Rockbrook Summer Newsletter

June - July Edition

Welcome to the 2019-2020 School Year!

I hope that our summer newsletter finds our students and families enjoying their summer and lots of time for fun and relaxation. The start of school is a little over a month away, and we've been busy preparing for students to return.

Please join me in welcoming our new Psychologist Ms. Lisa Davis. Ms. Davis joins us from Elkhorn and we are looking forward to her skills and talents in supporting the social, emotional, and academic needs of our students. We also want to welcome to our Special Education Team, Ms. Amanda Smith. Ms. Smith comes to us from Westgate Elementary and will be splitting her time between Rockbrook and Paddock Road Elementary Schools.

Whether a new family to Rockbrook or returning, I look forward to working and learning with you and hope you will become involved in the many opportunities available at our school. Enjoy the remaining weeks of summer and feel free to call us if you have any questions regarding the start of school. Sneak-Peek is Monday, August 12th, and the first day* will be Wednesday, August 14th.


Mr. Higginbotham

*Note: Remember for Kindergarten families you should have received a note indicating if your child will attend the 14th and 15th, or 16th and 19th. Please call the office if you did not receive this note or are uncertain and we'll be happy to help you.

First Day of School

Wednesday, Aug. 14th, 8:30am

2514 South 108th Street

Omaha, NE

Classroom Assignments

Be sure to keep an eye on your inbox as we near the beginning of August. Class assignments will again be sent to each family via email. If for any reason you have not received your child's placement notice prior to Sneak Peek Night on the 12th, please feel free to call the office. We can also help direct you the night of Sneak Peek if needed.

Rockbrook 2019-2020 School Supply Requests

Welcome Dr. Lucas

We are excited to extend a warm welcome from Rockbrook to Dr. Mike Lucas as the new Superintendent of Westside Community Schools. Dr. Lucas brings with him 16 years of superintendent experience in Nebraska and a great appreciation for what Westside is and what Westside can be.

Building on a tradition of innovation, excellence, and community be sure to watch for the #WeAreWestside on social media. Our district theme for the year will be “Kindness: It’s Personal” as we continue to emphasize the importance of kindness and acceptance while also focusing on our commitment to personalized learning.

Welcome Dr. Lucas, and we look forward to working together to maximize our opportunities and overcome our challenges. Together Everyone Achieves More.

@Lucas4westside on Twitter

Mike Lucas for Westside on Facebook

After School Plans

We understand that student pickup plans may occasionally change. To ensure all students are accounted for at the end of each day we ask that families make their best attempt to use a typical mode of pickup on most days. Once class placements are sent out at the beginning of August, please take a moment to fill out the form below to indicate your child's typical dismissal plan. In the event that you need to pick your child up via a different method, we ask that a parent call the office at least 30 minutes before the end of the school day. The office will notify the student and their teacher of this change of plan.

Approving a Child to Go Home with Another Child's Parent:

In the event that you would like to approve your child to go home with another child's parent we need contact from both you and the other child's parent. This can be in the form of a note, email, or phone call to the office. Staff will not dismiss your child to another child's parent without prior contact, preferably to the main office so that this can be communicated to others (Classroom Teacher, Club66, etc).

Lunch at Rockbrook

We have a computerized meal program in operation in our district that allows parents to maintain an account for their child’s meal charges. Each student has their own account. When students go through the food line, the price of the breakfast, lunch, or any extra items such as extra pizza or extra milk is subtracted from their account. Students on free lunch may keep money in their account to pay for extra food items which are not included in the free lunch program.

Lunch Costs

The cost for a school lunch this year is $2.40 (40¢ for reduced) and $3.65 for adults. Extra milk or bottled water can be purchased for 50¢ per bottle. Breakfast is $1.50 for students (30¢ for reduced) and $2.35 for adults.

To deposit money into your child’s account you may bring a check or cash to the office, or you may go to and go to District Links. We do send a letter daily to any student whose account has become overdrawn. Please check your email, spam folder and MySchoolBucks account for your child's lunch balance. We need to have negative balances at zero or positive balances. This balance carries over to the next year. Start 2019-2020 year off right for your child's lunch account.

