Collaboratives and Affinity Groups

We seek to include the community voice in our work to support the education of our students.  To this end, the following groups provide valuable advice to the office of Equity and Diversity. 

The Office of Equity and Diversity (OED) for Omaha Public Schools is responsible for providing policy, guidance,
professional development, community outreach, and many other tasks for our students, staff and community.
As our school district grows in size and population the obligation to strive toward our vision of “Every student.
Every day. Prepared for success.” presents us with a greater opportunity and a more enriching challenge.
The OED has crafted a Strategic Framework for Equity and Diversity that will create an inclusive environment by
accentuating the successes that are currently in place within the district that embrace multiculturalism and intersecting identities. We
will also look to address the areas of growth that are currently festering within our institution and adversely
suppressing the achievement of some of our student population.

A significant step in the development of the Strategic Framework for Equity and Diversity is the re-establishment of
the OED Advisory Council. In the past there was a Steering Committee composed of community members who
worked to advise the OED. This Advisory Council will serve in the same capacity but will be composed of
community leaders in the area of equity, diversity, inclusion, and social justice. There will be an array of work
and opportunities that OED will be focused on over the next school year but there are specific objectives that
the OED Advisory Council will be working toward:
 

• Critique a Strategic Plan for and Equity and Diversity
• Review and develop policies that impact Equity and Diversity
• Engage schools, and the communities they serve, around Equity and Diversity
• Implement inclusive best practices for all OPS staff
• Support the direction of the Inclusion Committee(s)


As Omaha Public Schools continues our work for inclusive schools that respect diversity and are focused on
equity, we seek support from community members with expertise through our journey. Willingness to
serve as a member of the OED Advisory Council is greatly appreciated and valued by our district.

 

 

 

 

The Inclusion Committee serves as an employee resource group and community connection point to support the district on workplace environment and student supports. In its inaugural year, 2019-20, the central areas of focus were:

  • Empathy-How might we develop a culture of empathy and build bridges across the lines dividing students, staff, and administrators?
  • Advocacy- Where are the opportunities for our committee to assert change, create tension, and reform the system to create more equitable outcomes?

To date this committee has engaged in monthly meetings that split time between engaging in conversations about building our own efficacy and tackling district initiatives to push for more inclusion. We have produced:

  • an OPS definition of Educational Equity
  • a review process for assessing all curriculum and materials that are being considered for adoption to detect bias
    • this process was implemented with the current K-5 ELA adoption
  • a supplemental book list of texts to support our curriculum that are representative of our students and families
Going into next year, the Inclusion Committee will continue in its journey of efficacy and change, but as the group as grown we now will look to carry out specific sub-committees, affinity groups, that specialize on high priority topics and areas of need.

We will have much work to do to respond to the challenges that we can, and some we can't, anticipate as we look to reopen our schools. If this is work that piques your interest I'd love to welcome you aboard. Please contact Barry Thomas at barry.thomas@ops.org or (531) 299-9584. 

Omaha Public Schools and our community is composed of students and staff that represent newcomers to this country as well as families that may have migrated three or four generations ago. We are vast in our nationalities and this group and resources are for the conversation about building a bridge to welcoming schools, departments, and neighborhoods.

This group is for sharing resources and ideas about how we as educators can go about creating the social change we need to make our world a harmonious place to live for all races and ethnicities, but specifically those that are historically marginalized.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our staff, students and families with non-binary gender identities and expressions as well as sexual orientations and attractions must be supported with compassion and given the space to be themselves. These conversations and resources are for members, accomplices, and allies that are here to do the work.

The Omaha Public Schools seeks to provide opportunities for students to safely communicate about what is going on in their lives and the world around them.  We believe in engaging students about our world and how students experience the Omaha Public Schools is important in cultivating empathy and understanding while empowering students to take an active role in their own justice.  The Omaha Public Schools seeks to provide opportunities for students to safely communicate about what is going on in their lives and the world around them.  We believe in engaging students about our world and how students experience the Omaha Public Schools is important in cultivating empathy and understanding while empowering students to take an active role in their own justice. 

GOAL: Provide a safe space for students to think, talk about and respond to issues and problems impacting them and their community and to gain better understanding of student’s experiences in the Omaha Public Schools          

EXPECTED OUTCOMES

STUDENTS WILL BE ABLE TO:

  • Connect critical topics to shared principles like respect, fairness, and individual worth.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of perspectives and experiences different from their own.
  • Explore ways they can put their ideas into action. 
  • Respect and respond to the experiences of their peers.