take direction, but they’re also determined to complete tasks without constant supervision. They take initiative to put forward their own ideas and see them through independently.
5. Collaborative teamwork
All workplaces needs individual work to balance with group work in order to run smoothly. From cooperating with multiple people on a committee to a one-on-one meeting with your boss to evaluate your work, knowing how to listen and dialogue with others can lead to powerful results.
6. Problem solving
Reaching the best solution to a problem is important, but so is having composure and patience while trying to find it. Examine the issue one step at a time and don’t be afraid to think outside the box to find a solution.
7. Creativity
Creativity is no longer something reserved only for painters or poets, but rather a frame of mind useful to any employee. It involves expanding your perspective, being excited to take on new challenges and valuing self-expression in your work.

Visit the Omaha Public Library's Job & Career Advancement page for more resources and information on skill growth and career paths!
Attendance Matters!

Did you know?

"Students with good attendance generally enjoy school more and achieve higher grades. Grades go down where you're not around!"


Every student. Every day. Prepared for success.
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.
Daily attendance is critical to classroom success. As part of OPS' work to boost attendance and get students to school on time at least 95% of the school year, we're happy to share videos that help illustrate the importance.
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 moth. If you would like to see this month's edition, please click on the OPS Community Opportunities photo or the link below:

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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.