The RPS Weekly Message

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Dear RPS Parent/Guardian,

This week’s message includes information on the following topics listed below:

2023-2024 Calendar Update

New Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning

Board of Education Vacancy

Mr. Buckingham Selected as the 2023 NASBO Outstanding Business Official of the Year!

RHS Theater Presents “Middletown” Tonight, Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Ralston High School Auto Show This Saturday!

RPS Staff Appreciation Week: We Invite You to Say Thank You
Last Day of School Change for Wildewood and Karen Western Elementary Schools
RHS Senior Social Media Tributes
Get Signed Up for Ralston High School Athletic Camps!
OneWorld Mobile Health Clinic to Offer Sports Physicals
Ram Recognition

2023-2024 Calendar Update

Below is information on changes approved by the Board of Education to the 2023-2024 school year calendar.

• August 10 2023: First day of school for only Pre-K, Kindergarten, 7th and 9th grade.

• August 11, 2023: All students report. It will be a regular early dismissal day.

• January 3, 2024: Staff and students will start the second semester together.

• March 8, 2024: No School - Professional learning/collaborative plan day.

• March 11, 2024: No School

• March 29, 2024: No School

• May 23, 2024: Last day of school

The new version of the calendar is attached below and is also available on the District website. The Pre-kindergarten calendar for the 2023-2024 school year will be mailed to families and staff toward the end of May.

New Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning

Ralston Public Schools is pleased to announce Dr. Anne Harley as the new Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning.

Dr. Harley is no stranger to the Ralston community and our school district. She purchased a home in Ralston in April 2020 and was appointed to our Board of Education in January 2023. Since becoming a Board Member, she not only participates in Board and committee meetings but also attends many District and school events. She is a passionate, committed lifelong learner and is proud to be a part of Ram Nation.

Dr. Harley earned a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from UNL, a Master's Degree in Elementary Reading from Texas Woman’s University, a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership from Doane, and a Doctorate in Educational Administration from UNO. Her 35 years in public education include serving as a classroom teacher, reading specialist, instructional coach, assistant principal, principal, and curriculum coordinator.

Dr. Harley will begin work in her new position on/about July 1st. We are excited to welcome Dr. Harley to her new role within the Ram Family.

Board of Education Vacancy

Do you have a passion for education? Are you a community member able to provide leadership to help our students and educators succeed to their fullest potential? Due to a resignation, Ralston Public Schools is currently accepting applications to fill a seat on our Board of Education.

A school board member for Ralston Public Schools is an unpaid, volunteer position. The appointed candidate would take over a board seat whose term expires on January 9, 2025.

Eligible candidates for this appointment must be a legal voter in the Ralston School District and submit a letter of interest and resume by Monday, May 15, 2023.

If interested, please submit your letter of interest, resume, and any questions to:

Ralston Public Schools
Office of the Superintendent
Attn: Mrs. Samantha Willey, Secretary, Board of Education
8545 Park Drive
Ralston, NE 68127

Mr. Buckingham Selected as the 2023 NASBO Outstanding Business Official of the Year!

Congratulations to Mr. Jason Buckingham, who was named the 2023 Nebraska Association of School Business Officials (NASBO) Outstanding Business Official of the Year at the NASBO State Conference in Lincoln!

Mr. Buckingham has served as Assistant Superintendent for Business in our district for the past nine years.

“Mr. Buckingham is one of the most committed professionals I have ever encountered and takes great pride in serving our District and education in Nebraska. I can think of nobody that would be more deserving,” said Dr. Mark Adler.

Congratulations, Mr. Buckingham! #RamProud

RHS Theater Presents “Middletown” Tonight, Friday, Saturday, & Sunday

The Ralston High School Theater Department presents their final show of the year, “Middletown,” April 27-30. The show will take place in the RHS Performing Arts Center.

The show will start at 7:30 pm on April 27-29 and at 2:00 pm on Sunday, April 30th. “Middletown” is a play written by Will Eno that was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and celebrates the big and little moments in everyday life.

Tickets are all general admission and will be $10 for adults and $8 for students/seniors

Ralston High School - "Middletown" theater performance

Ralston High School Auto Show This Saturday!

The first annual Ralston High School Car Show is this Saturday, April 29th! Mark your calendars, tell your friends and neighbors, and round up everyone you can to attend the car show with you!

Admission is FREE but a $5 donation is being suggested. All the funds raised help support the Ralston High School Auto Club and SkillsUSA Student Organization!

Please see the graphic below for parking instructions and event layout.

