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'A jumpstart on my future:' First Omaha Public Schools program to offer more than college credit to students

Posted at 1:42 PM, Mar 25, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-25 16:26:46-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The program at Northwest High School is new this school year and offers students opportunities to gain college credit starting freshman year. By the time they graduate high school, they'll also earn an associate degree.

  • The program is the first of its kind for Omaha Public Schools. Credits are earned through Metropolitan Community College.
  • We talked to freshman students who share why they joined the program and how it'll help them with their future goals.
  • OPS incoming freshman interested in joining the program can still apply until May 1.


Graduating from high school is already a huge accomplishment but imagine doing that while also earning an associate degree. At Northwest High School, the Early College Program is helping students get a head start on their college careers.

These students have big dreams.

“I decided to join the program so I can get a jump start on my future career as a chef,” said Rowan Kroh, a freshman at Northwest High School.

“I want to specialize in criminology,” said Kami Montgomery, also a freshman at Northwest High.

“I’m interested in becoming an athletic trainer and I want to do that at like a bigger college,” said Jayden Lewis, a freshman at Northwest High.

This program will help them accomplish their goals.

But it’s a big step. The program starts freshman year.

“They’re also transitioning from being an eighth grader to a ninth grader and so there’s that component too. It’s not like they’re duel-enrolled as a junior in high school,” said David Anderson, the early college history instructor.

The program is the first of its kind for Omaha Public Schools.

Administrators launched it after seeing similar successful programs in neighboring districts.

“So, it was three years in the making. A lot of research, a lot of visits across the country and I think we have developed something that is very unique to our district and we’re very very proud of it,” said OPS Curriculum Specialist Michele Rivera.

The credits come from Metropolitan Community College (MCC). If students earn enough, they can complete an associate degree for free.

“Being able to save just, maybe a few thousand bucks will really go a long way in the future,” said Rowan.

So, here’s how it works: For the first two years, students take dual-enrolled classes at Northwest High.

Then as upperclassmen, they’ll actually go to MCC to take classes.

“The flexibility involved is then you’re running on two different school schedules. It’s doable and we are going to do it, it’s just going to be creative and it’s going to require a lot of communication,” said Rivera.

Once students get their degree, it can apply to state and some out-of-state universities.

Getting ahead to jump start their college careers.

“My mom and dad actually encouraged me to do it. They’ve always pushed me to do better things and I really thank them for that cause I honestly wasn’t going to do it,” said Jayden.

OPS incoming freshman interested in joining the program can still apply until May 1st.