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Message from the Superintendent

Michael Hart

Community Update for June 2024

Panther Families,

I hope all of you are enjoying the summer break!

First, thanks to all of you for your flexibility and support this past school year as we dealt with many challenges related to construction, weather, social media, and other items. We are truly blessed to have such amazing staff and students in our district, and we greatly appreciate all of you supporting their talents and efforts! 

Turning back the clock just a bit, high school graduation occurred on Saturday, May 11th at 2:00 p.m. at Palmyra High School and we had an excellent turnout and amazing weather for the event. 

On behalf of our district staff and the Board of Education, we want to wish our seniors the best of luck in their future endeavors. This group of students is prepared and ready to successfully take on the next chapter of their lives. I am confident they will have a positive impact wherever they go! 

Shown below are a couple of pictures from graduation day!

         Graduation Preparation 2024! Graduation Celebration 2024!


School Calendar Change:

  • Due to adjustments in construction timelines and other extenuating factors, there have been some recent changes to our district school calendar for the 2024-2025 school year. 

    1. Change of School Start Date (Grades K-12): All students (Kindergarten -12th grade) will now start school on Monday, August 12th, 2024.  

      • More specific information regarding the start of school (including Open Houses, etc.) will be included in the July district newsletter. 

    2. Change for School Start Date for Preschool: Preschool will now start school on Tuesday, August 13th, 2024. 

      • More specific information about preschool will be included in the July district newsletter. 

    3. Change of School Day in March 2025:  The No School/ Staff Development Day on Tuesday, March 25th, 2025 has been changed to Monday, March 31st, 2025. 

      • Specifically:  

        • Tuesday, March 25th, 2025: is now a regular (full-day) school day for all staff and students.

        • Monday, March 31st, 2025 is now a No School For Students/ Staff Development Day. 

          • Our district will host the MUDECAS Conference Music Event on this day. 

  • Communication of the new calendar will also be posted on our school website and social media channels and communicated in our July “hard copy” newsletter.

  • Thank you in advance for your flexibility and understanding of this change. 

High School “Dual Credit” Offerings: 

  • I am pleased to announce that beginning in the fall, high school students will have the opportunity to take more “dual-credit” classes in some academic core content areas. “Dual Credit” offerings in math, science, and social studies will be available this coming school year!

  • These “dual credit” opportunities (aligned with our district goals) are voluntary for students who want to get a head start on college credit accrual. 

  • More specific information about dual “credit classes” will be contained in our July District Newsletter. 


Summer Activities and Camp Schedules: 

  • Summer has been bustling thus far with a wide variety of summer camps and activities for students. Our coaches and sponsors are doing an excellent job of connecting and preparing our students for activities in the upcoming school year. 

  • A complete listing of our summer camps and summer activities is listed on our school activities calendar and our school website at www.districtor1.org 


District Activities Update:

  • As our district continues to grow, we are continually looking for ways to best meet the needs of our students, not just academically (Dual Credit, Career Technical Education (CTE), High Ability Learners, Special Education, etc. and programmatically (facility and curriculum improvements), but also in the area of extracurricular activities.  Listed below are some updates in the area of extracurricular activities. 

    • Football: 

      • Beginning this school year, Palmyra High School will move up in the NSAA classification to begin playing 11-man football. With this change comes a new schedule and new opponents. 

      • Mr. Taylor Baumert is our new head football coach and he is very excited to join our district. Mr. Baumert and all of our coaches and activity sponsors encourage interested students to enroll in (and attend) our summer camp opportunities whenever possible. 

  • Wrestling: 

    • Next year will mark the first year where we will have a head girls’ wrestling coach and a boys’ head wrestling coach. Mr. Andrew Weils is still the head boys’ wrestling coach and Mr. Cody Pester will now be the head girls’ wrestling coach. 

    • The NSAA passed a proposal to have two classes for girls’ wrestling starting with the 2024-25 season.  

    • Due to the increasing interest in the State Wrestling Championships, NSAA will also be making a change to the format starting with the 2024-2025 school year. 

      • CHI Health Center in Omaha will continue to host the NSAA State Wrestling Championships through the 2028-2029 season. Included in this news, NSAA will now be able to host the girls’ championships and the boys' championships independently. 

