November 2021
Dear Omaha Public Schools Community,
Many of us felt the same joy, seeing news that vaccines against COVID-19 are now available for people aged five and up. After three school years disrupted by the pandemic, it is heartening to have this path forward.
A few weeks ago, I enjoyed recording a public service announcement encouraging everyone who is eligible to get a vaccine. One of our fantastic second grade students, Jamal, joined me in the video. Both Jamal and I participated in clinical trials for different COVID-19 vaccines. I wanted to roll up my sleeves and do my part for the medical research that would turn the tide in this pandemic.
Within days of the vaccine’s authorization for five to 11-year-olds, the Douglas County Health Department (DCHD) organized free vaccine clinics at several of our schools. We are proud to host the DCHD staff for this effort. Those clinics will continue throughout the Omaha area. If you plan to pursue a vaccine for your student, please stay tuned to for a current schedule. Pursuing the first dose now means that young people could be fully protected by the time winter break begins.
As winter break ends, our district will review its face covering policy in consultation with public health and medical partners, like the Douglas County Health Department, Children’s Hospital and Medical Center and the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Depending on their recommendations and community health conditions, we could bring an updated face covering proposal to our Board of Education for consideration in early 2022. We will keep you informed. We may need to remain flexible for some time to come as conditions evolve.
Throughout the year, our procedures have focused on responsibly maintaining in-person learning. We can all be proud of that success. As we near a season of gathering with family and friends, we can all continue doing our part to protect one another.

Cordially yours,

Cheryl Logan, Ed.D.
Omaha Public Schools
Celebrating Omaha Public Schools'
Substitute Teachers and Paraprofessionals
This month, Omaha Public Schools is recognizing many of the unsung heroes working with our students each day. In honor of National Education Support Professionals Day on Nov. 18 and National Substitute Educators Day on Nov. 19, we want to highlight some of our paraprofessionals and substitute teachers that support our students.
Joseph Kaspar is a substitute teacher currently working as a long-term substitute at Pinewood Elementary. Kaspar previously worked as a teacher for five years at Pinewood, and now enjoys the variety that comes with being a substitute.

Kaspar shared, “My favorite part of substitute teaching is getting to meet so many different classroom communities and seeing all the great things they’re learning.”

Kaspar has served as a substitute at numerous schools, including Hartman Elementary, Skinner Elementary, Western Hills Elementary and South High. This variety of schools and grade levels has shaped how he engages students of all ages.

“I hope to inspire my students to try their best and help them see that if they keep trying, they will get better and better,” Kaspar continued. “I see many children that start the year struggling in an area and as the year goes on, just to see little gains is substantial to me.”
At North High, Rosa Arevalo has been serving as a special education paraprofessional in the Alternative Curriculum Program (ACP) since 2005. She has also worked during summer school at Fontenelle Elementary.

“I love being a special education paraprofessional because I get to watch students learn and develop skills in different areas to become successful and independent people,” said Arevalo. “I celebrate with my students for every goal that they set and achieve.”

Arevalo has worked with hundreds of students in her time at North High, and she knows no two students are alike.

“My biggest goal is to be there for each of my students emotionally as every student is different,” Arevalo shared. “I want to motivate each one to strive in the classroom and help them along their journey through high school.”
We are always looking for new staff members who want to inspire the next generation. If you are interested in becoming an Omaha Public Schools employee, check out our job listings page for openings. You can even support the students of Omaha Public Schools for a few hours each week through our paid concierge team positions.
Community Partnership Cultivates Beauty and Pride
Through a community partnership with Keep Omaha Beautiful, students at Miller Park Elementary took their lessons outside to make an impact in their neighborhood. Watch the video below for more.
Omaha Public Schools Continues Proactive Communication about Bond Work and Student Assignment Plan Updates
With five new schools preparing to open and improvements happening at schools across our district, this is an exciting time in our community. Throughout the 2018 bond program, the Student Assignment Plan committee has been planning for these changes and proactively communicating to ensure our families and staff are aware of how they may be impacted.

“It has been a huge undertaking and one we take very seriously,” said Casey Hughes, Omaha Public Schools director of data and analytics and team lead of the Student Assignment Plan committee. “We have spent years working to make these updates as efficient and equitable as possible for all of our students.”

The Omaha Public Schools Board of Education approved the Elementary and Middle School Student Assignment Plan in October 2019. These boundary changes will take place at the elementary level in fall 2022 as Forest Station Elementary and Pine Elementary open, and at the middle level in fall 2023 as Bluestem Middle opens.

In March 2021, the Board of Education approved the updated High School Student Assignment Plan. These changes will go into effect in fall 2022 as Westview High and Buena Vista High open. These schools will initially open with 9th and 10th grades, adding 11th grade in 2023 and 12th grade in 2024.

This month, impacted families will receive direct letters via USPS mail from our district outlining how their students will be impacted by changes in the coming years. This includes boundary changes, grade level configuration and transportation eligibility. Families will receive communication based on their current primary address. Families who move may have additional impacts.

“Our focus is to make sure all impacted families have the information they need to feel comfortable as these changes take place these next few years,” said Anne MacFarland Ed.D., executive director of student and community services and team lead of the Student Assignment Plan committee.

In addition to our five new schools, improvements have been taking place at schools across our district thanks to the 2018 bond program. For more information on the 2018 bond program or the upcoming boundary changes, visit
Students Gain Real-World Experience as Interpreters
This fall, our district hired 20 students who speak eight different languages to supplement the work done by our bilingual liaisons.

“We have a small community of Karenni people and they will call me to interpret," said Pu Meh, a senior at Northwest High. "They will call us for their home matters, they will also tell me just not only about school but the community – everything around us."

