November 2020
Greetings Omaha Public Schools Community, 
 
Omaha Public Schools Community:
I want to share a few updates with you as we approach the final month of the first semester following our Responsible Return to In-Person Learning and as we move closer to winter break.

Throughout the pandemic, we have consistently and proactively monitored data to track COVID-19 case numbers inside our schools. We continue to regularly test our staff members to understand trends and patterns across our school district. Regular testing positions us to make swift decisions that help protect the health, safety and well-being of as many of our staff, students and families as possible.

Recently, we temporarily transitioned two of our elementary schools and two of our high schools to 100% remote learning to limit transmission of the virus.

Additionally, OPS has partnered with University of Nebraska Medical Center, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and OneWorld Community Health Centers to launch an innovative, first-of-its kind testing program, OPS PROTECTS, which includes non-invasive testing for all staff and students who opt-in, as well as environmental samples in our three pilot schools.

Through this program, students who attend Marrs Middle, Norris Middle and Bryan High can now receive tests at school. The families of students tested will receive individualized notifications and health care guidance if a student were to test positive. This pilot program uses saliva tests, which are non-invasive and provide rapid results. Faster results let us more quickly assess what precautions are working and what additional interventions may be needed.

We know this has been an exceedingly challenging time for our families, staff and administrators. There simply aren’t enough words to express the amount of gratitude I have for their flexibility, adaptability, spirit of unity and commitment to educating our children through these unpredictable times.

The emotional health and well-being of our students and staff remain a priority. I want to remind everyone that we will continue our steadfast support of students, staff and families. Please reach out to your child’s school or visit our website.

As we approach the holiday season, we ask that you remain vigilant in your actions. Please continue wearing your face coverings and social distancing for your health as well as for the health and safety of others.

 
Cordially Yours, 
 
Cheryl J. Logan, Ed.D. 
Superintendent 
Watch the video above for a more detailed view of the new OPS PROTECTS program.
1:1 Technology Allows Omaha Public Schools to Maintain Learning on Inclement Weather Days
The frost outside Wednesday morning made it clear: winter weather is fast approaching. We know this year has presented challenges unlike any other, so it is especially important to maintain student engagement even if winter weather gets in the way of learning at school. Thanks to our 1 to 1 Technology Initiative, we now have the opportunity to support students with teaching and learning at home.

"Live," or synchronous teaching and learning will take place in the morning, with teacher availability for questions or additional support in the early afternoon. Teachers will take attendance.

For elementary students, inclement weather days will begin from home at 8:50 a.m. with a morning check in, just like a regular at home learning day in our Family 3/2 Instructional Model.

On inclement weather days, secondary students will follow a shortened class schedule, with specific times depending on a block or nine-period schedule. Most secondary schools will begin an inclement weather day from home at 8:40 a.m., with Central High and South High beginning the day at 8:20 a.m.

It is important that students bring their district-provided iPad home each evening and families charge them each night. For additional information about our 1 to 1 Technology Initiative, please click here.
OPS Teachers Recognized for Success
Adam Malmquist of Morton Middle Named
Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year
This school year has presented challenges for all, but teachers throughout Omaha Public Schools continue to rise up and find solutions.

Adam Malmquist is a physical education teacher at Morton Middle School, and he did not grow up with dreams of being a teacher. After graduating from UNO and working in another field, Mamlquist served as a little league baseball coach.

Malmquist shared, "At the end of one season, a group of the parents approached me and asked if I would be interested in becoming a PE teacher and highly recommended that I look into it. I thought about it a lot, and eventually decided to just go for it."

Two years later, Malmquist earned a master's degree in education, and he has now worked for OPS for nine years, with six at Morton Middle. Malmquist teaches grades 6-8 and students in the Alternate Curriculum Program (ACP).

This fall, Malmquist was recognized as the 2020 Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year by the Nebraska Society for Health and Physical Education (SHAPE Nebraska) for his innovative and adaptive instruction to meet the needs, interests and abilities of his students.

"This award is special, but mostly because it shows that what I'm doing is working," explained Malmquist. "It is great to know that what I'm doing is having a noticeable effect on our kids and that what I'm teaching them and showing them is making an impact on their lives."

Cody Shevlin, the district physical education supervisor, was not surprised when Malmquist was recognized for his work.

"Adam has always been in the group that rose to the occasion and was at the forefront of our work in curriculum and planning, striving to help and support our students," Shevlin said. "He's thorough, he cares about his students and colleagues and he's always going out of his way to help whenever he can."

Malmquist said, "When I started this job it didn't feel like work and it doesn't feel like work now. Every day when I come to school and get to work with these kids it feels like I won the lottery. I truly enjoy this job and get to wake up everyday and come do something that I love."

"Even if there's just one kid who I can see is living healthier and through that gained confidence in class and in themselves, it would all be worth it."
Buffett Middle's Marisa McClintock Named
Middle School Art Teacher of the Year
A middle school teacher at Omaha Public Schools has earned statewide recognition for her creativity in the classroom and as an artist.

Marisa McClintock of Buffett Middle School was recently named the 2020 Nebraska Art Teachers Association (NATA) Middle School Art Teacher of the Year.

"I feel very honored because there are so many wonderful teachers in the Nebraska Art Teachers Association who do amazing work, so to be recognized was a huge honor for me," said McClintock.

The award goes to an association member who teaches and makes additional outstanding contributions in art education beyond the classroom.

"The award really highlighted to me how blessed I am to work at Buffett and with OPS," added McClintock. "There's such a standard of excellence here that our work is being seen across the district and even across the state."

To learn more about her award and career at OPS, watch the video above or click here.