Running Late

Please let the office know if you are running late or have a morning appointment for your child. If your child plans on eating lunch from the cafeteria that day, PLEASE call and or email your child's lunch choice before 9 am.

Joining Your Child for Lunch

If you are joining your child for lunch, and want to eat lunch from the cafeteria, then you must call before 9 am to order your lunch choice. Adult lunch is $3.65, small bills are preferable for payment. If you are coming and bringing a lunch, then there is NO need to let the office know. To ensure that there is enough space for our out-of-school guests we ask that families eat with their own children only. We appreciate your understanding in this adjustment.

We cannot deduct your lunch from your child’s account as our computer will not let us charge the adult price on a student account.

Pizza Hut

Students may purchase extra slices from their lunch accounts when Pizza Hut is on the menu if they have a positive balance in their account. Extra slices cost $1.20. Parents, make sure you let your child know whether or not you want them to have an extra slice. Extra slices are not included with free or reduced lunch accounts. You need to make sure your child has the $1.20 for the extra slice.

Guest Table

To ensure that there is enough space for our out-of-school guests we ask that families eat with their own children only. We appreciate your understanding in this adjustment. If your child would like to sit with friends and room is available at the class table, parents may sit with their child’s class.

Rockbrook Sneak-Peek Night

Monday, Aug. 12th, 6pm

2514 South 108th Street

Omaha, NE

Come meet your child's teacher, catch up with friends, and bring a few extra dollars for a cool treat from the Kona Ice Truck!

We'll also have Sign-Up in the Gym for Community Club Committees. We need your help to make 2019-2020 the best year yet at Rockbrook!

Rockbrook Fall Field Reservations

Fall Reservations for the Rockbrook Elementary field are now being accepted. To be fair to everyone who may want times, all advance reservations requests must be received by August 6th. Individual coaches should send an email with their first and second choice to: One hour increments only: 4-5p, 5-6p or 6-7p. Any duplicate requests will be selected via drawing. After August 7th, any additional reservations will be first come, first serve, AFTER the initial reservation schedule has been established and communicated.

Rockbrook Elementary, Early Childhood, and Club66 - Safe and Welcoming Inside and Out

The safety of our students and families is our top priority at Rockbrook. The best security, however, is only as good as the practices we implement in using it. Please help us in adhering to policies regarding student Drop Off and Pick Up.

Both Early Childhood (ECC) and Club66 Policy requires that all students be checked in to these programs by an adult, by walking children into the building. As ECC and Club66 staff operate from the south end of our building, we ask that all Early Childhood and Club66 attendees enter through the south end of our building unless stair access prohibits doing so.

All exterior doors at Rockbrook will remain locked except when being monitored by Rockbrook Staff during arrival and dismissal. School age students may be dropped off starting at 8:30 a.m. and enter through either the north or south entrance. Please be aware of the times below when entrances will be locked or open and monitored.

Before 8:30 - All entrances are locked, students and families must use the buzzer to request entry.

8:30-8:40 - North and south entrances will be open and supervised by Rockbrook Staff.

8:40-3:25 (2:55 on Wednesdays) - All entrances are locked, students and families must use the buzzer to request entry.

3:25 (2:55W) - 3:45 (3:15W) - North and south entrances will be open and supervised by Rockbrook Staff.

3:45-6:00 - All entrances are locked, students and families must use the buzzer to request entry.

(Note: for evening events, and access, arrangements for entry are being coordinated through our district office. Please contact Jennifer Fox at regarding evening access.)

If you will be dropping your child off after 8:45 you will also need to walk them in to the office and sign them in for the day. If students arrive without an adult between 8:45 and 3:30, parents will be contacted to remind you of this expectation.

When you are visiting the school, we would also remind you that all visitors must check in at the main office and get a visitor's badge. Anyone without a badge may be asked to return to the office to check in. If your child has forgotten something at home and you are quickly dropping this off, we are happy to accept this at the office and deliver items to the classroom.

Thank you for your support to keep Rockbrook Safe and Welcoming Inside and Out.