Big picture

RPS Staff Appreciation Week: We Invite You to Say Thank You

We invite you and your student(s) to participate in Ralston Public Schools Employee Appreciation Week. There are a couple of ways to show your support for our staff members during the week of May 1-5, 2023.

• Write a Special Note to a Staff Member: Nothing says thank you like a handwritten note from someone you know! RPS invites you and your student to write a note of thanks to a staff member who makes a difference in your student’s educational experience. It could be an educator, para, bus driver, food service employee, custodian, etc. Any employee who goes out of their way to have a positive impact on your student or family.

Download and print out the provided template below. Cut along the dotted lines and write a special note to an RPS staff member. Your student can drop off their messages in the main office of their school. The deadline to submit is Wednesday, May 3rd.

Notes will be distributed to staff members on Friday, May 5th. If you do not have a printer at home, paper copies of the appreciation message template will be available in the office of your student's school starting on Monday, April 24th.

• Donate a Gift Card to our Gift Card Grand Give-A-Way: As a family, make a monetary or gift card donation to be part of our Gift Card Grand Give-A-Way (any amount to any business or restaurant).

Donations can be dropped off at the District’s Administration Office (8545 Park Dr.) Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. All donations must be received by 2:00 pm on Friday, April 28, 2023.

** Please know this is optional. As part of our school community, we wanted to make sure our parents/guardians were aware of our Employee Appreciation Week. Thanks for your consideration. **

Last Day of School Change for Wildewood and Karen Western Elementary Schools

It is an exciting time for Karen Western and Wildewood Elementary Schools. Interior renovations will start on both schools this summer.

For the projects to start on time, staff members will need time to pack up their classrooms and other areas of the school. The school calendar for only Karen Western and Wildewood has been adjusted to provide the time to prepare for construction.

The LAST DAY of school for Karen Western and Wildewood Elementary students will be Wednesday, May 17th. There will be NO SCHOOL for KW and WW students on May 18th and 19th.

If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Mather or Mrs. Holmes by phone or email.

RHS Senior Social Media Tributes

Ralston Public Schools has began posting senior tributes to the District’s Facebook and Twitter social media pages.

If you haven’t already, graduating seniors' families please submit your answers to the four questions below and email two photos (one baby or “little” picture and one a senior picture) to

Please follow the District on social media to view these tributes and learn about the Class of 2023.

The questions are:
What is your student’s preferred name?
Did they attend a Ralston elementary school?
What do they plan to do next?
What is their favorite Ralston High School memory?

Get Signed Up for Ralston High School Athletic Camps!

Visit the District website by clicking this link - - for more information and download the registration forms. The webpage will be continually updated with new opportunities.

OneWorld Mobile Health Clinic to Offer Sports Physicals

Starting in May, the OneWorld Mobile Health Clinic will begin to offer sports physicals to Ralston Middle School and Ralston High School students. This will benefit RPS students. They will be able to receive their sports physicals early and will not have to leave their school campus to receive their sports physicals for the 2023-2024 school year.

Parents can schedule students’ sports physicals after May 1st by calling the OneWorld Mobile Health Clinic number at 402-880-4870. As a reminder, the OneWorld Mobile Health Clinic is located at RHS every Tuesday from 8 am to 3:30 pm and at Ralston Middle School every Friday from 8 am to 3:30 pm.

Ram Recognition

Each week in Ram Recognition, Ralston Public Schools will highlight some good news happening across the District.

Congrats to RHS Yearbook Staff - Results from State Competition

Big news out of the Ralston High School Yearbook department! The staff recently traveled to Norfolk for the State Journalism competition. Over half of the Ram’s state qualifiers placed in the top three in their categories and the staff had two state champions! The Rams placed eighth overall in theme development and sixth overall in the state!

Listed below are the individual winners and their categories. Way to go Rams!

• Andrew Creek: State Champion in yearbook layout and State Runner-Up in feature photography
• Pam Castaneda Martinez - State Champion in feature photography, Third Place in yearbook sports feature writing, and Sixth Place in yearbook layout
• J’ovie Albeno - State Runner-Up in yearbook layout and Eighth Place in yearbook theme copy writing
• Adamari Luna - State Runner-Up in yearbook feature writing
• Nevaeh Parker - Third-place in yearbook sports feature writing
• Nina Kudlacz - Fourth-Place in yearbook theme copy writing
• Addison Callen - Seventh-Place in yearbook feature writing
• Jazmyne Morton - Eighth-Place in yearbook sports feature writing

RHS Boys Soccer Crowned Trailblazer Conference Champs

Congratulations to the Ralston High School boys soccer team on earning the Trailblazer Conference Championship! The boys defeated The Platt 4-0 in the championship game. This is the second year in a row the boys team has won the conference championship. Go Rams!
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RMS Student Participates in UNO’s CodeCrush

RPS would like to give special recognition to Ralston Middle School eighth-grade student Marlen Colmenares who was selected and participated in UNO’s CodeCrush. What an awesome experience for Marlen and her teacher sponsor from RMS - Ms. Fleischmann.

