May 2021
Omaha Public Schools Community,

Can you believe the 2020-2021 school year is nearly complete?

As our regular academic year comes to a close, it’s encouraging to reflect on the support that helped carry us through this unusual school year. I’m immensely grateful for the partnerships that allowed us to bring students back into classrooms last fall, when few urban school districts of our size had returned to in-person learning. Many are still transitioning from remote learning or identifying a path to get there. As a community, we can take great pride in our collective efforts to achieve that milestone.

Our staff gave tirelessly to ensure student learning continued uninterrupted. We are fortunate to have caring teachers and staff members who are ready and willing to go the extra mile, bringing their best selves to work each day in service of our students and families.

Because of their tireless dedication to the success of our students, we will celebrate the graduation of our high school seniors in ceremonies that welcome some loved ones in person at Baxter Arena and allow others to join via livestream. We’re incredibly proud of the accomplishments of our graduates and wish them well in the next phase of their journeys.

This school year required much patience and flexibility. No matter the challenge, our staff kept pressing on to deliver on the promise of public education for our students and families. Our 2021 Alice Buffett Outstanding Teacher Award winners exemplified the commitment and talent present in our schools. Congratulations to all 15 honorees!

In the weeks to come, we will conduct engagement sessions to receive feedback from our families and the community about College & Career Academies and Pathways. In the meantime, we encourage families of students in 6th through 12th grade to sign up for meetings. Your opinion matters, and we look forward to hearing from you.

We want to assure families that as we move forward into Next Level Learning and prepare for the 2021-2022 school year, health and safety remains a priority. Our established layers of health and safety protocols prioritize a safe, responsible in-person learning environment and experience.

As always, we appreciate your continued support of the Omaha Public Schools. Here’s to a safe, fun and restful summer!

Cordially yours,

Cheryl Logan, Ed.D.
Omaha Public Schools
2020-21 School Year in Review
As seniors prepare for graduation and the 2020-21 school year comes to an end, we want to take a moment to look back at the tremendous efforts of our students, families and staff in these challenging times.

The school year began fully remote for the safety of our students, staff and community, and teachers across our district found new and innovative ways to keep students invested in remote learning. A big part of this innovative lesson planning was our 1:1 Technology Initiative, which provided each of our students a district iPad to facilitate remote learning.
In an effort to support our students and their families throughout the pandemic, our nutrition services team worked alongside Food Bank for the Heartland and numerous local organizations to provide meals for families. This effort initiated our Meals2Go program, which provided drive-up meals for children ages 1-18 at no cost during the school year and will continue throughout the summer.
We announced a phased return to in-person learning in September and began this return at the end of the first quarter. This phased approach allowed for a responsible return to in-person learning. This was possible thanks to the Family 3/2 Model and numerous health and safety measures alongside work with community partners to offer responsible learning spaces for our students and staff. Learning continued under the Family 3/2 Model through the end of the semester.

In second semester, we were excited to welcome our students back to in-person learning five days each week. As the high school transition to five days in person took place on February 17, the majority of our students were back in schools and learning in person for the first time in nearly a year.
Despite such a challenging year, our students have risen to the occasion. Students recorded an album, supported nonprofits, earned national recognition and even took flight, literally.

Thanks to philanthropic support, earlier this month juniors and seniors enjoyed wonderful prom nights at beautiful venues across Omaha, and we now look forward to watching our graduating seniors walk across the stage in just a few short weeks.

Looking ahead, we have much to be excited about. In the next five years we will have two new high schools, a new middle school and two new elementary schools. Teachers and students across the district have been recognized for their successes and numerous schools have earned awards for their continued excellence. We look forward to new triumphs in the coming years.

To the graduating class of 2021, congratulations! You have accomplished so much in these challenging times. Your resilience and courage have not gone unnoticed. We can’t wait to see what you do next.
Teacher Appreciation Week: Honoring our Educators
Alyssa Wilger teaches fourth grade at Hartman Elementary School. She has been with the school for five years and has “loved every second of it.” Wilger comes from a long line of teachers and has found her passion in helping students learn.

“For me, a big part of teaching is making sure my students learn more than just their core subjects,” shared Wilger. “Can they problem solve? Can they help each other? Can they manage their emotions, even when they’re upset? I want to see them grow as students, and I want to see them grow as people too.”

Wilger and other educators had to reimagine how to best support students this school year. She, and her peers throughout Omaha Public Schools, rose to the challenge and found solutions.
“I love getting to watch the personal growth of each student as the year goes along. Watching a student disagreement end in sharing, watching a student help a classmate with their iPad without even being asked, stuff like that just gives me joy in the work I get to do every day,” said Wilger.

Wilger was amazed by how her students responded to the changes they faced this school year.

“Students are more resilient than you can imagine,” shared Wilger. “The adaptability and mental toughness they’ve shown this year were inspiring to me. Even if they didn’t realize it, what they’ve worked through and accomplished this year has proven that they are resilient and they are capable.”