Your Partners in Education,

Mr. Garret Higginbotham, Principal & Ms. Julie Kathol, Site Director RBECC and Club66

Cell Phones and Smart Devices in School

We understand that it's important for students to be able to contact their parents before or after school.

Our expecation is that all cell phones are turned off and placed in a student's backpack once they enter the building.

In the event students need to contact their parent, calls can be made from classroom or office phones.

Students use of smart devices such as watches, fitness bands, smart headphones, etc. are handled on a case by case basis. Typically students are allowed to have these devices so long as they are not a disruption to learning or used in a way that distracts the student or others. Note: During state testing and other assessments, students may be asked to store their smart devices at the teacher's desk to ensure they are not used as part of testing.

Curriculum Night

Tuesday, Aug. 27th, 6pm

2514 South 108th Street

Omaha, NE

Come get information and ask questions about what your child will learn during this year at Rockbrook!

2019-2020 Rockbrook Staff

Mr. Higginbotham- Principal

Ms.Veldhuis - Administrative Assistant

Mr. Carlson- Kindergarten

Ms. Miller- Kindergarten

Ms. Lewis-1st Grade

Ms. Whitney- 1st Grade

Ms. Kyle- 2nd Grade

Ms. Raphael- 2nd Grade

Ms. Davenport- 3rd Grade

Ms. Rice-3rd Grade

Ms. Conyers- 4th Grade

Ms. Madson- 4th Grade

Ms. Chouinard- 5th Grade

Ms. Smith- 5th Grade

Ms. Akers-6th Grade

Ms. Warming-6th Grade

Ms. Cramer-Brink- Learning Circles

Ms. Josten-Learning Circles

Ms. Manzo-Learning Circles

Ms. Smith-Learning Circles

Ms. Davis- School Psychologist

Ms. Sharkey- Speech Clinician

Ms. Safranek- Reading Coordinator

Ms. Montgomery- Media Specialist

Mr. Pribnow -Vocal Music

Mr. Glanzer- P.E. / Health

Ms. Henningsen-Co-EY Coordinator

Ms. Sindt-Co-EY Coordinator

Mr. Freeman- Instrumental Music/Band

Ms. Matheson- Instrumental Music/Strings

Ms.Johnson- ArtTeacher

Ms. Biodrowski- Educational Assistant - Kdg.

Ms. Padios-Educational Assistant - Kdg.

Ms. Mellick- Educational Assistant

Ms. Hurlbut -Educational Assistant

Ms. Foster- Educational Assistant

Ms. Seward- Health Assistant

Ms. Helling- Educational Assistant - Learning Circles

Ms. Coonfield- Educational Assistant - Learning Circles

Ms. Dickinson- Educational Assistant - Learning Circles

Miss Wolbach- Educational Assistant - Learning Circles

Ms. Johnson- Educational Assistant - Learning Circles

Ms. Kaufman- Educational Assistant - Learning Circles

Miss Lewis- Educational Assistant - Learning Circles

Ms. Smith- Educational Assistant - Learning Circles

Ms. Tillman- Educational Assistant - Learning Circles

Ms. Marchand- Educational Assistant - Learning Circles

Ms. Preininger- Head of Food Service

Ms. Pineda- Food Service

Mr. Preininger- Building Services - Engineer

Ms. Malone - Building Services - Day Custodian

Mr. Hamilton- Building Services - Night Custodian

Mr. Willits- Building Services - PT Custodian

Returning Student Registration - Help Us Keep You In the Know

Please do your Returning Student Registration so you know what to expect 2019-2020 school year. Completing this update ensures you will get our Rockbrook Summer newsletter and important information your student needs to begin next year.

To get started, login to your parent PowerSchool account at Then click on the Returning Student Registration button. Remember that the registration must be completed for each returning Westside student in your home.

Once you're finished, your child will be registered for the 2019-2020 school year, and we will have up-to-date contact information for back-to-school communication this summer.

What if I forgot my PowerSchool account login information?

Contact Ms. Veldhuis through email or phone or you can reset your password using the “Forgot Username or Password?” link on the login page ( Please be aware that the recovery email will be sent to the email address you used to create the account, which may not be your current email address.

