Rockbrook Express

Rockbrook's Monthly Newsletter | May 2020

Principal's Welcome

Good Afternoon Rockbrook Families,

As our week draws to a close we want to thank all of our families for their commitment and hard work during Extended Learning. This week was the final week of formal lessons. Next week your child's teacher will be communicating some fun activities to wrap up the year with the emphasis being on less structured opportunities, as we often have during a typical end of school year.

On Wednesday morning we will be sending out our Virtual Awards Assembly and on Wednesday afternoon we invite you to come to our Reverse Wave Parade (click for details), where teachers will line the sidewalk in front of our school and families can drive by, wave, and say hello.

Finally, Friday is our first opportunity for families to drop off school items and collect personal items. Please see our procedures to assist with this process. While next week serves as the beginning of the summer break, please know that you can still reach out to us if your family is in need of support. Resources are being sent home for summer learning, both in your child's personal items bag and in this newsletter, and we hope you will consider keeping minds and bodies active in the coming weeks.


Mr. Higginbotham

Reverse Parade 05/13 @ 2PM

Pop Your Trunk or Hatch

For our Drop Off of materials, on Friday, May 15th, please consider placing items in your trunk. When you arrive next Friday, we request families to stay in their car. If you are able to pop the trunk or open your hatch we will remove items and place your child's belongings in for you. We appreciate your help in practicing safe social distancing during this time.

Bulldog of the Week

Bulldog of the Week 05-08-2020

Report Cards

Our end of year reporting will look a little different this year. In your child's take-home bag will be the end of year report card with a note indicating that due to the circumstances 4th quarter grades will not be listed. Sometime after the 15th, we expect the following week, an email will be sent to all families summarizing the content covered and the participation of students during extended learning.

Rockbrook Summer Reading and Math Challenges

Similar to how we've done in past years we are challenging our students to keep minds active over the summer months. We've combined our forms this year and encourage you to use our IXL platform and to engage in summer reading. Forms are being sent home in student pick up bags along with login info for IXL should you choose to access from your home devices instead of school ipads.

iPad Updates

In preparation for a few changes that will happen this summer, we need all students to run all available updates on the iPad.

To update:

Open up Settings

Tap on General

Tap on Software Update

Install any updates that are there.

Repeat the process until it says that your software is up to date.

Westside Technology Use and Care

Westside elementary parents and students:

Due to a drastic increase in the number of physically damaged iPads this week, we are asking you to be especially careful in the treatment, handling, and storage of student iPads. When the iPads are not being used, please identify one specific safe place in your home where iPads should be stored on a regular basis. These safe places should be out of the way of normal kid/parent/pet activities that might cause damage. These spaces should be off the floor, away from casual seating/sleeping areas, and away from drink/food. Thank you for helping us take care of our technology."

Paul D. Lindgren, Ph.D.

Director of Technology Westside Community Schools

Technology Repair Requests

If your family chooses for your child to keep their ipad past the 15th, and it should become damaged, please contact Mr. Higginbotham so that we can log this and arrange for repair. We know that some families will choose to do so in order to continue to access district learning resources during the months of May and June. We are happy to provide this and appreciate your help in taking good care of these devices.

Check Out The Fun Ways Kids & Teachers Celebrated May 4th - Star Wars Day!

Student Lunch Accounts

All accounts, negative or positive, will roll into the next school year. If you would like to request a refund, please email or and they can initiate that if needed.

Rockbrook 2020-2021 Teacher Updates

Happy Retirement Ms. Warming!

As our year wraps up we want to wish a very Happy Retirement to Mrs. Cindy Warming, 6th Grade Teacher at Rockbrook. Mrs. Warming started with Rockbrook in 2017 and we have appreciated her skill for educating and her care for children these past three years. Prior to Rockbrook Mrs. Warming had been a Music Teacher in Missouri, an Accompanist at Westside High School, and a 4th Grade Teacher in Pennsylvania. We feel lucky to have had the opportunity for her to have positively impacted the lives of our students, our staff and community, and wish her well as she devotes her fulltime to the position of Grandma.

