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Dundee Elementary Awarded National Blue Ribbon

Congratulations to Dundee Elementary for being designated an Exemplary High Performing School for 2017 by the U.S. Department of Education. This is the second year the school has received this honor. They were awarded the Blue Ribbon award in 2005. Dundee Elementary's principal is Kaye Kennedy and the assistant principal is Jeanne Simmons.

NEWS RELEASE


For additional information, please contact David Jespersen by phone (402-471-4537) or email (david.jespersen@nebraska.gov)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NATIONAL BLUE RIBBON HONORS AWARDED TO FOUR NEBRASKA SCHOOLS

Four Nebraska schools have been named as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2017. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.The four Nebraska schools were among 342 schools nationwide recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for demonstrating that all students can achieve to high levels.

The Nebraska schools that were honored are:
-Calvert Elementary School, Auburn Public Schools in Auburn
-Dundee Elementary School, Omaha Public Schools in Omaha
-Paddock Road Elementary School, Westside Community Schools in Omaha
-Pender Elementary School, Pender Public Schools in Pender

“National Blue Ribbon Schools are active demonstrations of preparing every child for a bright future,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to the honorees. “You are visionaries, innovators and leaders. You have much to teach us: some of you personalize student learning, others engage parents and communities in the work and life of your local schools and still others develop strong and forward-thinking leaders from among your teaching staff.”

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap.

All schools are honored in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates:
-Exemplary High Performing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
-Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s subgroups and all students over the past five years.

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The Department invites National Blue Ribbon School nominations from the top education official in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity and the Bureau of Indian Education. Private schools are nominated by The Council for American Private Education (CAPE).

The Department will honor 292 public and 50 private schools on Nov. 6-7 at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Photographs and brief descriptions of the 2017 National Blue Ribbon Schools are available at http://www.ed.gov/nationalblueribbonschools.

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David Jespersen
Public Information Officer, Nebraska Department of Education
402-471-4537
david.jespersen@nebraska.gov

OPS posts highest state test scores in district history




News Release

For Immediate Release: 10 a.m. / Central Time / Nov. 18, 2016

Contact: 

Monique Farmer
Director, District Communications
(531) 299-9819
monique.farmer@ops.org

Kala Morrissey
District Communications
(531) 299-9421
kala.morrissey@ops.org


OPS posts highest state test scores in district history

Omaha, Neb.—Omaha Public Schools is hosting a press conference and tour Friday, Nov. 18 at Wakonda Elementary School to celebrate and share the results of the district’s 2015-2016 state test scores. The district showed improvements from the previous year’s test scores in all core subject areas: science, math, reading and writing.

Following the press conference at Wakonda, attendees were taken on a brief tour of the school prior to participating in a celebratory signing of a bus wrapped in Omaha Public Schools’ branding provided by sponsor First Nebraska Credit Union as a congratulatory gesture for the district’s achievement. Wakonda is the first school in the State of Nebraska to receive a State Improvement Grant.

“We understand the challenges urban school districts face and were impressed with the work OPS has done within the past several years,” said Ann Loftis, CEO of First Nebraska Credit Union. “We want to show our support and congratulate the district for a job well done.”

Students from Wakonda Elementary and Castelar Elementary signed the bus with messages that expressed why they are #OPSProud. The second part of the district’s tour included a trip to Castelar Elementary on the bus for a presentation by staff, community partners and students and an overview of the dual language program.

Both Wakonda and Castelar achieved notable test score improvements from the previous school year. Within the district, they have both been recognized as Gold Award Winners for their achievements. Gold Award Winners receive a recognition plaque and catered lunch for the school’s teachers and staff.

Wakonda Elementary School Principal Ebony Harvey began leading the school’s turnaround efforts in 2015, hiring an entirely new staff and setting the leadership vision and culture for the school to transition away from its previous reputation as a persistently low performing school to its current reputation as an elementary school leader in the district. The school has experienced increased community partnerships and parent engagement. Wakonda Elementary School’s focus on school building culture, professional development and leadership and technology have helped turn the school around as well. Harvey came to the district from a previous role as an Assistant Principal for Wichita Public Schools.

