Revive! Omaha Salute to Excellence

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Spirit, Mind & Body

Salute TO





Omaha Public Schools 2016-17 Highlights District

served in the largest spoken 52,304 students 120 languages 2,591 graduates Nebraska school district by students (2016) Scholars our students take a credits 137 AP 82% ofcareer 8,500+ dual-enrollment District-wide readiness course earned by OPS students

Benson High Magnet School

Bryan High School

Burke High School

Central High School

North High Magnet School

Northwest High Magnet School

1,325 students* Focus Areas: Freshman Academy, Construction & Design Academy, Health Professions Academy and Business & Entrepreneurship Academy • $2.83 million in scholarships • JROTC cadets participated in the 75th Anniversary Pearl Harbor Day Parade • Drama clubs production of “I and You” selected to perform at International Thespians Festival

1,958 students* Focus Areas: Advanced Placement (AP)/Dual Enrollment (DE) Program. FOCUS Academy and Air and Space Academy • $8.21 million in scholarships • African-American History Challenge Winner sponsored by 100 Black Men of Omaha • Dance Team qualified for Universal Dance Association National Competition 1,653 students* Focus Area: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) • $13.4 million scholarships • SkillsUSA Team qualified for National Competition • Girls track placed 4th in state championships and boys track placed 5th in state championships

1,747 students* Focus Areas: Urban Agriculture and Food Science Academy and Transportation, Distribution and Logistics Academy • $2.92 million in scholarships • Journalism students placed in seven categories at state • An AgroBox was added to the school to enhance agriculture academy students hands-on learning

2,427 students* Focus Area: International Baccalaureate • $17.54 million in scholarships • 33 students qualified for the Nebraska All-State Music Festival • 804 students recognized at Purple Feather Day for GPA of 3.5 or higher

1,691 students* Focus Areas: Law, Government and International Diplomacy • $5.58 million in scholarships • Designated as Department of Education Green Ribbon School • 31 students selected for Academic All-State

South High Magnet School

2,457 students* Focus Areas: Visual Performing Arts, Information Technology and Dual Language • $16.11 million in scholarships • Student Innovation Challenge team placed first in the state • Ambassadors Show Choir represented Nebraska at the FAME National Finals

CONNECT WITH US: OmahaPublicSchools


*2016-17 official enrollment FOCUS Program is an integration of extra-value standards: Leadership, communication and technology in to English, U.S. History and FACTS (freshman academic career and technical seminar) courses.

From The Publisher

Welcome to our annual education edition. We are excited to celebrate and highlight African-American high school students who attend Omaha Public Schools (OPS) and achieved a 3.5 or higher cumulative grade point average in 2016–2017. Congratulations! Thank you to Omaha Public Schools, Empowerment Network, Nebraska Public Television and POV for helping to sponsor this special edition and the 10th Annual State of Education in North Omaha Summit celebrating Black Male Academic Excellence. We also want to make sure all high school students are aware of and have access to every academic opportunity offered by OPS. Within this special edition, parents, families and community members will be introduced to tremendous resources available in our city. As a community, we must do more to make sure our young men and women are prepared to take advantage of everything offered through OPS and other education partners. In addition, we are excited to provide updates on the North Omaha Cradle to Career Collaborative. Over the past 10 years, the Empowerment Network, Omaha Public Schools and dozens of community partners have been working together to improve educational outcomes for all students in North Omaha. The overall trends are moving in the right direction, but there are still significant gaps that must be closed with a sense of urgency. We want to thank all of the partners involved in the North Omaha Cradle to Career Collaborative and Omaha AfricanAmerican Male Achievement Collaborative. As you will read about within these pages, there are some amazing programs happening in Omaha. There’s no question that we can achieve the goals outlined by the community when we work together, collaborate, align our efforts and strategically invest in programs, policies and initiatives that generate the best results. Our young men and women are full of amazing potential. Collectively, we can help them identify and successfully pursue their purpose, goals and career interests. We will not stop until 100% are prepared for success in careers, college and life. Congratulations again to the students, parents, families, teachers, principals and all involved in the success of our young men and women. Together, let’s move forward and accelerate the pace of progress even more. Sincerely,

Willie D. Barney President/Publisher Revive! Omaha Magazine

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Salute TO


2016-2017 School Year Revive! Omaha Magazine is once again excited to celebrate African-American high school students in Omaha Public Schools who have achieved a 3.5 or higher cumulative grade point average during the 2016–2017 school year. One of the primary reasons we launched Revive! Omaha Magazine nine years ago was to highlight African-American students who have excelled in the classroom and beyond. We recognize and honor these students, families, teachers and others who support their success in and outside the classroom. To the seniors who have graduated and moved on to post-secondary opportunities, we wish you well. We trust that you will continue to set the standard and lead by example in your new surroundings. To the underclassmen who are continuing your high school experience, we want to encourage you to continue achieving greatness and to finish strong. We at Revive! and those in the community would love to see you again in next year’s edition. And, for those who are just starting high school, we hope you will use this as inspiration to be listed among these high-flying academic champions. Congratulations to all!


