Westside Pride

October 2021

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Message From Board of Education President, Doug Krenzer

Hello Westside!

One of the many gratifying things about serving on your school board is the engagement, support and passion of the community for our schools. I mention this because it is decision time for the levy override. Ballots have been mailed to registered voters living in the district. They are due by October 12. You can return them by mail, with proper first-class postage ($0.58, or a "forever" stamp). You can also drop them off at the following locations: the Douglas County Election Commission at 12220 West Center Road, in the southwest end of the parking lot, the Ralston Police Department at 7400 Main Street in Ralston, or in the parking lot of the Asian Market at 321 North 76th Street. If you haven't already, please participate in this election, for our staff, for our students, and for the "W"!

Thank you!

Doug Krenzer

Board of Education Meeting: Monday, October 4, 2021

Board of Education meetings take place at the ABC Administration building, 909 S. 76th St. They are also available to view live on the Westside Community Schools Facebook page.


Westside Strategic Plan

GOAL: Student Achievement & Well-Being

On September 21, the US Department of Education announced Swanson Elementary was named a National Blue Ribbon School, one of only five Nebraska schools to receive the honor. This prestigious award is presented annually based on a school’s overall academic excellence and/or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Rated ‘Excellent’ by the Nebraska Department of Education, Swanson Elementary is home to an award winning staff, a supportive school community, and a talented student body who work in tandem to achieve impressive results.

“We are absolutely thrilled to receive this honor, but more importantly, to continue to see achievement and profound positive impact in our students and staff,” said Jennifer Harr, Principal of Swanson Elementary. “We work every day to ensure when children come to school they feel loved and are happy, and that they are supported in every way possible to reach their full potential.”

Click here to watch as Principal Jennifer Harr and special guests share the news with Swanson students!

Need help at home? We are here to support you!

Click this button for more information on the services and support networks offered to Westside students, staff and families through our Westside Social Workers.

GOAL: Community, Collaboration & Partnerships

Westside has received a massive donation from Oriental Trading Company: a full truckload of toys, school supplies, posters, and more, all to share with our 10 elementary schools and Underwood Hills Early Learning Center. Westside principals and teachers may use these donations in anyway they choose; in many cases, this will prevent our schools, community clubs and staff from buying items for positive incentives, prizes at assemblies, or back up supplies when children run out or forget.

"It makes us happy to think about the joy and the smiles those educational supplies and toys are going to bring to teachers, principals and kids. That's what it's all about," Michelle Johnson, Director or Corporate Communications for Oriental Trading told KMTV.

THANK YOU to this amazing community partner: Oriental Trading Company!

Click here to watch KMTV's story on the donation, featuring Westgate Elementary!

GOAL: Supported & Engaged Staff

In September, District leaders presented the FIRST Westside Royalty Cup of 2021-22 to Kerri Palmesano, 1st grade Teacher at Paddock Road Elementary! Ms. Palmesano organized and led our Summer School program, helping an estimated 300 learners get a jumpstart on their learning for the school year. She also runs the Paddock Road website, is a Team Leader, and is a FANTASTIC teacher to our learners.

Congratulations to Ms. Palmesano, and because behind every great employee there is a terrific team, all of her coworkers at Paddock Road received a visit from Joe on the Go, thanks to community partner Callie Yrkoski with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate! THANK YOU, Callie, for supporting our team!

The Westside Royalty Cup was created in August of 2019 to reward staff members who make our students, families and coworkers feel like royalty. Each month, a staff member, department or group is selected based on nominations by students, parents and colleagues.

Click here to nominate a Westside staff member!

Would you like to be a Royalty Cup sponsor? Please email communications@westside66.net!

Now hiring heroes who want to impact children's lives!

Click here to learn more about our Applicant Support Fair October 11, where our caring professionals will walk you through our application process in person. Share with a hero you know who would be a great fit for our team!

Download the Westside Community Schools App!

Quick access to lunch menus? Easy checks of school calendars? The latest news from the district and your child's school? THERE'S AN APP FOR THAT!

CLICK HERE to download the FREE APP for Westside Community Schools!

