SPS DISTRICT NEWSLETTER

August, 2022

Mission Statement

The school district of Seward--where every student, every day is a success--affirms that all students will have the skills to become productive and contributing members of a global community. In cooperation with family and community members, the district is committed to the development of each student academically, emotionally, socially, and physically.

Welcome from the Superintendent, Dr. Fields

I want to welcome all new and returning families to Seward Public Schools for the 2022-2023 school year. I hope all of you have had a great summer and you are excited to start the school year! The Seward Public Schools theme this year will be Rooted in Academics Grown to Success. This theme captures the great teaching and learning that occurs in our classrooms each and every day while always remembering our “roots” and what makes SPS such a great district. Seward Public Schools is known for our high-quality instruction, great staff, and our focus on our five-year district strategic plan that continues to move us forward.


Seward Public Schools celebrated its 135th birthday last year. When you think about the history of the district and the changes that have occurred since 1887, to where we are today, we have built upon the foundation set 135 years ago. We have gone from rubber boards to smart boards and no longer use cow chips for heating our schools. As a district our roots are important and we stand on the shoulders of the staff, students, board of education members, and community members of the past to help us to be where we are today as a district. Seward Public Schools is built on strong family values, hard work, and community support to provide a quality education for our students now and for the next 135 years


This summer was busy with many important projects completed throughout the district. The high school replaced 14 heat pumps in the 1960’s portion of the building, new electrical panels and electrical gearbox, new flooring in the cafeteria, new paint in the competition gym at the high school along with the competition gym floor sanded and repainted with new graphics and new finish. We completed another third of the elementary building update with new carpet and paint along with a new fence around the playground on Pinewood. All the schools also had a deep cleaning and are ready for the upcoming school year thanks to our great custodial and maintenance department.


Seward Public Schools is very excited to enter into a contract with Sodexo as our food service company. You will see increased options for all students and a commitment to improve the quality of breakfast and lunches for our students. Detailed information about Sodexo is outlined later in the newsletter.


Enjoy the last few days of summer and I can’t wait for another great school year at Seward Public Schools. Please do not hesitate to call the schools or district office for any questions you may have.

New Teachers and Staff Members

This year we welcome six new teachers to our school district. We have numerous new classified staff additions, but we are still in the process of filling some of those positions. If you have any interest please pick up an application at the district office for bus drivers, paraprofessionals, and high school custodians.


Please help me welcome our new staff members to the Bluejay Family. -Krystin Oborny- High School Agricultural Teacher, Madeline Carlson- Middle School Special Education, Jill Olson- First Grade, Shanae Hentzen- Second Grade, Sarah Brumm- Elementary Art Teacher, Jessica Schreiner- Middle School Band, Nikki McGill- Elementary Nurse, Nicole Myles- Elementary Para, Gabrielle Lueher Elementary Para, Tina Ratkovec- will move to the elementary secretary position, Jessica Gross- Elementary Para.

Student Handbooks

Communicating with the public is an important part of what we do in the School District of Seward. In an effort to save paper, we will not send home paper copies of our high school and middle school handbooks; however, parents and students should read the handbooks on our school website at http://www.sewardpublicschools.org (the handbooks are located under the “For Parents” section).


High school and middle school students will be given signature pages to take home for students and parents/guardians to sign stating that they have gone online and read the handbook. Those forms will then need to be returned to the school. There will also be a place on the form for parents to indicate that they do not have access to the internet or would prefer a hard copy of the handbook. We will send home a printed copy for any parents requesting one.


The elementary school handbook will be available online, but we will be sending home hard copies with all elementary students as well.


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

Seward County Wellness For All Services

Seward Public Schools, in cooperation with Centennial and Milford Public Schools, Memorial Health, ESU 6, and ESU 5, participates in the Seward County Wellness for All program. Through this program, a Licensed Mental Health Practitioner will provide support to all students and staff members. Individual support will also be available to students with parent/guardian permission.

Curriculum Update

We are excited to implement our new science curriculum this school year. A team of science teachers has been working over the summer to align our science curriculum with new instructional materials. Those materials were vetted by our science teachers and we also hosted a parent open house to provide feedback on these materials. The materials encourage students to be scientists and solve problems posed to them.


We have also revised our Skilled and Technical Science courses as well as our Agricultural Education courses. Students will see that we have new course offerings as well as opportunities to earn certifications related to the workforce.


As part of our 7-year curriculum review cycle, we will be reviewing the Nebraska English Language Arts Standards this school year. Our teachers will explore the standards, create curriculum maps, and identify instructional resources to best teach this curriculum.

Did you know that you can pay for your child’s lunch online?

