The Paul Street School was the original frame building erected in 1892 at the corner of 24th and Paul. It was later renamed Kellom School. In November of 1952, this school building was replaced with the present Kellom School. It was dedicated the same year, and was the first new building constructed by the School District of Omaha in twenty-seven years.
Both the old and the new schools were named after John H. Kellom, who was a prominent figure in Omaha’s educational planning during pioneer days. Mr. Kellom came to Omaha from New York City in 1857. He helped establish the first school in Omaha and served as a member of the original district school board. He later became a member of board of trustees for the earliest standard high school in Omaha. He also served as a teacher, a principal, and the first superintendent of schools in the city.
Kellom was the first school in Omaha to be a community enterprise. As early as 1940, school officials began suggesting the need to replace “old Kellom” with a community center. They stated, “Here is a golden opportunity for the city and the school district to provide a combined school and recreation center.” Their dream ultimately became a reality.
In addition to being the first community enterprise, Kellom was also the first school building to house children from kindergarten through sixth grade, thus truly becoming an “elementary school”.
In 1964, Kellom School was included in the local AID (Assistance for Interculturally Deprived) program, and later designated as a Title I School. This program has provided specialized instruction in reading and math.
In 1976, as a result of the desegregation plan, Kellom School became a primary center, serving children from kindergarten through third grade. In the early years of the desegregation program, Kellom received second grade students from Gilder, Giles, and Chandler View schools and the neighborhood community. Third grade students came from Pawnee, Ashland Park, Pleasant Hill and the surrounding neighborhood. As a result of some schools closing, Gilder, Pawnee and Ashland Park remained as “feeder schools”.
In 1988 a full-time guidance counselor was assigned to Kellom School. The guidance counselor provides for social-emotional needs of students through group and individual instruction. Discussions with students, administrators, teachers, and parents are provided as needed.
In 1995, the demolition of the Logan/Fontenelle housing Projects and the implementation of scattered site housing led to a considerable decrease in Kellom’s neighborhood enrollment. Due to increased enrollment at Yates School, second and third grade students were transported to Kellom. Kindergarten and first grade students at Kellom were neighborhood residents or students from surrounding school attendance areas.
During the 1999-2000 school year, a court ordered mandate disallowed busing for the purpose of desegregation. The school district, in compliance with the courts, initiated neighborhood attendance areas according to various zones. At this time, the students that attended Yates would be in the Kellom attendance area. Kellom would once again service students from kindergarten through 6th grade. Kellom would also become an academy with special emphasis on small class size, additional support for students, and Spalding training for teachers to promote phonics, reading, and writing.
Kellom acquired the Omaha Housing Authorities’ offices attached to the east end of the original building during the spring of 2000. This space was renovated for additional classrooms and offices during the summer of 2000. Additional renovation included some window replacements in the main classrooms, new carpeting in several classrooms, central air-conditioning, and new blinds for additional enhancement of the building atmosphere.
Currently, Kellom houses four all day kindergartens, a half-day pre-kindergarten, and first through sixth grades. Special education programs include two Early Childhood Special Education classrooms, speech-language services, and primary and intermediate resource programs. A challenge program is also offered at Kellom. Specialists at Kellom provide instruction for library, vocal music, instrumental music, physical education, art, and technology.
Kellom Academy reflects a number of minorities creating maximal opportunities for integrative school experiences. Kellom’s current population is 380-400 students. Of this population, 75% are African American, Caucasian, and Hispanic and 25% are Sudanese, Asian, Native American and Somalian. Eighty-eight percent of the current populations receive free or reduced lunches qualifying Kellom as a Schoolwide Title I school. Our mobility rate is 67.5%. This offers unique learning challenges for the staff and students.
Kellom Academy offers several special programs to our students. A mentoring program is offered during the school day utilizing partnerships with Creighton University, Metro Area Transit, Teammates and several businesses within the community. After school tutoring is also available for designated students and Americorp provides opportunities for students to have additional academic support throughout the day. Kids Club is a childcare program available to students before and after school. Breakfast is available to all students on a daily basis before the academic day begins.
Kellom is fortunate to have a firm foundation with the Adopt-A-School Partners: McDonald’s on 30th and Cuming, Metro Area Transit Bus Lines, Metro Community College, Hearthstone Homes, and Creighton University Department of Information Technology. Luther Memorial Church on 60th and Western has unofficially adopted Kellom. They provide much needed supplies of clothes, hats, mittens, and backpacks as well as personnel to read with students and provide academic support. Several teams from Creighton University athletic department have volunteered to help with classroom activities, academic tutoring, and staff assistance. A Positive Action Center (PAC) was established to support the Building Management Plan and provide additional educational opportunities in the area of social skills and problem solving.
Reading First, a scientifically based reading research grant, has become a part of the primary students' daily reading routine. They spend 90 minutes a day with uninterrupted reading time utilizing the most reliably effective teaching approaches of systematic and explicit instruction. Reading First entails five essential components of effective reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.
Recognition and Special Events
Students have received recognition through the African American Youth Award and Outstanding Achievement for English as a Second Language.
Kellom has hosted a Family Night in which parents are invited to explore the various projects their students have created at different grade levels. The Winner's Circle program is in its second year. The objective is to give students recognition for achieving quarterly goals in the areas of: reading, math, and citizenship. Each class has a goal buddy visit once a month from area businesses. Each quarter a celebration is held for the students with parents and community volunteers in attendance.
Kellom School is proud to have played a role in the lives of many successful individuals. Graduates of Kellom have been and continue to be active in the community and in the arts. These people include such notables as Fred Astaire, Roger Sayers, Gayle Sayers, Bob Gibson, and Brenda Council together with many other fine citizens of our city.
The staff at Kellom has also received numerous awards including several Buffet Awards, Nebraska State Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, the Mary Volcek Award from the American Red Cross for outstanding water safety, the Ezra Tabor Award, and the Kellom PTA Outstanding Honorarium.
Staff members are continually involved in professional growth offerings within the school district and at local universities, and as a result, many hold advanced educational degrees.
We are proud of Kellom's students, staff, parents, and community members and they share the name of All-Stars with pride.