If you need further assistance with your account, please email or call 402-390-2100.

Party on Pacific

Save The Date!!

To Purchase Tickets or Become a Sponsor Click Here

August 16, 2019 (6:30-9:30 pm)

Please plan on joining us for a fun-filled evening focused on one goal: Supporting Westside Community Schools through educational excellence and innovative learning opportunities. This year, Party on Pacific will be held on Friday, August 16, 2019 at The John L Hoich Alumni House Parking Lot 90th & Pacific. The tent will be up, food trucks will roll in and music will be in the air! So, mark your calendar for a casual and fun back-to-school benefit

Medication at School

For your child’s safety and for the safety of others, all medication, even cough’s drops, must be kept locked in the health office, it must be in the original package. All medication, including cough drops, needs to be accompanied by a medication form signed by the parent or guardian, all prescription medication forms must be signed by the doctor. Whenever possible, the medication should be administered at home.

Rockbrook Recess Equipment

Each grade level at Rockbrook has a set of recess equipment. Having each grade level with their own equipment encourages students to be responsible with the equipment, ensures all classes have similar access, and offers greater variety for students to play. We ask that students not bring equipment from home.

Dress Expectations

In order to ensure a positive learning environment where all feel comfortable and respected, please follow the following expectations regarding student dress. We expect students to wear clothing that:

  • Is clean, safe, and in good condition.

  • Is considerate of others.

  • Is free of advertisements, graphics, or language related to drugs, alcohol,

    tobacco, or violence.

  • Is free of sexual or disrespectful comments or graphics.

  • Covers appropriately. Halter tops, bare shoulders, and short shorts are not

    allowed per district dress code.

For a complete guideline for proper student dress please refer to our District Elementary Handbook

Flip-Flops & Recess / Gym, A Dangerous Combination

While flip-flops are a very cute and popular item, they present some safety challenges for our students out at recess and on gym days. If your student likes to be active at recess, please consider sending safer shoes for those recess / gym feet.

Notice of Nondiscrimination

Westside Community Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, race, color, national origin, religion, disability, age, marital/parental status, military/veteran status or any other category protected by law in its programs and activities or in admission or access to, or treatment in, hiring and employment, and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups.

The following District personnel have been designated to coordinate compliance and can address inquiries about the District’s nondiscrimination policies and procedures:

For questions or concerns by students, parents or others:

• Coordinator of Student Services/Title IX Coordinator – ABC Bldg. 909 So. 76th St. Omaha (402) 390-2100 E-mail:

• Director of Special Services/ADA & 504 Coordinator (disability/accommodation) ABC Bldg. 909 So. 76th St. (402) 390-2100 E-mail:

For questions by District employees or applicants:

• Ass’t Supt. for Human Resources/Lead Title IX Coordinator - 909 So. 76th St. Omaha, NE (402) 390-2100

Online Technology Forms

The "Permission to Create Educational Accounts” form that used to be part of the Back to School Update last year is going to be a My School Bucks form this year. Before your child will be allowed to use their iPad at Rockbrook, these forms need to be completed. Please click the link below for information on completing the form. Thank you.

Student Illness

Office personnel will notify parents/guardian when a student needs to be sent home from school due to illness. Conditions requiring a student be sent home include: temperature greater than 100.0°F, vomiting, diarrhea, unexplained rashes, or on determination by the school nurse that the child’s condition prevents meaningful participation in the educational program, presents a health risk to the child or others, or that medical consultation is warranted unless the condition resolves.

Parents should complete the online Annual Information Update each year to verify that emergency daytime phone numbers are current so that parents can be reached if their child becomes ill or is injured while at school. Parents should also inform the School Nurse or Health Assistant of health-related information they feel is important for each child’s safety and success at school.

When is My Child Too Sick for School

Send me to school if...

· I have a runny nose or just a little cough but no other symptoms.

· I haven't taken any fever-reducing medicine for 24 hours and I haven't had a fever during that time.

· I haven't thrown up or had any diarrhea for 24 hours

Keep me at home if...

· I have a temperature higher than 100 degrees even after taking medicine.

· I'm throwing up or have diarrhea.