“We hit the ground running,” said Harvey. “We hired staff who came in excited about the turnaround efforts and what we would be doing for our kids. We’ve also had ample support from the district. Our team is committed to professional development, leadership, success and contributing to a building culture that commands academic excellence.”

A growing district, Omaha Public Schools’ enrollment has increased by approximately 5 percent within the past five years, particularly amongst English Language Learners, up about 27 percent since the 2011-2012 school year. The district also serves a population of free and reduced lunch students that is about 30 percent higher than the state average of 44.2 percent. Omaha Public Schools’ free and reduced lunch population is approximately 74.3 percent.

Still, the district has demonstrated academic achievement growth that is notable amongst urban school districts across the nation. The district earned the following growth rates for the 2015-2016 school year:

Reading
• Grades 3 through 6 (elementary school) – increase of 2 percent from previous year
• Grades 7 through 8 (middle school) - increase of 4 percent from previous year
• Grade 11 (high school) - increase of 6 percent from previous year

Math
• Grades 3 through 6 (elementary school) – increase of 1 percent from previous year
• Grades 7 through 8 (middle school) - increase of 1 percent from previous year
• Grade 11 (high school) - increase of 2 percent from previous year

Science
• Grades 3 through 6 (elementary school) – increase of 2 percent from previous year
• Grades 7 through 8 (middle school) – slight decrease of 2 percent from previous year
• Grade 11 (high school) - increase of 1 percent from previous year

Writing
• Grade 4 (elementary school) – increase of 6 percent from previous year
• Grade 8 (middle school) – slight decrease of 1 percent from previous year
• Grade 11 (high school) – slight decrease of 2 percent from previous year

The district also shared information about growth and improvements among some of its lowest performing schools at the elementary and secondary level. Several years ago, the district hired four principal supervisors to serve in coaching and mentoring roles to help provide building principals with additional central office support and resources. The results have indicated academic performance increases across all core subject areas at those schools. Reading scores have improved by 6.42 percent, math scores by 5.58 percent, science scores by 4.32 percent and writing scores by 10.72 percent.

“We are in the business of helping our students succeed academically so they are prepared for life beyond the classroom,” said Superintendent Mark Evans. “OPS is emerging as a leading urban school district around the nation. We are being called upon to help share lessons learned from our journey with leaders in education across the country. Boosting student achievement in an urban school district is no easy feat. I often say ‘if we were a business, student achievement would be our stock.’ Well, our stock is up and we will continue to make the necessary investments to prepare our students for success in college, career and life.”

About OPS: Omaha Public Schools is the largest school district in the state of Nebraska and is governed by a nine-member Board of Education. OPS employs more than 7,296 staff and has 82 schools and 13 alternative programs serving approximately 52,000 students in grades K-12, including special education and English language learners. The district’s vision – Every Student. Every Day. Prepared for Success. – and its mission – to prepare all students to excel in college, career and life – demonstrate OPS’ commitment to ensuring all students can be successful in the classroom and beyond.



OPS Story Ideas: Week of 10/21/13

 OPS News Annoucements Banner

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OPS Story Ideas
October 21, 2013

Contact: Todd Andrews
Director, District Communications
Office: (402) 557-2070
Cell: (402) 250-5312

Benson High Magnet, South High Magnet Plan “Pink-Out” Night at Football Game

Students and staff hope to see a “sea of pink” during the football game between Benson High Magnet and South High Magnet on Friday, October 25, at 7:00 p.m. at the Benson High Magnet Stadium (5120 Maple St.). The schools are planning a “pink-out” night to raise money for cancer research in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Benson High Magnet School Principal Anita Baldwin and South High Magnet School Principal Cara Riggs, who are both cancer survivors, will serve as honorary captains for the football teams and stand on the field for the coin toss during a special pre-game ceremony.

