News & Notes

December 2018

Message From the Superintendent

As the old saying goes, ‘it takes a village’. Each of us has strengths and talents we can contribute to our team, attributes that may complement others and, when combined, help our District thrive. It’s something we take particular pride in here at Westside, incorporating Gallup and the Clifton Strengths Finder in both our staff and students.

We also look to the strengths and generosity of our community to contribute to our mission. Westside Community Schools was formed by the community: a group of parents, business owners, and city leaders who said we, together, will make excellent education a priority here. We still see evidence of that today in our incomparable community support.

Earlier this month, Meridian Clinical Research donated thousands of dollars worth of equipment to Underwood Hills, including a light table manipulative center, a light table sensory tray, and hundreds of dollars in gift cards for teacher supplies. At the start of this school year, Oriental Trading Company donated thousands of dollars in toys and trinkets to provide for children as part of our Attendance Matters and PBiS initiatives. By the end of this school year, realtor Ben Proctor and the PinPoint Home Sales Team will have donated more than $1,400 to our Teacher of the Month program, money that goes straight to our teachers to reward them for their hard work. The list goes on and on, community businesses stepping up to say: ‘We believe in your students. We believe in your staff. We want to be part of your mission.’

And in this season of giving, we also see unprecedented generosity in time and kindness in our own staff. 29 people have taken the time to nominate a Teacher of the Month; many of those nominations coming directly from their coworkers. Additional nominations are rolling in for our BRAVO Teacher Awards, as well as state, regional and national honors. Here at Westside, we support each other through our words and our actions, reinforcing good and picking each other up when the going gets tough.

If you’ve seen the iconic ‘The Grinch Who Stole Christmas’ movie, think back to that moment when the villagers gather together, link hands, and sing. That is the spirit of the season, no matter what you celebrate. We join together, we strengthen each other, we give to each other, and we make each other better. I am grateful for the community spirit we have outside and inside our schools, the village that joins together year round to provide the best opportunities possible for our students.

Have a very happy holiday break - see you next year!


Boundary Engagement Process

Dr. McCann is considering feedback from the Boundary Committee and our community as he finalizes a boundary change recommendation for the Board of Education. That will be presented at a public meeting on January 21 at 6:30pm at ABC.

Staff Awards & Honors

Allison Pontious, Oakdale

Congratulations to 2nd Grade Teacher Allison Pontious, who earned her National Board Certification in November! Pontious is the 2017 PBS Digital Innovator of the Year for Nebraska and a technology leader throughout our district, organizing STEM camps and updating the Oakdale website. Congratulations, Allison!

Michael Fryda, Westside High School

Congratulations to WHS Science Teacher, Schrager Distinguished Teacher, and now 'YouTube sensation' Michael Fryda! His YouTube channel, Clutch Situation, has topped 5,000 subscribers and 1 million views! Click here to watch and subscribe!

Kim Dickhut, Swanson

Congratulations to 6th Grade Teacher Kim Dickhut, named a Star 104.5 Teacher of the Week! The morning radio team surprised Dickhut, a 2018 Schrager Distinguished Teacher, earlier this week. Click here to watch the presentation. Congratulations, Kim!
Superintendent Search Process

The Board of Education will meet in open session on Dec. 20 to discuss the superintendent search process, discuss applications, and authorize firm Ray & Assc. to contact designated applicants for follow-up information. Click above for more details.


The list below provides contact information for several specific questions. Any other questions can be sent to .

Insurance Benefits (Health & Dental) - Rebecka Campbell (Human Resources)


Phone: 402-390-2144

AESOP (Frontline)/FMLA - Alice Dahir (Human Resources)


Employee Assistance Program (EAP) - Human Resources


Phone: 402-320-2141

Leave Banks - Reece/Sue (Human Resources ~ Reece - Building Services / Sue Stuva - Nutrition Services & Educational Assistants)

Reece E-mail:

Reece Phone: 402-390-2141

Sue E-mail:

Sue Phone: 402-390-2128

Payroll/Employment Verification - Tracy Musinsky (Payroll)


Phone: 402-390-2124

Worker's Compensation - Barb Griffith (Business Department)


Phone: 402-390-2115

Update 403b - Tim Hill (Business Department)


Phone: 402-390-2140

Birth of a Child/Death - Brandi Paul (Communications)


Phone: 402-390-2131

Snapshots Across The District

Winter Weather Tech Tips

With winter fast approaching the Westside Technology Team would like to give you some tips on taking care of your device! Check out the advice below from WHS Technology Manager Michael Sanchez.