· My eyes are pink and crusty.

Call the doctor if...

· I have a temperature higher than 100 degrees for more than two days.

· I have been throwing up or have diarrhea for more than two days

· I have the sniffles for more than a week and they aren't getting better.

· I still have asthma symptoms after using my asthma medicine (and call 911 if I'm having trouble breathing after using my inhaler.)

What We Do in the Event of Weather

We are lucky in Nebraska to get to enjoy all 4 seasons. This also means that at times the weather gets in the way of our fun and plans. Below is a brief description of our procedures when the weather is not cooperating:

Cold Weather: So long as temperatures are 10° or warmer, students will be outside for recess, arrival, dismissal, safety patrol, and other outdoor activities.

Rain: When rain is heavy enough that students would get considerably wet, or when there is thunder or lightning, students will be kept inside or brought inside. In addition, if conditions have been such that fields are muddy, access to dirt and grass areas may be restricted as well as playground equipment if it is deemed too slick for safe play.

Severe Weather: If the National Weather Service issues a Thunderstorm Warning students are kept inside. In the event of a Tornado Warning, students are moved to our area of refuge at the south end of the building. Families coming to the school during this time are encouraged to take shelter with us until the warning has passed.

PBIS - Positive Behaviors In School...and at Home!

On our next couple of articles you’ll see our Rockbrook Elementary Behavior Matrix. Part of our mission to ensure a safe and challenging environment is teaching clear expectations for behavior. We encourage families to do the same at home. After reviewing the school expectations with your child, consider using the 3 Be’s - Be Safe, Be Respectful, Be Responsible, to review home expectations. Using this common language can make it easier for kids to remember and make positive choices. Students who return the completed strip at the bottom of the home expectations poster can receive a Golden Paw for demonstrating responsibility, which makes them eligible in our first quarter assembly drawing.

Deliveries During the School Day

It happens to all of us. We forget something we needed for school or work at home. Fortunately, sometimes parents are able to drop items off for their child. To keep student focus on learning we would ask that such items be dropped off to the office. We are happy to deliver these to your child or have your child’s teacher pick them up at an appropriate time. Parents wishing to visit their child during the day are encouraged to do so at lunch. We are also always looking for volunteers willing to help out in our library, work on clerical tasks, or to volunteer for times arranged with their child’s teacher.

Beginning of the Year Kindergarten Schedule

Letters are being sent to all kindergarten families informing you of your child’s placement in either Group 1 or Group 2.

As a reminder, please see the schedule below:

Kindergarten Students in Group 1 - Attend School on Wednesday, August 14th and Thursday, August 15th .

Kindergarten Students in Group 2 - Attend School on Friday, August 16th and Monday, August 19th.

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Fifth Graders

Your 5th-grade child will have the opportunity to try out band and strings instruments during the first two weeks of school. We invite you to encourage your child to take part in this opportunity. We will send home information to parents after each presentation and tryout experience is completed. We look forward to teaching your child to play a band or string instrument.


The Elementary Instrumental Staff

Gail Carpenter-Johnson, Viktoria Matheson, and Mike Freeman

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Don't Forget

Students will be dismissed every Wednesday at 3:00.

Please be prompt as teachers are scheduled to leave the building each week to participate in professional learning communities.

Important Dates


12 - Sneak Peek Night 6-7 pm

14 - First Day of School

21 - Don & Millie's Dining Out for Education Night

27 - Rockbrook Curriculum Night

29 - Outdoor Education Parent Meeting 6:30 pm WMS


2 - Labor Day- No School

3 - Community Club Meeting 6:00 pm

3 - Elementary Instrumental Curriculum Night 6:45 pm WMS

3 - Planet Sub Dining Out for Education Night

11 - Picture Day

Welcome to Rockbrook Elementary - Home of the Bulldogs

Rockbrook Mission:

The mission of Rockbrook Elementary School, a diverse community of learners, is to foster learning by providing a quality educational experience within a secure and challenging environment.

Rockbrook School Design Goal:

At Rockbrook we will increase student engagement and achievement through Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports for social, emotional, behavioral, and academic needs.

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