Swanson Elementary School September 2020

Message from the Principal:

As the weather begins to cool off, we are reminded that although some things remain the same (like the changing of the seasons) some things are very, very different. This year, we have embarked on a historic effort to educate our students both in class and remotely. There are certainly some similarities and big differences in our current situation of how we have taught and how our students have learned. I am so proud of our school community as I weave in and out of our classrooms each day. I am inspired by the engaging teaching and learning I see occurring between our teachers and our students.

I would like to express a huge thank you to the entire Swanson staff, parents, students, and community for helping get this year off to a great start. Thank you all for your patience, flexibility, and partnership during our first weeks of school. This school year cannot be a success without your ongoing dedication and support for your learner. We have been working extremely hard to make Swanson a positive learning experience for all.

I also want you to know we understand these are difficult times and the effects of COVID-19 make it more challenging for us to connect in traditional ways. The Swanson Staff will do our best to continue to share information throughout the school year by using emails, phone calls, newsletters, weekly updates, and our Swanson Website. We are here to listen and to help one another as a school community, so please feel free to call or email throughout this school year. Please know we are committed to supporting our students and families because we are truly stronger together!


Mrs. Harr

NO SCHOOL - Monday, September 7th - Labor Day

Next Week: School for Group A (last name A-K) is on Tuesday/Wednesday. With no school on Monday due to Labor Day, students who usually attend Monday and Tuesday will attend Tuesday, September 8th, and Wednesday, September 9th. We appreciate your flexibility as we continue with our YELLOW schedule.

NO SCHOOL --- Monday, September 21st --- Staff Development Day

START TIME: 8:30 a.m.

Our instructional school day will start at 8:30 a.m. Doors will be opened at 8:20 a.m. allowing students plenty of time to walk to classrooms, hang up backpacks, check in with teachers and peers, and be ready for those first important words of the day at 8:30 a.m. Give your students every advantage of a successful day by having them here at 8:20 a.m.!

Beginning of School Reminders

*Please park in designated areas only. This is for the safety of all students, parents, and staff.

*Lost and Found is located in our cafeteria. Have your child check it out if they have lost something.

*If you are bringing a forgotten item during the school day; due to current visitor restrictions and the need to social distance, we have created a drop zone for parents to deliver items and leave them in our vestibule. When you arrive at school, please buzz in and we will direct you to place items on the table in the vestibule. We will then, deliver the items to your child(ren).

*Students leaving the building during the day need to be picked up from the office area and will need to signed out. If students return during the same day, they must sign back in or they may be counted absent for the entire day.

*Keep your phone numbers and email addresses up to date at all times. Call the school to make a change.

*If you are going to be later or absent, call the office and let us know.

*Currently, we are not allowing visitors for lunch or classroom activities.

Interim Restrictions for Visitors

Access to Swanson will be limited to current students, current staff, approved vendors and contractors, and invited visitors with administrative approval. Until further notice, no other visitors will be permitted.

Attention All 5th Graders

Calling all Westside 5th Graders - now is the time to join Westside's award winning Instrumental Music program! Sign up is going on now through Sept. 7th. Information about band and string instruments, as well as the sign up form, can be found in your google classroom! Questions? Contact us through email or at your school! We can't wait to make music with all of you this school year! Mrs. CJ ( and Dr. Meints (

All Students Should Bring a Refillable Water Bottle

To prevent the spread of germs and viruses we are asking all students to bring a refillable water bottle. It is very helpful for students to fill water bottles prior to coming to school in the morning. If students forget their water bottle we will have a small supply of extra water bottles.

Mask Maintenance

All in-person students have received 3 masks. We encourage families to wash masks regularly. While we know that wearing masks can be difficult, it is a critical part of how we are able to be in school. Thank you for your continued support for helping us keep Swanson a safe environment.

Keep in Touch

Throughout the year, use these ideas to stay in touch:

  • Tell the teacher about any special situations that may affect your child’s success at school - health problems or changes in the family.

  • Remember how great you feel when you get a note of thanks? Teachers feel the same way. Send a note to the teacher to express your appreciation. Example: “Thanks for sparking Russ’s interest in reptiles. He’s so excited!”

  • If you have a question please reach out and ask. We are always willing to help.


