OPS Elementary Schools - South Omaha and Sarpy County
Brief Explanation of Area:
The South Omaha-Sarpy County area includes all Omaha Public Schools schools south of Interstate 80 to Giles Road and from the Missouri River to 52nd Street. This area contains early OPS schools built in the 1860s, 1880s, and 1890s. The South Omaha area was filled with immigrant families who came to work in the nearby Stockyards. They included Lithuanians, Greeks, Bohemians, Romanians, Serbians, Croatians, Irish, Mexicans, and later African Americans who emigrated from the South. The City of Omaha annexed South Omaha in 1915, and with that, OPS gained new schools. Many of those original working-class immigrant families moved out of the area. A wave of immigrants from Mexico and Latin America replaced them in the 1980s and ‘90s. Latinos now comprise more than 10 percent of Omaha’s population. The Latin influence is seen throughout the business district.
South Omaha-Sarpy County Map
Video - OPS Elementary School History – South Omaha and Sarpy County
A six-minute video highlighting interviews with former Omaha Public School elementary school students Marie Sedlacek (Corrigan), Dorri Ryan (Giles), Linda Stearns (Indian Hills) and Anne Harvey (Corrigan) about their experience attending school in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.
A 3-minute presentation produced by students participating in the 2022 Omaha Public Schools Making Invisible Histories Visible program highlighting the history, demographics, and the 1976 desegregation plan of Marrs, Gomez, Pawnee, and Indian Hills areas of South Omaha and Sarpy County and information on Gateway Elementary School which was completed in 2010.
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 South Omaha-Sarpy area were predominantly white. Students attending the South Omaha schools of Ashland Park, Chandler View, Gilder, Giles, Pawnee, and Pleasant Hill attended Kellom Elementary in 2nd or 3rd grade, and Kellom students attended one of these elementary schools in 4th, 5th, and 6th grades.
Demographics in 2020-21:
In 1974, before court-order busing, Ashland Park, Chandler View, Gilder, Giles, Pawnee, and Pleasant Hill had more than 93 percent white students. In 2020-21, demographics are now 57 to 77 percent Hispanic and 15 to 33 percent white.
2022 MIHV Project
I didn’t think that Omaha had a really interesting history, but I was wrong. – Santos
We were able to hear amazing stories that may have never been told to anyone else … My understanding of Omaha's history has changed because there is so much more to it than we can see. – Jonathan
I never knew what changes were being made back in the 1970s through the 90s and how schooling changed a lot of things in the city and community. – Kylle
After hearing about all the history of Omaha, my mind has changed a lot and I now know that there is so much history in Omaha that people don’t really know about. Because this project was so fun and interesting to research, I feel like I will be researching a lot more. – Soniya
My understanding of Omaha has changed a lot because I have seen and heard a lot more about Omaha and the area around the school. – Samantha
Interviews July 2022:
Anne Harvey, Corrigan and Indian Hills
Dorri Ryan, Giles and Gilder
Marie Sedlacek, Corrigan Elementary
Linda Stearns, Indian Hills 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
Krystal Kolb, Bryan Alumni
The Omaha World-Herald Archives
The Omaha Public Schools Archives/TAC Building