OPS Elementary Schools - North Area
Brief Explanation of Area:
The north area expands from Fontenelle Boulevard on the east to 90th Street on the west, and Maple and Ames Streets to the south to just north of I-680 to include Ponca Elementary.
This area includes Florence, Ponca, Springville, and Fort Omaha elementary schools opened in the 1870s and 1880s when the area was outside the Omaha city limits. Fort Omaha elementary closed when the military families left, but the other three schools were annexed by Omaha Public Schools. The area was filled with white Europeans, with the Danish being the predominant immigrant group in the area. In all, 16 past and current elementary schools are in this area.
North Area Map
Elementary School History – Omaha’s far North and Northwest Schools
A 13-minute video highlighting interviews with former Omaha Public Schools administrator ReNae Kehrberg, principals Pat Schweer (Crestridge), Carol Ellis (Belvedere), and Jan Pinaire (Hartman), and former student Nichole Kriegler (Bryan Middle School) about their experiences with busing and desegregation in the 1980s and 1990s.
A 3-minute presentation produced by students participating in the 2022 Omaha Public Schools Making Invisible Histories Visible program highlighting the history of the Fort Omaha School and the history, demographics, and the 1976 desegregation plan of Miller Park, Minne Lusa, and Fontenelle Elementary Schools in the North area of Omaha.
Brief Explanation of Desegregation/Busing:
Prior to Omaha Public School’s court-ordered “Desegregation Plan” that implemented mandatory busing from 1976 to 1999, schools within the North Division were predominantly white. In 1976, students attending Florence, Hartman, Pinewood, and Springville attended Druid Hill in 2nd or 3rd grade. Students at Druid Hill attended one of these four schools in 4th, 6th, and 6th grade. Miller Park students were partnered with Sherman and attended 5th and 6th grade at this school. Irvington students attended Lothrop in 3rd grade.
By 1981, Florence, Hartman, Pinewood, and Springville students were not bused but did have the option to attend Druid Hill Science/Math Center, and Black students in Grades 4, 5, and 6 who resided in the newly formed Druid Hill/Monmouth Park attendance area could transfer to Florence, Hartman, Pinewood or Springville Elementary Schools.
Demographics in 2020-2021:
The area has diversified in the last 30 years. In 2020-21, Black, White and Asian is the predominant ethnic groups. Strong Asian growth has come from refugees resettling to Omaha from the Thailand and Myanmar (Burma) regions.
2022 MIHV Project
I’ve learned so much about the desegregation plan and how it impacted elementary schools. It’s been interesting to learn about “the plan” and how it was put into action, as well as hearing the stories of the teachers and students… - Ella
Before MIHV I would’ve said that I knew information about Omaha’s schools, but now I realize that I knew practically nothing. Not knowing about busing in OPS history definitely means that you don’t know as much as you think you do. - Micaiah-Anna
Instead of the research being boring, it was actually intriguing. - Clashaud
History is probably my least favorite subject, so it tends to bore me. The program is actually really fun. My favorite week of my whole summer for sure. – Lynae
Interviews July 2022:
Carol Ellis, Belvedere and Adams
Dr. ReNae Kehrberg, OPS Administrator
Nichole Kriegler, OPS Busing Student
Jan Pinaire, Hartman Elementary
Pat Schweer, Crestridge Elementary
The Plan - Desegregation of the Omaha Public Schools, 1981-82
United States District Court Desegregation Plan for the School District of Omaha, May 1976
Desegregation Task Force Recommendations to the Superintendent, October 1998
The Durham Museum Archives
The Omaha World-Herald Archives
The Omaha Public Schools Archives/TAC Building