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OPS board discusses plans for Freshman Academy

Posted at 5:02 PM, Apr 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-06 08:25:58-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - Though many community members have spoken out against aspects of it, last month the Omaha Public Schools Board of Education approved a new program called the Freshman Academy.

The Freshman Academy is a program that would place freshmen in smaller groups to adjust to high school.

This was a part of a larger program that included Career Pathways, which would have freshmen begin exploring career options.

After many in the community spoke out against the program, the board decided to separate the two and will be getting an update on how the district will be engaging with families and staff about the program on April 19.

On Monday, the board learned more about how success will be measured for the Freshman Academy. Scott SchmidtBonne, the district's director of research, said they'd be looking at several measures.

“Improvement to student behavior and attendance, increases in student well-being, increased student achievement and greater levels for on track and on-time graduation for students who receive this experience," SchmidtBonne said.

The district would also get feedback from staff, students, and families on how they feel the program is and isn't working.

With the past academic year being disrupted, the board was wondering how to compare when many students may be at a different point academically than expected because of the pandemic.

Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Logan said that the coming year would have to act as a baseline for measuring the success of the Freshman Academy.

The Academy acts like a first step to the Career Pathways, which the board will be voting on in September.

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