News & Notes

October 2018

Message From the Superintendent

I vividly remember the times when I conducted Parent/Teacher conferences as a teacher, assistant principal and principal. Of course as a principal, the conferences were more about behavior than academics. I will say not all conferences were as positive as I might have liked.

As a teacher, I do remember meeting with what seemed like an endless parade of parents, mostly eager to hear how well their child was doing in my class. I was all about conducting student-led conferences and always encouraged my kids to attend with their parents. I wanted them to explain to their folks what they were doing well and what areas they were working to improve. I felt it was very important to engage both the parents or guardians with their child’s learning and to develop a connection between the child and the caretaker about the importance of school and working hard to do your best. School is best when we are all working together.

I would tell parents and guardians “you are the first and best teacher of your child, so tell me how I can better work with your child to bring out the best in him/her.” While I did not like the long days, I do miss the interaction of a well done student-led conference when a student outlines their work to a supportive caretaker. I must admit that I also kinda miss the pizza that the parent group would purchase for dinner.

Next week you will meet dozens of parents coming to you for updates on their children. Some will smile, some will shake their heads, some will go home inspired to do more.

I encourage you to dive into Parent/Teacher conferences with an open mind. Have a positive attitude, a smile, and encouraging words for that child’s guardian. Help them help you to best serve your student. I realize that students are in school only 7 hours a day, but as I told kids for those 7 hours, “during that time you are here to work and to do your best on a daily basis.” Sadly, I know that for a variety of reasons, not all students go home to a family that is intact and able to provide all the support necessary for success. Please work to engage our parents and always understand that they want what is best for their child. I am confident that nearly all of our parents want to support you in your work. They want to encourage their child to successfully complete lessons we are teaching in the classroom. A few may need your more help than others.

I ask you to also remember that while you will have what seems like a marathon of meetings, you are one of a few, if not the only educator that family is working with. For the rest of their child’s life, you have the opportunity to hold a special place in their memory and heart. Embrace that chance, and exponentially increase the potential for excellence within that child.

Staff Awards & Honors

Mary McPadden, Oakdale

Congratulations to Mary McPadden, honored with the Outstanding School Psychologist of the Year Award by the Nebraska School Psychologists Association! McPadden received the award at the NSPA Fall Conference late last month at the UNO Thompson Alumni Center.

“Mary McPadden is one of the most talented, driven, and dedicated professionals I have ever had the privilege to work alongside,” said Westside Director of Special Services Dr. Kami Jessop. “Mary has a keen ability to respectfully engage families and make thoughtful decisions about students. Our District is better because of her leadership.”

Click here to read more!

Dr. Lynn Spady (Westgate) & Kristen Job (Westside Middle School)

Congratulations to Dr. Lynn Spady and Kristen Job, awarded Education & Innovation grants from Cox Charities! These grants will finance the purchase of micro:bits at Westgate and Westside Middle School, great for all subjects including Design Technology, Physics, Art and Music classes. This will allow our teachers to share the importance of coding while allowing students to create all sorts of cool creations, from robots to musical instruments.
Boundary Engagement Process

The Boundary Committee met yesterday, the first time since our Public Forum on the process. To review all comments and questions, and to see proposed scenarios, click this button to visit the Boundary Engagement process section of our website.

Parent/Teacher Conference Guidelines

We know the time leading up to parent teacher conferences is a busy one. So, for your planning purposes, we wanted to provide the following information.

Let us know if you have any questions and have a great week.


First Semester Conference Information:

Dates: October 15-17, 2018


Elementary: Monday & Wednesday

Middle School: Monday & Tuesday

High School: Tuesday & Wednesday

Second Semester Conference Information:

Dates: *March 4-7 and March 11-14, 2019 (*Over a 2-week window, one night per week.)


Elementary: Thursday (3/7) & Tuesday (3/12)

Middle School: Monday (3/4) & Tuesday (3/12)

High School: Tuesday (3/5) & Wednesday (3/13)

Guidelines for Elementary Conferences:

  • ALL teachers and specialists must be available for conferences until 8:00 PM on the two days designated for elementary conferences.
  • Conferences should be scheduled for a 20-minute block of time.
  • Conferences should be scheduled until 8:00 PM on the two days designated for elementary conferences, unless parents request otherwise. If a parent cannot meet during those hours, teachers will accommodate the parent’s need by conferencing at another day/time within their contracted hours. These might include times such as 8:00-8:20 AM during the week of conferences or the following week, or 4:00-5:00 PM during the week following conferences. Our primary goal is to accommodate parents as needed. Please be positive and communicate your willingness to be flexible to any parent who requests a different time.
  • If a parent needs to meet at a time outside of a teacher’s contracted hours, the teacher will work with the building principal to schedule an appropriate time; the teacher will be paid for this time.
  • If a teacher needs to conduct 24 or more conferences, a guest teacher (substitute) may be obtained (a half day is usually sufficient). Request for the half-day guest teacher should be made after conferences are scheduled.
  • Staff should schedule break/dinner time on both days. Teachers should attend their own children’s conferences at WMS/WHS on the day designated for secondary conferences. Teachers should attend their own children’s elementary conferences during non-peak times.
  • Specialists who teach in two buildings should split time between buildings. (For part-time specialists/teachers, extra duty pay will be approved, if needed.)
  • Coaches and principals will work together to allow coaches to attend district co-curricular competitions that are on the district calendar. Coaches will reschedule conferences that take place during these events.