Anthony Abboud Burke, 3.58

Brenda Afanwi Northwest, 4.00

Abuk Agoth Burke, 3.73

Kween Alabi Central, 3.75

Arian Alai Central, 3.86

Salena Alderson North, 4.38

Ashari Allen Central, 4.63

Vanessa Amoah Central, 4.07

Alexandria Anding Northwest, 4.57

Achol Apieu Benson, 3.63

Afiwa Assiobo Northwest, 3.94

Gregory Austin Northwest, 3.58

Iyanu Awomolo Burke, 4.19

Tiwajope Awomolo Burke, 3.52

Day’Janae Bach Benson, 3.50

Kennedy Banks Burke, 4.06

Muna Bare Northwest, 3.76

Jordan Barfield Burke, 3.67

Idreis Bari Central, 4.44

Gabrielle Becton Bryan Sr., 4.25

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Dede Benissanh-Date Central, 3.62

Diamon Bennett North, 4.43

Zanobia Bivins Northwest, 3.89

Adia Blackman South, 4.06

Nathaniel Blackman South, 3.82

Amyiia Blake Burke, 3.56

Tyra Blue Central, 3.98

Mia Bonam Burke, 4.06

Anthony Bonner Central, 3.83

Khila Bowling North, 3.76

Nia Brewer Central, 3.67

Mack’Kya Broadway Benson, 3.63

Arionne Brooks Burke, 4.19

Tamario Brooks Burke, 4.02

Arthur Brown Central, 4.00

Destiny Brown North, 3.74

Jayden Brown Burke, 3.85

Jazlyn Brown North, 3.95

Justin Brown North, 4.36

Karah Brown Bryan Sr., 3.90

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Ayriel Brown-Love North, 4.25

