A review of Omaha Public Schools Board of Education meetings.

March 21, 2023

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

American Civics Committee Meeting

Staff Presentation on K-12 Social Studies Textbooks and Related Materials for Use Beginning with the 2023-2024 School Year

Curriculum and Instruction Support staff presented the process of adopting new social studies textbooks and materials. Our district issued a request for proposal for materials, selected initial materials and completed field testing. Staff summarized the findings and recommendations with the American Civics Committee. Findings and recommendations are based on analysis of social studies standards, standards alignment, teacher reviews, field testing, bias reviews and community reviews. Once approved by the American Civics Committee, staff will present its final recommendations of materials to the Board for approval at a future meeting. 

List of recommended textbooks and materials for adoption.

#OPSProud Spotlight

Milken Educator Award Winner Lisa Moody

The #OPSProud Spotlight recognized Omaha Public Schools Special Education Teacher Lisa Moody, who recently won a Milken Educator Award. The Milken Educator Award celebrates outstanding K–12 teachers, principals and specialists furthering excellence in education. Recipients are selected in early to mid-career for their achievements and the promise of what they will accomplish. The prestigious honor is often described as "the Oscars of teaching."

 Board of Education Consent Agenda

Consent Agenda Items

Consent agenda items are packaged into one agenda item. They are often routine and garner very little discussion.

The consent agenda items were:

  • Staff Adjustments
  • Approval of the 2023-2024 Master Services Agreement Between the Educational Service Unit Coordinating Council and Educational Service Unit No. 19 
  • Approval of Amendment No. 002 to the Agreement with Vrana Construction – Lewis & Clark Middle School Capital Improvements & Addition Project – 2018 Bond Program – (Add $207,414.00) Revised Total $11,540,543.76
  • Approval of Amendment No. 003 to the Agreement with Hausmann Construction, Inc. – Spring Lake Elementary School Capital Improvements & Renovation Project – 2018 Bond Program – (Add $250,000.00) Revised Total $8,047,113.85
  • Approval to Award Bid No. 23-038 and Contract to Midwest DCM for Highland Elementary School Capital Improvements & Renovation Project – 2018 Bond Program – Total Contract Amount $1,106,000.00
  • Acceptance of the Certificate of Substantial Completion for Bluestem Middle School: New Middle School Project – 2018 Bond Program
  • Approval of Contract with Holland Basham Architects, Inc. to Serve as the Design Firm for the Benson High Medical Clinic and Entry Addition (estimated to be $502,000.00)
  • Approval of the Head Start Grant Carryover Request for the Fiscal Year 2022 ($232,538.00)
  • Approval of the Head Start Quality Improvement Plan
  • Approval to Purchase Elastomeric Acrylic Roof Coating Materials from Sherwin Williams for the US Mills Building ($57,449.00)
  • Approval to Purchase Multiple Apple Products from Apple, Inc. to Support Student Learning at Boyd Elementary School ($60,722.75)
  • Approval of UNO Bilingual Education Endorsement Program Memorandum of Understanding for 2023-2024 ($63,180.00)

View the entire consent agenda.

Board of Education Action Items

GR Recruiting Selected as Superintendent Search Firm

The Board approved entering into a contract with GR Recruiting to assist with the superintendent search.

Our district issued a request for qualifications which resulted in multiple submissions. After reviewing the submissions, the Accountability Committee interviewed three firms and recommended GR Recruiting

GR Recruiting has more than 40 years of experience with superintendent searches. GR Recruiting will organize and facilitate stakeholder engagement meetings as part of the superintendent search engagement process.

Approval of the First Reading of the Code of Conduct Revisions for 2023-2024

Executive Director of Student and Community Services Anne MacFarland, Ed.D., provided the Board with the recommended changes to the 2023-24 Student Code of Conduct. The Board approved the first reading. The final draft will come before the Board at a future meeting for final approval.

Summary of Changes

Draft of the 2023-24 Code of Conduct

Approval of the Report of the Legislative Committee Including Recommended Legislative Positions

The Board Legislative Committee updated the Board regarding where bills are currently in the Nebraska Legislature.