CodeCrush is a series of iSTEM immersion experiences for female 8th and 9th grade students, and their teachers, designed to show them the innovative world of IT. The program will inspire students and their teachers to take a deeper look at IT through hands-on experiences with emerging IT fields such as bioinformatics, IT innovation, music technology and cybersecurity.

Throughout the three-day conference, Marlen and Ms. Fleischmann got to experience learning and applying Python code and HTML web design, learning about Bioinformatics and Artificial Intelligence, participate in a block coding competition with an Ozobot robot, went on company tours at Union Pacific Dispatch Center, Henry Doorly Zoo, Fiserv, and Warner Trucking which included a truck-driving simulator used to train drivers, multiple opportunities to hear from a panel of women in different types of IT jobs including--Scrum Master, Project Manager, Data Analyst, Web Designer, Computer Scientists, Software Engineer, Cybersecurity, Dispatching, and more. The two learned about the importance of women being involved in the development of new solutions or improving current product design.

RPS Battle of the Books

The Ralston High School media center played host to the District's Battle of the Books competition. Elementary schools hosted competitions, and the winning team from each school advanced to the District event. It was a tremendous competition, full of fun and showcased our students’ joy of reading.

Congratulations to the District Champions from Blumfield Elementary School! Team members include Braylon Sloter, Andres German, Landen Naikelis, and Emiliano Peralta-Can.

Shout out to the Wildewood Elementary School team who placed second. Team members include Madison Mather, Hanna Gruhlkey, Kiera Haas, and Gavin Coffman.

District students were also able to compete individually by answering questions about the books they read. Congrats to the students who placed in the top three.

1st place: Hanna Gruhlkey (Wildewood)
2nd place: Ian Walmrath (Meadows)
3rd place: Nataly Aviles (Blumfield)

RHS Wilson Overfield Represents Ram Nation at National DECA Conference

A huge congratulations to RHS senior and DECA student Wilson Overfield. He recently attended the DECA International Career Development Conference in Orlando, Florida. Wilson represented Ram Nation very well by scoring in the top 20% in his category in the Sports and Entertainment Marketing division against students from all over the world!

Way to go Wilson! #RamProud

RMS Students Selected for Omaha Rotary Club Honor Roll

For nearly 100 years the Rotary Club of Omaha has honored Omaha youth by way of the yearly Honor Roll Event. The Rotary Honor Roll, a time-honored tradition, distinguishes eighth-grade students who represent the highest characteristics of leadership, character, scholarship & presence.

Mrs. Behounek, Mr. Schrad, and the following students took part in a virtual ceremony to congratulate them on receiving this prestigious award. Congratulations to Lucia Chavez, Avery Stephens, Eric Hernandez, Erik Jaimes Rodriguez, Shae Huebner, Henry Fries, McKinley Stehlik, Mary Bystrom, Reiley Conaway, Dinah Cain, Kat Gilmore, and Sam Christy.

RHS Student Awarded Seal of Bi-Literacy

Congratulations to the following Ralston High School students who were awarded the Seal of Bi-Literacy from the Nebraska Department of Education - Ashley Chirino (Spanish), Daniel Rios (Spanish), and Leilanie Berrios (French).

The Nebraska Department of Education and the Nebraska International Language Association awarded 101 Seals of Biliteracy to 98 Nebraska students this spring semester.

The Nebraska Seal of Biliteracy is a collaboration between the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) and the Nebraska International Language Association honoring high school students who have achieved a high level of proficiency in English and at least one other language.

Students apply for the Nebraska Seal of Biliteracy after demonstrating proficiency based on the Nebraska World Language Standards structured around communication, cultures, connections, communities, and cognition within a language other than English.

New RHS Construction Class Awarded $20,000 Black and Decker Grant

Ralston High School was awarded a $20,000 Makers Grant through the Stanley Black and Decker Empower Makers Global Impact Challenge. This grant will help fund the equipment necessary to begin the RHS Construction Crew class at Ralston High School. This first Construction Crew class will start in the fall of the 2023-2024 school year.

This will be a capstone CTE course that allows students to participate in work-based learning in the Ralston community. Students will complete residential construction projects under the guidance and supervision of Mr. Becklun.