Seward Public Schools has contracted with E-Funds for a second year to provide the service of online cafeteria payments. For those of you who have used E-Funds in the past, the interface has changed but the process is still the same for funding your account. For those of you who are new to E-Funds, please click the link below to register. You will need your child's ID number, please feel free to contact your child’s school for this number if your child does not know their number. To access this link from our website, please go to Quick Links and click on E-Funds Log-in.

https://payments.efundsforschools.com/v3/districts/56180

New Foodservice Provider- Sodexo

Sodexo is excited to serve the Seward students and community through our new food service partnership. We look forward to offering expanded menu options at all grade levels, limited time seasonal offerings, new marketing décor specific to each school, regularly collect students feedback, and to support the community with programs inside and outside of the school buildings. You will continue to see the smiling faces of your current food service employees with support from your new General Manager/Director, Mark Woods. Menus will be available on the District website soon, they can be found on the following link: https://sewardps.sodexomyway.com/landing The free and reduced application process, putting money on student accounts and request for special diets will all remain the same. We are looking forward to the first day of school and feeding the students of Seward Public Schools.

Bluejay Alerts

We are currently using a notification system to notify enrollees in the event of an emergency, school closing, and event cancellations.

Our alert system pulls contact information of parents from PowerSchool, our student management software, so if we have the correct information in PowerSchool, you will automatically receive notices.

If you have questions or are having issues with the system, you may send an email to ticket@sewardschools.org .

Hot Lunch and Breakfast Program

All elementary, middle, and high school hot lunches will be served beginning Wednesday, August 17th. Breakfast at the elementary, middle school, and high school will also start on the 17th. The cost of breakfast and lunches for the 2022-2023 school year are:

Daily

K-4 Lunch $3.00

5-12 Lunch $3.15

PreK-12 Breakfast $2.10

Milk $0.35

Free and Reduced price meal application forms will be sent home with students the first day of school on August 17th. If you wish to apply for free or reduced priced meals, please fill out the application and return it to the school. Please follow the directions and fill out the application as accurately as possible. Accurate and complete applications will speed up the determination process.

Sex Offender List

The link to the sex offender list for Seward and Butler counties can be found at https://sor.nebraska.gov/ This is the most update list and can be referenced at anytime for your area.
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Busing

Seward Public Schools has numerous bus routes traveling many miles each day. We do what we can to ensure that students do not ride an excessive amount of time, yet, we know some students are going to spend a good deal of time on the bus each day. We try to do the best we can with the limited resources that we have available, and we appreciate the cooperativeness of the parents and students.


COMMUNICATION is an important aspect of our transportation program. It is important for us to be notified of any changes. If your child or children regularly ride the bus and for some reason do not plan to on any given day, please call ahead and let us know of the change. In the morning you may call the bus garage after 6:30 AM at (402) 643-6069 or contact the route driver before their route starts. For changes in the afternoon route you may either call the bus garage, the route driver, the district office at (402) 643-2941, or your child’s school office: Elementary School (402) 643-2968, Middle School (402) 643-2986, or High School (402) 643-2988. If we do not answer the phone, keep trying—other people may be calling, and we might be on the other line. Parents may also send a written note in advance to the bus driver or the school office describing the bus route changes.


Bus routes for this school year will soon be scheduled, and bus drivers will be contacting parents to let them know times for the morning and afternoon routes. If you plan to ride the bus and do not receive a phone call from a bus driver by August 9th, please call us and make sure we have you placed on a route. Also, if you are new to the district, or if you have changed addresses, please call and let us know where you live and phone numbers where you can be reached so we can get you on a route.


Bus evacuation drills will be conducted once per semester for all students.


SHUTTLE BUSING will be provided for students to shuttle back and forth between public school buildings before and after school. The schedule is included in the newsletter.

Pre-Registration Information

Kindergarten: Children must have reached the age of five years on or before July 31st to be enrolled in kindergarten. Birth certificates and immunization records are required for registration for all new students. Students enrolling in kindergarten or transferring from out of state must have a visual evaluation. Students will not be allowed to begin school without these records.


K-12 students who did not attend Seward Public Schools last year should register in the principal’s office starting August 1st. Each kindergarten student, 7th grade student, and students moving into Seward Public School District from out of state, must have a physical before the start of school. Starting on August 1st, all school offices will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to answer any questions.


Grades K-4.

Elementary School

200 East Pinewood

402-643-2968


Grades 5-8

Middle School

2401 Karol Kay Blvd

402-643-2986


Grades 9-12

High School

532 Northern Heights

402-643-2988

School Building Information

Regular School Hours:

Seward Elementary School 8:15 a.m. to 3:17 p.m.

Seward Middle School 8:05 a.m. to 3:23 p.m.

Seward High School 8:15 a.m. to 3:37 p.m.

Phone Numbers:

District Office – 643-2941 Bus Garage – 643-6069 Elementary – 643-2968

Middle School – 643-2986 High School – 643-2988 Maintenance – 643-2664

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Elementary Open House

Seward Elementary “Open House” will take place from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Monday, August 15th. Kindergarten families and families new to Seward Elementary are invited to attend an open house from 5:00 - 5:30 p.m. This is a great opportunity for parents and students to meet teachers and other staff members and visit their classrooms. Parents may also bring in meal money, immunization records, vision evaluations, and physicals if you have not already done so. You may also bring school supplies to the open house. Marty Telecky, busing supervisor, will also be present to answer any busing questions parents might have.

