Schools welcome families during open houses, plus mentors make an impact in students' lives
Even when winter weather disrupts our routines, we maintain our focus on students and school improvement.
In November, we talked about measuring a student’s experience in Omaha Public Schools classrooms. The framework we will use is called the ELEOT, (pronounced “Elliot”), or Effective Learning Environments Observation Tool. The process is already part of several schools’ routine.
Later this month, a Board of Education workshop will focus on the ELEOT as well. Our Board and community can see how the resource is used in classrooms.
Like we shared last fall, engaging and active lessons that meet a student’s individual needs are best. Whatever the classroom subject, ELEOT looks for signs of those gold standards.
Since August, we have focused even more intently on using data to improve. September’s Board of Education workshop reviewed the many ways we measure academic growth. Since then, staff presented MAP growth results and state test scores. We’ll share more with our Board of Education and community in the months ahead.
More than presenting it once a year, we dig into the data every day. It is a compass that guides our support for schools, for teaching and for each student we serve.
Thank you for all you do.
Omaha Public Schools
Omaha Public Schools Hosts Open Houses for Families
Freshman and student ambassador Jocelyn Lorenzo-Ventura led families through the halls of Buena Vista High this month. She was determined to show them all the wonderful things her school offers, including her favorite spot—the library.
“I really like the way the library is set up with all the cool collaboration rooms,” said Lorenzo-Ventura. “The library is my safe space. I love it there and am excited to show new students.”
Buena Vista High kicked off the first of many open house events scheduled at all Omaha Public Schools middle and high schools in January. Open houses allow families considering the school to meet teachers and principals and ask questions. Families explore the school, see the classrooms and learn about each school's programming and extracurricular activities. As Nebraska’s largest school district, students benefit from many ways to customize their learning experience.
Buena Vista High’s event featured athletics, activities and school partnerships like the YMCA and OneWorld. Teachers throughout the school spoke with families about the different College & Career Academies and Pathways offered.
“Students have so many great choices in Omaha Public Schools,” said Carrie Carr, Ed.D., Buena Vista High principal. “The best way to know if something is a fit is to go on-site and meet the people and see the spaces.”
The Bison Buddies, also known as student ambassadors, offered guided tours while sharing their experiences at Buena Vista High. Students conducted tours in both English and Spanish.
School Selection Guide
The School Selection process began this month at Omaha Public Schools. Students can now apply for a new 2024-25 school placement.
School choice applications are available at all schools and the Student Placement Office at the TAC building.
Students in transition grades received an application at their school.
Applications must be returned to the student’s current school by Jan. 29 or TAC by Jan. 31.
“I think open houses are important because they show the new students what the high school environment is like,” said Lorenzo-Ventura. “We have a lot of opportunities here, and I’m glad I was given the chance to share.”
Andrea Vazquez, whose daughter hopes to attend Buena Vista High next year, says she loves that our district hosts open houses and wishes she had opportunities like this in high school.
“Coming to this event will help my daughter become familiar with the school,” said Vazquez. “It helps get her more interested in what this school has to offer.”
Omaha Public Schools encourages students and families to attend the open house for their neighborhood school and any other schools they are interested in attending before making 2024-25 school selection preferences. To see a complete list of open houses,visit our website.
Mentors Support Student Success at Omaha Public Schools
When Paw Eh was in the fifth grade at Harrison Elementary, she crossed paths with Barbara Teets during bus duty. The pair would chat daily as students got on and off the bus. They bonded over their shared love of plants.
“I showed her this plant I would play with, and she called it a barberry bush,” said Paw Eh, now a Northwest High sophomore. “Her name was Barb, and that was a “barb” bush.”
The next thing Paw Eh knew, Teets told her she was signing up for the TeamMates Mentoring Program, and she wanted Paw Eh to be her mentee.
“I was like, ‘heck yeah! I get to have this amazing lady as my mentor,’” said Paw Eh. “I am so glad and honored she asked.”
Teets, now a student placement administrator for Omaha Public Schools, says she looks forward to her time with Paw Eh.
“It’s been so fun seeing this curious, smart and talented child grow into a young adult. Being a mentor is enriching for both the student and the mentor, and I would encourage anybody to do it.”
TeamMates is one of many partners that support Omaha Public Schools students. TeamMates mentors work with more than 300 students in 75 schools districtwide.
"Mentoring is important because every student deserves a positive, consistent adult role model in their life," said Curtis Morgan, TeamMates Mentoring coordinator for Omaha Public Schools.
Mentors and mentees meet for about 30 minutes every week at school. They play games, read, work on crafts and spend quality time with each other.
King Elementary security officer Herb Childs serves as a mentor, too. His mentee, a former King Elementary student, now attends Buffett Middle. Childs remains a positive influence in his life.
“I hope he looks back and remembers that I had his best interest at heart,” said Childs. “If I can make a difference in one kid's life, that’s the overall goal.”
In addition to programs for adult mentors, Omaha Public Schools also provides opportunities for youth to support one another. At Catlin Elementary, for example, fifth graders spend time with kindergartners on the playground, guiding them on positive behaviors.
“We helped them with being respectful. We played with them and just hung out,” said Santiago Torres, a Catlin Elementary fifth grader. “It’s our responsibility to be role models to them, and hopefully, when they get older, they can teach the younger kids the same.”
Omaha Public Schools highlights our commitment to mentoring during National Mentoring Month in January. Mentoring programs build positive relationships, improve attendance and enhance academic success. For more information on how to become a mentor, visit www.teammates.org.
The Omaha Public Schools Superintendent Search is moving forward. The application window closed this month, following a recruitment period that began Oct. 17, 2023.
Next, the search firm will thoroughly review all applications and candidate qualifications.
After our Board of Education reviews semi-finalists, they will announce finalists for the position. Then, the Board of Education will host public interviews with the finalists, with a final candidate anticipated to be selected in mid-February.
Feedback gathered throughout the search, including survey responses and community forum input, continues to guide the process.
We will share Superintendent Search updates directly with staff, families and high school students by email. The latest information will also be posted to
The Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA) recognized the students during the fall 2023-24 Nebraska Chiropractic Physicians Association (NCPA) Academic All-State Awards.
Schools nominated students for their individual academic excellence, leadership and significant contributions to their NSAA activity.
Omaha Public Schools is proud to celebrate their well-deserved accomplishments. Congratulations to all.
Kindergarten Roundup Begins
Kindergarten Roundup events for Omaha Public Schools families began this month. Events are scheduled at each neighborhood school between now and the 2024-25 school year.
This is a time for incoming families to visit their future school and meet the staff. Our district wants to ensure that students have a smooth transition into kindergarten.
Kindergarten Roundup dates and times are posted on our website, ops.org.
Safe2Help Nebraska Hotline
Safety is our top priority at Omaha Public Schools. There are resources in our district and community to support students and staff, including the Safe2Help Nebraska Hotline.
Safe2Help Nebraskais a confidential and anonymous hotline for students, families, staff or community members to report concerns.
If you or someone you know needs support or would like to report a safety concern, Safe2Help Nebraska Hotline is available 24/7 at (531) 299-SAFE. The app is installed on every Omaha Public Schools iPad, providing easy and immediate access.
Our Community Opportunities section is our digital bulletin board where families can find information about upcoming events and activities available in our area. New flyers are posted at the beginning of each month. This month's flyers include:
Hillside Little League
Omaha Public Schools provides this opportunity for outside organizations for the benefit of our families. It does not endorse any business, product or service.
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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.