OPS Elementary Schools - Central Area
We are Team Central. Our area expands from Interstate 80, north to the Benson neighborhood, then from 30th to 72nd Street. There are 28 past and present Omaha Public Schools that are a part of this area, with Dundee Elementary being the oldest existing school and Gifford Park Elementary being the newest. School demographics within our area were primarily Western European prior to desegregation efforts in 1976. Starting with desegregation through mandatory busing and the changing demographics of Omaha, our area schools are full of diversity.
Central Area Map
Video - OPS Elementary School History – Omaha’s Central Area
An eight-minute video highlighting interviews with former Omaha Public School elementary school students Deb Peterson (Columbian), Debra Griffith (Rose Hill), Rosemary Lawless (Belle Ryan), and Catherine Twitchell (Jackson) about their experience attending school in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
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 Beals, Dundee, Belle Ryan, Rose Hill, and Field Club Elementary Schools in the Central area of Omaha.
Brief Explanation of Desegregation/Busing:
Before Omaha Public School’s court-ordered “Desegregation Plan” that implemented mandatory busing, schools within the Central Division were predominantly white. Students attending the schools were transported to predominantly Black schools in 2nd and 3rd grade. Alternatively, Black students from predominantly Black schools were required to attend Central Division and other area schools in grades 4th, 5th, and 6th. This policy left a long-lasting impact on the students, families, and communities of OPS as the process of integration created more diverse experiences for all.
Brief Explanation of Annexation:
Several schools within the Central Division were annexed into the Omaha Public Schools District at one point or another. Here is a list of schools that were not originally part of OPS: Ambler, Eckerman, Prairie Center, West Lawn, and West Side schools (Eckerman District 6); Davenport (Ralston Public Schools).
2022 MIHV Project
Before this camp I hadn’t thought much of Omaha’s history and, to be honest, I hadn’t really cared about it, but MHIV has shown me things I’d never known, and it’s made me a lot more curious about Omaha’s history. It has taught me to see more in a building, to think of its history and how it impacts us today. – Claudia
Because of this program, I’ve become more confident and more interested in research. - Aspen
Omaha is a lot more interesting than I had originally thought, filled with hidden funny little stories. -Valentina
I am so grateful to join this program and create relationships with so many people. - Sierra
Haiku by Brayden
Different Parts of Omaha
Interviews July 2022:
Kate Brownrigg, Dundee Elementary
Deb Griffith, Rose Hill Elementary
Rosemary Lawless, Belle Ryan Elementary
Deb Peterson, Columbian Elementary
Catherine Twitchell, Jackson 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