Throughout the game, students will sell “Team Cara” merchandise in the South High Magnet stands and “pink-out” T-Shirts in the Benson High Magnet stands. Proceeds will be donated to the American Cancer Society.

If you are interested in covering this event, please call the OPS District Communications Office at (402) 557-2070. We will then contact the school to inform staff of your visit and we can also help facilitate parking, if needed.


Columbian Elementary to Host Pep Rally to Celebrate Achievement

Columbian Elementary (330 S. 127th St.) is hosting a “Going for the Gold” pep rally this week to celebrate a recent achievement award and kick off the quest for another award. Students and staff received the OPS Silver Award for Excellence in Achievement for the school’s performance on the 2012-2013 NeSA standardized tests. The pep rally is scheduled for Monday, October 21, from 3:15 to 3:30 p.m. Staff members will talk to the students about the award and show off the plaque the school received. Students will receive words of encouragement to keep working hard and do the best they can on the NeSA tests next spring in an effort to earn the Gold Award for Excellence in Achievement. The Burke High cheerleaders will be there to lead the student body in cheers, and the Columbian Chorus will also perform.

If you are interested in covering this event, please call the OPS District Communications Office at (402) 557-2070. We will then contact the school to inform staff of your visit and we can also help facilitate parking, if needed.

Morton Magnet Middle Students to Participate in Shakespeare Workshop

Honors language arts students at Morton Magnet Middle School (4606 Terrace Dr.) will learn more about the Bard during a Shakespeare workshop on Thursday, October 24, from 8:30 to 10:50 a.m. Professional actors from Nebraska Shakespeare will lead three workshops: “Words, Words, Words,” in which students will use scenes from a Shakespearean play to create modern day “slang speak” scenes; “Thinking Makes it So,” where students will explore the basics of acting and character development; and “I Bite My Thumb,” which is an introduction to stage combat.

If you are interested in covering this event, please call the OPS District Communications Office at (402) 557-2070. We will then contact the school to inform staff of your visit and we can also help facilitate parking, if needed.

Burke High DECA Chapter Continues “Pink Weeks” Fundraising Campaign

DECA students at Burke High School (12200 Burke Blvd.) are planning the second of two “Pink Weeks” to raise awareness and money for breast cancer research during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Students will be selling headbands, bows, T-shirts and cupcakes on various days throughout the week. The “Pink Weeks” will conclude on Friday, October 25, at 7:00 p.m. during Burke’s “pink-out” home football game.

Money raised during the school’s “Pink Weeks” will support the Side-Out Foundation, a nonprofit that contributes funds to organizations that serve breast cancer patients, whether it be in the form of research, medical services or patient support. Burke has a secure page through the Side-Out Foundation’s website, through which individuals and businesses can donate to the cause. Please visit https://www.side-out.org/cb/campaigns/campaign/7057 to donate online.

If you are interested in covering any of these events, please call the OPS District Communications Office at (402) 557-2070. We will then contact the school to inform staff of your visit and we can also help facilitate parking, if needed.

Central High Presents “Once Upon a Mattress”

Central High School’s Performing Arts Department will present its fall musical production of “Once Upon a Mattress” on Thursday, October 24, at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, October 26, at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. in the Central High auditorium (124 N. 20th St.). Tickets cost $10 for adults and $8 for students, and can be purchased in advance by calling (402) 557-3332 and will also be sold at the door.

In this comical adaptation of “The Princess and the Pea,” Queen Aggravain has declared that no one may marry until her son, Prince Dauntless, has found the perfect wife. Wanting a wife of his own, Sir Harry returns after searching the kingdom with Winifred, a brash lady from the swamps. Dauntless quickly falls for Winifred and the queen plots to get rid of her for good. With melodic tunes and hysterical shenanigans, chances are you’ll never look at this fairly tale quite the same way again.

