Through key Community Partnerships, OPSF creates learning opportunities beyond the borders of the traditional classroom. With our partners, such as The Rose Theater, Joslyn Art Museum and Fontenelle Forest, students participate in sensory experiences that allow them to engage in new ways of learning that may not be otherwise available to them.
The OPS Foundation will not be providing community grants in 2020. Please contact Toba Cohen-Dunning after 6/1/2021 for details on the 7/1/2021 to 12/1/2021 grant cycle.
2016-2017 Community Grant Awards
Circle Theater Fran Sillau“Write What You Know”
Summary: The Circle Theatre will provide an interactive series of playwriting/workshops entitled Write What You Know. This program will focus on creating original plays that will draw from participant’s personal experience and enable 80 students with disabilities to work in groups or individually to compose original work that is reflective of their thoughts and feelings. A performance will end the workshop with one of the scripts. Schools participating: Norris Middle, Davis Middle and Omaha North High Magnet.
Amount granted: $4,000.00Omaha Bikes Pell Duvall “Bike Safety Education – Summer School Enrichment”
Summary: Omaha Bikes in partnership with Live Well Omaha offers no-cost bike safety education, a free new bike helmet and helmet fitting for 20 Omaha area elementary summer school programs as well as neighborhood-based and event “bike rodeos.” In 2016, certified instructors taught bike safety to over 2,000 children in 14 summer school sessions and community events.
Amount granted: $1,500.00Omaha Theater Company Julie Walker “Every Single Child Arts Education Program”
Summary: The program brings educational drama experiences to Omaha-area schools to use as a tool in the classroom to supplement and deepen students’ development and understanding of core subjects and skills such as history, reading, speech, fluency, social studies, math and citizenship. An age and curriculum-appropriate program is developed for each grade level, Pre-K through 6th grade with some programs at the Rose and others at individual schools. OPSF Sponsored Schools: Lothrop, Jefferson, Field Club, Spring Lake Magnet and Liberty Elementary. 3,000 students will benefit from this program. (Payments will be split into 2-$7,250 increments for spring and fall)
Amount granted: $14,500.00The Arts in Motion (Formerly the ARTery) Mary Gibilisco
“Arts in Motion/Dancing Classrooms”
Summary: Dancing Classrooms is an opportunity for students to experience various forms of dance while learning about communication, respect, how to interact with your dance partner and acquiring many other social skills. Guest artists dance for and with the students and describe opportunities for dancing outside of the school. The inclusive nature of the dance curriculum means that any adjustment for students with special needs or disabilities is minimal. This program has been in the Omaha Public Schools since 2006. Jt benefits 1,900 students annually. OPS Schools work with Arts in Motion to sign up for the program.
Amount granted (partial): $7,500.00Nebraskans for Civic Reform Kent Day “The Nebraska Capitol Experience”
Summary: Nebraskans for Civic Reform’s Capitol Experience provides a substantive experience for 12th grade OPS students to not only fulfill Nebraska State Educational Standards, but also to complete a relevant OPS Required Semester Project through experiential learning. The program provides teachers with partnerships and tools to link students to the community, local government and other collaborators. Students must identify important policy issues in the comm unity , research issues, formulate position, compose realistic legislation and present that position orally in an authentic hearing room of the Capitol in Lincoln. 405 students from 12 different classes in four OPS schools will participate. Schools will apply to the program to participate. (Payments will be split into the spring and fall semesters)
Amount granted (partial): $5,000.00Omaha Conservatory of Music Kevin Mahler “String Sprouts”
Summary: The purpose of the program is to execute this unique curriculum in un de r- reso ur ced communities, help break the cycle of poverty for at- ris k youth by positioning them for academic success through music education, close the gap in public music education between when children are cognitively able to absorb instrumental music instruction and when instrumental music programming begins and equip caregivers with resources and strategies to encourage students. The curriculum begins with 4-year olds and continues to 6th grade. First year skills acquired include learning to hold a violin and bow properly, play a beginning-level repertoire, and to apply basic music concepts. The Conservatory will serve 1,042 students during this grant cycle, most of whom live in the OPS District. Schools served in the grant include Benson West, Kellom and Kennedy Elementary.