We also understand that conference week takes a lot of work and time. Please enjoy a District Jeans Day on the day you do not have conferences!

Elementary: Tuesday

Middle School: Wednesday

High School & all others: Monday

Thank you for all you do for our students and their families!

Snapshots Across The District

Subscribe to Westside Personalized Learning!

Get To Know An Admin!


Assistant Principal, Westside Middle School


EDUCATION: Bachelors in Math Education from UNL, Masters of Arts from UNL, Masters in Educational Leadership from Doane

WHAT YOU DO AT WESTSIDE: Assistant Principal at WMS

CAREER HIGHLIGHT: The highlight of my career was my time coaching football, basketball, and track. Teaching is a great job, but coaching really adds an aspect to the education profession that I wish everyone could experience. The relationships with coaches and athletes built through coaching are going to last a lifetime.

INTERESTING FACT: I worked at a boat shop part time in college.

FAVORITE BOOK and/or MOVIE: Dumb and Dumber

COLLEAGUE YOU ADMIRE AND WHY: Ben Baber, Math Teacher at WHS. Ben is the most organized person I know. He always has things in order, regardless of whatever chaos may be around him. Ben also has a great personality. He is funny and very thoughtful towards his coworkers. He is someone I often went to for advice when I was at WHS.

BEST MOMENT AT WESTSIDE: My best moment at Westside was meeting my wife. She taught French at WHS and I was teaching Math when we met.

Coaches & Sponsors - Share Your News!

A reminder, if you have points of interest and/or importance you would like us to share about your team or group, let us know! Athletics coaches are invited to email the Westside Athletic Club at (must be received by Friday afternoon for the following week's email blast.) All activities teams are invited to share event info with District Communications by emailing

Help Westside STEM Teachers win $2500!

Westside STEM teachers could potentially earn a $2,500 grant. To do so, they need your support!

The grant will be awarded based on votes. Go to this site:

When you get there, you can search for the STEM grant by typing in "Markley" as the teacher last name and/or "Omaha" as the city.

You do need to type in a personal email address to complete the voting process. An email link is sent to you, and you click on that to vote (check your spam folder if you don't see the link right away).

Thank you for supporting Westside teachers!
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 Megan Riege at WHS, September Teacher of the Month! Click here to submit a nomination!


Our condolences are with family members and loved ones of Mary Ann Bowerman, who died September 30. Mary Ann was a Resource/Special Education Teacher at Westside High School from 1971-1993. Click here to read a tribute to Mary Ann in the Omaha World Herald.

For Your Classroom Calendar

10/15 - 10/17 Parent Teacher Conferences

10/15 Board of Education meeting, 6:30

10/16 Westside Teammates Raising Cane's Night (Westroads location)


10/22 NO SCHOOL, Professional Learning

10/22 - 10/31 Red Ribbon Week

10/24 Swanson Picture Retakes

10/24 WHS Marching Band Concert, 7:00 @ WHS

10/25 Paddock Road, Westgate Picture Retakes

10/25 Boundary Committee meeting, 6:00 @ Swanson/Swing School

10/25 - 10/28 WHS Musical: Sister Act

10/26 Halloween Parties at Hillside, Oakdale, Prairie Lane, Sunset Hills

10/26 Trunk-Or-Treat at Hillside, Westbrook, Westgate

10/27 WHS Show Choirs Noodles & Nostalgia, 4:00 @ WHS

10/29 Warrior Baseball Spooky Halloween Slugfest, 6:00

10/30 Westbrook Fall Parties

10/30 WHS Orchestra Concert, 7:00

10/31 Fall/Halloween Parties at Loveland, Prairie Lane, Rockbrook, Swanson, Westgate

11/1 Sunset Hills All School Photo & Retakes

11/1 Westside Hall of Fame & Lighthouse Leader Gala

11/2 Loveland Picture Retakes

11/4 WHS Cabaret

11/5 Board of Education meeting, 6:30

Open Swim!

Did you know WCS employees and their families can swim at Westside High on Saturdays for free? Open swimming is available to district employees on the following dates from 1:00 - 3:00pm. (all other adults must pay $2, $1 per student.)

Saturday, 10/20

Saturday, 10/27

Saturday, 11/3

Big picture
Big picture
Update contact information with EAC!

Is your Employee Access Center info up to date? We need your help to ensure these are accurate for 18-19. Please click this button to confirm your current school, position, phone number and email address. Contact HR or Communications with questions.

Big picture
Big picture