Students and families tour Omaha's brand new Forest Station Elementary School

Taking a look at one of OPS' 2 new elementary schools
Posted at 6:33 PM, Aug 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-02 19:33:30-04

BELLEVUE, Neb. (KMTV) — The 2022-2023 school year is bringing two new elementary schools. Omaha Public Schools will open Forest Station and Pine Elementary Schools this month. A 2018 bond program paid for the schools.

Today, OPS opened Forest Station to students and families for a sneak peek.

Amy Dahir and her two kids — Olivia and Emmett Spears — chanted the school's new cheer. Her children will be students at Forest Station, eager to start the year on a positive note. The family is hopeful that a new school will bring new energy.

"Only once in a lifetime, you can be part of the first year, you know," parent Eric Spears said.

5-year-old Romina Puentes is also preparing for all the learning that will take place in the classrooms.

"I want to learn how to read and to write!" Puentes said.

Forest Station expects to open with 425 students, ranging from early childhood to fifth grade: pulling students from Gomez Heritage and Chandler View. By bringing people from two established schools, principal Shelly Burghardt has a vision: for families, staff and students to come together as "one."

"In lots of ways, it's like a book that's being written and I'm just that first chapter, and I know there's going to be many chapters to come and many sequels and I'm anxious to see what those will be," Burghardt said.

Burghardt's approach is to make school more collaborative, by taking the learning outside of the classroom.

"We have open spaces where we can actually bring our students and our teachers out so they can witness one another teaching and learning. It leads to more student engagement and teacher engagement as well," Burghardt said.

But it's parents like Eric Spears who are living vicariously through their kids, who are preparing to take steps in learning and life.

"I find it a lot more exciting to be a parent. Just the amount of energy you get from your kids, having something brand new, having a lot more stuff to talk about, being in a new environment — that's more exciting than anything as an adult," Eric said.

Pine Elementary School's open house is scheduled for Aug. 4.

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