Jaydon Bruett Burke, 3.71

Serenity Bryce Burke, 4.32

Julius Buchanan-Goodsell Central, 3.70

Arianna Butler Northwest, 4.31

Tracie Byrd Central, 3.89

Kaelynn Caldwell Central, 4.59

Orlando Carbajal-Imay Bryan Sr., 3.66

Jazzmine Carr Central, 3.62

Mya Carter Central, 4.15

Courtney Chambers Burke, 4.06

Tamia Chatmon Burke, 3.58

Israel Checkley Burke, 4.25

Nolan Christianson Burke, 4.67

Husani Clark Burke, 3.56

Sharieff Clark Northwest, 3.69

Kendyl Clayton Central, 3.51

Kelley Cobbs South, 4.38

Bria Coleman Central, 4.26

Ephraim Collins Burke, 4.38

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Kyla Collins Central, 3.66

Tevin Conley South, 3.58

Dalliya Conway Burke, 4.13

Aubryanna Cooper-Wilborn North, 3.89

Jada Corbin Burke, 4.00

Adriann Cotton Central, 3.69

Travier Craddock South, 3.69

Elaidy D’Blanco North, 3.59

Ashgan Dahia Northwest, 3.69

Ehsan Khogali Dahia Northwest, 4.50

Leonna Dalton-Phillip Burke, 4.02

Dejunae Dandridge North, 3.75

Nyaluak Dar Central, 3.96

Darnel Davis Northwest, 3.62

Derrian Davis Central, 3.90

KaLecia Davis Burke, 4.25

Nyla Dawson-Holliday South, 4.12

Hiwote Debesh Central, 3.76

Brian Demby North, 3.84

Betty Dessie Central, 4.29

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Tysa Dethloff Central, 3.93

DeShawn Dial Central, 3.61

Kimberly Diaz Gutierrez Bryan Sr., 3.68

Kijhiera Dismuke Burke, 3.53

Cubwa Divine Burke, 4.31

Ingrid Domkpo Northwest, 3.83

Tariq Douglas Central, 4.27

Jennifer Dunn Burke, 4.49

Treasure Durden Northwest, 3.67

Madysen Early Bryan Sr., 4.50

Nyaleng Eske Central, 3.59

Aeris Esterly-Tilmon Burke, 3.56

Tylisha Evans Benson, 3.69

Alexis Faulkner-King Burke, 3.87

Caliana Fenceroy Northwest, 3.97

Jordan Flowers Central, 4.38

Jalen Foster Northwest, 3.56

Diego Froiland Northwest, 3.63

Dillon Galloway Central, 3.80

Maurice Garrett Central, 4.25

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KaRahn Gaymon North, 3.80

Daniella Gbetanou Northwest, 3.63

Fabio Gbetanou Northwest, 3.57

Syreece Gibson Burke, 3.73

Bria Gilmore Central, 3.52

Christina Gilmore Central, 4.02

Alexys Goodwin Burke, 4.20

Gabrielle Goodwin Central, 3.97

Lloyd Goodwin Central, 3.71

Sophia Gordon Northwest, 4.66

Kiana Goynes Central, 4.24

Adrian Green North, 4.00

Tiana Greer Northwest, 4.13

Alona Griffin South, 4.71

Tyrece Griggs South, 3.94

William Grixby Bryan Sr., 3.91

Jordan Gulley Central, 3.53

Rianna Gunter North, 4.29

Tyson Gunter Burke, 3.98

Loriane Gunubu Northwest, 4.31

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Antwine Harper North, 3.63

Iesha Harris North, 4.10

Maab Hassan Central, 3.68

Rayann Hawkins Central, 3.65

Emilio Haynes Central, 3.97

Raven Henderson Central, 3.67

Kaitia Henry North, 3.50

Xzavier Herbert Central, 4.78

Da’Quan Hill Northwest, 4.00

Alicia Hogan South, 4.73

Anthony Hogan South, 3.75

Taylor Hogan Central, 4.21

Aiyonna Holland-Givens Central, 3.57

Keiana Hopkins Benson, 3.75

DaNya Horne North, 4.22

Amber Hubbard South, 3.81

Gerald Huey Central, 3.69

Samuel Huff Central, 3.87

Khiana Hume Northwest, 4.31

Sophie Irakoze Northwest, 3.79

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Amanda Jackson Central, 3.60

Clayton Jackson Burke, 3.50

Korey James Central, 3.50

Nathaniel James South, 3.86

Nathaniel Jefferson North, 4.50

Jozlyn Johnson Central, 3.86

Julien Johnson Burke, 4.00

Kayla Johnson Central, 3.75

Kiara Johnson Northwest, 3.94

CeCelia Jones Northwest, 4.19

Cherish Jones Northwest, 3.63

Daenen Jones North, 4.48

Joshua Jones North, 3.53

Maliik Jones North, 3.57

Emmanuel Kate Burke, 3.65

Ta’Yonna Kellogg Burke, 3.63

Mia Kennedy North, 4.21

Ladeja Kent Northwest, 3.84

Lanae Kent Central, 4.00

Achan Kiir Central, 3.63

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Maya Kindle Burke, 4.43

Cameron King Northwest, 3.94

Taviaunna Knight Benson, 3.88

Zerada Knox North, 3.50

Chansa Ngwashi Kongolo Central, 3.50

Mpanga Kiyabo Kongolo Bryan Sr., 3.57

Elisabeth Lacy Central, 3.64

Jelani Ladd North, 4.43

Winnie Ladu Benson, 4.44

LaNeise Latimer Northwest, 4.22

Sierra Leeper Bryan Sr., 4.28

Dallon Lemon Burke, 4.33

Ilana Lewis Central, 4.02

Lauren Lewis Central, 3.93

Nautica Lockett-Barnett North, 4.13

Zachary Love Burke, 4.06

Amanda Marion North, 4.23

Kai-Bryana Marshall South, 3.98

Tyler Mase Burke, 3.75

Olivia Mathews South, 4.00

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K’Lani McComb North, 3.56

Alexxis McDade Bryan Sr., 4.46

Taylor McDonald Hamilton Central, 4.27

Kyndle McDougle Benson, 3.88

Livia McFadden Northwest, 3.88

Dasyn McIntosh Burke, 4.14

Lincoln McIntosh-Perlinger Burke, 3.94

Quincy McKelvy Burke, 4.02

Nevaeh McKinney Northwest, 4.56

RaShawn McNeal-Lee South, 3.69

Negil McPherson III Central, 4.00

Elias Mendyk North, 3.88

Lewise Merriweather-Wilborn North, 3.56

Alexia Mickles Burke, 4.56

Aolani Mickles Burke, 4.19

Jonathan Mickles Burke, 3.58

Shauntee Mims North, 4.36

Jayden Minton Northwest, 3.61

Jhaquayla Mitchell North, 4.00

Malaz Mohamed Central, 3.95

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Safia Abdiqani Mohamud Benson, 3.75

Cymonne Monroe Burke, 3.79

Jabin Moore North, 3.57

Jalen Moore Central, 4.40

Keziah Moore North, 4.07

Zoia Morrow Central, 3.91

Jade Moses Central, 3.51

Sammy Muhia Bryan Sr., 3.98

Darian Murcek-Ellis North, 4.40

Jordan Nash North, 4.14

Brailynn Nero Benson, 4.06

Sehode Noukpozounkou Bryan Sr., 4.06

Nyamar Odol Bryan Sr., 3.79

Jameson Officer-Thurston North, 4.15

Medkwob Olee Burke, 3.84

Sha’lise Oliver North, 4.36

Osama Omer Central, 4.08

Diana Opara Burke, 4.03

Kobe Orf North, 3.88

Sudi Osman Central, 3.86

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Sadia Osman Omar North, 3.55

