A review of Omaha Public Schools Board of Education meetings.
Feb. 23, 2021

Following each Board of Education meeting, the Office of District Communications recaps the board meeting in the Board Digest.

If you are having trouble accessing direct links, please click here to view the full Board of Education Agenda with presentations and other documents.
Board Workshop
Proposed High School Student Assignment Plan
Our district has been making plans for the opening of two new high schools. In 2019, the Board of Education approved boundaries and we recently announced Omaha Public Schools College & Career Academies and Pathways, an evolution in our high school programming. Now the district is in the process of finalizing the High School Student Assignment Plan. The High School Student Assignment Plan will determine a student's transportation eligibility and placement priority during the high school choice process. Dr. Anne MacFarland and Mr. Casey Hughes presented the proposed High School Student Assignment Plan to the Board of Education last night.

How was the plan developed?
Over the past 16 months the Student Assignment Plan Committee has been working towards a simple, efficient and equitable plan for all OPS students. The committee developed several options and gathered feedback from internal and external groups including students, families and staff. The feedback from those groups helped to determine the proposal.

High School Choice
Choosing a high school that meets a student's individual needs is an important opportunity in Omaha Public Schools. We know that students and families make their high school choice based on a variety of reasons including, but not limited to, programming and transportation. The proposed plan takes this into account. No matter where a student lives, they will have the option to apply to any high school in Omaha Public Schools. The Student Assignment Plan will determine their transportation eligibility and priority in the high school choice process.

Neighborhood vs Non-Neighborhood Transportation
Our district currently has guidelines for transportation eligibility to both neighborhood and non-neighborhood schools.

  • Neighborhood transportation is for eligible students who attend their neighborhood (home) school.
  • The proposed plan would increase transportation eligibility at all high schools.
  • Instead of using distance, the proposed plan uses streets to identify transportation areas in each high school boundary.
  • Each transportation area identified is an area that is generally located farthest away from the school.
  • The proposed neighborhood transportation plan is below.
  • Non-neighborhood transportation is for students who attend a school other than their home (neighborhood) high school.
  • The proposed plan creates three partner zones each including three high schools.
  • One additional school has been identified as a partner school.
  • Students would have priority and be eligible for transportation at other schools in their partner zone and their home school's additional partner schools, also known as their "plus one school" (pictured below).
  • For example, students living in the North attendance area would be in the same zone as Burke and South. North High School's plus one school is 156th and Ida. Students in the North attendance area would have priority and be eligible for transportation to Burke, South or 156th and Ida.
  • The three partner zones and the plus one schools are listed below.
  • All three partner zones offer students access to diverse programming at high schools across the district.
  • The proposed non-neighborhood transportation plan is below.
Next Steps
The High School Student Assignment Plan proposal will be presented to the Board of Education again on March 1 as an information item. It will be brought before the Board for final approval at a meeting in the future. Pending Board approval, the plan would go into effect in Aug. 2022 as the new high schools open.

The Student Assignment Plan committee has already begun and will continue to communicate with families who may be impacted by changes to the High School Student Assignment Plan.

If you would like to learn more about the high school Student Assignment Plan, click here

To view the presentation, click here.
Omaha Public Schools College & Career Academies and Pathways
The Omaha Public Schools College & Career Academies and Pathways comes after an evaluation and refocus of current programming. It builds on what has been working well and where we can grow for students. It ensures students gain real-world career experience while maintaining the foundation of core classes and access to advanced academics, fine arts and electives. Ms. Susan Christopherson and Mr. Delayne Havlovic shared additional information regarding the Omaha Public Schools College & Career Academies and Pathways with the Board of Education last night.

The Omaha Public Schools College & Career Academies and Pathways will begin to roll out in the Fall of 2021 with a four-year implementation plan. The first year will be implementation of the Freshman Academy at all seven high schools. Our district recognizes the important transition from middle school to high school. As all students enter their high school journey, they will participate in Freshman Academy. They will explore careers and focus on skills for success in high school and beyond. 

Freshman Academy students will use the OPS NineForNine framework - nine things that will happen in 9th grade. They are:
  • Freshman Academy
  • Ninth-grade advisement
  • Freshman orientation
  • Family and school community engagement
  • Data walks
  • Student portfolio
  • Ninth-grade student engagement
  • Freshman On-track
  • Freshman Jump Start

Student Schedules - Electives and Advanced Academics
Students in both academies and pathways take their core classes (English, math, social studies and science) along with career-focused classes, advanced placement classes and electives. Students will be able to select from performing and fine arts, world languages, JROTC or a number of other electives. Student choices are what determine the differences in high school experience. A sample student plan is shown below.
Selecting an Academy or Pathway
In the spring of their freshman year, students will select their academy or pathway. To understand the options, we have provided a definition below:

  • Academies are smaller learning communities with a career focus. Groups of students with a similar career interest take classes together. Career-focused classes proceed from one to the next in a series.

  • Pathways are a series of four or more classes focused on a group of related careers, or cluster. Students in a pathway take classes with a wide range of other students across career interests.

To see a list of the Omaha Public Schools College & Career Academies and Pathways, click here. The academy and pathway names are meant to group together similar career fields. For example: Leadership Academy at Burke High will include courses in management, financial planning and insurance, data analytics, teaching and marketing.

We understand that not all students know what they want to do in the future, and that is ok. This evolution of programming gives students the opportunity to explore potential career fields while gaining skills that will be beneficial in their future and lead to high skill, high wage and in-demand jobs. In the Academies and Pathways, some students will find their passion, while others may find something they thought they liked is really not for them. Either way students will learn transferable skills that will help them succeed, no matter their future path. An advantage of being able to explore these opportunities in high school is there isn’t the financial impact to a family there is with college.

Block Scheduling
All high schools will transition to block scheduling. We currently have five of our seven high schools on a block schedule. By moving all schools to block scheduling it allows students the opportunity to have more in-depth learning in a single class, versus being broken up into multiple classes. An example is being able to complete a science experiment in one class versus setting up, working through an experiment and cleaning up on multiple days. Students are able to engage deeper with the course work and collaborate with their teacher and classmates. There is also less transition time between classes which allows for more learning time. In addition, it creates consistency across the district. This is beneficial for our teachers as they collaborate and also for our students who may move from one school to the other.

Student Outcomes
Everything we do in Omaha Public Schools is for the benefit of our students. Research shows that students in Nebraska who complete three or more courses in a career and technical education sequence graduate at an average rate of 10% higher than those who do not participate. For Omaha Public Schools, the average rate is 11% higher. This is true regardless of a student’s race, ethnicity or gender. Staff will continue to monitor student data to ensure student success.

To view the presentation, click here.
Next OPS Board of Education Meeting
The next regularly scheduled Board Meeting will take place on March. 1. It is tentatively scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m.

Board of Education Agenda
To review previous Board of Education agendas, click here. If you are having trouble accessing direct links, please access the full Board of Education Agenda to view presentations and other documents.

How Can I Watch a Previous Board of Education Meeting?
The video from the meeting will be available by Wednesday at noon following the meeting. The video can be viewed by clicking here.
Omaha Public Schools| 531-299-0220 | www.ops.org

Questions or feedback? Email us at: BoardDigest@ops.org