Westside Pride

December 2021

Message From Board of Education President, Doug Krenzer

Greetings, Westside.


I hope you all had a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving break. I had the pleasure of attending the state football championship. What an atmosphere and what a game it was! I am so impressed by all the dedication and hard work of our players and coaches in reaching a third straight title game. It made us all proud to be Warriors. And three cheers for Westside Unified Bowling, who I watched on Tuesday place second in districts!


Your Board of Education recently received a very favorable report from our financial auditors. The fiscal state of the district is strong. We were excited to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with Avenue Scholars to further bridge the gap between in-school education and high-demand career paths. We have held successful WE-SIDE community forums, with much more to come. Thank you as always to our students and staff for your hard work and dedication to achievement and inclusion.


Yours in Education,

Doug Krenzer


Board of Education Meeting: December 13, 2021

Board of Education meetings take place at the ABC Administration building, 909 S. 76th St., starting at 6:00pm unless otherwise noted. They are also available to view live on the Westside Community Schools Facebook page.

DISTRICT NEWS

2022 Westside Board of Education Caucus

The District's 2022 Caucus will be held Tuesday, February 1, 2022 at Westside High School, 8701 Pacific Street. Voter sign-in begins at 6:00pm and the Caucus will begin at 7:00pm. While we will stream this event live on the district Facebook page you must be present to vote, following the criteria included below, if you are a registered voter residing in District 66.


When Can I Vote?

  • EARLY DAYTIME VOTING: from 9:00am until 5:30pm on Caucus Day. Early voting ends at 5:30pm
  • AT THE CAUCUS: ballots are accepted only AFTER all candidate speeches have concluded


Interested In Running For The Board Of Education?

  • Registered voters who reside in District 66 are eligible to run for the Board of Education and should submit a written letter of intent to run no later than December 21, 2021 at 4:00pm.


Please click the attachment below for full details including the purpose of the Caucus, additional voting information, voter registration information, and more on how to submit your written letter of intent to run.


We hope to see you February 1!

COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics

The Douglas County Health Department has asked Westside and other area school districts to share the following link regarding upcoming COVID-19 vaccination clinics for children ages 5-12 who may now be eligible to receive it. CLICK HERE for their complete list.


Our district hosted a COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Saturday, November 20; we will also host a second dose vaccine clinic on December 11 from 10:00am until 2pm at Westside Middle School. This is a walk-in clinic and appointments are not needed. This site is open to children ages 5 through 11, as well as those 12 years and older interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.


We understand this a personal choice for your family and encourage you to discuss at home and with your family doctor. For additional information about Westside’s response and protocols related to the COVID-19 pandemic, please click here to visit the special section on our website.


If you have additional questions about anything related to COVID-19 and Westside Community Schools guidelines, please email feedback@westside66.net.

A Winter Weather Update from Dr. Lucas

As we enter another winter season, we wanted to share some reminders and updates on how we make decisions about whether to have school on inclement weather days.

  • We take these decisions very serious and try to make the decision and announcement as early as we can to help families plan. Sometimes, we feel it is best to wait until early morning to make a decision as storms sometimes move in and change overnight. We hope to always make announcements by 5:30 AM after we have driven roads, checked side streets, received updated forecasts, etc.
  • Please understand that every family’s circumstances are different….whether children have to walk to school or not, have to wait at a bus stop, can carpool with others, can get a ride from grandma, etc. If you disagree with our decision to have school on a questionable day, please remember that you can always elect to keep your child(ren) home that day.

SNOW DAYS will be traditional snow days again this year. We will not have extended campus learning on snow days.


COLD DAYS are days in which we cancel school due to extreme cold/wind chill, when we are placed in a Windchill WARNING. We will likely have school when we are placed in a Windchill Advisory, as it is not as severe as a Wind Chill Warning. We will factor in how long the sustained and consistent windchill warning is in effect, existing snow/ice on roads, etc.


2-HOUR LATE STARTS may be utilized from time to time but not something we plan to use often. It might come in handy the day after a snow day where we received lots of snow and might need additional time to clean parking lots, allow teenage drivers some extra time and sunlight to get to school, etc. Everything just backs up 2-hours; buses would run accordingly. If your child usually gets picked up at their bus stop at 7:20 AM on a regular day, they would get picked up at 9:20 AM on a 2-hour late start day.


Again, we remind you that if we decide to have school on a day that you feel is too dangerous, please do what you think is best for your child(ren) and keep them home. We will do our best to make timely and efficient decisions.