Ridwan Ouro-Nile Northwest, 3.88

Kendyl Parks North, 3.95

Makenna Parks North, 4.75

OriLana Parks South, 4.12

Angelic Patterson Northwest, 3.68

Nanyal Paul Northwest, 4.33

Adrianny Peralta Rojas Northwest, 3.69

Marisa Perez-Durham Central, 3.61

Cherish Perkins Central, 3.51

William Perkins Bryan Sr., 3.53

Romyn Petersen Central, 4.22

Syriuz Pittman North, 3.79

Cynthia Pollock Central, 3.62

Allana Pommier North, 3.51

Da’Shza Powell North, 4.23

Sydney Prescott Central, 4.41

Peyton Preston Central, 4.14

Sumayyah Rab Central, 4.00

Waw Rangdit Burke, 3.69

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Desiree’ Redick Central, 4.13

Sophia Rhine Central, 3.88

Jacquelyn Richards Northwest, 4.31

Lavounte Richardson North, 3.50

El-Layah Riley North, 3.64

Darmonte Robinson North, 4.00

Marvin Robinson Central, 3.64

Dulce Rodriguez-Tinajero South, 4.13

Sierra Roseby Bryan Sr., 4.49

Sydney Roseby Bryan Sr., 4.53

Truth Ross North, 3.58

Shay Rosseter Central, 3.88

Jailaiyah Rouse Bryan Sr., 4.38

Maylana Russell Burke, 3.97

Devin Safford North, 4.43

Cristina Sagrero Central, 3.57

Zaynab Samatar Benson, 3.63

Alexis Shade Central, 3.60

Abdulnaser Sheikh Central, 3.92

Keion Shelton South, 3.64

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Demi Shepherd Benson, 4.56

Christina Short North, 4.46

Lelanie Singleton-Sealy Burke, 3.87

Brilynne Smith Central, 3.69

Grant Smith Burke, 4.00

Micheal Smith Northwest, 3.59

Nathaniel Smith North, 4.63

Nadia Spurlock North, 3.71

Christopher Stallworth Benson, 4.09

Witney Stanley Central, 4.25

Jayda Starks Burke, 4.75

Jaylen Starks Burke, 4.25

Nia Station Burke, 4.11

Londell Stubblefield North, 3.61

Paradise Sullivan Benson, 4.44

Bianca Swift Burke, 4.03

Da’Jaah Swolley Bryan Sr., 3.80

Eva Taylor Central, 4.07

Kayliana Taylor Central, 4.05

Kayahna Thomas Bryan Sr., 4.21

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Nisa Thomas North, 4.63

Jerome Thomas-Glass North, 3.66

Aaliyah Thompson Central, 3.71

Isaiah Tolbert North, 4.34

Jo Nise Toney Northwest, 3.78

Anna Toppin Benson, 3.96

Junaiya Toussaint Benson, 3.50

Kaylynn Tucker Northwest, 3.69

Naomi Turner Burke, 3.90

Trenton Turner North, 3.53

Asia Tyler Benson, 3.94

Reanna Tyler Burke, 3.50

Raymon Tyree Burke, 4.09

Jaydon Value Central, 3.93

Sydney Vann Northwest, 4.35

Dre’Ya Walker-Williams Central, 3.63

Parnell Walton South, 3.84

JaSia Ward North, 4.13

Lena Ward Northwest, 3.50

Zion Ward Benson, 4.50

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Alexandria Warren Northwest, 3.63

Demond Warren Northwest, 3.94

Ashanti Washington Burke, 4.00

Xavier Watts Burke, 3.75

Todaja Weakley Burke, 4.25

Cheryl Weldon South, 3.81

Davina Westbrook Central, 4.16

MaRaya White North, 3.72

Janette Williams Bryan Sr, 4.13

Kia Williams Central, 3.81

Marissa Williams Northwest, 4.04

Nina Williams Burke, 4.00

Yalemwork Worku Burke, 3.96

Elanna Worlds Central, 3.51

Joseph Wright Burke, 4.38

Tyreece Wynne Burke, 3.63

Sekina Yaseen Central, 4.18

Aaron Young Central, 4.33

Courtney Young Central, 4.78

Andrieanna Youngblood Benson, 3.56

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Khalid Yusuf Burke, 3.88

Zakariya Yusuf Burke, 3.97

Mahas Ahmed, Central, 3.5 John Farmer III, North, 3.81 Simret Habte, Central, 4.53 Dionne Henderson, Central, 3.85 Hannah Khama, Burke, 4.0 Nyamal R. Khor, Burke, 4.3 Ciante S. Miller, Northwest, 3.8 Elie Mufungizi, Benson, 3.5

Revive! Omaha Magazine

congratulates and salutes all the excellent students in Omaha!

