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OPS creates 'concierge team' for people looking for part-time work in the district

OPS creates 'concierge team' for people looking for part-time work in the district

Faced with ongoing staffing issues, Omaha Public Schools officials have created a new “concierge team” that allows parents or community members to work part time in the district.

Those who join the district’s new team will work anywhere from five to 20 hours a week and help out with such jobs as lunch duty. All the positions pay $12 an hour.

Superintendent Cheryl Logan spoke about the new program at a school board meeting last week. She said the team offers more flexibility for people who may want to work in a school but may not have the time or ability to work a traditional shift.

“Our district, like every other and businesses in every industry, has seen the challenges associated with staffing shortages,” Logan said. “We have innovated in a number of ways to meet the need.”

The district sent a note to parents and families about the new team. Logan said concierge team members can work with one particular school or support a number of different ones.

A job listing for the concierge team outlines some of the possible responsibilities for team members. They include helping oversee and provide support to students during lunch, helping teachers with tasks in the classroom, helping students arrive at school and leave on the bus and helping school leadership with “spirit-related projects that foster pride and student success.”

As of Thursday, the district had received almost 100 applications, said Bridget Blevins, an OPS spokeswoman. She said the district is very happy with the interest in the new team.

OPS officials don’t have a target for the number of people they want on the concierge team, Blevins said. All schools could have a member of the team placed at their school, depending on applications.

“As a team member, you have the opportunity to support many schools as needed or maintain a relationship with one school in your neighborhood,” the letter to parents said.

The letter also said the district’s operations and human resources teams “have been relentlessly focused on planning ahead, strategically staying ahead of disruptions and creatively recruiting the best candidates to work with our young people.”

Like many school districts in the state and nation, OPS has struggled to fill vacant positions, and the district’s talent gaps are across the board. On Thursday, OPS had 11 pages of job openings on its website for everything from kitchen assistants to classroom teachers.

Before the start of the school year in August, OPS officials warned that they didn’t have enough bus drivers, which could potentially create delays in getting students to and from school. Those delays occurred after school started. In some cases, students were an hour late getting to school.

To help with staffing issues in other areas, for the first time ever OPS has turned to its own students to help with some of the staff shortages. High school students were hired this summer to help tutor and mentor elementary students during Next Level Learning, which is the name for the district’s summer school.

Recently, OPS hired about 20 bilingual high school students to help facilitate conversations between parents and teachers during middle and elementary school conferences.

Those interested in applying for the concierge team or other positions within OPS can visit the district’s website at and click on the “careers” tab.

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Emily covers K-12 education, including Omaha Public Schools. Previously, Emily covered local government and the Nebraska Legislature for The World-Herald. Follow her on Twitter @emily_nitcher. Phone: 402-444-1192.

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