Initiated in 2021, the Global Impact Challenge grant program will award up to $25 million in grant funding over five years to nonprofits that are supporting trade workforce development initiatives in the construction and manufacturing sectors. With the first applications submitted in 2022, 182 entrants were evaluated based on number of people served, outcomes projected, sustainable impact, depth of programs, and diversity, among many other considerations. The Ralston High School Construction Crew was selected as one of 91 programs that will help skill and reskill roughly 210,448 makers throughout 2023.

We can’t wait to highlight all of the exciting things that will come from Mr. Becklun, the students, and this program next year!

RMS National Honor Society Induction

Congratulations to the following students on being inducted into the National Junior Honor Society Chapter at Ralston Middle School! Students applied and were selected based on scholarship, service, leadership, character, and citizenship. The students took a pledge and were honored at a ceremony in the school's gymnasium in front of their parents/guardians.

What an amazing honor! Way to go Rams! We are so very proud of you!

Seventh-grade: Josiane Adzini, Evelyn Auxier, Felicity Bagley, Israel Bassome, Sam Beatty, Payton Brown, Allison Carabantes, Angel Chavez, Hadley Cobb, Erik Cruz, Ava Dannehl, Juana Diego Gregorio, Karen Djibom, Stephany Do, Sylvie Dworak, Olivia Elster-Cutler, Kasen Fuccio, Ryah Goolsby, Mia Hannon, Jose Hernandez Martinez, Sophie Huebner, Alexa Jauregui Bermudez, Rowdy Jones, Victoria Kosalka, Bre Larsen, Sophia Macias, Ariana Martinez Giron, Maya Minske, Chastelyn Monzon Solorzano, Marco Nolasco, Cade Olsen, Dia Oma, Guy Penly, Jaxson Perry, Ragan Rieves, Hector Sales, Jasmine Smith, Kirsten Thompson, Emmalina Uehling, Peyton Voorvart, Maxwell Whitaker, Natalie Zdan, Grayson Zehring, and Daniela Zurita.

Eighth-grade: Cristal Ambriz Martinez, Maya Angel, Mary Bystrom, Dinah Cain, Diego Castellanos, Natalie Castillo Arroyo, Lucia Chavez, Sam Christy, Tanya Contreras, Gabriel Czerwiec, Jada Dafferner, Madison DeGeorge, Max Dykstra, Angel Elizondo-Merino, Aubrey Emery-Simmons, Henry Fries, Kat Gilmore, Heidi Gonzalez-Reyes, Landon Graham, Gage Grandel, Lillie Gruhlkey, Cameron Harder, Eric Hernandez, Alejandro Herrera Lopez, Shae Huebner, Brody Jenkins, Cillian Kerrigan, Harrison Kohout, Alayna Logan, Gavin Lopez, Louis Luque, AJ McCormack, Precieuse Mutoke, Maddie Ochsner, Madison Orsi, Alex Posadas Herrera, Mia Ramirez-Lopez, Sarahy Rivas-Merino, and McKinley Stehlik.

RHS Students have Outstanding Performances at District Music Competition

Congratulations to the following students who performed at the District Music Competition recently at Buena Vista High School. Here are the results.

Band: The RHS Concert Band received a Division 1 (Superior Rating) for their performance and the RHS Jazz Band received a Division 1+ (Superior Rating from all three judges) for their performance. The following students received individual and duet recognition: Grayson Budin - Snare Solo - Division II, Jack Budzinksi - Snare Solo - Division I (perfect score!), Kaylee Hins - Tenor Sax Solo - Division II, Iman Pearson - Baritone Solo - Division I, Morgan Ritchey - Alto Sax Solo - Division II, Morgan Ritchey - Baritone Sax Solo - Division II, Diego Sanchez - Alto Sax Solo - Division I, Lauren Walmrath - Flute Solo - Division II, and Lexi Fisher and Veronica Orellana Castro - Flute Duet - Division II.

Vocal Music: The following RHS vocal music students received a Division 1 (Superior Rating) at the District Music Contest - Logan Pikop (Tenor/Bass), Emily Cross (Soprano/Alto), and Cassidy Culjat (Soprano/Alto). These next students received a Division 2 rating - King Barnett (Tenor/Bass), Logan Pikop (Tenor/Bass), Evenie Aguilar Chavez (Soprano/Alto), Zoie Bartek (Soprano/Alto), Isabelle Bertrang (Soprano/Alto), Lexie Fisher (Soprano/Alto), Ella Johnson (Soprano/Alto), Veronixa Orellan Castro (Soprano/Alto), and Kayleen Ramirez (Soprano/Alto).