ACT for Juniors

in Omaha Public Schools (OPS) In 2016, the Nebraska Legislature passed a law requiring that all juniors take the ACT exam. The ACT replaces the previous NeSA reading, mathematics, science, and writing statewide assessments given to 11th grade students. The opportunity to take the ACT during the school day lessens the burden on families. OPS will take care of the registration process for students for the test date, and families won’t need to cover the cost. The scores students receive can be used for college entrance and scholarship applications. For students who have already taken the exam, it gives them another opportunity to increase their score. The greatest benefit may come to students who haven’t taken the ACT yet. Students may realize that college is within reach. Students have multiple test preparation materials and other resources available to them, including the ACT Online Prep (AOP), which is a web based tool paid for by the state. All students have a log in and can access the online prep site at:

Content Courtesy of Omaha Public Schools

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OPPORTUNITIES FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS Throughout the years, Omaha Public Schools (OPS) has created a wide array of opportunities for students and parents to maximize their high school years. The following are some of the opportunities that are offered within the high school arena. Content Courtesy of Omaha Public Schools

International Baccalaureate® International Baccalaureate (IB) Programs are offered at Central High School, and Lewis and Clark Middle School within OPS. The IB Diploma Program is designed as an academically challenging and balanced program of education with final examinations that prepare students for success both at the university and life beyond. • The curriculum is designed to ensure a cohesive, comprehensive education for students no matter where they live in the world. • The program allows for student and school flexibility in choosing areas of academic interest for student research.

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Honors All OPS high schools offer an array of honors courses in both core content and elective courses. These courses enhance and enrich learning experiences by accelerating the pace of instruction, by going deeper into the discipline’s knowledge and practice, and by using sophisticated levels of advanced thinking. Enrollment in honors and advanced courses is determined by standardized assessments, classroom performance, motivation, and other established criteria.

Advanced Placement The Advanced Placement (AP)program in OPS offers high school students the opportunity to take college level courses in a high school setting. • OPS high schools currently offer thirty different AP courses. • A cooperative education endeavor between the secondary schools and colleges/universities. • Classes have been developed and are taught by dedicated teachers. • Classes are approved by the CollegeBoard. • Successful completion of AP Exams offers students the opportunity to earn advanced academic college credit. • Substantial savings for families on college courses normally taken in freshman and sophomore years in college.

Dual Enrollment Dual Enrollment (DE) provides high school students the opportunity to take college credit bearing courses taught by college-approved high school teachers at a fraction of the cost. • Eligible courses allow students to earn high school credit and transcripted college credit at the time they pass the course. • High school students receive reduced tuition rates, and credits earned may transfer to another college or university. • OPS partners with Metropolitan Community College (MCC), University of Nebraska (UNO), Creighton University (CU), Midland University (MU), and Nebraska Wesleyan University (NWU) to provide dual enrollment opportunities in Advanced Placement (AP), Career Education, and Magnet Program/Special Program courses. • Each partner institution determines their own policies and guidelines regarding tuition costs, application deadlines, acceptance, and transferability of credits. • The state of Nebraska offers the Access College Early (ACE) scholarship for low-income high school students.


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OPS Career Center


The Omaha Public Schools Career Center is located at the Teacher Administrative Center (TAC) and offers career oriented courses for sophomores, juniors, and seniors. It is an extension of the home high school and allows students to study electives that are not available elsewhere. It gives students a glimpse into a career at no extra expense. It also allows them the opportunity to determine which career is the best fit for them. • Transportation is available from their home school except for the Zoo Partnership and UNMC High School Alliance.

Career Academies

• Industry certification and college credit are offered in many of the different career programs.

Career Academies are small learning communities within the larger high school consisting of high school students who are interested in a particular career theme. These student cohorts take academic and career education courses together centered on a career field.

The career fields include:

• Benson High Magnet SchoolHealth and Wellness, Construction and Design, and Business

• The University Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) High School Alliance

• Electrical Systems Technology

• Certified Nursing Assistant

• Construction

• Emergency Medical Technician

• Culinary Skills

• Zoo Academy

• Automotive Technician

• Digital Video Production

• Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing

• Photography • Welding

• Summer Internship

• Bryan High School- Urban Agriculture, Transportation, Distribution and Logistics • Burke High School-Air and Space, Focus (Leadership, Information Technology and Communication) • North High Magnet SchoolEngineering

For a complete list of the opportunities available within OPS, please visit or

• Northwest Magnet High SchoolLaw, Public Safety and Security • South High Magnet SchoolInformation Technology

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©2017 All rights reserved. Photo courtesy of Nehemiah Barney.

©2017 Revive! Omaha Magazine

know? Content Courtesy of Omaha Public Schools

• OPS partnered with Seventy Five North Revitalization Corp. in 2016 to improve student achievement at Howard Kennedy Elementary. Students now spend an extra fortyfive minutes in class each day with a new curriculum that stresses project-based learning, literacy and science, technology, engineering, art and math. • Wakonda Elementary was chosen as the first Turnaround School in the state of Nebraska for the 2015–2016 school year, with key initiatives focused on increasing student achievement through technology, data, and behavioral goals. First year results included an 8% increase in reading scores and a 4% increase in math scores. • In 2015, North High Magnet School built the Haddix Center, which houses the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program, providing a state of the art facility to better prepare its students for the highly technological society that awaits them. • There are ten dual language schools within the OPS district: Crestridge, Spring Lake, Gomez, Castellar, Jackson, Liberty, Marrs, Beverage, Norris and South.

