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Omaha superintendent hosts town hall seeking students’ ideas

September 7, 2018
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In this Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018 photo, Omaha Public Schools Superintendent Cheryl Logan, left, answers questions alongside Omaha North junior Eleanor Dunning during a student town hall meeting in Omaha, Neb. (Brendan Sullivan/Omaha World-Herald via AP)

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Omaha Public Schools’ new superintendent held a town hall-style meeting to learn about students’ concerns and ideas, from ACT scores, college and workforce preparedness to security and school lunches.

Superintendent Cheryl Logan answered questions from middle and high school students on Thursday evening at the district’s headquarters in a town hall-style meeting. Others texted or emailed their queries.

Logan, who came to Omaha from Philadelphia in July, asked for the students’ input and told them they were the district’s “ultimate consumer.”

“We need your energy and your enthusiasm, your ideas, your excitement,” Logan said.

When one student asked how the district could improve its ACT scores, Logan said ACT scores begin in kindergarten, which is where the accumulation of knowledge begins. She said the district can’t wait until 10th grade to get students ready for the college entrance exam taken in 11th grade.

Students also brought up concerns about being prepared for college and entering the workforce. Northwest High sophomore Sierra Klein requested that the district expand its AVID program, which focuses on college readiness by teaching critical thinking, good study habits and notetaking skills.

“Wanting to make sure they’re prepared for the jobs of the future, they’re really concerned about that ... and I think that’s really interesting and it makes me think more about what we’re doing,” Logan said.

A Central High junior brought up concerns about school safety. Logan said she plans to prioritize improving the district’s crisis management response and threat assessment process, which helps schools identify and address potential threats. Logan encouraged students, staff and parents to report anything suspicious or out of the ordinary.

Logan also addressed school lunches. She said she hopes to offer healthier choices as well as making meals available later in the day.

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