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ESSER in Action - July 2022

As we approach the 2022-23 school year, our district continues to invest Federal Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) money toward initiatives that will provide significant benefits to our staff, students and families. 

This summer, we hosted Next Level Learning, our enhanced summer school program at 34 sites districtwide. 13,500 students benefitted from the experience. ESSER funds allowed for a pay increase to $40 an hour for Next Level Learning teachers and paid internship opportunities for high school students interested in pursuing education as a career. 

Next Level Learning sessions offered a camp-like experience with themes of science, nature, sports and art. The summer programming was designed to address academic recovery and improve student outcomes. Student interns, like recent North High graduate Lillian Nero, assist with literacy. They received training in specific reading interventions and will also tutor elementary school students.

“I’ve had so many teachers that have impacted my life in ways that I really can’t explain,” Nero said. “They need more teachers and more people who are willing to help, and I’m down to help.”

Our district will complete a comprehensive review of the 2022 Next Level Learning program this fall to determine next steps for 2023. 

ESSER program budgets have also been formally reallocated to fund $82.6 million in Board-approved retention initiatives for staff and teacher pipeline projects. This includes an amendment providing all full-time staff and part-time staff working more than 20 hours weekly with a one-time stipend in both 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years. These initiatives are awaiting additional steps of formal approval.

“While [staffing and recruiting] challenges impact every school district and every professional field, our work in Omaha Public Schools is too important. We are resolute in delivering high-quality, in-person learning for the students we serve,” wrote Board of Education President Shavonna Holman, Ed.D. and Superintendent Cheryl Logan, Ed.D. to district staff and families.

Our district will continue to regularly review funding allocations to ensure we remain focused and committed to our pillars of academic recovery and acceleration, wellbeing of students and staff, infrastructure for the future and family and community engagement.

We will provide quarterly updates through the years to come on our website, along with ESSER in Action snapshots on our district social media channels. You can read more about our complete ESSER plan here