Parent-Teacher Communication Meetings will be held the week of October 11th. These meetings will not be held in-person at school. Rather, teachers will communicate with parents via a Webex meeting, phone call, or email. Please look for a message from your child’s teacher in backpacks on Friday, September 4th for Group B and Tuesday, September 8th for Group A. Extended Campus Learners will receive information in their take home materials or via an email.

Information about Online Learning Platforms: a Resource for You

Our Technology Department has created a parent/guardian resource page on Area66 which has parent guides and other valuable information to familiarize you with the tools your student(s) is/are using:

First Friday Spirit Day!

Each first Friday of the month is Swanson Spirit Day. On this day we all wear our Swanson logo wear or school colors, blue and white, to show our spirit. We begin our day by saying the Swanson Pledge together. It’s a fun day filled with terrific Swanson spirit! Our next First Friday Spirit Day is Friday, October 2nd.

There's Still Time to Return Last Year's Library Books!

If you still have Library Books from last school year, please return them to school as soon as possible. We are hoping to recover many of the lost or misplaced books from last school year. Thank you for helping collect our lost books!

Keep Us From Getting LOST!

Please make sure to mark all jackets, lunch pails, backpacks and other student items with their NAME. This helps us return them to the right owner.

Have You Completed Your Returning Student Registration Yet?

All RETURNING Westside 66 students must complete the Returning Student Registration for this current school year. If you haven't completed this yet, please do so right away! Mrs. Jolkowski will be making calls to those who haven't completed their returning registration.

How do I get started?

Login to your parent PowerSchool account at Click on the Returning Student Registration button. (far left hand column) Remember that registration must be completed for each returning Westside student in your home. Once you're finished, your child will be registered for the 2020-2021 school year.

What if I forgot my PowerSchool account login information?

You can call the office and Mrs. Jolkowski will be happy to assist you.

If you need assistance, please watch this video tutorial on how to update your student registration: Video Tutorial.


The Omaha Food Bank offers The Backpack Program to students at our school. The Backpack Program provides ingredients for healthy meals for children for the weekend. These meals include protein, dairy, fruits, and vegetables. All of the food is child friendly (no preparation needed) and shelf stable. The food is delivered to the school for children to bring home in a bag on Fridays. In the event that there is no school on a Friday, the bags would be delivered to bring home on the last day of the school week for the entire school year.

If you are interested in participating or would like more information, please contact

Mrs. Denton

Free and Reduced Applications

If your child was receiving free or reduced lunch benefits last year, his/her status will remain in effect until September 18th. You will need to reapply for this school year. New forms for this year are available at

Breakfast in the Mornings!

Grab and Go Breakfast will be available at 8:15 a.m. each morning in the cafeteria.

Breakfast is $1.60 with a reduced price of 30 cents for students who qualify for reduced lunch. Breakfast is free for those students who qualify for free lunch. For more information, contact Nutrition Services at 402-390-3380.

2020-21 Breakfast and Lunch Menu

Check out Westside Community Schools Online Breakfast and Lunch Menu!

What We Do in the Event of Weather

We are lucky in Nebraska to get to enjoy all four 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.

Safety Update

WCS uses a safety protocol at the K-12 level called the SRP (Standard Response Protocol). Area schools and local law enforcement agencies are adopting this language across the metro.

Key Terms:


o During a lock-out situation, there isn’t an immediate threat inside the building, rather there may be a reasonable threat in the area. During a lock-out situation, school will remain in typical operating procedures (inside) but no one will be allowed to enter or exit the building.


o During a lock-down situation, there is an immediate threat inside the building. Students and staff are instructed to lock the classroom doors, shut off the lights, and move to a secure area of a classroom that cannot be seen from the hallway.

Reunification location

o In the unfortunate event of a crisis resulting in an evacuation of our school, the reunification location is at the Community Conference Center at 108th and Grover. School buses will take our students to the reunification site.

We will practice and teach the procedures throughout the school year. If you have any questions please call Mrs. Harr at 390-6485.

MTSS - Multi-Tiered System of Supports

Westside Community Schools continues the implementation of MTSS, which stands

for Multi-Tiered System of Supports. This year more than ever, due to the effects of

COVID on education and instruction over these past 5 months, MTSS in Westside

assures that we regularly monitor student skills and progress and follow-up with

providing students what they need to be successful in learning. Right away in August

and September this means that we first assess all students to determine their

current skill levels, group students, and plan our instruction to meet their needs.

