Mr. Sharif Z. Liwaru
Director, Title IX Coordinator, OPS Strategic Plan Lead Manager
OPS Office of Equity and Diversity
The Omaha Public Schools is enriched by its diversity. Differences are respected, celebrated, and valued. We envision and intend that diversity be seamlessly woven into every facet of the District. We will embrace a diverse student and staff population by providing a culturally responsive and inclusive environment that supports success and safety, fosters respect, while preparing for students to live, learn, and work together productively in a global community.
The diversity mission of the Omaha Public Schools is to achieve educational equity and diversity inclusion for ALL students. Quality of learning is enhanced by a climate of inclusion, understanding and appreciation. Learning experiences are enriched when embedded with a multiplicity of ideas, thoughts and perspectives. The district is committed to developing schools that cultivate multicultural environments to embrace and celebrate cultural diversity. We will promote curriculum that helps introduce students to diverse perspectives. Instructional delivery will be conducted in an environment of acceptance, affirmation and appreciation. By introducing new challenges in thinking, communication and team-building, our students will more successfully function in the global community. Every effort will be made to recruit, support, train and retain employees reflective of the culturally rich and diverse perspective mirrored in our students, families and communities. The benefits of diversity in education will be demonstrated and communicated to students, staff, parents and the community.
Roles and Functions
- Develop collaborative relationships and partnerships
- Convene bodies for strategic discussions and action
- React proactively to legislative concerns
- Educate and inform constituents
- Monitor District policies, procedures, and initiative for continued alignment
- Provide conflict mediation
- Train community volunteers as advocates
- Create and implement special projects
Additional Responsibilities of the Office of Equity and Diversity
Provide expertise and leadership on diversity related matters.
Lead district-wide diversity implementation efforts resulting in a collaborative vision of Diversity in the Omaha Public Schools.
Foster lasting relationships and partnerships with diverse community organizations to further enhance the education, development and growth of our students.
Help individuals become knowledgeable of what they currently believe by examining various stereotypes and allowing individuals to experience self-confrontation to determine how they arrived at the conceptions they have about people or customs different from their own.
Give people the opportunities to experience what/how others may be feeling as a result of misconceptions, stereotyping and prejudice.
Help move individuals to a level of acceptance and respect for people with different beliefs and cultural norms, appearance and behaviors.
Provide a vehicle and feedback for people to recognize their behaviors, attitudes, body language, levels of flexibility, sincerity, etc., as they interact with others who are different from themselves.
Establish a diversity web site for the district.
Create, augment and sustain a clearinghouse and archive of diversity materials and resources.
Publish a Diversity Matters newsletter on a regular basis. Include a Calendar of Diversity Events taking place in schools/departments.
Provide an annual institutional report of the state of diversity in the Omaha Public Schools.
Lead and direct future development of district-wide policies and strategies that align with and support the mission, vision, goals, core values and strategic plan of the district.
Develop and monitor a district-wide diversity infrastructure enabling each school/department/office to effectively deliver diversity based programming, training and professional development as well as other pertinent resources for achieving the Strategic Diversity Plan.
Enhance internal diversity, equity and achievement by being an available resource for diversity recruitment and retention efforts.
Consult and be a resource for diversity related curriculum design and development.
Develop partnerships with higher education institutions to access programs to facilitate the successful matriculation of diverse students from K-12 to higher education.
Monitor the success of individual and collective strategies of the OPS Diversity Plan as well as identify and implement needed changes.
- Develop a form and procedures for reporting an incident or issue of cultural insensitivity.
- Monitor that annual diversity training occurs for all staff.
- Evaluate and assess district-wide diversity efforts.
- Provide support for schools and departments in the implementation and maintenance of strategic diversity components.
- Conduct Diversity Committee meetings regularly with the goal of providing recommendations and input to strengthen learning opportunities for staff and students.
- Develop an incentive program to recognize and reward schools/departments that show marked and sustained improvement in reaching and addressing diversity goals.
- Monitor and assist each school and department to have an active, inclusive Diversity Committee with parent/community representation to exchange ideas, monitor and address concerns as well as plan and conduct diversity related activities.
- Introduce a Friend of Diversity Award to be given on a regular basis to a community member who has contributed in a significant way to demonstrating and embracing the importance of diversity in our schools and workplace.
- Develop practices designed to improve the diversity climate in the Omaha Public Schools.
- Be an advocate for all students and the Omaha Public Schools.