      • The NSAA Girls State Wrestling Championships will be held Tuesday-Wednesday, with the finals televised Wednesday evening on Nebraska Public Media.  

        • Please note: The girls will no longer have a sub-district round and girls’ districts will be on the same weekend as the boys' districts.

      • The NSAA Boys’ State Wrestling Championships will stay with the traditional format of Thursday-Saturday of the same week with the finals televised Saturday on Nebraska Public Media.   

  •  2024-2025 State Wrestling Championships Schedule:

    • Girls Championships – February 18-19, 2025 at CHI Health Center in Omaha. 

    • Boys Championships – February 20-22, 2025 at CHI Health Center in Omaha. 

Future Changes: 

  • As we continue to discuss and analyze the possible addition of future extracurricular programs, a variety of factors (coaching, scheduling, player interest and skills development, transportation, Title IX requirements, operating costs, and impact on other current activity programs), are carefully considered to ensure that we continue to meet our district goals in alignment with what is best for our students, staff, and the community.  

  • Listed below is some updated information about a couple of activities being considered for the future.

    • Girls’ Softball: 

      • Girls’ softball will not be added until at least the fall of 2025. 

  • Final decisions about if and when this program will be added will be communicated through the District Activities Committee (upon administrative recommendations) and approved by the Board of Education.

  • Boys’ Baseball:

    • Boys’ baseball will not be added until at least the spring of 2026. 

    • Final decisions about if and when this program will be added will be communicated through the District Activities Committee (upon administrative recommendations) and approved by the Board of Education.  

Personnel Update: 

Staff Leaving the District: 

We want to extend a huge “thank you” to our staff who are moving on to new endeavors next school year.

  • Mrs. Cassidy Buescher (High School English Teacher): 

    • Thank you for a great 10+ years within our district! Your time invested in our students (between teaching, coaching, etc) has not gone unnoticed.

    • The students and staff here within District OR-1 will greatly miss you and wish you the best!

  • Mrs. Tammy Simpson (District Transportation Driver):  

    • Thank you so much for being such a wonderful asset to our transportation crew! Your dedication to the safety and well-being of our students has been top-notch and appreciated by all. 

    • The students and staff here within District OR-1 will greatly miss you and wish you the best!

  • Mrs. Kari Lottman (High School Math Teacher):

    • Thank you for joining our district this past school year. You have been a great addition to our math team! 

    • The students and staff here within District OR-1 will greatly miss you and wish you the best!

  • Mr. Dan Desmond (High School Media Center Support Staff Member)

    • Thank you for lending a helping hand for the second semester of the school year. We are so thankful you could step in and we can surely say the same for the students as well!

    • The students and staff here within District OR-1 will greatly miss you and wish you the best!

“New to the District” Staff for the 2024-2024 School Year  

The staff listed below will be joining our Panther Team at the beginning of the 2024-2025 school year! 

Welcome aboard!

  • Mr. Jared Haag - Bennet Elementary Principal

  • Mr. Taylor Baumert - HS PE /Social Studies and Head Football Coach

  • Mr. Mark James - HS Science

  • Mr. Jacob Wieseler - HS English

  • Ms. Ann Woockman - Elementary Special Education

  • Mrs. Jonna Pester - HS Math

  • Mrs. Payton Partida - 5th Grade

Please note: More specific information about these staff members will be posted on our social media sites throughout the summer. 

Transitioning Staff within the District:

The following staff are staying in the district, but are moving to a new grade level or position assignment. 

  • Ms. Linde Walter: Director of Student Programs (from Elementary Principal). Ms. Walter will now office out of the high school. 

  • Mrs. Julie Hendricks: HS English (from Full-time Substitute Teacher).

  • Mr. Cody Pester: 6th Grade Teacher at PHS (from 5th Grade Teacher at Bennet).

  • Mr. Andrew Weils: HS Math (from HS Special Education).

  • Mrs. Karen Redd: HS Special Education (from Special Education at Bennet). 

Foundation for Knowledge and Booster Clubs

  • Special thanks to the Foundation for Knowledge and its board members for their hard work and help with our activity programs, teacher tuition awards, and student scholarships this past school year! 

  • Additionally, kudos to our Booster programs for the work our volunteers put in this year to support our students and activities.

  • We greatly appreciate all that you do! 