Best Wishes,

Mike Lucas

WESTSIDE STRATEGIC PLAN PROGRESS

Student Achievement & Well-Being

At Westside, academic achievement through opportunity continues to be a top priority. With that, we are excited to announce the NEW CLASSES that will be added for the 2022/23 school year at Westside High School, including an Advanced Algebra Lab, several Educational Career courses, English Composition (dual college credit), and Avenue Scholars with Career Coaching.


This is in addition to Westside High School's already extensive list of curriculum options including AP & Honors Courses, multiple languages, trades, apprenticeship and internship opportunities and more. Click here to learn more!

Community, Collaboration & Partnerships

Intern Omaha, a co-curricular internship program powered by Avenue Scholars, hosted its inaugural Intern Omaha Expo November 18. This career fair connected over 350 high school students from area school districts with 37 Omaha businesses to expose students to possible career paths and internships in the area.


Westside Community Schools is very pleased to be a partner with Intern Omaha. This year alone, Westside High School has 14 students participating in a paid internship program within various employment categories!


We are now accepting student applications for Intern Omaha’s 2022-2023 program! There are currently 181 available internship positions with 72 businesses in a variety of industries like IT, business, trades, automotive, and more.


If your student is interested in being part of Intern Omaha, or you are a business who would like to take part, please email schau.sarah@westside66.net!


Westside is also proud to continue our community partnerships with Dundee Venture Capital, Nebraska Furniture Mart, KB Building Services and more through our revolutionary HATCH program! Students are fully immersed in all aspects of the business world, including business plan pitches and funding, to pursue their passions and build their own business. Click the video below to learn more about the real life success stories already taking place at Westside High!

Westside HATCH Program

Finance, Safety & Infrastructure

Westside leaders and the Board of Education continue to advocate for initiatives that ensure a predictable and sustainable school finance model, critical net option funding and high accountability standards for education in Nebraska. With that, District 66 will focus on the following legislative priorities for the 2022 Legislative Session.


BACKGROUND:

  • Westside Community Schools has approximately 6,100 students enrolled this school year, with a 2021-22 budget of $85.7 million.

  • 35% of Westside students qualify for free or reduced priced meals

  • 33% of Westside students live outside of district boundaries

  • 14% of students qualify for special education services.

  • During the 2020-21 budget year, just over 60% of our total revenue came from local

    property taxes. (The national average is approximately 30%).

  • Nebraska ranks 19th in the country in per pupil spending, but #2 in the country in percentage of school district spending that stays in the classroom.


LEGISLATIVE POSITIONS:

1) Westside Community Schools supports the current school district boundaries and process.

  • K-12 education in the Metro area is already competitive because there are many strong school districts providing plenty of choice.

  • Smaller school districts increase local control for area residents.

  • Local control allows school districts to ensure neighborhood schools and tailored

    learning models for its students.

  • Current law already provides a voluntary process among locally elected school boards to

    consolidate if desired.


2) Westside Community Schools supports a school finance model that is predictable and sustainable without limiting the current levy authority.
  • Nebraska ranks 49th (next to last) in the country in percentage of state funding for funding K-12 education.

  • Westside supports efforts to bring more state funding to the K-12 state aid formula.

  • The Legislature often changes the state formula annually to adapt to the state fiscal

    outlook. This leads to school district budget unpredictability.

  • Budget unpredictability undermines a school district’s ability for long-term planning.


3) Westside Community Schools supports the current net option aspect in the state's formula.

  • Net option funding is critical for Westside to educate all students desiring to attend Westside Community Schools.

  • Host districts of net option students do not receive the benefit of the property tax authority associated with those students.

  • Net option funding allows students many choices of which school to attend – without net option funding, students would lose that choice.


4) Westside Community Schools opposes funding to any entities not subject to the same accountability and standards as Nebraska public schools.
  • State funding to Nebraska K-12 public schools is already at a low level.

  • Any new funding directed at K-12 education should go to the underfunded public

    education system.

  • The State should not seek to shrink the amount of dollars available for school funding,

    via tax credits or vouchers, to incentivize an alternative K-12 system that is not similarly

    accountable to the State as are public K-12 schools.

  • Any K-12 entity receiving public dollars, or benefitting from the state foregoing tax

    revenue, should be subject to the same requirements of public-school districts.

  • Students are already afforded school choice today because of the net option program.


We encourage to to download and review the document included below to learn more about Westside's legislative priorities for the 2022 Legislative Session.

