Westside Pride

Back To School, August 2022

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Board of Education Updates

At a public Board meeting on Monday, June 13, the Westside Board of Education elected new leadership for the 2022/23 school year.

  • Dr. Meagan Van Gelder, President
  • Beth Morrissette, Vice President
  • Kris Karnes, Secretary
  • Dana Blakely, Treasurer
  • Adam Yale, Director/Treasurer-Elect
  • Doug Krenzer, Director

At the same meeting, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Andrea Haynes swore in Ms. Karnes and Mr. Yale, elected by Westside voters for another term on the Board of Education.

The Board also voted to approve a third amendment to the 2019-2022 Employment Agreement for Superintendent Mike Lucas. CLICK HERE for full details.

Board of Education Meeting: Monday, August 8

This special Board of Education Meeting will take place Monday, August 8, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. at the Westside Community Center, located at 3534 S. 108th Street. All meeting materials are posted on our website.

Board of Education Meeting: Monday, August 15

Board of Education meetings take place at the ABC Administration building, 909 S. 76th St. The August 15 meeting will start at 5:00pm. All meeting materials are available on our website.



Click here to find your child's school supply list, or download the Westside Community Schools app to view on your phone!


Click here to access the 2022-23 Student Calendar. You will also receive your FREE PRINTED CALENDAR at your child's school in the coming weeks. Need another one? Email communications@westside66.net!


COMING SOON: 2022-23 DISTRICT APPROVED SNACK LIST! Please check back at this link within the coming week. We will have a newly updated list to share for our families prior to the start of school.


Finance, Safety, and Infrastructure

The following message is from Westside Director of Student Services Robert Aranda

Westside parents and staff,

Safety is and always will be our top priority at Westside Community Schools. We will continue to work daily to ensure our students and staff come to school feeling safe and protected, allowing them to focus on learning and growing while in our buildings. This year, this mission is particularly high on our radar in light of recent gun violence in school settings across our country.

As we begin this school year, our district is once again revising, updating and solidifying our safety plans at all levels to respond to any number of emergency situations. Among the proactive measures we are taking:

  • Renewed focus on ensuring all doors to our buildings are locked during school hours. Our buildings, many updated in recent facilities projects, all have double entry vestibules requiring buzz entry.

  • Frequent meetings and check-ins with public safety experts including Omaha Police and the Douglas County Threat Assessment team.

  • Installation of more external cameras at Westside schools and buildings throughout our district.

  • Consistent training with Westside staff, including debriefing assessments after use of Standard Response Protocol for early dismissals, drills, etc.

  • Reinforcing a ‘See Something, Hear Something, Say Something’ culture, encouraging ALL students, family members and staff to report anything suspicious. Our Safe2Help hotline is always available for anonymous reporting at 402-390-2118. You can also file anonymous tips in our Westside Community Schools app.

We encourage you to download and review the attachment included below, a newly revised guide with information about the terms we use during an emergency. Of note: ‘Lock Out’ is now referred to as ‘Secure’, used when we lock all external doors to prevent anyone from entering our building. We will continue to contact all families via text and email in the event of a drill or emergency.

Thank you for trusting us with your children as we begin another school year. It is an honor and a great responsibility. Let’s make it a great, and safe, school year.

Student Achievement And Well-Being

CONGRATULATIONS to Westside 7th grader Will Allpress, who made it to the Quarter Finals of the 2022 National Science Bee! Will, who just finished 6th grade at Swanson Elementary, was answering college-level questions in the later rounds of the competition, including just 140 6th grade students from across the country.

Click here to watch Will's story on KMTV!

Will is a student in Westside's Excellence in Youth program, providing additional teaching and learning opportunities for high ability learners. He qualified for the National Science Bee through the International Academic Competition offered at all 10 Westside elementary schools and Westside Middle School by EY Coordinators, including Will's EY teacher Jenny Henningsen. He was also mentored throughout the school year by his 6th grade teacher and winner of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math & Science Teaching, Marlo Tomich.

"Will exemplifies the success we are seeing through both our Excellence in Youth programming and our dedicated, talented staff at Westside,” says Dr. Kelcy Tapp, Director of Elementary Teaching & Learning. "When we give our teachers the resources to individualize education for our students and challenge them where they are, there is no limit to what they can accomplish!"

Supported And Engaged Staff

June 28th, Westside welcomed several state leaders and members of local media into our district for a detailed look at our 'Growing Our Own' educator shortage plan. This multi-tiered approach, led by Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources and District Operations Dr. Andrea Haynes, is aimed at recruiting, retaining and investing in a talented workforce for Westside Community Schools.

Click here to read more in the Omaha World Herald!

As part of Westside's plan focused on supporting and engaging our staff:

  • The Board of Education will meet on Monday, August 8 at 11:00am to discuss districtwide stipends for all veteran staff members who have dedicated their time and talent to Westside Community Schools.
  • Westside is partnering with Midland University to provide free tuition to selected classified employees who want to pursue teaching degrees. For the 2022-23 school year, 16 employees are part of this program; they will be Westside teachers in two years.
  • Westside has created new curriculum and opportunities for current WHS students interested in pursuing education, including student teaching as high school seniors and a new Intro to Special Education course. Mentors will continue to connect with these students as they pursue college degrees, encouraging them to return to Westside for permanent employment upon graduation.
  • Westside is partnering with our veteran community to find highly qualified, talented and hard working service members who may be interested in working in our district. These heroes have highly sought after job skills in line with our wants and desires in team members here at Westside.
  • Westside is making the state's requirement of student teaching more feasible for working college students by providing a $4,000 per semester stipend. We are hopeful this enhancement encourages individuals to consider education as an option when a non-paying student teaching experience may have previously deterred them because of living costs.