Amount granted: $5,000.00Fontenelle Forest Merica Whitehall “Webology, H2Omaha and Nature on the Go Programs”
Summary: Nearly 1OO% of OPS 4th and 6th Grade students participate in the Fontenelle Forest Webology and H2Omaha science programs with all curriculum meeting Nebraska State Science Standards. Nature on the Go Programs have recently been added to support 3rdand 4th grade science curriculum and opportunities to experience scientific inquiry. All three programs include indoor and outdoor exploration. Nature on the Go serves 1,031 students, Webology serves 3,769 students and H2Omaha serves 3,889 students. (Funding is for the 17-18 school year)
Amount granted (partial): $30,000.00WhyArts? Carolyn Anderson
“Transition Students Experiencing the Arts”
Summary: A WhyArts artist will serve a residency with Transition students at the Paralyzed Veterans Administration (PVA) once a week during the months of January through April of 2017. The artist will lead arts activities both in the morning and afternoon, as students rotate between their work sites and the PVA location. The artist will focus the activities on performance aspects of theater, music, movement, story creation and visual arts. All students will be encouraged to participate to the best of their ability in a final celebration to highlight their achiev ements . Students will be consistently reminded that there is no right or wrong way when participating in the arts – it is Their way.
Amount granted: $4,000.00
Joslyn Art Museum Agnes Dizona
“Art for All Program”
Summary: This program allows students to visit the museum at no cost and participate in gallery tours and art making activities that enrich school curriculum in many subject areas including social studies, language arts and math. Joslyn offers 14 standard tours for students of all ages. Tours are led by docent volunteers who undergo ongoing training in art history and audience engagement and are able to adapt and engage all groups. In 2016, the Museum has welcomed 3,561 OPS students in a school tour program. ln addition, elementary school groups have an option of enhancing the gallery experience with an hour-long related art-making class led by Joslyn staff. Not all tour groups are able to pay the $100 fee. This grant will help offset the costs for OPS students to participate in this activity. (Funding will be split for the spring and fall semesters)
Amount granted: $5,000.00DIBS for Kids David Orrick “Adopt a School”
Summary: DJBS is a literacy model that has currently serves select high poverty schools in the District. It provides take-home books in a monitored system that tracks participation, student achievement and customer experience. The technology, for example, tracks student book check-ins and check-outs in real time to measure who takes books home, where students needs assistance with reading and how it is improving student achievement. At Adams Elementary, over 70 school days, students took an average of 49 books home (each). This grant will be matched by the Amy Scott Foundation and help expand the program into more schools. (This grant is for the 17-18 school year)
Amount granted: $10,000.00GirlsStart Roberta Wilhelm“GirlStart Literacy Program”
Summary: GIRLStart is a program for girls in grades Kindergarten through third grade that promotes literacy and provides homework assistance. The girls served by Girls Jnc. come from households with multiple risk factors for school failure including: low-income, minorities, or foster care. The program strives to remove academic success barriers for these girls and decrease their summer-slide by providing enriching, comprehensive literacy programming for an hour every day after school and two to three hours daily during the summer. The program also includes a financial literacy component that covers elementary economic concepts of money, spending and saving, and distinguishing needs from wants.
Amount granted (partial): $6,000.00Luke United Methodist Church, Burke High Teen Center Abby Jackson“Post-Secondary Success: Career Paths, Social and Life Skills Development”
Summary: Coaching for post-secondary successes means ensuring a positive transition from high school into the trades, military, college and life. The Teen Center uses a depth-of-experience approach for teens to manage future situations such as career exposure, financial literacy, professional etiquette, employer expectations, conflict resolution and personal health care management. The Center provides a meal, tutoring and coaching every day after school directly across the street from the high school. (Funding is for the 17-18 school year)
Amount Granted: $5000.00Partnership for KidsDeb Denbeck“P4K and NEU: To and Through College”
Summary: The P4K mentoring program serves 4,800 low-income students in the Omaha Public Schools. The programming is in alignment with the OPS strategic plan and provides students in need with reading readiness, mentoring, goal setting and college access support from Kindergarten through college and beyond. The program focuses on mentoring students toward academic achievement and access to college. The program follows the national model of No Excuses University which advocates universal achievement toward college readiness for all students. 400 community volunteers assist in the program to increase parent/family participation with the student’s education. (Funding will be $5,000/year for two years beginning 8/1/17)
Amount granted: $10,000.00