And check out the inspiring video produced by Westside to honor its retirees including Mrs. Warming!

Welcome Ms. Hillary Ibarra - New Rockbrook 6th Grade Teacher

We are excited to welcome to our team at Rockbrook 6th Grade Teacher Hillary Ibarra. Ms. Ibarra comes to us from Scottsbluff Public schools where she has worked as a 6th Grade English Language Arts Teacher.

Ms. Ibarra will be joining us for the start of the new school year and we wanted to offer a chance to introduce her. We are excited to get to know her in the coming months and for the new opportunities, she will offer our students and staff at Rockbrook. Welcome, Ms. Ibarra!

Wishing Ms. Smith (Resource) Well in Pre-K

We want to wish Ms. Amanda Smith well as she makes a difference in the lives of our Westside Pre-school students next year. Ms. Smith worked this year as a 3rd Grade Special Education Teacher as well as part time at Paddock Road. Ms. Smith will be taking a position at Underwood Hills for next year and we know she will have a great impact there just as she did for us.

“ I have loved my short time at Rockbrook, working with the 3rd grade teachers and getting to know all of the children has been a great experience, and I will certainly miss the teachers, all of the wonderful students, and families I have had the pleasure of working with next year. I will also miss working alongside all of the amazing Special Education teachers at Rockbrook, the Special Education team always made me feel welcomed, and always helped make sure all of my students were taken care of when I was out of the building. I hope that all of the students and staff have a great 20-21 school year, I will miss all of you so much, thank you all for making my time at Rockbrook a great experience!“

Welcome Mr. Jerod Schoneman - New Rockbrook Resource Teacher

The Rockbrook Elementary Resource team is growing for the coming year and we are excited to welcome Mr. Jerod Schoneman to our team. Mr. Schoneman is currently a teacher with St. Paul Public Schools, and we look forward to the additional supports he will be able to offer to our students and staff.

"Thank you for the opportunity to join the Rockbrook family. I am extremely excited to be joining the team at Rockbrook Elementary. I am coming up on my fourth year of teaching. I have previously been teaching sixth grade in St. Paul. During my time in St. Paul, I had the opportunity to coach Jr. High track as well as Jr. High boys basketball. I have a really deep passion for coaching youth sports which allows me to continue my love and enjoyment of all different sports. In my free time, I enjoy golfing, hiking, and being on the lake with family and friends. I am lucky to be married to my wonderful wife, Taylor, who is also joining the Westside district as well this upcoming school year. We are extremely excited to be welcoming a baby boy this summer as we grow our family. I look forward to meeting everyone this upcoming school year."

Well Wishes for Ms. Henningsen

We want to wish Ms. Henningsen well in the coming year as she will be serving Sunset and Swanson in the year ahead. Ms. Henningsen has worked with Rockbrook’s EY program for the past couple years, part of that time along with Ms. Sindt. We appreciate all she has done to support our learners and great opportunities at our school.

Welcoming Again Ms. Sindt

Though Ms. Sindt was already working with some of our students, we are excited to have her working with all of our Rockbrook students in the year ahead as well as serving the students at Hillside and Oakdale in the EY program. Ms. Sindt previously worked with us at Rockbrook and had split the role with Ms. Henningsen this year.

Westside Assessments and Benchmarks

As you were informed earlier in the year, all elementary students in the Westside Community School District participate in academic screening in the fall, winter, and spring as part of our MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Supports) process. Due to COVID-19, we were unable to complete spring screening. However, screening will resume in the fall so that we can best assess each student’s skills and develop instructional plans to match.

Due to extended campus learning with COVID-19, classroom instruction and many reading interventions were interrupted. Each classroom teacher, special education teacher, and family has been doing their best to continue to support the learning of all our students. As we enter into the summer, it will be especially important this year to continue learning in the area of reading as teachers will not be sending home daily work. We want to highlight a variety of ways you can help your child with their reading skills and access other programs over the summer. This link outlines opportunities to continue learning using apps located on the iPad that will be available through June 26th and without technology throughout the summer.