If you or someone you know is looking for a profession that is rewarding, impacts children daily, and makes a difference in our community and world, please consider joining our team at Westside Community Schools! We have positions available in departments and buildings across our district. Click here to learn more!

Community, Collaboration, and Partnerships

Westside is humbled and grateful for the 67 partners and counting, joining us at our Westside Back To School Celebration on August 14! Because of the generosity, support and engagement of our District 66 community, this event is FREE to all families, staff members and neighbors, and will include the following:

  • FREE health screenings and school physicals for students, provided by One World Community Health Center professionals
  • FREE haircuts for students provided by Omaha stylist Amberrose Shaske
  • FREE Kona Ice for every Westside student (and younger sibling) provided by Superintendent Dr. Mike Lucas
  • Autograph signings, entertainment and photos with Westside High School's award-winning students and teams
  • Coupons, discounts and deals from local businesses including Raisin' Cane's, JCPenney at Westroads Mall, Rexius Nutrition, Fontenelle Forest and more!
  • Meet & Greets with Omaha Police and Omaha Fire
  • FREE Westside gear and giveaways throughout the day!
  • Dunk your principal! Dr. Lucas and district leaders will take turns in the dunk tank throughout the day!

We are Westside Community Schools - we invite our entire community to join us for this exciting event on August 14! See you at Westside High School (football field) from Noon until 4pm!


Who We Are

Did you know that the Westside Foundation's mission is to raise private funding for all District 66 Schools? The Foundation does this primarily through private fundraising for special projects, an annual fundraiser- VI VI, and through the annual campaign, W-CLUB. Your support of the Foundation ensures our faculty, staff and students have what they need to excel every day.

Save the Date: VI VI LAS VEGAS, September 24, 2022

Funds raised at this event benefit YOUR SCHOOL'S teachers and students. In year's past, VI VI funds have directly supported our students through X, Y, and Z projects. We hope you will consider attending this event or making a donation so we can continue our good work! SUPPORT VI VI TODAY!


Make a gift that is meaningful to you to show you are proud to be part of Westside Community Schools. Funds raised through the W-CLUB get redistributed back into all Westside Community Schools. Every teacher has the opportunity to apply for W-Club grants annually. Schools like yours have received funding for numerous projects and ideas in the past.

Donating to YOUR SCHOOL!

To make a tax-deductible donation please donate through the Westside Foundation. You can specifically note that funds should be designated to your school community club, fun run, etc. Your gift is not tax deductible if it comes directly to our school. If you have questions, please contact Westside Foundation at foundation@westside66.net.

Feeling Lucky? Support VI VI and win big!

Feeling lucky?🍀 Westside VI VI raffle tickets are now available! Support your favorite Westside students & teachers by purchasing your tickets today - $100 per ticket for a chance to win a $10,000 grand prize! Purchase via Venmo* (@westsideraffle), PayPal*, (westsideraffle@gmail.com), or check payable to Westside Foundation. ❤️🖤

If paying electronically, please include in your payment comments:

1. Phone number

2. Email address

3. State that you saw this in the Westside Pride newsletter

*Per NE gaming regulations, credit card payments are prohibited.


Help The Westside Family Resource Center!

Westside Community Council’s Family Resource Center fulfills the needs for students across District 66. Westside Community Council volunteers will be collecting pantry items at the 75th Anniversary Celebration at Phelps Field on Sunday, August 14.

Most needed products:


Soap (body and hand)



Feminine products

Razors and shaving cream

Toothpaste, floss, and toothbrushes

Paper products - toilet paper, paper towels, tissues

Cleaning products

Laundry detergent

Dish soap

Please consider donating at the WCC booth during the celebration. Donations also accepted throughout the school year at Pipal Park Community Center. Email Community.Council@westside66.net for more information.

Our School Social Workers Are Here For You!

Our caring team of school social workers are here to support your child and family! If you need food, clothing, utilities, or other support, contact your principal, or click above for our latest Social Worker newsletter!

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.


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Westside Volleyball Gear Available!

Our reigning District Champion Westside High School Volleyball has apparel available NOW for fans! There is both volleyball and spirit-wear available.

CLICK HERE to shop now through August 13!

All orders will be shipped to you 3-4 weeks after the closing date of August 13th.

We hope to see you all this season come out and support your WHS Volleyball Program! Download the Westside Warriors sports app for updated schedules and details. Fans can also MEET our 2022 Varsity players in person at our August 14 Back To School Celebration!

Have a great school year and GO WARRIORS!

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The following flyers and information have been provided by community partners not affiliated with Westside Community Schools. We do not endorse any of the following organizations or events, but are providing this information at no cost as a public service to our children, families, staff and community. For questions, please email communications@westside66.net.

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