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Recommended Names for New Schools Approved

Our District is excited to announce the names for our two new elementary schools and two new high schools scheduled to open in the coming years.

The approved names are:

  • Ft. Crook and Childs Road - Forest Station Elementary
  • 10th and Pine Street - Pine Elementary
  • 156 & Ida Street - Westview High School
  • 60th & L Street - Buena Vista High School

A committee representing each school's incoming students and families worked with district staff and school leadership in a series of meetings to brainstorm and recommend a name and mascot for each new school. A recommended name for the 42nd & Y middle school will be brought to the board at a later date.

These recommendations were presented to the Board of Education on Monday, April 5 at 6:30 p.m. and approved at that meeting.

Click to see the board presentation for more details about the names, colors and mascots for each of the schools. 

Forest Station Elementary


Pine Elementary


Westview High School


Buena Vista High School


Northwest Band Director Receives State Honors

Northwest Band Director teaches class

Northwest High School Band Director Josh Pace instructs his class after returning to in-person learning.

In just three years at Northwest High School, band director Josh Pace has made a lasting impact on students and the program. This spring, the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association (NSBA) recognized Pace with the Jack R. Snider Young Band Director Award to celebrate his excellence.

“I’m really humbled by the whole thing,” Pace said. “I keep telling people this is a reflection of my wonderful students, my wonderful families and my wonderful administration. Without them, I would not be able to be recognized.”

In this year’s virtual award ceremony, NSBA award chair Steve Steager shared highlights from nomination letters by colleagues, supervisors and staff praising Pace’s talent, personality, work ethic and dedication to his students. 

“I just live for the spark in the students’ eyes when they understand something musically,” Pace said. “I can’t play the notes on their instruments, I can’t make them sound amazing. That’s their job, they just need somebody to tell them what they’re capable of. It’s been a joy to be a part of that.”

Northwest Principal Thomas Lee said Pace created a seamless transition when he took over the band program three years ago. His encouraging personality and innovative ideas have engaged and challenged his students.

“He’s one of the hardest-working band directors I have seen. He really has embraced Northwest,” Lee said. “Josh came in and it was like there was no gap. He built those relationships right off the ground. He had the kids out there on the front lawn with the marching band, he brought back flag corps. I can’t say enough about the wonderful work he has done, and he’s well-deserving of that award.”

Pace responded to the challenges of teaching both remotely and in person with creativity, whether it was finding ways to set up the classroom for blended learning or ensuring his students’ hard work did not go unnoticed.

“He did not allow COVID to stop him from getting his kids out there and being visible and being involved,” Lee said. “He has gone above and beyond to make ways for our kids to be successful and to be recognized and be engaged.”

This year, Pace has collaborated with his students to record and mix an album using GarageBand. To wrap up the school year, he has planned a virtual concert with livestreamed performances and an opportunity to share recordings from the album.

“This year has been a struggle, but my students see it as a challenge, and I see it as a challenge,” he said. “We’ve done so many unique things I don’t think we would’ve done otherwise.”

See more about Northwest High School's album recording. Video by students Hannah Dalton and Kierstin Copenharve.


More from Omaha Public Schools Music Education:


Board Approves High School Student Assignment Plan Update

Following a review of the proposed High School Student Assignment Plan by district staff at the March 16 Board Meeting, the Board of Education approved the recommended updates.

Over the past 16 months, the Student Assignment Plan Committee has been working towards a simple, efficient and equitable plan for all Omaha Public Schools students. The Student Assignment Plan will determine their transportation eligibility and priority in the high school choice process. The committee developed several options and gathered feedback from internal and external groups including students, parents and staff. The feedback from those groups helped to determine the proposal.

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 plan will 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.

ACT, NSCAS for Juniors Scheduled for April 6

On Tuesday, April 6, all Omaha Public Schools juniors at the high school level will participate in required state testing. Juniors will take the ACT or the NSCAS Alternate Assessment depending on their program. Attendance is critical, and it is important that juniors arrive at school on time at 7:40 a.m. Buses will run as normal for all high schools, and students will have the opportunity to stay for lunch and regular dismissal at 3:05 p.m. Building principals will provide information regarding post-test activities and release information.

Due to testing parameters, there will be no school for students in grades 9, 10 and 12 on Tuesday, April 6. 

As we continue to place the health and safety of all students and staff at the forefront, please know that our schools will maintain COVID-19 safety measures on test day to ensure your student’s safety to the greatest extent possible. Facial coverings will be required as well.  Please do not send your student to test on April 6 if they are not feeling well or have been potentially exposed to anyone who may be or is known to be positive for COVID-19. Those currently in the Remote Learning Program have received information about on-site testing as well.

If you have specific questions about this opportunity, please reach out to your student’s school.