Long-awaited school opens in Gifford Park neighborhood

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) When the doors of Gifford Park Elementary School open Wednesday morning it will be the beginning of a new area for the community.

Principal of Gifford Park Elementary School with school's therapy dog

Gifford Park hasn’t had an elementary school in the neighborhood for 20 years.

“The community has been a huge part of the development of the school and the building of the school,” said Gifford Park Elementary School Principal, Kim Jones.

“The diversity of the school is really one of the most exciting pieces of the school. We have over 16 languages spoken here,” added Jones.

The school’s diversity reflects the community surrounding it; Jones wants to honor that.

“We really want our school to be the community resource”

Leslie Wessel has five children who will all eventually go through the school. She was on the forefront of pushing to get the school built.

“Our kids can all go to school together now,” said Wessel. “The neighborhood was kind of disjointed. Some kids would go across town, some kids would go to private schools.”

Wessel’s oldest child, Nora, is going into 6th grade. She likes the idea of going to school with lots of different kinds of kids.

“It’s going to be really fun because it’s good to have people from different places so you can get to know different languages and get to know how life is where they’re from.

Gifford Park Elementary School serves pre-kindergarten through 6th grade. It has reached its enrollment capacity for its first year, but children living within the school boundaries can still enroll.

The school will also have a therapy dog named Gracie. Jones said she believes in a therapy dog's ability to help out students.