The committee provided recommendations for bills based on their potential impact on Omaha Public Schools. The Board approved the recommended positions.


The Board Legislative Committee will continue to monitor bills and will review any adjustments. As adjustments to bills are made, the Omaha Public Schools position may also change.

Board of Education Information Items

College & Career Academies and Pathways Update from Benson High

Benson High staff and student representatives provided an update on their implementation of College & Career Academies and Pathways. The team shared an overview of each of their pathways and student opportunities.

Benson High was the first wall-to-wall academy school in the state, the first school to fully implement Freshman Academy in Omaha Public Schools and has two National Career Academy Coalition (NCAC) model academies. 

Freshman Academy 

Each student at Benson High begins their high school career in Freshman Academy. Students focus on how to be successful in high school, recognition of individual strengths, community contributions and exploration of careers. During Freshman Academy, students choose one of three overarching areas of study:

  • Business and Entrepreneurship Academy
  • Design & Construction Academy
  • Health Professions Academy

Grades 10-12

Tenth grade students dig into their learning with foundational courses, professional visits, Lunch & Learns and more. During 11th grade, students focus on experiential learning opportunities. Students use the skills in their classes to participate in events that help them better understand a potential career field. This allows students to deepen their knowledge while networking with professionals. Students at Benson High focus their 12th grade year on engagement. Staff want students to graduate with interest and a plan for life after high school.

Looking Ahead

In the fall of 2023, Benson High will begin implementing Cambridge. Cambridge is an advanced academic offering that helps prepare students for the next phase of life with a global focus. Benson High ensures that academies are future focused by being ready to evolve as career fields and/or the community do. Benson High curriculum specialist Angela Johanek said, "Every time the community makes a move, we follow the community." 

Johanek continued that the school builds connections with businesses to support students. Local medical professionals from UNMC, Children's Hospital and more provide connections for the Health Professions Academy. North Omaha's entrepreneurial spirit offers connections in the Business and Entrepreneurship Academy. Design & Construction Academy students who want to start their own businesses also benefit.  

Benson High will break ground on a school-based health center in the coming months. From construction to implementation, school staff are planning for student experiences and engagement.

Update on the Creation of a District Environmental Sustainability Plan as Outlined in the Strategic Plan of Action: Strategic Priority 4 – Ethic of Care

Charles Wakefield, chief officer of operations and talent services, presented to the Board on creating our district environmental sustainability plan outlined in our 2020 Strategic Plan of Action.

The environmental sustainability plan aims to create processes and procedures that positively impact our environment. The plan focuses on ensuring the next generation's quality of life.

Environmental sustainability, aligned with the Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, has three key areas:

  1. Reducing environmental impact - reducing waste, water usage and more
  2. Improving health and wellness - looking at air quality, comfort and school nutrition
  3. Education - providing connections to the curriculum

The plan's development included a collaborative process that included research, a task force, visioning, student engagement and strategy development. The process identified five goals for the environmental sustainability plan. The goals are:

  • Increase district-wide waste diversion rate to 50% by 2030
  • Reduce total emissions 50% by 2040
  • Increase district Energy Star rating to 70 by 2030
  • Reduce water use to 9.5 gal/sq. ft. by 2030
  • Increase engagement survey score to 70 by 2030

The team continues working with our partner Verdis Group to find ways to meet these goals. They have already begun implementing some of the work, including looking at the life cycle of newer Energy Star appliances, improving recycling and composting programs and building relationships supporting sustainable nutrition.

Update to Policies 3410, 5418, 5423, 6000, 6110, 6114, 6115, 6116 and 6290 

Board of Education Policy Committee recommends changes to the following district policies:


Policy updates will come before the Board at future meetings for the first reading.

Next Omaha Public Schools Board of Education Meeting

The next regularly scheduled Board Meeting is tentatively scheduled for April 3, 2023. It is tentatively scheduled to start at 6 p.m.

Board of Education Agenda

To review previous Board of Education agendas, click here. If you have trouble accessing direct links, please access the entire 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.

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