Enrolling in a new school

Open enrollment introduced at Millard West


Photo by Jonathan Jimenez

Students are able to attend outside of the attendance area for the first time.

Jonathan Jimenez, Staff Reporter

Students outside of the Millard West High School attendance area have been given the chance to enroll at the school for the first time. This opens them up to experiences that they otherwise couldn’t have.

Open enrollment allows students to attend a school that’s outside of their attendance area. The Millard West area roughly spans all the way from Lake Zorinsky to Giles road and from S 22nd St. to S 156th St.. This boundary used to be larger, but, in 2013, the Millard school board voted to shrink this area at the start of the 2014-2015 school year.

“The decision to have open enrollment is made by the superintendent with school board approval,” Principal Dr. Greg Tiemann said. “We do have open enrollment right now and have had students enroll out of our attendance area for the first time.”

Students have the freedom to enroll in the school whether it be for academics or for sports. COVID-19 has forced sports schedules to change or some schools’ seasons to be cancelled entirely. Omaha Public Schools has cancelled its first quarter fall season, the second one beginning Oct. 26. The students of the district have gone to remote learning as well. Student athletes are eager to get back on the field, and open enrollment gives them this opportunity. Junior Trace Thaden moved from Iowa to Omaha and came to Millard West. He plays on the school football team.

“Open enrollment gives students the ability to attend school wherever they feel it gives them the best chance to succeed whether it be academically or athletically,” Coach Kirk Peterson said. “Trace’s father sent me a text message last spring where he was attending school in Central Iowa and said they were moving to Omaha. It was a great ‘move in’ which has been good for Millard West, but more importantly, I hope for the Thaden family.”

Reaching out to Petersen was a great opening for Thaden academically and athletically. Peterson made sure that Thaden’s previous coach knew he was looking to transfer schools. He wants to make sure the coach is aware so he isn’t “stealing” an athlete.

“Applying for open enrollment can be a good thing and you should keep an open mind and try new things,” junior Nelson Brandt said. “You have a more wide range of classes you can take that will prepare you for life, which is beneficial to the student.”

A unique opportunity open for students would be the education academy offered at Millard West. It gives students the chance to explore the education field and its careers over the course of two years starting junior year. Someone who transfers through open enrollment can take the academy as well. It’s also available for dual enrollment with UNO. Students participating in this academy earn credit from UNO. Students need a transcript from UNO to send to the college they attend for the credit to count there. AP tests are also required to take for the AP classes in the education academy, and students may be able to qualify for college credit depending on their test scores and the university they attend.

The implementation of open enrollment gives students the option to explore careers and sports at Millard West. The school already has a few students attending through open enrollment. This is a beneficial opportunity that more students may take advantage of in the future.