1.Careful Storage:Never leave a laptop, even in a well-padded and insulated laptop case in your vehicle for more than an hour in cold weather. The laptop could freeze causing parts to become damaged.

2. Let it warm up:Once you bring a laptop in from the cold, allow it to warm up to room temperature before booting.

3.Do not use devices such as mug warmers, pocket warmers or hair dryers to heat or keep a laptop warm. They are not designed for this purpose and can create problems as they will not heat or keep a laptop warm in the right way. They could heat the wrong parts of a laptop or cause it to generate too much heat and melt internal components.

4. Keep it out of the cold & away from snow/water:Whenever possible stay out of direct exposure to cold weather conditions by staying in a vehicle, inside a building or other type of shelter. Protecting your laptop from excessive dampness or wetness from snow will keep your keyboard from freezing and other problems from developing.

So what should you if your laptop is left in the cold?

The first step is simply to let the computer thaw. The laptop should be at room temperature before you power it on. If the laptop is in sleep mode, you should avoid even opening the laptop, since that may automatically wake the computer. Even once the computer gets to room temperature, it may have condensation on it because of the change in temperature. If your computer looks wet let it dry naturally and bring it to Tech Support/submit a help desk ticket. If you turn on your computer when it is wet, it may short one or more electrical connections, which could cause the laptop to stop functioning.

If you have any questions please feel free to stop by your building’s tech office or click here to visit the Area 66 website.

Big picture

Get To Know An Admin!


Principal, Westgate Elementary

HOMETOWN: Spalding, NE

EDUCATION: Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education at Nebraska Wesleyan University, Masters Degree in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff

WHAT YOU DO AT WESTSIDE: Principal at Westgate Elementary

CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Supporting teachers and students at Westgate Elementary as a Teacher Leader for three years and then being selected to lead our collaborative team as Principal at Westgate Elementary!

INTERESTING FACT: There were only two people in my graduating class in high school

FAVORITE BOOK and/or MOVIE: I love all of Jon Gordon's books! These books bring me back to the power of being a positive leader of our Westgate team, for our Westgate students, and my own family.

COLLEAGUE YOU ADMIRE AND WHY: Hard to select just one. I admire the teachers at Westgate who come to school every day to do whatever it takes to meet our students' academic and socio-economic needs with relentless collaboration.


1) Our yearly growth that our team sees with our students in Kindergarten in the area of literacy!

2) Our Building Hope Initiative with our 5th and 6th grade students. Our 5th and 6th grade teachers and counselor work to provide opportunities for students to understand what it means to go to college. We invite speakers from different universities, and organize a field trip to UNO and Creighton to help our students believe college is something that is in their future!
Big picture
Nominate A Westside Teacher of the Month!

Every month a Westside educator wins $100 thanks to PinPoint Home Sales Group with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Ambassador Real Estate. Congratulations to Judy Stucky (WHS) and Marcia Manzo (Rockbrook), November and December Teachers of the Month!

Westside #BeKind Shirts Now Available

In the spirit of the districtwide theme, “Be Kind”, Westside High School HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) Club designed the “One District One Shirt” initiative in efforts to celebrate all Westside Community Schools and support our district as a whole. Proceeds from t-shirt sales will be donated to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). CLICK HERE TO ORDER!

Delivery Location: Each participating school will have shirts delivered weekly by Westside High School CAPS students.

Baby News!

Congratulations to Olivia Rosol, School Psychologist with Prairie Lane and Rockbrook, who welcomed a little boy into her family on November 28! Noah Nathaniel Rosol arrived a few weeks early while Mom and Dad were visiting Minnesota. Noah weighs 5lb 6oz; he and mom are doing well!

For Your Classroom Calendar

12/17 Board of Education meeting, 6:30pm @ ABC

12/20 Special Board of Education meeting, 2:00pm @ ABC

12/20 Language Arts Culminating Event, 6:00pm @ WMS

12/21 Winter Parties

12/22 Special Board of Education meeting, 10:00am, @ ABC


Big picture