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Alex Hassel
Alex Hassel's Article

Early Childhood Planning Region Team 19 Meeting

Omaha Public Schools will host the Early Childhood Planning Region Team 19 Meeting. This meeting will include review and discussion of services offered to children from birth to five who have special needs and their families.  We will also discuss needs and recommendations for the 2021-2022 grant year.  The meeting is open to school district representatives, service providers, parents, non-public agencies serving children below age five and other interested persons. The agenda may be obtained by emailing Connie.Coltrane@ops.org.

 

Date: April 16, 2021

Time: 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Meeting will be held virtually via Microsoft Teams; an invite to participate via video or phone will be sent if you reach out by email.

OPS Schools Celebrate Black History Month

February marks Black History Month, a time dedicated to celebrating and honoring the rich diversity of our community and the achievements and contributions of Black Americans. As more students return to in-person learning and some continue to learn from home, our schools are finding innovative ways to engage students in these celebrations.  

Marrs Middle School is joining several other Omaha Public Schools by restarting its team and sending a group of students to the 100 Black Men of Omaha's annual African American History Challenge. The goal of the competition is to foster an appreciation of African-American history and culture in Omaha youth. 

“The study of African American history provides students with an understanding of what happened in the past, what is happening now, and a path for improving the future,” explained Sheila McCauley, coach of the Marrs Middle School team. “With this knowledge, students are able to become better citizens and positively impact their generation.”  

The program is based on the book “100 Amazing Facts” written by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and covers topics from the Middle Passage, the 13th, 14th, & 15th Amendments, Plessy vs. Ferguson, the Voting Act of 1965, Brown vs. the Board of Education, Omaha history and more. 

“In order to tell people about black history and be educated on black history you need to know the facts and the African American History Challenge is a good place to start,” shared Sierra Thomas, a member of the Marrs Middle School team.  

The Marrs Middle School team will compete in the junior competition. The winner of the competition gets to compete at the 100 Black Men of America’s National Conference, which will be held remotely this year for the safety of those in attendance.  

“You learn a lot about history” said McKenzie James, a student on the Marrs Middle School team. “It is important to learn about history around the world, and it is important to learn what people in history did and the accomplishments they achieved and how this affected the world today. “  

In 2019, Omaha Northwest High School's team of Lal Nuni, HToo Say, Tehya Wynne and coach Miss McCoy took first place in the National Senior Division. That same year, Beveridge Middle School earned first place honors in the National Junior Division. The team members included Kennedy Alati, Dee-Dee Djon, Briana Reza-Rivera and coaches Chad Carlson and Sheila McCauley.  

Our celebration of America's diverse history and culture continues throughout the year as an integral part of curriculum across the district. Our goal is for students to learn more about the impactful contributions of those who came before them, providing them a better appreciation of the whole story. 

Be S.M.A.R.T. in 2021

In challenging times, one strategy to help motivate students is to set goals. From choosing classes to planning for graduation, students are constantly working on their long and short-term goals with their school counselor. Families can encourage students by practicing these goal setting skills at home. 

To start, have a conversation with your student about their future and what they want it to look like. These talks help families identify what is important to their student and help the student learn how to focus on their goals. Additionally, the student’s voice gives their goals more value and helps them take an active role in their future. 

Tracking progress toward meaningful goals can give students early wins, giving them greater confidence in their own ability. Looking back at their progress, updating plans and celebrating success can help keep students engaged and on track. 

S.M.A.R.T. goals are a great tool to help students prepare for their future. Students create their own roadmap to success by being Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely, S.M.A.R.T!  

Specific Goals are well-defined and are easy to track your progress. 

  • Non-specific: I want to get better grades. 
  • Specific: To improve my grades, I will spend two hours each weekend focusing on the class I need to work the hardest in, even if I don’t have homework. 

 

Measurable Goals have an easy way to track your progress toward your goal. 

  • I will get better at English. 
  • I will turn in all my English assignments on time this year. 

 

Achievable Goals challenge you but are still possible to obtain. 

  • Non-Achievable: I will work to be the tallest kid in my class. 
  • Achievable: I will read at a middle school level as a fifth grader. 


Relevant Goals need to matter to you and have an impact on your future if you want to stay committed.  

  • Non-Relevant: I want to be the tallest kid in my class. 
  • Relevant: I will graduate in the top 20% of my high school class. 


Timely Goals have definite deadlines so you stay focused and avoid distractions or procrastination. 

  • Not Timely: I want to get a job someday. 
  • Timely: This year, I want to improve my NSCAS test scores by three points compared to last year. 


In addition to S.M.A.R.T. goals, below are a few of examples of goal setting activities for elementary students:

Grade 3: Goal Setting Practice

Grade 4: Making a Plan