A student’s high school experience sets them up for success - it is the beginning of their story. The experience should allow students to gain skills that will be practical in any career field while exploring career interests in fun and engaging ways.
The Omaha Public Schools is excited to announce the evolution of high school programming in our district, The Omaha Public Schools College & Career Academies and Pathways.
In fall 2021, the Freshman Academy was implemented. The Board of Education approved the proposal for the College & Career Academies and Pathways soon afterward. View the board presentation here.
The Omaha Public Schools College & Career Academies and Pathways comes after an evaluation and refocus of current programming. It builds on what has been working well and where we can grow. It ensures students gain real-world career experience while maintaining the foundation of core classes and access to advanced academics, fine arts and electives.
Student Focused Plan
In February 2020, Omaha Public Schools launched the Strategic Plan of Action Powered by Foresight. Through work with community members, future labs encouraged Omaha Public Schools staff and community members to think about what’s next for our District and brainstorm what’s needed to prepare students for their futures throughout the next five to 20 years. The result was the Portrait of a Graduate.
The Portrait of a Graduate outlines the skills essential for students beyond high school to be successful in college, career and life.
Mastery of these skills will be beneficial for any path a student may take after graduation. As our district reviewed our portfolio of program options, the goal was to ensure that students could explore career interests while learning these foundational skills.
Throughout the process, feedback and input from our community was essential to the academy and pathway plan development. Local business leaders provided input on necessary job skills, and future job trends, while high school leadership teams helped to determine what programs best fit the needs of their school community. More than 2,100 parents, students, staff and business leaders were able to provide input on perceptions of the district’s current programming and what they would like to see in the future.
Academies and Pathways
After the evaluation and input from our community, our district proposed the Omaha Public Schools College & Career Academies and Pathways. Students in both academies and pathways take their core classes (English, math, social studies and science) along with career-focused classes, advanced placement classes and electives. Student choices are what determine the differences in the high school experience. To understand the options, we have provided a definition below:
- Academies are smaller learning communities with a career focus. Groups of students with a similar career interest take classes together. Career-focused classes proceed from one to the next in a series.
- Pathways are a series of four or more classes focused on a group of related careers, or cluster. Students in a pathway take classes with a wide range of other students across career interests.
Learn more about each schools' academy and pathway options and hear from students who have participated in these programs in our Informational Booklet.
Freshman Academy began in fall 2021. The College & Career Academies and Pathways will be rolled out over the next four years until fully in place in 2024-25.
Students, families, staff and community members were invited to learn more about the offerings included in the proposal during a series of meetings in May and June of 2021. Each high school, including the new Westview and Buena Vista High, hosted family engagement sessions - with weekend and virtual options - that included a presentation on the College & Career Academies and Pathways program and a chance for community members to ask questions.