In one click, you can personalize the information important to you and your family including which schools to follow, important district news and updates, PowerSchool access, and MySchoolBucks - all in one place! You can also search for the app - Westside Community Schools - in the Apple Store and via Google Play.


Is Your Student Attending A Football Game?

While we welcome all students at our Westside High Football Games, we want to ensure families and students know the rules, to ensure the safety of all involved.

  • All elementary students attending the game will need to attend the game with a parent and sit with a parent.
  • No footballs or other balls allowed in the stadium
  • Middle school students will sit in the bleachers in the SE corner of the end zone. Middle school students will buy a ticket at the main gate and enter from the student game.
  • Middle school students will use the upper concession stand and portable restrooms in the southeast corner of the stadium.

Students who do not follow these rules will be asked to leave. Thank you for your help to make sure our game atmosphere is positive for all who attend!

Levy Override Ballots Due October 12

Reminder: levy override ballots should have arrived in your mailboxes in September. These mail-in ballots are due back via US Postal Service OR Douglas County Election Commission dropboxes by October 12th.

Mailed ballots must be marked appropriately and the voter must sign the envelope where required. To mail, a standard letter first class stamp ($0.58), such as a “forever” stamp is required.

Otherwise, voters can drop their completed ballots and envelopes in Douglas County Commission Dropboxes at the following locations:

  • Douglas County Election Commission 12220 West Center Road, Southwest end of Parking Lot, under light pole
  • Ralston Police Department 7400 Main Street, Ralston, southwest corner of building
  • Asian Market, 321 North 76th Street, West End of Parking Lot

We encourage all registered voters to vote in this election.

Digital Citizenship Forum

Thank you to all who took part, in person or online, in our Digital Citizenship Forum! Expert Karen Haase and the KSB School Law Firm provided great insight on trends and topics regarding social media, online dangers, and other tips for parents and students.

We will hold another event October 21 at 6:30 at Westside Middle School.

Click here to watch the September Forum!

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Gretchen Nelson, Omaha Fashion Week Designer

Westside student Gretchen Nelson was selected to showcase her designs at Omaha Fashion Week, one of the youngest designers chosen for this prestigious production. Nelson, a senior, is also applying for college in the fall with hopes to major in Fashion Design; she has already launched her own company with the help of the Westside High School HATCH program!

CLICK HERE to check out Gretchen's story from Isabella Basco and KMTV!

CLICK HERE to check out Gretchen's show, featured by Jack Scioli and Westside Wired!

Ruxin McBride, Outstanding Young Philanthropist Award

Congratulations to Oakdale 2nd grader Ruxin McBride and his younger brother Saban named Outstanding Young Philanthropists! The brothers regularly host fundraising events for the Omaha Zoo Foundation!

Sierra Buffalohead, 1st Place in first Native Arts Contest

Sierra Buffalohead, student at Westside High School, placed first in the Native Arts Contest! Sierra’s ‘Digital Landscape’ will be auctioned off, the proceeds to benefit the Bluebird Cultural Initiative! She also won $1K in art supplies. Congratulations Sierra!


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Click Here For Little Warrior Cheer Details

The Little Warrior Cheer Clinic is open to girls and boys, PreK - 6th grade. It will take place on Wednesday October 13 and kids will perform at the football game on Friday October 15. Registrations due by October 4!

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Metro Transit Offering Free Student Rides

As students are getting back into the classroom, we at Metro Transit wish to also welcome them on board with our K-12 Rides Free pilot program!

K-12 Rides Free is a pilot program that offers free access to bus, MOBY, and ORBT services for kindergarten through 12th-grade students in the Omaha region during Metro’s regular service hours. The program started on May 10, 2021 and will run until June 1, 2022. All K-12 students in the Omaha metro and surrounding area are eligible.

High school students must show a valid school-issued ID when boarding. For those who do not have a school-issued ID, Metro will provide one. Identification is not be required for elementary and middle school students. Details can be found at ometro.com/k-12.

Metro operators are highly trained in safe driving techniques and helping riders navigate the Metro system. Cameras monitor all ORBT stations and Metro vehicles. Masks are required to board any Metro vehicle, which are cleaned daily and regularly disinfected.