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Learning Opportunities Continue Through District Breaks

Students sat at tables filled with popsicle sticks, clay and packing tape. Their challenge? Design a motorized car using household items and other supplies.

“We build our cars and then test drive them. We sketch them out, draw on them and then give a presentation about them,” said seventh-grader Jose Gutierrez DeSantiago.

DeSantiago joined hundreds of students for extended learning during winter break. Omaha Public Schools offered STEAM-themed programming at two locations. Staff design the opportunity for students who are in our migrant and refugee program, or learning English as a new language.

“They participate in project-based learning with students from all over our district to improve language and literacy skills,” said Katie Rude, intersession administrator.

Learning through the break allows for creativity, collaboration and communication. More than 300 students participated in November and December. Staff from throughout our district led the hands-on work.

“The students and teachers who participated in the winter intersession were excited and engaged in the activities,” said Michele Rivera, Omaha Public Schools curriculum specialist. “It was an amazing opportunity to collaborate with others without language being a barrier.”

Intersession supports those new to our district or school community. Services are available year-round, but federal ESSER funds helped our district offer the learning during break this year.

“It’s important that Omaha Public Schools offers this kind of programming,” Rude explained. “What [students] learn carries over into the academic year, their classes and courses, and their progression through school.”

Students also benefit socially by building relationships with students and staff.

“This program helps me because I’m shy," said DeSantiago. "It helps me talk to people and get to know them.”
Omaha Public Schools will offer additional intersession opportunities this semester.