Omaha skyline

Omaha Public Schools

Strengthening literacy

Omaha Public Schools (OPS) is partnering with Leading Educators to strengthen instruction in 15 Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) elementary schools so all students are ready for their next step.

About the Partnership

Omaha Public Schools is a vital institution for the youngest residents in the city of Omaha, serving more than 54,000 students. While students bring different strengths, life experiences, and support systems, Omaha sees its public schools as the community’s chief vehicle for working towards equal opportunities for all Omaha children.

To build on strengths and expand opportunities for students to achieve greatly, Omaha Public Schools leaders recognize that the district needs to make key systemic improvements in support systems for excellent teaching.


In spring 2023, an academic diagnostic revealed key areas of opportunity:

  • OPS students had access to grade-level work only 40% of the time and demonstrated ownership of their learning and meaning-making just 26% of the time in ELA across 20 schools.
  • Only 32% of ELA teachers surveyed had a strong belief in students’ ability to perform at grade level. Consequently, the district recognized the need to address rigor and mindsets in instruction.

The district adopted HMH Into Reading during the 2019-2020 school year, but high teacher turnover rates and teacher shortages have made consistent implementation challenging. Teachers have had limited experience implementing Into Reading in a traditional setting and have also experienced additional adoptions of high-quality instructional materials (HQIM) for other content areas. The training and development for literacy have been limited.


OPS aims to establish structures for district- and school-level staff to build on their strengths and expand students’ opportunities to achieve greatly in literacy. This includes implementing collaborative planning time and developing school-based instructional facilitators to support peer teachers’ growth.

Omaha partnership theory of action for student success

How We’re Helping

Along with systems-level support, Leading Educators is facilitating continuous improvement cycles emphasizing methods for teachers to provide and enhance access to grade-level texts and tasks.

This programming incorporates mindset development work focused on maintaining high expectations for students and fostering greater student ownership, specifically with the Into Reading curricular materials. This comprehensive approach will align efforts and collaboration across principals, instructional facilitators, and teachers.

Systems/Strategic Advising:

Leading Educators used discovery to understand CSI schools’ contexts, strengths, and areas of need, along with district leadership’s plans. Throughout the year, we’ll conduct data review sessions to monitor and iterate on programming. We’ll also collaborate with district leadership to support coherence, refine the vision, and streamline priorities for improved system conditions.

Ongoing Professional Learning Design

Leading Educators is creating and leading a year-long curriculum-aligned professional learning series for teachers in priority areas identified with OPS leadership. Additionally, we design and facilitate monthly development sessions aligned with leading curriculum-aligned PLCs and content-aligned coaching for site-based instructional leaders.


Leading Educators staff individually coach 15 CSI elementary school principals around continuous improvement in literacy instruction and implementation of site-based school improvement plans.

Partnership By The Numbers

Icon on a a boy with a backpack

6,060 Students

supported with more rigorous and joyful lessons in core content areas

Two hands grasp each other

285 Teachers

participate in up to 3 monthly 50-minute PLCs to strengthen their instructional practices

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15 School Leaders

receive quarterly principal meetings focused on instructional leadership development

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15 site-based instructional leaders

receive monthly professional learning sessions on change management and continuous improvement

Meet The Team

Our team of experienced classroom educators, former school and system leaders, content and coaching experts, and fearless advocates work shoulder-to-shoulder with Omaha Public Schools educators to go further faster.

Dr. Lakita D. McKinney

Managing Director of Networks
Lakita is an experienced leader in education with a demonstrated history of impact in school leadership, leadership development, and education management.
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Amanda Silva

Senior Director of Networks
Amanda leads design and facilitates professional learning for district and teacher leaders as Senior Director of Networks.
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Ashley Davis smiles

Ashley Davis

Director of Content
Ashley designs professional learning for Omaha ELA coaches and teachers and works alongside literacy leaders.
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Dr. Kate Ulrich

Director of Content and Coaching, ELA
Kate is a career educator who is passionate about continuous improvement, coaching, community-based programing, bilingual education, and curriculum development.
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Sabrina Ware

Associate Director of Networks, West
Sabrina Ware is a dedicated students services and higher education professional with a passion for education and student success.
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Dr. Lakita D. McKinney

Amanda Silva

Ashley Davis smiles

Ashley Davis

Dr. Kate Ulrich

Sabrina Ware

Lear About Other Partnerships

Omaha Public Schools is just one of a dozen partnerships across the country that are pushing the boundaries of what schools can offer students. Learn more about how we customize our supports to meet the needs and strengths of visionary districts.

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