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Students ask the next superintendent to tackle issues the old one could not
February 21, 2023
Omaha Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Logan is leaving the district in June of 2023. She has been with OPS since 2018. Under her tenure, OPS has implemented its current “Strategic Plan of Action.” The plan goes through 2025 and will be carried out even after Logan leaves. This plan has produced “Omaha Public Schools College & Career Academics and Pathways.” A pathway is chosen when a student is a freshman. They will then take classes under that pathway until they graduate. It is meant to offer experience for careers and college. Parents and students have criticized the plan, arguing that a person should not be stuck taking classes they may not enjoy anymore, when they could be trying new things.
A Register survey polled 83 students from Central High School. The survey recorded what students felt the next superintendent’s priorities should be rated on a scale from one to five, five being the most important. The implementation of pathways being pursued was ranked least important by students. Only 10% of students ranked the continuation of pathways a five. One student expressed concern, saying, “Freshman should not be forced into a career they picked
their first year of high school.” Another student offered their experience, saying the major they wanted to pursue was not an option and they were forced into something they are uninterested in.It is clear the students do not care to see the new superintendent focus on the pathways.
Staffing issues had the highest ranking of importance overall. 64% of students ranked it as a 5. Students not only hear about staffing problems but see them in front of them. “Staff is what makes school, school and if we don’t have enough of them then we are not able to reach our full potential,” expressed one student.
Students expressed great concern about teachers and the respect they deserve. Specifically, they want the next superintendent to focus on bringing teachers in and increasing their pay. “For all the things teachers go through, they deserve better pay. I think OPS needs to figure out a way to make teachers happy and attract more of them,” a student said.
Busing issues scored the second highest ranking of overall importance. Students shared their firsthand experiences, saying how unfair cutting buses is. One student pointed out that Central administration is always pointing fingers at students telling them to be at school on time, but if the busing issue is not resolved, how will students ever get there on time? “Transportation is the first step to ensure that students get the education they need. Without access to transportation,
students will be more likely to be tardy or not arrive at all,” a student said. 51% ranked transportation as a 5. “Refusing to tackle the issue of transportation will only further segregate our schools.”
Many students felt strongly that the new superintendent should tackle scheduling. Specifically, 42% rated it as a 5. Multiple students even pointed out where they wanted change, asking for a later start time. Most students talked about block scheduling as well in their responses. One student called it “exhausting” and “draining.” A couple of students even mentioned snow days. All were opposed to virtual snow days and suggested giving students the day off.