OPS Elementary Schools - Northeast Area

  • Brief Explanation of Area:

    The Northeast area spans from Dodge Street to the south, Sorensen Parkway/Storz Expressway to the north, Fontenelle Boulevard to the west, and the Missouri River to the east. In all, 25 past and current elementary schools are in this area. This area contains some of OPS’ first elementary schools, built in the 1860s, 1870s, and 1880s as the population north of downtown Omaha grew.

    Kellom Night School

     

    The area was filled with immigrant families, including Italians, Irish, and Scandinavians, and later Jewish and African Americans who emigrated from the South. Schools not only taught students during the day but English classes at night to their immigrant parents. The picture is from the Nebraska Jewish Historical Society archives. 

    Starting in the 1940s, whites lured by new homes and easy financing moved out of the area to Omaha’s western suburbs. African Americans were forced to stay, and unable to move because of restrictive covenants in the new suburbs and the inability to get loans for housing.

Northeast Area Map

  • The icons represent the Omaha Public Elementary Schools located in the northeast area of Omaha. Blue represents current elementary schools, and the black icons are schools no longer in existence.

    Click on the icons to learn more about each school.  

    Schools Include; Central Park (originally part of District 38), Lake, Long (Original King), Monmouth Park, Beechwood, Capitol Avenue, Cass School, Central Grade, Clifton Hill, Conestoga, Druid Hill, Fairfax (Clifton Hill Annex), Franklin. Izard Street (North School), Jefferson Square, Kellom (formerly Paul Street School), Kennedy. King. Lothrop. Omaha View (became Howard Kennedy), Paul (became Kellom). Pershing (District 61), Saratoga, Sherman, and Skinner

  • Video 

    A 3-minute presentation produced by students participating in the 2022 Omaha Public Schools Making Invisible Histories Visible program highlighting the history, demographics, and 1976 desegregation plan of Kellom, King, Pershing, Central Park, and Conestoga Elementary Schools in the Northeast 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 Northeast Division were predominantly Black. In 1976, students attending Saratoga, Kellom, Clifton Hill, Kennedy, Conestoga, Lothrop, and Druid Hill attended their home school Kindergarten through 3rd grade and then were bused in 4th, 5th, and 6th grade to predominately white schools west or south of their neighborhoods.

     

    Demographics in 2020-2021:

    In the 1970s the Northeast area schools were 75 to 98% African American. In 2020-21, that number has shifted to 50 percent African American with a mix of Hispanics, Whites, and Asians filling in the rest.

     

    2022 MIHV Project 

Reflections

  • 2022 Northeast Area Group

    I got to talk to people who weren’t white and who weren’t men, and I got to hear their side of things. There is so much I want to learn now… - Scout

    Some highlights of what I learned were the integrated busing program, the Brown II pushback, and how everything affected the kids who experienced it all. – Oliver

    My understanding has changed drastically because, before this program, I didn’t know most of these schools existed, but now I know their origin and history. – Jeffrey

    With the interviews, you just get a more personal view of what happened and how it affected people and the communities. My understanding of Omaha has changed in good and bad ways. I think that it was good that they had a more diverse school system, but I think it’s bad that they had to force that upon students, teachers, and schools. – Izzy

    MIHV made me understand the experiences of those who came before me and how drastically times have changed. – Anahi

Resources

  • Interviews July 2022:

    Brenda Council, Lothrop Elementary

    Boris Moore, Franklin Elementary

    Rod Mullen, Lake, Monmouth and Waconda

    Johnny Nesbit, Lothrop and Skinner

     

    Publications:

    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 

     

    Other Resources: 

    The Durham Museum Archives

    Google Earth

    Google Maps

    NorthOmahaHistory.com 

    The Omaha World-Herald Archives

    The Omaha Public Schools Archives/TAC Building

    OPS.org