Omaha Public Schools celebrated Wilger and all teachers districtwide recently during Teacher Appreciation Week. The annual celebration is a time to honor educators for the incredible work they do. They play a critical role in delivering on the Omaha Public Schools mission, vision and values in their classrooms each day.
Ashley Hamik began her teaching career at Burke High and has served Burke students for the past 11 years. She teaches AP and honors chemistry to students in grades 10-12, with curriculum centered around lab work. This hands-on approach meant Hamik needed to get creative during remote learning.

"Each student having an iPad was huge," Hamik explained. "At first, I set up recordings of labs for students to watch, or I demonstrated labs live through video calls. Then, as students returned, they were put into pairs. The in-person students turned on their cameras as they worked on each lab so the students learning remotely could watch and help with directions or observations.”
Hamik knows that her impact extends far beyond the chemistry lab.

“I want my students to be excited about coming to class, no matter what their focus is in school,” said Hamik. “I want them to view their work in my class as a life skill of problem solving and growing, not just a job to memorize what I tell them about chemistry.”

Hamik continued, "Chemistry can be really hard, even if you have a knack for it. For me, the greatest part of teaching is working with a student on a challenging topic, slowly growing their understanding until one day it finally clicks for them. My favorite moment is when they can finally say, 'I get it, I get it!'"

As the school year comes to a close, Hamik wants her students to know just how proud she is of all their hard work.

“They’ve faced some enormous obstacles this year, but they overcame them all,” Hamik said. “Whether I have them in class again next year or they’re graduating, I know they’re prepared to go out and do bigger and better things after all they’ve accomplished this year.”

Please join us in thanking all Omaha Public Schools staff for their hard work and dedication to our students.
Watch the video above to see how our students celebrate our teachers for all the work they do.
Summer Learning Opportunities for
Omaha Public School Students
This year, summer learning opportunities will be available for students both online and on paper.

“Summer reading is critical for students to retain knowledge and skills learned in the previous school year,” explained Donna Dobson, director of elementary education. “Students who don't read are at risk of falling behind their classmates. Parents and teachers can avoid this by making sure kids take time to read.”

To ensure our students have the tools to continue their education this summer, we partnered with Scholastic for the Superintendent’s Summer Reading Program. This program provides books to all elementary and middle school Omaha Public Schools students.

“The goal of the program is to promote leisure reading throughout the summer to keep students engaged in literacy over the summer,” said John Chvatal, elementary curriculum coordinator and head of elementary Next Level Learning. “Each middle school and elementary student will receive a bag of 7-10 grade-appropriate books as well as a summer workbook to practice and reinforce literacy and math skills.”

Students are encouraged to log their reading time on the Omaha Puplic Schools Summer Reading webpage. The district goal is to have students combine to read over 1,000,000 minutes this summer.

“Independent reading is one of the greatest activities students can do to increase reading proficiency, and adult support can make all the difference in student education while kids are on summer break," said Chvatal.
Image taken prior to COVID-19
Additionally, we announced earlier this month that all students planning to return to Omaha Public Schools in the fall will have the opportunity to keep their district iPad for the summer. This will offer students access to a district LibGuide with digital resources for all grade levels in all subjects, including science, social studies, music and physical education.
“If you don't exercise, you lose muscle, and if you don't read, you will lose literacy skills,” Dobson said. “Studies show that children who don't read and exercise their brains over the summer lose at least two months of previous development.”

For summer learning ideas for all ages, visit the LibGuide app available on your student's district iPad.
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

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.

Summer STEM Learning

Julie Sigmon, Omaha STEM Ecosystem Director
Summer is right around the corner, so don’t miss all the STEM programs and resources available this summer. To register for camps or to find more summer programs, visit the STEM Community Platform STEM Portal.
Students Able to Use District iPads During Summer 2021

All students who plan to return to Omaha Public Schools next school year may keep their district-provided iPad, with 4G LTE connectivity, through the summer. This will allow students access to valuable summer learning materials, scholastic resources and district-approved learning apps through our 1:1 Technology Initiative. Please find important details below regarding this opportunity.

  • If a student keeps their iPad for the summer, they are required to bring back the device and all accessories when school resumes in August 2021. If a student transfers to a new school within Omaha Public Schools, they will take their device to the new school.
  • If a parent or guardian does not want their child to have a district-provided device over the summer, or if a student plans to leave our district, they must return it to their school office by May 26, 2021.
  • If a family leaves our district during the summer, devices must be returned to the TAC building at 3215 Cuming Street. Additionally, please visit our Common Sense Media page for educational resources on digital citizenship, internet safety, media balance and more.

It is important to note that Omaha Public Schools Parent/Guardian Technology Use Responsibilities agreement, signed when iPads were distributed, will remain in place through summer 2021 and our Student Code of Conduct must be followed. All students must have a signed agreement on file with their school in order to keep their device for the summer. Additionally, please visit our Common Sense Media page for educational resources on digital citizenship, internet safety, media balance and more.