July 2024 District NewsletterNotification : 

  • Please note that our July 2024 newsletter will be distributed in a more traditional “hard copy” format. The July newsletter will have a multitude of critical information that families will need for the upcoming school year. 

  • This newsletter will be mailed out to all district patrons around the second week of July. 

    • If you do not receive a hard copy and would like a hard copy of the newsletter, please call our school offices at either building and we will get a copy to you as soon as possible. 

  • The July newsletter will also be made available in a digital format.  To access any of our newsletters online, please go to our website at www.districtor1.org

  • A limited number of hard copies of the newsletter will also be provided in both villages at designated locations like the post office and other local businesses. 

School Meals:

  • If your family qualifies for free or reduced meal pricing, please ensure that you have all paperwork completed and turned in on time. School meal prices for next year are listed below: will be updated and communicated to families sometime early this summer. 

  • Please call our school offices if you have any more questions regarding school meals for next year.  There will be no afternoon/recess milk offered to all students K-3.

    • Lunch Prices:

      • Students, grades K through 5:      $ 2.85

      • Students, grades 6 through 12:     $ 2.95

  • Breakfast Prices: 

    • Students, grades K through 5:                 $ 2.20

    • Students, grades 6 through 12:               $ 2.45                                     

  •  Beverages:

    • Milk:          $  .40

    • Juice:       $   .30  


Building Expansion Update: 

  • The construction this year has progressed very well and we continue to work as hard as possible to have all building expansion projects completed in time for school. As a result of the short time to complete an abundance of items still to complete this summer, our site crews at Bennet and Palmyra are limiting access at both buildings for the remainder of the summer.

  • At the elementary school. Building access will be available most days at the south preschool doors from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. until July. 

  • July hours will be even more limited. Please call ahead and leave a message if you have questions or need something. 

  • Access to the high school will also continue to be limited to the entrance at the west doors. The north side main office will not be accessible this summer. The main office staff are moving to the media center for the summer. Summer hours at the high school are 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Fridays until noon. The Central Office at PHS will be closed July 3rd-5th.


As a reminder, here are the changes taking place at both buildings: 

Bennet Elementary:

  • Adding additional classrooms on the southwest side of the building.

  • Expanding the current kitchen and student commons area to the east side of the building.

  • Expanding the current office area to the east side of the building. 

  • Adding additional commons/multipurpose space near the southeast edge of the gym.

  • Enhancing the gymnasium and repurposing the current stage area in the gym.

  • Upgrading outdoor playground spaces.


Palmyra High School:

  • Adding additional classrooms on the northeast side of the building.

  • Expanding the current “commons area” space near the main office, adding extra restrooms, and expanding the main office area.

  • Expanding the current Career Technical Education (CTE) areas to the southeast side of the building.

  • Relocating the current music area into the current shop area.

  • Relocating the current weight room /fitness center and increasing community access to this area.

  • Repurposing the current weight deck area in the auxiliary gym

As we continue through the summer, I will provide more construction updates on our district website, social media channels, and through our school board meeting agendas and minutes. 

Upcoming School Board Meetings: 

The summer dates and times for our upcoming regular and special board meetings and public hearings are listed below: 

  • Thursday, July 11th, 2024: Special CMAR (Construction Manager At Risk) School    

Board Meeting at 6:30 pm at Palmyra High School in the media center.

  • Thursday, July 11th, 2024: Public Hearing on Student Fees (Policy # 5416)  at 6:50 

pm at Palmyra High School in the media center.

  • Thursday, July 11th, 2024: Public Hearing on Parental Involvement (Policy # 6400) 

At 6:55 pm (or immediately following the Student Fees public hearing) at Palmyra High School in the media center.

  • Thursday, July 11th, 2024: Regular School Board Meeting at 7:00 pm at Palmyra

High School in the media center.

  • Monday, August 12th, 2024: Special CMAR (Construction Manager At Risk) School    

Board Meeting at 6:30 pm at Palmyra High School

  • Monday, August 12th, 2024: Regular School Board Meeting at 7:00 pm at Palmyra

High School in the media center.

More information about our board meetings is available at:

Upcoming Events: 

  • Monday, August 12th - First day of school for students in grades (K-12).  

  • Tuesday, August 13th: First day for preschool students.

Thank you again for your support of our students, staff, and district.

Have an enjoyable and relaxing rest of your summer.




Go Panthers!