• OPS offers more AP courses than any other district in Nebraska. • Bryan High School has the largest Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter in Nebraska. • Students at the Career Center earned 575 industry recognized certifications in 2016–2017. • OPS offers dual language programs at ten buildings. Students can participate from kindergarten through twelfth grade. • In 2016, OPS students set record-high test scores. • 2017 OPS graduates received nearly $66.6 million in scholarships. • More than 82% of OPS high school students take a career readiness course. • In 2016, OPS opened the first public Virtual School in Nebraska. • Nearly seven out of ten OPS teachers have earned education beyond a Bachelor's degree.

• OPS partners with community organizations to host eight school-based health centers where families can receive free or low cost medical services.

• Ten OPS schools have received Green Ribbon Awards from the U.S. Department of Education since 2012.

• Students in the Career Center Health Occupations Program finish the year earning their certified nursing assistant (CNA) certificate.

• OPS has fifteen National Board Certified teachers.

• OPS students earned more than 10,500 dual enrollment credits in 2016–2017.

• Bancroft Elementary is the only school in the state that has a kindergarten zoo program—a full day program for kindergarten students at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.

• OPS graduate Alan Heeger won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 2000.

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• OPS had forty-eight all-state musicians in 2016–2017. • OPS average cost per pupil in $800 less than the state average cost.

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North Omaha Cradle to Career Summit and Collaborative

Over the past ten years, the Empowerment Network has worked with Omaha Public Schools (OPS) and dozens of community partners to develop a comprehensive education plan for North Omaha, referred to as the Cradle to Career Initiative. It continuously evolves and integrates best practices from leading efforts around the nation. The collaborative approach builds on the feedback and insights from thousands of parents, students, principals, teachers, community leaders, elected officials, business executives, faith leaders, community activists, and representatives from hundreds of organizations. The findings and recommendations from the North Omaha Cradle to Career Initiative have been wrapped into the Empowerment Network’s Stair-Step Model that was initially submitted as part of Promise Neighborhoods federal grant applications. While Omaha did not receive the highly competitive federal grant, the model and framework received some of the highest scores in the country. The U.S. Department of Education recognized the model as a highly recommended strategy. Even without the federal grant and designation, the Network and collaborative partners have stayed committed to working together to implement the plans and strategies.

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State of Education Summit

As a key part of the plan, each year the Empowerment Network, OPS and community partners convene at the annual “State of Education in North Omaha Summit” with important updates on trends, progress, gaps and next steps. The Summit typically includes presentations from the OPS Superintendent, board members, OPS Executive Council, principals, teachers, parents, students, community-based agencies and many others. The Network also worked with OPS to develop the North Omaha Cradle to Career Scorecard. It provides a comprehensive, data-driven look at how schools in North Omaha are performing. Information and recommendations gathered during the sessions enhance the plan even further. Monthly meetings are held to support communication, collaboration and alignment. The annual summits typically have a special focus and core objectives. In the past, the Network has invited highly successful principals to share their best practices. Teachers have shared their insights and requests with parents and community members. Parents have presented strategies they have used at home to improve the academic outcomes for their children. Students have given voice to their needs and offered ways to help them

©2017 Revive! Omaha Magazine

Moving Forward

The platform is set for the dramatic acceleration of our progress and the best way forward is working together. What would happen if we worked in a more comprehensive and collaborative way? What is possible if we pulled together and aligned our efforts like never before? The collective visionary goal of the North Omaha Cradle to Career Collaborative: 100% of students will move along the pathway from the cradle to successful entry into the career field or business of their choice. Yes, 100%! Along the way, we have established critical benchmarks: reach their full potential. This year, Black Male Academic Excellence is the special topic. The Network has partnered with OPS, Nebraska Public Television, POV and PBS to support the Revive! Magazine’s “Salute to Excellence” which recognizes African-American high school students in OPS who have achieved a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or higher.

1) All students will be prepared to successfully enter kindergarten. 2) All students will achieve academically—on grade level or above. 3) All students will graduate from high school with a marketable skill, prepared for careers, college/post secondary training.

Village Focus Schools: Expand The Reach

4) All students will enter, and graduate from college/post secondary training and successfully enter the career of their choice or launch a successful business.

1) Improving the graduation rate and increasing reading/ math scores.

Each goal has specific measures, strategies, and identified actions, with an emphasis on evaluation, outcomes and longitudinal data.

Past summits have helped to focus more attention on:

2) Accelerating the replication of successful programs. 3) Increasing the number of students in Gifted and Talented programs and taking dual enrollment and AP classes. 4) Expanding innovative models like the Focus school in North Omaha. 5) Supporting major OPS initiatives like the bond program, strategic plan and student assignment plan. 6) Increasing the number of children attending high quality early childhood programs. 7) Expanding college and career opportunities. 8) Encouraging the effective use of data. 9) For the past two years, a special emphasis has been placed on increasing family and community engagement. Many successful programs, policies and initiatives have been launched and expanded as a result. The next phase is the Village Focus School model building on the REACH strategy and success of Wilson Focus School.