If a student’s iPad or any accessories are broken or misplaced during the summer, please contact the school they attended during the 2020-21 school year to report it. If you have questions during the summer, additional support will be available by emailing or by calling 531-299-8765. If you have questions about your student’s device before the end of this school year, please contact your school directly.
Meals2Go and Next Level Learning During Summer 2021

Through the month of May, our Meals2Go curbside meal distribution will continue at its regularly scheduled times.

This summer, Meals2Go will be available every Monday from June 2 - July 23 from 10 - 10:30 a.m. Each meal bag will contain five breakfasts and five lunches. Meals for the week of July 4 will be distributed on Wednesday, July 6 and will contain 4 breakfasts and 4 lunches. Parents may pick up the meals for the children with identification for the child. Children do not need to be present.

Students participating in Next Level Learning will receive meals at school.

Specific district schools will serve as meal distribution sites. For a list of all summer distribution sites across our district, visit our Meals2Go webpage.
... ... to McMillan Middle’s seventh and eighth grade academic pentathlon teams for qualifying for the National Academic Pentathlon Finals. This is the 11th year in a row that McMillan’s team has qualified for the national finals.

…to Carrie Palmesano, the 2021-2022 Nebraska English Language Arts Teacher of the year, Teacher of Excellence! The award is sponsored by the Nebraska English Language Arts Council and the National Council Teachers of English.

... to all Omaha Public Schools Nebraska Young Artist Award Winners.
  • Burke High – Anthony Waadah (Film and Emerging Media Arts)
  • Central High – Daisy Friedman (Theatre Arts)
  • North High – Brenna Jean-Paul (Visual Arts)
  • South High – Lucia Revollo (Dance)

... to the 23 Omaha Public School students recognized as World Language Scholars.
  • Beveridge Middle – Kenziah Etse (French)
  • Beveridge Middle – Cassandra Kokesh (German)
  • Lewis and Clark Middle – Z’Kyra Bass (French)
  • Lewis and Clark Middle – Rebecca Rock (Spanish)
  • Monroe Middle – Paw Eh Thaw (Spanish)
  • Morton Middle – Chamara Colvin (French)
  • Benson High – Hel Tha Y Htoo (Spanish)
  • Benson High – Krisha Gurung (French)
  • Bryan High – Ximena Morales (French)
  • Bryan High – Enrique Abarca-Moreno (Spanish)
  • Burke High – Lucheng Li (Chinese)
  • Burke High – Reyna Citalan-Ambrosio (Spanish)
  • Central High – Noor Himdan (Spanish)
  • Central High – Reagan Mabus (Latin)
  • Central High – Jason Miller (German)
  • Central High – Sarah Lemi (Chinese)
  • Central High – Rayya Haider (French)
  • North High – Peter Manning (French)
  • North High – Stephanie Lewis (Spanish)
  • Northwest High – Arlin Portillo (Spanish)
  • South High – Dulce Reyes-Giles (German)
  • South High – Maria Ursino (Spanish)
  • South High – Kamira Hanson (Spanish)

... to the McMillan Middle School science Olympiad team for taking first place in the Nebraska State Science Olympiad. The team will represent Nebraska at the national tournament later this year.

… to the winners of the 2021 African American History Challenge, hosted by 100 Black Men of Omaha. Taking first place in the middle school division was Morton Middle School. First place in the high school division went to Northwest High School.

… the students who earned recognition at the 86th annual Nebraska Junior Academy of Sciences state science fair:
  • Lance Nevels, 7th grade, King Science and Technology
  • Adison Huffman, 8th grade, King Science and Technology
  • Lauren Stizman, 11th grade, Zoo Academy and North High
  • Haley Bates, 11th grade, Zoo Academy and Burke High
  • Sadie Larkin, 7th grade, McMillan Middle

... to Omaha Public Schools Board of Education President Dr. Shavonna Holman for being honored with the alumni award for excellence in public service from the University of Nebraska Omaha College of Public Affairs and Community Service.

... to Omaha North’s AP Chemistry students for taking first place at the Creighton University Virtual Chemistry Field Day.

... to Kate Nicholson of Wakonda Elementary for receiving the Hope Award from the Kids Can Community Center of Omaha.

… to Hta Der Taw Paw for earning recognition in the Omaha Bar Association’s 2021 Law Day essay contest.

... to all 267 of our seniors who were awarded the Susan T. Buffett scholarship. Scholarships are awarded on a competitive basis to first-time freshman entering college who live in Nebraska, graduate from a Nebraska high school (or GED) with plans to attend a Nebraska public college and demonstrate financial need.

... to all Omaha Public Schools staff who were recognized as COX education heroes:
  • Lee Perez – Alice Buffett Middle School
  • Natalie Peterson – Bryan High School
  • Cassie Dalrymple – Franklin Elementary
  • Kristina Fuentes-Ybarra – Gomez Heritage Elementary
  • Monica Morales – Gomez Heritage Elementary
  • Maria Betancourt Vasquez – Jackson Elementary
  • Katharine Arnold – Kellom Elementary
  • Krissa Hollinger – Laura Dodge Elementary
  • Myra Hudson – Miller Park Elementary
  • Alexandra Jones – Lothrop Elementary
  • Diane Sweetman – Springville Elementary
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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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.