The show features talented student performers including Gina Comstock as Winnifred, Samantha Quintana as Queen Aggravain, Luke Gregerson as Dauntless, Dan Hangman as Prince Harry, Erin Budesheim as Lady Larken, and a variety of other singers and dancers. The show is directed by Scott Mead with musical direction provided by Lyn Bouma and Brad Rauch. The production will also feature the work of Tom Bertino and Ernie Gubbels, the resident technical artists for Central High’s drama department.

If you are interested in covering this event, please call the OPS District Communications Office at (402) 557-2070. We will then contact the school to inform staff of your visit and we can also help facilitate parking, if needed.

South High Magnet Presents “Bye Bye Birdie”

South High Magnet School (4519 S. 24th St.) will present its fall musical production of “Bye Bye Birdie” on Thursday, October 24, Friday, October 25, and Saturday, October 26. All performances begin at 7:00 p.m. in the school auditorium. Tickets cost $5 for adults and $4 for students and are available at the door.

Loosely based on Elvis Presley being drafted into the Army in the 1950s, “Bye Bye Birdie” presents the story of Conrad Birdie, who plans to give one final concert before going to war. He sings “One Last Kiss” and gives an actual kiss to a 15-year-old small town girl randomly selected from his fan club. When Kim MacAfee is selected, her whole life is turned upside down in classic rock and roll style.

If you are interested in covering this event, please call the OPS District Communications Office at (402) 557-2070. We will then contact the school to inform staff of your visit and we can also help facilitate parking, if needed.

Three OPS High Schools Present Halloween Events for Kids

Three OPS high schools are offering safe Halloween events for children this month.

Bryan High School (4700 Giles Road) is hosting its 21st annual “Boo Bash” for metro-area children. This year’s event is scheduled for Friday, October 25, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the school. The event provides children in third grade and younger a safe and fun environment to trick-or-treat through decorated rooms and hallways, play games for prizes, enjoy face painting, and receive candy, stickers and balloon animals. Admission into the Boo Bash is one canned or boxed food item per person, which will be donated to the Food Bank for the Heartland. Costumes are welcome and children should bring a bag to collect treats.

Burke High School’s FEA (12200 Burke Blvd.) will host a “Trunk or Treat” event for elementary age children in the school’s east parking lot on Friday, October 25, from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. Attendees should bring a bag to collect treats. Costumes are encouraged, but not required. The event will include a variety of games and prizes for kids. Admission is free.

Northwest High Magnet School (8204 Crown Point Ave.) will host a “Boo Bash” on Tuesday, October 29, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the school. The event is ideal for children ages 5-10 and is hosted by the Northwest Student Council. Activities include games, arts and crafts, contests, and Trick-or-Treating throughout the school. Costumes are welcome, but not mandatory. Admission into the Boo Bash is $1 per child or one canned or boxed food item per child.

If you are interested in covering any of these events, please call the OPS District Communications Office at (402) 557-2070. We will then contact the school to inform staff of your visit and we can also help facilitate parking, if needed.

Five OPS Schools Receive 2013 ENERGY STAR Award

Five OPS schools recently earned the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2013 ENERGY STAR Award—a national mark of excellence in energy performance. The following schools were recognized for their superior efforts in providing clean, healthy and energy efficient learning environments for students: Beals Elementary, Buffett Magnet Middle, Miller Park Elementary, Rose Hill Elementary and Wakonda Elementary.

ENERGY STAR schools typically use three times less energy than the least efficient schools nationally, and on average save 40 cents more per square foot than average performing schools. All of the district’s schools receive a rating (0-100) representing their level of energy efficiency. The ratings provide a means for benchmarking the energy efficiency of each school against the energy performance of other schools across the country. The schools that score above 75 and pass a series of indoor air quality, thermal comfort and lighting tests are awarded the prestigious ENERGY STAR Award.

To learn more about the district’s Green Schools Initiative, including ENERGY STAR ratings, please visit www.ops.org/gsi

 

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