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Layne Gabriel
Layne Gabriel's Article

2021 High School Graduation Dates

All graduations will be held at Baxter Arena, 2425 S. 67th St.

Tuesday, May 25

2 p.m. - Bryan High


7 p.m. - North High

Wednesday, May 26

2 p.m. - Benson High

 

7 p.m. - Burke High

Thursday, May 27

2 p.m. - Northwest High

 

7 p.m. - Central High

Friday, May 28

7 p.m. - South High

Schools will communicate with families about specific health and safety precautions at the arena as commencement draws closer.

Congratulations to the Class of 2021!

Bond Programs Remain on Track

An important investment in our students and community remains on track as promised, as Omaha Public Schools completes the first phase of its bond program and remains on schedule with phase two. Both initiatives, approved by voters, have allowed for safety, security and technology upgrades districtwide, as well as building renovations and new construction.

“To be able to look back confidently at the taxpayers who granted us the funds and say, ‘we’re on schedule and we’re on budget and we’re doing what we need to do to improve the students’ experience’ is a huge sense of pride for me,” said Brad Boganowski, Omaha Public Schools bond construction supervisor.

The work to enhance our schools and programs for the students, staff and families of Omaha Public Schools began with the 2014 Bond Program (Phase 1) which included more than 80 projects, totaling $421 million. Phase one wrapped up last summer on time and within budget.

“We were able to move first grades out of smaller classrooms into full-size, beautiful, updated classrooms,” said Lynette Keyes, Masters Elementary School principal. “Students and staff are excited. They’ve taken pride in their school. They’re excited about the addition.”

Northwest High School principal Thomas Lee agreed, saying building upgrades have provided a benefit to the community and the students we serve.

“When you have buildings that kids enjoy coming to and walking into and being proud of, it helps them to be better when it comes to being a student. It helps them take pride in their education, it helps them to take pride in the things that are going on in and around their schools and in the community,” he said.

As part of the district’s proactive plan to address future growth, the 2014 bond initiative also helped Omaha Public Schools acquire land to build new schools to be funded by the 2018 Bond Program (Phase 2). The $409 million bond received voter support in May 2018.

“So far, on the 2018 bond, we’re on schedule with the 25 different structures that we’re working in and we’re on budget,” added Boganowski. “We’ve got five new builds going on, including two high schools, a middle school and two elementary schools.”

In addition to the new construction, phase two also includes 20 renovation projects that range from storm shelters to the addition of classroom space.

“We have a nine-room addition that will help us eliminate the portables here,” said Morton Middle School Principal Dr. Kimberly Jackson. “We’re going to renovate our auditorium area and add another four classrooms there with a multipurpose area. So, that’s going to eliminate all of our portables and bring all of our staff and students inside the building finally.”

Despite the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, work on phase two maintained its momentum throughout the last year. Construction teams have made adjustments to ensure work interruptions are minimized during this time. The teams have used critical due diligence to manage, track, and coordinate essential material deliveries needed to keep the bond projects moving forward on schedule.

For detailed information regarding the status of the bond programs, please go to bond.ops.org.

April Sup for the Soul

Dr. Logan recently stopped by Highland Elementary School's temporary home while bond updates take place at their school. She shares an update on our Say Yes to the Prom Dress event, Next Level Learning and more in this week's Sup for the Soul. Watch the video below for news from Omaha Public Schools.

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.

 


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