“Ever since I was young, I wanted to be a teacher, so I will probably go back and work for OPS in the future but as maybe a translator and teacher at the same time. I want to do elementary education because I love kids and education is the world for me. I want to give others the education that they need, too.”

To read more about our new student bilingual liaisons, click here.
Reading Recovery Program Jumpstarts
Young Student Literacy Skills
The lesson begins with a “warm up” for Alice, an Omaha Public Schools first grader. She sits side-by-side with her teacher as they read a familiar book. As Alice reads, the teacher makes note of any challenging words. Those words then become the focus for the rest of the lesson.

The process is one element of Omaha Public Schools' new Reading Recovery Program. The program launched this year to help students jumpstart reading and writing skills.

“Right now, our Reading Recovery teachers are at Belvedere, Fontenelle and Minne Lusa Elementary,” said Miki Holbeck, coordinator of early literacy. “We’re a few months into the program now and we’re looking forward to being able to serve many more students in the future.”

Six teachers are now trained for the Reading Recovery Program. By the end of this school year, they will have provided reading recovery lessons to 76 first graders.

“The goal of Reading Recovery is to help our students develop effective reading and writing skills for their grade level, and to prepare them to expand on those skills,” said Holbeck.
District staff identified students for the program based on year-end kindergarten assessments. Students meet with their teacher one-on-one for 30-minute lessons each day.

“This year, Alice has built confidence in her ability to read and learn,” shared Angie, Alice’s mother. “She’s so proud when she reads to us at home. I’d recommend Reading Recovery as a fun way for kids to learn to read and build confidence.”

The one-on-one lessons also help teachers build a relationship with each student.

 “It lets teachers tailor their lessons to fit the needs of each student and grow the student’s involvement and interest in each lesson,” Holbeck added.

Participants are already benefiting from the individualized support.

“We are proud of Alice and thankful for the program and the teachers who are helping us,” Angie continued. “Alice has really enjoyed the program and the one-on-one attention has been super successful at helping her reach her goals.”

For more information on the program, watch the presentation to the Omaha Public Schools Board of Education on Oct. 18.
Attendance is critical for student success. Across Omaha Public Schools, families are encouraged to #StriveFor95, which means attending school on time at least 95% of school days.

Winter weather is on the way, so we’re working to ensure students have the hats, gloves and scarves they may need to come to school on time every day. We’re calling it “20,000 Villagers” to honor the many community members who support our students.

A $20 donation can purchase hats, gloves and scarves for four students who may need them.

Thanksgiving and Winter Recess Schedules

Ahead of the holiday season, we want to highlight some updates to our Thanksgiving and Winter Recess schedules.

Thanksgiving Recess:
  • There will be no school for students from Monday, Nov. 22 through Friday, Nov. 26.
  • Classes will resume Monday, Nov. 29.

Winter Recess:
  • There will be no school for students from Monday, Dec. 22 through Tuesday, Jan. 4.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 4 will serve as a Teacher Planning day.
  • Classes will resume Wednesday, Jan. 5.
Carmen Lazo of Bryan High Recognized as
2021 Nebraska Spanish Teacher of the Year

We are proud to recognize Carmen Lazo of Bryan High. Lazo is the 2021 Nebraska Spanish Teacher of the Year, honored by the Nebraska American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP).

November STEM Learning

Julie Sigmon, Omaha STEM Ecosystem Director
Don’t miss all the STEM programs and resources available for students and educators in the Omaha area to further your STEM education. Here are some of our top picks.

  • Peter Kiewit Foundation Engineering Academy: The Peter Kiewit Foundation Engineering Academy is looking for students who are committed to supporting and advancing women in engineering throughout Nebraska. Forty students will be chosen to participate in this cohort-based program that empowers students to make a positive impact in engineering. This program is held at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Engineering.

  • Healthy Waterways and Pollution Solutions: This program is designed for educators, featuring hands-on activities and experiments to discover how storm water impacts our local waterways and aquatic ecosystems. Educators can utilize these free, engaging programs and resource kits to help students explore how the Omaha watershed fits into the global water system. This program is offered by Keep Omaha Beautiful.

To register for these opportunities or to find more STEM programs, visit the STEM Community Platform Portal or click the link below.
Do you know an Omaha Public Schools teacher who deserves recognition?

A great teacher can turn a geography lesson into an exciting adventure or make a conversation become a life lesson. And the Omaha Public Schools community is fortunate to have so many great teachers. It’s 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 Omaha Public Schools teacher for this award and tell us what he or she has done that has made a difference. Now more than ever, let’s recognize the extraordinary efforts of educators within the Omaha Public Schools. Omaha Public Schools teachers continue to meet today’s challenges with an unwavering spirit and passionate dedication to their students. Please submit your nomination by January 15, 2022. 
CHI Health and Omaha Public Schools partner to honor teachers across our 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, click here.

Thank you for your support of our teachers and Omaha Public Schools.
... to the current and former Omaha Public Schools students who were awarded the Nebraska Department of Education 2021 Seal of Biliteracy.
  • Bryan High:
  • Katheryn Alvarez-Padilla
  • Maria Chaidez-Rodriguez
  • Yoselin Melgar Serrano
  • Cinthya Romero-Guardado
  • Jade Salgado
  • Burke High:
  • Laura Kirshenbaum
  • Jason Miller
  • South High:
  • Christina Fischer
  • Yesenia Mora-Lopez
  • Refugio Ovalle
  • Keilly Ponce-Merida
  • Jose Rodriguez Vallecillo

... to the Burke and North High football teams for their participation in the 2021 NSAA State Football playoffs.
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.