Best wishes for a safe, healthy, and fulfilling summer!

Honoring Our Retirees

Featuring our very own 6th Grade Teacher Mrs. Cynthia Warming.
Westside 2019-2020 Retirees Virtual Reception
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Kindergarten Parent Materials

If you have or know someone who's child will be attending Kindergarten next year, please feel free to share this included link. Because we cannot meet in person we are distributing Kindergarten materials and presentations electronically. We will then set up a Zoom meeting to allow for questions and answers. Details on the follow up will be sent out at a later time.

2020-2021 Elementary School Day Start Time Adjustments

During the March Westside Board of Education meeting an update to our Elementary starting time was approved. For the 2020-2021 school year, arrival will begin at 8:20 with the school day starting at 8:30, 10 minutes earlier than before. This is to provide additional instructional time similar to what our neighboring districts provide. We wanted to let you know this information well in advance to begin considering morning arrival plans.
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Extended Read-A-Thon - Time to Wrap it Up

Read-A-Thon logs can be included in your materials being returned to school. Alternatively, either you or your child can also email a picture of your child's logs to Mr. Higginbotham (

ARTSONIA - Your Child's Custom Art Work Products

Dear Families,

We know that many of you use our Original Works programs for special family gifts, Mother's Day, Father's Day, etc. Unfortunately, these orders are currently delayed as is our ability to send in any student art for inclusion. While we will continue to work with this company we wanted to make sure and make you aware of similar offerings through ARTSONIA.

To order from Artsonia, please go to and click on "Parents" in the top left corner. You will log in with the account you created when you approved Artsonia for your student. If you do not remember your login details, please email Mrs. Johnson at and she can send you your student's code.

Westside Extended Learning Campus Activities

Note, your child may need to access this site from their iPad and be logged in to their school account.

Rockbrook Elementary Staff Contacts

Garret Higginbotham, Principal

Dustin Carlson, Kindergarten

Ann Miller, Kindergarten

Tammy Lewis, 1st Grade

Amber Whitney, 1st Grade

Jan Kyle, 2nd Grade

Elizabeth Raphael, 2nd Grade

Sarah Davenport, 3rd Grade

Melodie Rice, 3rd Grade

Jill Conyers, 4th Grade

Michele Madson, 4th Grade

Laura Chouinard, 5th Grade

Lisa Smith, 5th Grade

Camille Akers, 6th Grade

Cynthia Warming, 6th Grade

Jennifer Cramer-Brink, Special Education

Rhonda Josten, Special Education

Marcia Manzo, Special Education

Amanda Smith, Special Education

Lisa Davis, School Psychologist

Hallie Sharkey, Speech Language Pathologist

Bryn Johnson, Art

Cathy Montgomery, Library

Barry Glanzer, Physical Education

Nolan Pribnow, Music

Mike Freeman, Band

Viktoria Matheson, Strings

Linda Safranek, Reading Coordinator

Liz Langford, English Language Learners

Jenny Henningsen, Excellence in Youth

Katie Sindt, Excellence in Youth

Angie Calderone, Occupational Therapist

Carolyn Hansen, Physical Therapist

April Anderson, School Social Worker

Upcoming Events Postponed

Due to our Extended Learning Format, many of our school events have been postponed. Linked is a list we will keep updated both with postponed events and once we know dates, re-scheduled days and times.
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Welcome to Rockbrook Elementary - Home of the Bulldogs

Rockbrook Mission:

The mission of Rockbrook Elementary School, a diverse community of learners, is to foster learning by providing a quality educational experience within a secure and challenging environment.

Rockbrook School Design Goal:

At Rockbrook we will increase student engagement and achievement through Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports for social, emotional, behavioral, and academic needs.