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Progress through


If you look at the collection of innovative education initiatives that are at various levels of implementation in Omaha, we have the potential to be on the cutting edge of education reform and community revitalization. There’s no question, we have world-class and nation-leading best practice projects being implemented in Omaha. With greater collaboration, we will see even better results.

Step-Up Omaha! participants at City Council: Careers, Leadership and Civic Engagement Photo Courtesy of Surreal Media Lab

We are seeing positive trends in a number of areas for North Omaha and African-American students: graduation rates are increasing; reading scores have improved; writing scores have improved; the number of students receiving scholarships has increased; the percentage of students going on to post secondary/college experience is increasing; and, the number of students graduating from college has increased. We celebrate these achievements and continue to push for even greater progress. Consider these advancements: (this is not a comprehensive list, but highlights some of the large scale initiatives launched by various organizations that align to the strategies) Early Childhood: Omaha Public Schools (OPS) Head Start and Early Head Start, Learning Community of Douglas and Sarpy Counties, Educare, Early Childhood Initiatives, and neighborhood-based high quality early childhood development centers (including faith-based and home-based) are doing tremendous work to ensure our children are prepared to enter school. Add in the Sixpence Early Learning Fund, Buffett Early Childhood Initiatives, and the First Five Nebraska Campaign, the city of Omaha and the state of Nebraska are on the leading edge for early childhood development. We have a lot of work ahead to assure that more children have full access to high quality early childhood development and education, but the platform is set by the work of these strong organizations and efforts.

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Kindergarten to Middle School OPS has implemented the following: • Created the principal leadership institute • Hired executive directors to partner with principals • Aligned resources to invest in high poverty schools through REACH • Created nationally recognized professional development programs • Renovated school buildings with up to date technology and security • Invested in new school construction • Reinforced teaching instruction to support consistency • Added more services for students and parents, including social workers and behavioral health specialists • Launched cultural proficiency efforts • Partnered to create the only focus school in the state of Nebraska • Introduced innovative models at Wakonda and Kennedy • Expanded after school efforts, including Community Learning Centers – with key organizational partners • Implemented breakfast and other food programs

©2017 Revive! Omaha Magazine

• Led the efforts that resulted in the creation of the Learning Community of Douglas and Sarpy Counties. The Learning Community is supporting after school and extended day programs focused on early childhood, academic improvements, and implementing nationally recognized elementary learning centers in North and South Omaha.

The community has supported OPS through additional innovative efforts, some of them also nationally recognized for their approach:

Again, the community has supported OPS with many initiatives, including, but not limited to: • The Urban League Youth Empowerment Series, • Whitney Young Academy and STEM Programs • D2 Reengagement Center • Avenue Scholars • College Possible • University of Nebraska Academy

• The African-American Achievement Council

• YouTurn

• Pastors and Faith Leaders Adopt-A-School initiative


• Midlands Mentoring Partnerships

• Northstar Foundation/Outward Bound

• Collective for Youth • Communities In Schools • Building Healthy Futures School-based Health Centers in partnership with Charles Drew Health Center • Midlands Mentoring Partnership, including the Village Zone Mentoring Program • Partnership for Kids • United Way funding and support for wraparound services • Juvenile Justice Reform and GOALS; Mayor’s Truancy Initiative • 100 Black Men’s Saturday Academy

• Adopt-A-School Partnerships • STEP-UP OMAHA! Summer Training, Employment Pathway and Urban Pipeline. In addition, Nebraska colleges and universities are partnering with Omaha Public Schools to offer specific and targeted programs to increase college retention and graduation rates. The business community is getting more involved by offering internships and career exploration opportunities. Philanthropic organizations are supporting many of these major programs and also providing valuable scholarships.

• Highly successful after school programs, including Girls Inc., Boys & Girls Club, ENCAP, Hope Center for Kids, North Star and many others.

The Collaborative Challenge While some of our highest increases in academic performance have occurred in the Kindergarten through sixth grade levels, the following initiatives are having a positive impact on high school graduation and better preparing students for college and careers:

High School & Beyond OPS led the way when they increased the number of students taking the ACT (now a state requirement); launched International Baccalaureate programs; expanded dual credit and dual enrollment offerings; increased magnet options and career academy choices, including engineering, criminal justice, arts, health, business, etc.; expanded options available through the career center; and, partnered with Step-Up Omaha! to link students with career exploration, summer jobs and internships.

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It’s encouraging to see that the work of OPS and many community partners is having a positive impact in targeted areas. Where do we go from here? As a community, we now need more intense focus on student achievement through high expectations, equity, collaboration, and alignment, while pushing for excellence at all levels. As we continue to increase the high school graduation rates, we need measurable improvements in math and science scores, more students scoring well on ACT, more students in Advanced Placement classes, fewer minority students in Special Education classes, reductions in suspensions and expulsions, and marked improvements in our 7th grade to 12th grade assessment scores. We will only reach these goals through more collaborative and more aligned efforts.

