Liberty Family Newsletter

January 2020

Ilka Oberst, Principal and Jeff Rotherham, Assistant Principal

Hello Liberty Families!

We hope you had a relaxing winter break with your family. January is a busy month and begins testing season at Liberty Elementary.

With the winter weather making its appearance, please be especially careful dropping off and picking up your children. Make sure you are crossing at the crosswalk and not in the middle of the street. Roads can be very slippery and it is harder for cars to stop quickly. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated for a safe arrival and dismissal. (see pictures below for maps)

Please be sure your children are appropriately dressed for the weather and outdoor play. Recess is an important time for our students to socialize and engage in self-selected physical activity. We try to ensure outdoor recess daily for students as much as possible.

Per the district, outdoor recess is not recommended if the temperature or wind chill is ten degrees Fahrenheit or below.

If the temperature or wind chill is between ten and twenty degrees Fahrenheit, the decision will be made at the school level based on factors such as age, student dress, playground conditions (including ice, snow, sun, mud, wind breaks) and class need for outdoor activity. Recess can either be shortened or moved inside to classrooms where students will still have physical activity opportunities.

We are looking forward to a successful second semester.

Upcoming Events:

January 7 - Third Quarter Begins (All students)

January 20 - Martin Luther King Day (No School)

January 23 - Kindergarten Roundup 4:30 PM

January 28 - State Accreditation Visit

January 31 - Progress Reports to be sent home

Supporting Your Child's Success

As we enter second semester it is important that your child arrive to school each day prepared to be successful. There will be an increase in academic and behavior expectations as students will be preparing for their next grade level.

Sleep is especially important for children as it directly impacts mental and physical development. We are seeing many students who are very sleepy during the day.

Here are a few areas that we'd love your support with:

  • Please be sure your child gets enough sleep. We suggest Headstart - 2nd grade students go to bed by 8:00 PM and 3rd - 6th grade students go to bed by 9:00 PM. This will allow your child to be able to focus on instruction every day.

  • Please be sure your child arrives in class by 8:50 AM. Students are welcome to arrive at 8:10 AM for Grab and Go breakfast.

  • Please read and sign your child's planner each night. This will help you stay up-to-date on any homework or events.

Thank you for all you do to support your children at Liberty Elementary!

Kindergarten Roundup

Kindergarten Roundup at Liberty is scheduled for Thursday, January 23, 2020. If you need to register your child for kindergarten for the 2020-21 school year, please come to the Liberty gym on Thursday, January 23 at 4:30 PM.

Children turning five on or before July 31, 2020 are eligible to attend kindergarten for the 2020 - 2021 school year.

Parents/guardians are asked to bring the following to the registration for each child:

  • immunization record
  • birth certificate
  • Address verification/proof of residence (Acceptable documents include a utility, phone or cable bill, or a lease or home purchase agreement.)

There will be no classroom visit during Kindergarten Registration. Students will be invited to visit classrooms in August, before school begins.

Please call the main office with questions at 531-299-1740.

Flu Season

Flu season is here! Getting an annual flu shot is the best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu. Flu vaccinations can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed school and work. The more people who get vaccinated, the more people will be protected from flu, including older people, very young children, pregnant women, and people with certain long-term health conditions who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications.

Symptoms of influenza include a high fever, body aches, cough, and severe symptoms for up to one week.

Protect your children and schedule an appointment today by calling your health care provider or the School Based Health Center at Liberty Elementary at: 402-505-8180.

OPS Winter Weather Policy

Two-hour late start and early dismissal

District Communications posted on December 12, 2019

Omaha Public Schools adds two-hour late start and two-hour early release options to winter weather toolkit.

Understanding that safety is our top priority and every minute of instruction matters, Omaha Public Schools may utilize a late start or early release option if winter weather affects part, but not all, of a school day in the months to come.

Omaha Public Schools will strive to communicate any schedule adjustments or cancellations to families and staff the evening prior to a change. If the forecast requires additional monitoring before a final decision is made, OPS will communicate any adjustments or cancellations as early as possible on the day of a weather event.

The items below help explain how a schedule change would impact students and families:

This announcement means the following for students and families:

  • All schools will dismiss two hours earlier than their normal dismissal time.
    • Afternoon-only early childhood programs will be canceled for the day.
  • All after school activities are canceled.
  • Breakfast and lunch will be served. Service time may be changed to accommodate school needs.
  • Completely Kids will not be available following an early dismissal.
  • Buses will run as scheduled in the morning and two hours earlier than normal at dismissal.

This announcement means the following for students and families:

  • All schools will begin classes two hours later than normal and dismiss at the regular time.
    • Morning-only early childhood programs will be canceled for the day.
  • Completely Kids will not be available before a late start.
  • All before-school extracurricular activities will be canceled.
  • Buses will run routes two hours later than normal in the morning and as-scheduled at dismissal.
  • Breakfast will not be served before the late start.
  • Lunch will be served. Times may be adjusted to accommodate school needs.

Celebrating Talented and Dedicated Teachers!

30 Ways to Say Yay! is a district initiative to celebrate the hard work and dedication of our staff members. Each week we recognize an individual who has been nominated by their colleagues for their contributions to the school environment. We are fortunate to have so many fantastic educators in our building!


The Omaha Public Schools strongly believes that daily attendance is critical to academic achievement. We expect every student to attend school and classes on time every day. At Liberty class begins at 8:50 a.m. OPS Research shows that there is a meaningful link between student attendance and achievement.

In accordance to the Nebraska State Statute 79-209, the Omaha Public School district has an attendance policy that supports the encouragement of daily attendance. Parent/Guardians should call their child’s school as soon as they are aware their child will be absent.

The District notifies parents/guardians when a student has missed the equivalent of five, ten, and fifteen days. The District notifies the County Attorney when a student missed the equivalent of 20 days, and then the County Attorney decides whether to refer back to the school for more intervention, Nolle Pros, diversion, or file a petition in juvenile court.

For more information about attendance, be sure to visit

If you need assistance with attendance issues, please contact Mr. Rotherham, Assistant Principal or one of the school counselors, Mrs. Greenwood or Mrs. Schmidt.

New phones and new phone number at Liberty

Over break, a new phone system was installed at Liberty. Liberty's new phone number is: 531-299-1740. The old phone number, 402-898-1697, will forward to the new number. When you call either number, it will go to the call handler to allow you to choose between the main office, to report an absence, to transfer to the nurse’s office, the bilingual liaison, or Completely Kids.

Winter Concert

Thanks to all of our parents and family members who came out on Friday, December 20, to hear our wonderful 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade students sing for our Winter Concert. Thanks too, to Mr. Jordan and Ms. Pennington Jones, our awesome music teachers, who planned and conducted the concert. Our students in chorus sang along to Christmas carols between songs.


Families, thank you for your continued support of our Liberty vision, "Encouraging and challenging all to achieve success". Together, we make a difference! We look forward to working with you throughout our second semester.

Feel free to contact your child’s teacher, Mr. Rotherham or Mrs. Oberst with any questions or comments.