What is MTSS? MTSS is a framework for providing instruction and support to

promote the academic and behavioral success of all children. Individual children’s

progress & skills are measured, and these results are used to make decisions about

further instruction and intervention. The MTSS process is flexible and allows for a

continuum of supports designed to meet the needs of individual students. This

support may be provided in a large or small group by the classroom teacher or other

support staff, either within or outside the classroom.

What does this mean for my child? A key component of the MTSS process is that

all children receive high quality instruction in their classroom. Universal screenings

are brief tests used to measure the progress of all students and are given three times

per year. As a result of the screenings, students may be identified as needing some

degree of supplemental intervention in addition to the instruction they are receiving

in their classroom. If your child is identified as needing intervention you will be

notified. Please contact your child’s building principal with questions.

Nebraska Reading Improvement Act: The Nebraska Reading Improvement Act

went into effect at the start of the 2019-2020 school year. The goal is that all

Nebraska students are able to read at or above grade level by the end of third grade.

This is accomplished by ensuring all students have access to high-quality instruction

and for struggling readers to receive targeted support (intervention). Our current

MTSS framework in Westside Community Schools already allows for us to meet

these state requirements.

*We understand the disruption COVID has caused in the educational system. We

continue to use research-based high quality instructional practices to meet the

needs of all students to as great of an extent as the current pandemic situation

allows. We are adapting as we progress throughout the year. The more students

continue to read, review math facts, and write/journal each day at home, in addition

to their instruction from school, the more secure their skills may become.

2020-21 Pick-up and Drop-Off Procedures

There is one entrance/exit off of 85th Ave to the parking lot and drop off/pick-up queue. We will have one driving lane that moves counterclockwise from the entrance, around the parking spaces, past the school entrance, and back to 85th Ave.

During Arrival and Dismissal, you will drop-off and pick-up your child in the Drop-off and Pick-up Zone.


  • You will drop-off your child in the Drop-off and Pick-up Zone. Please see the Arrival/Dismissal map for exact locations.

  • After drop-off, students will then go to their designated grade level: K-2, 3-4 & 5-6 to de-densify and be supervised by grade level and specialist teachers. Please refer to the map for grade level locations.

  • Students will enter and exit to and from in the following locations: K-2 (Southeast doors); 3-4 (Front Entrance doors); 5-6 (North Dock doors). If a child arrives after 8:30 a.m., he/she will enter the Front Entrance.

  • Please do not leave the vehicle in the drop-off and pick-up lane.


  • During dismissal, students will go with classroom or grade levels teachers to designated area (same as arrival).

  • Staff and students will be responsible to watch for parent vehicles and bring/send student(s) to car.

  • Please do not leave the vehicle in the drop-off and pick-up lane.

  • Students will still be able to leave the west exit doors to Harney Street and be supervised by Swanson staff.

To de-densify the school premises and follow social distancing guidelines, we are highly recommending families to use the drop-off/pick-up lane and stay in your vehicle until you get to grade-level locations. If you need to park your vehicle, please park and get the attention of a Swanson staff member who will assist your child and walk them across the crosswalk to get to the sidewalk in the morning or bring them to your vehicle in the afternoon. We are asking that parents not cross the crosswalk during arrival and dismissal to assist with de-densifying. When you are ready to leave after parking, please enter the queue and wait to exit the parking lot.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as arrival and dismissal may take longer than in year’s past. These procedures are subject to change as we begin this year. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation!

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Calendar Reminders

September 7 No School - Labor Day

September 9 Group A attends school in person. Regular 3:30 dismissal

September 21 No School for Students

October 6 Community Club Mtg., 6:30 pm

Week of October 12th Parent/Teacher Communication Conferences

October 15-16 No School for Students

Swanson Web Page

Visit our web page for current information on school happenings and activities during the year. Go to and click on schools and then the Swanson link.


Email is a great way to communicate with your child’s teacher. The Westside format is as follows:




Office - 402-390-6485

(Available 24 hours a day)

You are welcome to leave a message with your child’s name and reason for the absence

Welcome to Swanson! Home of the Superstars!


The Mission of Swanson School, as a dynamic community alliance and model of innovative education, is to support and empower all learners to achieve academic excellence.

School Improvement

Swanson's school improvement goal is all students will increase reading comprehension.

Swanson's Expectations

  • Be Safe
  • Be Respectful
  • Be Responsible