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.

Need Westside Gear?

The Colosseum at Westside High School has Westside swag of all kinds for your favorite Warrior this holiday season! Holiday hours are posted to the right, and you can also visit online by clicking here!

AWARDS & HONORS

Congratulations to our three newest award winning teams at Westside! The Westside ESports team had a clean sweep at state, going undefeated and winning every 1st place trophy at the NSeSA State Championship Tournament! The Westside Unified Bowling team (Elle Hoffman, Zachary Kastrick, Breckinridge Parra and Jillian Wetjen) finished 2nd at Districts. And the Westside Football team competed in a third straight state championship game, bringing home the NSAA Class A Runner Up trophy.


CONGRATULATIONS, WARRIORS!

9 Westside Student Athletes Participate In National Signing Day

Westside is proud to celebrate the accomplishments and future paths of our nine student athletes who participated in National Signing Day!


BACK ROW, left to right:

  • Dalton Bargo, Baseball, University of Missouri
  • Ty Madison, Baseball, Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC)
  • Jack Davis, Golf, Delta State University
  • Colin Davis, Swimming, University of Tampa

FRONT ROW, left to right:

  • Maddie Siebler, Volleyball, Montana State University
  • Natalie Brownfield, LaCrosse, Concordia University (St. Paul, MN)
  • Kaitlyn Hanna, Golf, University of Iowa
  • Ally DeSordi, Swimming, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
  • Zoe Sundermeier, Soccer, Northwestern Oklahoma State University

3 Westside Middle School Students Selected For All-State Band & Jazz Band!

Congratulations to the WMS students selected for Nebraska All-State Band and Jazz Band:

Megan Oberle - Bass - Jazz Band

Erin Lyle - 2nd Chair Baritone - Concert Band

Lucas Agulla - 1st Chair Trumpet - Concert Band

Big picture
Nominate a Westside Staff Member for the Royalty Cup!

Do you know of a Westside employee, department or team who has gone above and beyond to make others feel like royalty? Click here to nominate them for the Westside Royalty Cup and recognition for their school!

WESTSIDE OPPORTUNITIES

Big picture

Support Westside Basketball - Sport New Gear!

Ready to cheer on the Westside Warriors Girls Basketball Team?


CLICK HERE to check out the team apparel store!


Cheer on our teams in person THIS THURSDAY December 2 at Westside High!


  • 5:30pm Girls Varsity vs. Columbus
  • 5:30pm Boys JV vs. Columbus
  • 7:15pm Boys Varsity vs. Columbus
  • 7:15pm Girls JV vs. Columbs


MARK YOUR CALENDARS for the Girls Varsity Game on December 16, featuring our Mini Warrior Dance Team Camp participants (details included below) and our Westside Sparkles Cheer Squad!

Strings Concerts

5th and 6th grade musicians from every District 66 elementary school will perform over two nights. The free concerts start at 7PM on both December 7th and 9th.


Tuesday, December 7 musicians from Paddock, Rockbrook, Loveland, Westbrook, and Swanson take the stage. Thursday, December 9th musicians from Hillside, Westgate, Prairie Lane, Sunset, and Oakdale will perform.

Unified Movie Night: December 8

Join us for Westside K-12 Movie Night! All students of a variety of needs and abilities will get to experience the Christmas classic 'Elf' in the Westside High School auditorium on December 8 beginning at 6:30pm. The movie is free; we will have a concessions stand open with drinks and candy for additional cost.


All are welcome! We hope to see you there!

Westside Journalism Fundraiser

Westside High School Journalism is so close to reaching their 2021/22 fundraising goal, and are asking for help! Donations allow the students to continue publishing their nationally-recognized, award-winning content. Donations will primarily go towards the printing of Westside's award winning newspaper, the Lance, to purchase equipment to keep our program moving forward, and for extracurricular activities vital for these student journalists.


CLICK HERE to donate - and thank you for your support!

COMMUNITY OPPORTUNITIES

Westside Featured By NE Loves PS!

Nebraska Loves Public Schools, the nonprofit known for its documentary films and I Love Public Schools t-shirts, has included Westside in its new campaign!

They have released new videos on the Nebraska Loves Public Schools website HERE. You’ll also find the campaign and more content on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You will spot Westside students, friends, and family members in online ads and tv commercials this month promoting the campaign.

Please watch online and we hope you share it with friends, family, and our greater Westside community.

Here is another link to watch and share: https://iloveps.org/films/gear
Big picture
Big picture