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Working Together for Black Male


Update on the Omaha African-American Male Achievement Collaborative Photo Courtesy of Midlands Mentoring Partnership • Village Zone Mentoring Match: Larry and D'Antae

In 2013, Omaha was one of eleven cities selected to develop a comprehensive African-American Male Achievement Initiative. The launch was timely and strategically connected to events happening on the national scene. With former President Barack Obama’s announcement and launch of his “My Brother’s Keeper” (MBK) initiative, the interest in Black Male Achievement was at an all-time high. And, on the heels of the Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis and Michael Brown tragedies and verdicts, the awareness of the challenges and issues facing AfricanAmerican boys and young men was elevated to the center stage across the country. The National League of Cities with the support of the Open Society Foundation, Campaign for Black Male Achievement (CBMA) and PolicyLink created the eleven city cohort referred to as the Black Male Achievement Initiative. The local initiative became the Omaha AfricanAmerican Male Achievement Collaborative (OAAMAC).

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Though the formal technical assistance period with the National League of Cities has passed, the OAAMAC continues to move forward. The focus of the initiative is five-fold: strengthening African-American families; improving educational outcomes; improving access to quality health care; connecting African-American young men and men to employment; and reducing involvement in violence. The Empowerment Network Collaborative, a ten-year, nationally recognized initiative, includes these goals and has active teams and measurable results in each area identified as priorities by the National League of Cities. The Empowerment Network, Urban League of Nebraska, Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands, 100 Black Men of Omaha, Charles Drew Health Center, City of Omaha, and Omaha Public Schools (OPS) have provided the core leadership for OAAMAC along with steering committee members.

©2017 Revive! Omaha Magazine

From 2013 to 2016, the Omaha team worked with the National League of Cities via teleconferences and attended three national best practices summits in Seattle, Washington; Oakland, California; and, Portland, Oregon. Over 50 organizations have participated with the plan as it continues to move forward and others are joining in each month. The group has made measurable progress on the implementation of the plan. The Omaha collaborative has been highlighted nationally in publications, webinars and conferences. The Campaign for Black Male Achievement (CBMA), led by Shawn Dove, is the largest network and leading authority in the country for nurturing the success of African-American boys and men. As the CBMA moves forward nationally, OAAMAC, MBK of the Heartland, Black Men United, Families First and other agencies are working to better integrate their efforts locally. MBK is a regional effort focused on Boys and Men of Color in a three-county area. OAAMAC is the collaborative focused specifically on African-American boys and men. When CBMA developed their first comprehensive national report on black male achievement efforts across the country, Omaha received a score of 47 out of 100. Many of the local initiatives were not identified and recognized in the initial report. In addition, new programs and strategies have been launched. CBMA’s second Promise of Place report will be released in January 2018 and Omaha is expected to have a significantly higher score because of the great work happening in the city and region. Collectively, these efforts and others like them are producing positive results. The graduation rate for African-American young men has increased from 49% to 68%. The goal is to increase to a minimum of 95% by 2025. The gun violence rate in North Omaha has been reduced by 60% between 2008 and 2016 and an 80% reduction during summer months. The percentage of African-American males taking Advanced Placement classes and attending post-secondary schools/college has increased since 2008. In addition, the number of young men engaged in summer employment, internships and accessing health care have all increased. Much work lies ahead, but progress is finally happening at a level not achieved in nearly 40 years. There are still significant gaps in academic performance and AA young men are significantly over represented in the areas of suspensions, expulsions and juvenile justice involvement. OAAMAC

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partners are committed to achieving the aggressive goals outlined in the plan. The first phase of the OAAMAC plan was to complete assessments on the current levels of youth engagement; gather data and develop a comprehensive analysis of the state of African-American boys and young men in the city of Omaha; identify and recruit other key stakeholders; and, develop a comprehensive structure. This phase was completed in 2013–2014. The second phase of the plan was to recruit more men, fathers, parents and mentors to participate. This work was expanded in 2014 and continues today. Over 400 men have participated. The third phase was to begin piloting programs to specifically connect a pilot group of 865 young men with mentors, programs and resources. The Village Zone Mentoring program in partnership with the Empowerment Network, Midlands Mentoring Partnership and OPS, was launched in 2015 and has connected fifty young men with mentors. The next group of fifty will start in 2017–2018. Collectively, OAAMAC partner agencies serve over 2,500 African-American young men each year. The next phase will include the expansion of successful programs and the launch of new partnerships. The group is developing a data system to capture and maintain important information across programs. OAAMAC consistently hosts monthly communications and strategy meetings with partner organizations. Another critical element is the on-going active engagement of African-American young men and their families in all areas of decision-making. An African-American young men’s leadership group is in development. The goal is to get young men prepared for leadership to host youth summits, participate on advisory groups, boards and commissions and eventually manage youth guided initiatives, policies and funds. Teams in the areas of data, policy, communications, youth engagement and community engagement are in the process of reconvening. OAAMAC will also expand collaborative teams focused on community-building, safety and health, early childhood, K-12 education, postsecondary/college and careers.

To learn more or to get involved, please go to or call (402) 502-5153.

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