Do you know an Omaha Public Schools teacher who
deserves recognition?
Alice Buffett Outstanding Teacher Award

A great teacher can turn a geography lesson into an exciting adventure or make a conversation become a life lesson. The Omaha Public Schools community is fortunate to have so many great teachers. This is why the Alice Buffett Outstanding Teacher Award was created more than 30 years ago — to recognize those teachers who have gone above and beyond to help their students in the classroom and in life.

Nominate an OPS teacher for this award and tell us what he or she has done that has made a difference. Submit your nomination by January 15, 2021.
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 for your support of the Omaha Public Schools.
#OPSProud Alumni Return as Educators
What better compliment for a school district than to have alumni return to teach?

Bryan High School Dean of Students Sasha Cervantes, class of ’98, has worked in a variety of roles across the district. She credits the vibrant community atmosphere of Bryan High for her decision to come “home” this year and looks forward to supporting students in the same space that laid the groundwork for her career in education.

“It’s humbling to come into a school where I spent my formative years,” Cervantes said. “I was a teenager in this building the last time I was here..." Click here to read about more of our alumni who have returned as teachers.
Veterans Continue Service in the Omaha Public Schools Community
Omaha Public Schools recognizes and honors all those in our community who have served honorably in the military. We thank them, and all veterans, for their bravery and contributions to our national security and for the sacrifices they have made.
After serving in the Navy for eight years, Don Williams is serving his community in the Omaha Public Schools. He has worked in numerous roles in his 25 years with the district and now works as a food delivery driver for nutrition services.

"My time in the Navy made me strive to do better, to believe in accountability," said Williams. "I work harder now thanks to my time in the military. It makes you motivate yourself to do more than you thought you could."

Williams has been a key part of supporting families across the district throughout the pandemic, supplying schools with food for the Meals2Go program since last March.

"If you would've asked me a year ago if we'd be going through what we're going through right now, I'd have never believed it," explained Williams. "This year taught us to look for those little things that make a day better. You have to realize that maybe your day isn't quite as bad as you think it is."
Bradly Boganowski served in the U.S. Army for 30 years and recently joined the Omaha Public Schools team as the construction supervisor for district operations. Boganowski oversees the school building projects for the 2018 Bond Project.

"I learned a lot from my time in the Army, and it has really shaped how I work with people," Boganowski explained. "Communication and commitment are vital. When you promise to do something you must be true to your word and deliver on it. I strive for that and expect that from the people I work with."

"Building and managing a team the right way is the most important thing the Army taught me," continued Boganowski. "At OPS I've been able to work alongside some amazing people. I work specifically with a number of plumbers, electricians, contractors, and when you surround yourself with solid people you can always listen to them and trust them to get the job done the right way."
Updated 2020-21 School Calendar

Omaha Public Schools has updated the 2020-21 school year calendar, featuring two important additions:

  • Tuesday, Nov. 24 is now a Yellow L-Z day, to allow for in-person student time before Thanksgiving Break
  • Family 3/2 Instructional Model shading through second semester, in 2021

You can download the updated calendar by clicking here.
Meals2Go - Week of Thanksgiving Recess

Schools will not be in session Nov. 25-27 for Thanksgiving Recess. The Omaha Public Schools Nutrition Services team remains committed to preparing and distributing meals for students.

The week of Thanksgiving Recess, Meals2Go will be distributed only on Monday, Nov. 23.
  • This bag will contain three days of meals for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Visit our website to learn more about Meals2Go.
November's Tools to Support
Learning from Home


Julie Sigmon, Omaha STEM Ecosystem Director
Online Tools for Families


  • Beyond School Bells -- Nebraska’s statewide afterschool network, has developed and collected an assortment of curricula and educational experiences designed to engage students in hands-on learning experiences. These free materials can be adapted for in home use and a blended on-line and in person settings.
  • Click here to visit the Beyond School Bells website.


  • Imagine Science-Omaha Presents: The Case of the COVID Crisis Book Club -- Join the Imagine Science team as they travel through time in this adventure novel to explore epidemics and pandemics of the past or present! This free, 15-hour program allows middle school students to discuss each chapter, including the social and emotional issues raised and its relevance to their own lives.
  • For more information, email:
  • Tiffany Sessions at Tiffany.Sessions@unl.edu
  • Mirissa Scholting at mscholting2@unl.edu

  • Do Space -- This free program offers a variety of activities and events to serve the community. From beginner to advanced, toddlers to senior citizens, Do Space offers something for all ages and levels of experience.
  • Click here to visit the Do Space website.
... to South High’s Samuel Pineda for being accepted into the National Association for Music Education’s National Honor Choir. Pineda is the first student in South High history to earn this honor.

... to Spring Lake Elementary's Principal Katy Cattlett for being elected president of the Nebraska International Languages Association.

... to Spring Lake Elementary for being one of 32 schools across Nebraska to be recognized as a School in Action by the Nebraska Department of Education. This award recognizes schools that are successfully implementing health and wellness programs to support staff and students.

... to Columbian Elementary for being awarded Learning By Design Magazine’s Outstanding Project 2020 award in the New Early Childhood School/Elementary category. This was awarded for “setting a great example of the hard work and investments made by educational communities across the country."

... to all OPS students who were selected to the Nebraska All-State choir, band, orchestra and jazz band.

... to Amanda Gutierrez of Omaha North High Magnet School for earning the Ron Joekel Award for championing youth leadership development in her teaching.

... to Marisa McClintock of Alice Buffett Magnet Middle School for being recognized as the 2020 Middle School Art Educator of the Year by the Nebraska Art Teachers ssociation.

... to Adam Malmquist for being named the 2020 Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year by SHAPE Nebraska for his innovative and adaptive instruction to meet the needs, interests and abilities of his students.
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.