A review of Omaha Public Schools Board of Education meetings. 
March 5, 2019

Following each Board of Education Meeting, the Office of District Communications recaps the board meeting in the Board Digest.
#OPSProud Spotlight - Beveridge Magnet Middle School National Battle of the Books Qualifier
We're pleased to honor Jasmine Spittler an eighth-grader at Beveridge Magnet Middle School as tonight’s #OPSProud Spotlight. Earlier this fall, Jasmine was part of a local team that qualified for the National Battle of the Books for Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Gallaudet University Youth Programs has been hosting the Battle of the Books competition for 5 th  through 8 th  grade students since 2012.
The competition consists of students using American Sign Language to watch, read and answer questions via video screen. The questions are based on three books students were required to read prior to the competition. The books include "The Harlem Charade," "Lucky Broken Girl" and "The Girl Who Drank the Moon." Jasmine thrived in the competition, given only a few minutes to prepare and present an answer to an impromptu question on one of three books assigned to the team. 
On March 29 through April 1, Jasmine will represent the state and the Omaha Public Schools in Washington, D.C. at nationals with her team “Nebraska North.”
Jasmine (center) is shown with her teammates and coach.
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 Engagement Of Dornan, Troia, Howard, Breitkreutz & Conway PC LLO Law Firm To Serve As Special Counsel To The District
  • Bid No. 19-012 Network Switches, Wireless Access Points, And Switch Module
  • Change Order No. 004 - 2014 Bond Program - Capital Improvements & Addition - Norris Middle School
  • Easement For City Of Omaha - McMillan Magnet Middle School 
  • Educational Specification & Schematic Design Approval - 2018 Bond Program - New Elementary School 1000 N. Fort Crook Road Project
  • Extension of High School Mathematics e-book Licenses for Pearson Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2
  • Replacement of Aged Smart Boards at Nathan Hale Magnet Middle School
  • To view the entire agenda, click here.
Administrative Adjustments
Please join us in congratulating Barry Thomas as the district's new Director of Equity and Diversity. Thomas began his career with the district in 2002 as a teacher at McMillan Magnet Middle School. In 2006, he began teaching social studies at North High Magnet and in 2012, he became the supervisor of social studies. Thomas earned his bachelor's degree from Wayne State College and a master's degree from Doane College. The Board approved his appointment last night so he will officially assume the role on April 1.
Board of Education Action Items
Legislative Update
The Board made no changes to the current Legislative Matrix.

The OPS Board Legislative Committee continues to monitor
bills and will review any adjustments to bills. As adjustments are made, OPS Board position may change

To view the current matrix. click here.
2019-2020 Calendar Update
The Board Approved an adjustment to the 2019-2020 calendar last night. The change was needed due to an inadvertent error in the calculations of staff duty days. The current OEA contract calls for 189 teacher days and the previous approved 2019-20 calendar had 190 teacher days.

With the adjustment, the goal was not to impact student days. Research analyzed the comments previously received on the calendar and determined that the Wednesday before Thanksgiving was the best day to make the adjustment. OEA was in support of this day. Therefore, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019 will be a non-student, non-teacher day.

To view the 2019-20 master calendar, click here. All 2019-20 calendars will be published to the OPS website soon.
Policy 4040 (Social Media Policy) and Policy 8150 (Committees and Committee Functions)
Th Board approved the first reading of Policy 8150. The Board also approved Policy 4040 pending the addition of the definition of social media managers.

To review the policies, click on the name below:

The Board will conduct its second reading of policies at the March 18 Board of Education meeting.
Board of Education Information Items
Americanism Committee Update
Board Member Ricky Smith shared an update from the Americanism committee. At the most recent meeting, the committee spent time discussing the upcoming Nebraska Department of Education review of social studies standards and what that will look like. Of the 60 member committee, there will be 10 OPS staff members.

The committee also discussed the 30 Americans Exhibit at the Joslyn Museum, the partnership with Urban League of Omaha to provide voter registration information to seniors and the African-American History Challenge.
Suspension Data Update
Director of Research, Scott SchmidtBonne and Executive Director of Student and Community Services Lisa Utterback shared an update on OPS suspension data.

Between the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school year, the number of suspensions, as well as the number of students being suspended declined. This decline can be attributed to schools using a variety of resources and supports to address behavior issues as alternatives to suspensions, with the goal of keeping students in school.

Although the number of suspensions fell, the number of expulsions rose. The largest rise was seen at the middle school level.

The data also shows that African-American students are disproportionately suspended and expelled compared to other student subgroups. However, the disproportionate number of expulsions improved slightly in the 2017-18 school year. While the district average for disproportionality in African-American suspensions has increased slightly, some schools at all levels have demonstrated improvement over time.

Student and Community Services is working with all schools on action steps for improvement in the disproportionality include building relationships with students, establishing clear procedures, routines and expectations, high-visibility of staff, data review, community involvement and more.

To view the presentation, click here.
Important Information for OPS Staff
CHI Health and Omaha Public Schools partner to honor teachers across the OPS 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 teacher's lounge and a personal gift card. CHI will draw winners on the last Friday of the month. CHI Health will select winners from three different grade levels across the district.
Anyone can nominate a Top Teacher at  CHIhealth.com/TopTeachers .
National High School Essay Contest
United States Institute for Peace (USIP) partners with the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) on the annual National High School Essay Contest. Each year, the contest engages high school students in learning and writing about issues of peace and conflict, encouraging appreciation for diplomacy’s role in building partnerships that can advance peace building and protect national security. 

The winner of the contest receives a $2,500 cash prize, an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. to meet the U.S. Department of State and USIP leadership, and a full-tuition paid voyage with Semester at Sea upon the student’s enrollment at an accredited university. 

To learn more, click here.

Deadline is March 15.
Next OPS Board of Education Meeting
The next regularly scheduled Board Meeting will take place on March 18. It is tentatively scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m.
Board of Education Agenda
To review previous Board of Education agendas, click here.

How Can I Watch a Previous Board of Education Meeting?
The video from the meeting will be available by the Wednesday at noon following the meeting. The video can be viewed by clicking here.
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Questions or feedback? Email us at: BoardDigest@ops.org