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Middle School Open House

Seward Middle School is having an open house for students and parents this year on Monday, August 15th. See the schedule below:

5:30-6:00 p.m. - 5th Grade students and new students only, no parents. A tour of the building in groups will take place.

6:00-7:00 p.m. - Parents can join 5th graders and any new students at SMS to meet teachers, ask brief questions and find lockers. An informational meeting for 5th grade parents and new parents will take place at 6:05 in the large gym.

6:00-7:00 pm- Students and Parents of 6th-8th grade

Locker assignments will be available on this night so students may bring items to put in their locker if they so wish.. We encourage parents to get the information you want, ask the necessary questions, orient yourself to the building, bring paperwork and prepay lunch accounts for your convenience so as to reduce first day student lines.

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Ninth Grade/New Student Orientation

Seward High School will be hosting a freshman and new student orientation on Monday, August 15th at 7:00 p.m. in the new theater. (Doors will open at 6:30 if students want to arrive early to start getting their T-shirts, schedules, fill out paperwork etc. to beat the rush, and learn more about student activities (tables will be setup in the main gym for more information) Parents/guardians and students will have an opportunity to visit classrooms, meet teachers, find lockers, and get acclimated with the building. Information will also be provided regarding schedules, school policies, college planning, activity tickets, the automated lunch program, school organizations, and other relevant school information. We encourage parents/guardians to come prepared to put money in your son and/or daughter’s lunch account and to pay for activity tickets before school starts in order to avoid the rush on the first few days of school. This should be an exciting night to continue the journey of transitioning to high school.
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Athletic Practices

High School football, softball, cross-country, volleyball and girls golf practices will begin on Monday, August 8th. All middle school activities will start after school starts. Each student in grades 7-12 must have a physical in order to participate in practice. Please contact the high school office at (402) 643-2988 for any high school athletic questions.

Student Surveys

From time to time our school district works with agencies to educate our children about the consequences of risky behaviors such as alcohol and illegal drug use. In an effort to determine how often our students engage in risky behaviors, we aid these agencies in conducting surveys. The data we gather from these surveys is confidential and individuals cannot be identified. We can use the group data to apply for grant dollars to help educate our students.

If you prefer that your children do not participate in these, or similar, surveys, please inform their principal, in writing, of your objection.

School Safety

Seward Public Schools implements the Standard Response Protocol in response to safety events that impact schools. To learn more about the Standard Response Protocol, please see the attachments below.
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NOTICE OF NON-DISCRIMINATION

Seward Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age, disability, marital status, or based on such protected classes, in admission or access to, or treatment of employment or educational programs and activities. Any person having information or inquiries regarding any such discrimination is directed to contact Superintendent Josh Fields, in writing at 410 South Street, Seward, NE 68434 or by telephone at (402) 643-2941. Any person may also contact the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education: by email at OCR.KansasCity@ed.gov; by telephone at (816) 268-0550; or by fax at (816) 268-0599, regarding complaints of discrimination based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, disability as well as complaints concerning the denial of access or other discrimination against Boy Scouts or other youth groups.

Babies Can't Wait!

An Important Message to All

If you Suspect Something is Wrong...Early Intervention Can Help

If you suspect that your child isn't developing as he/she should, it's important to get another opinion as soon as possible to see if a problem really does exist. You can turn to a variety of places for help: doctors, health clinics, school districts, and community agencies.

While some professionals may believe that a child will outgrow a problem, it's better to provide help early to make sure that the child has a better chance of success. Many children do not "outgrow" a problem - they may need extra help called early intervention.

Your school and the ESU #6 Preschool Interagency Coordinating Council have a service called Child Find designed to identify children (birth to age 3) who may be at risk for learning and could benefit from special services. Children who display trouble with learning, moving, playing, hearing, seeing, and talking may qualify to receive free assistance. All children develop at different rates.

If your child is found eligible for services, an Individual Family Service Plan will be developed by you, the parent, and the people who will help you meet your child's special needs. The program will build on your child's strengths and improve areas of weakness. The program will provide support, encouragement, and assistance for you in working with your child.

Make the call that really counts. A professional will be happy to discuss your concerns about your child's development.

Call a Services Coordinator at:

Educational Service Unit #6

210 5th Street

Milford, NE 68405

800-327-0091 or 402-761-3341

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Seward County Sixpence

Seward County Sixpence is a joint countywide program between Seward, Milford, and Centennial Public School Districts and ESU 6. The program is beginning its third year and is currently recruiting families for our program. Specifically, the program works with families who are prenatal or have children up to three years old to track development, promote learning and strengthen families. Families who are interested or would like more information about Sixpence may contact us at 402-587-0800. The new address for Sixpence is 1300 Hillcrest, Seward Nebraska.

School Calendar

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Shuttle Bus Schedule

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