Viking News

February 2021

Principal's Greeting

Greetings Viking Family,

Our first weeks back from winter break both online and in person have been a success! Our Vikings continue to impress us with their ability to consistently demonstrate our CREW Expectations. We continue to reinforce mitigation protocols, especially proper wearing of face coverings, frequent hand washing and sanitizing, social distancing, and enhanced cleaning protocols on a daily basis.

As we press through the remainder of winter, if you have not done so, please check your child’s masks to make sure they are still fitting snugly. Some masks have stretched out and don’t stay up as well. Wearing masks with adjustable straps and nose wires help them to stay up really well, and seem to be more comfortable for students. Gaiters seem to be a bit harder to keep up. Also, when the weather is cold, the condensation from our breath makes the masks wet when we are outside at recess. Bringing a second mask to change into each day will help students to stay dry and comfortable.

In the month of February, we will focus on courage. In this unit we will focus on inspiring students to be courageous with their kind thoughts, words, and actions, even when others don’t acknowledge it. Every grade will also end in unison in the final lesson by completing a grade specific Random Act of Kindness. During the month of February, our school family will build this practice of courage by:

  • Identifying ways to show courage for themselves, others, and the community.
  • Practice random acts of kindness.
  • Show courage through helping themselves, others, and the community.
  • Discussing how it takes courage to be kind to others without recognition.

Below are sentence stems that can be used as discussions starters to help students practice the skills and concepts of courage at home:

  • “To me, courage is...”
  • “I show courage at school by...”
  • “I show courage at home by...”
  • “Making courageous choices positively impacts others by...”

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out. Email me at and I'll be sure to respond to you as quickly as possible. At the bottom of this electronic newsletter is a form entitled Family Voice Survey that seeks to learn parents questions, concerns, and to hear parent input. Thank you again for your continued flexibility and support as we navigate through our school year.




Go Vikings!


Mrs. Valerie Varas


Crestridge Magnet

Omaha Public Schools

(531) 299-1280

Phased Return to School in January

As we've shared the Omaha Public Schools will begin the second semester of the 2020-21 school year with a phased return to in-person learning. A reminder to families that this week (January 25th- January 29th) will be our last week in the family 3/2 model. We will see our A-K learners Monday through Wednesday and our L-Z learners Thursday and Friday.

We are excited for the opportunity to welcome back our learners for 5 days a week of in person instruction. A crucial piece of learning through this pandemic is that students learn best at school. We have been diligently preparing for phasing into 5 days of in person instruction for all students. Below are a few reminders:

  • February 1: There will be no school
  • February 2nd: All student return for in person instruction

The remote learning program will continued to be available for the families who feel it best. We are proud of our staff's willingness to continue to offer synchronous instruction to allow for our remote learners to remain connected to their classroom for instruction.

A reminder that if you wish to change your child's attendance (in person or remote), please contact the office at 531-299-1280 and we can assist.

If you have questions, please feel free to email Mrs. Varas at or send a message through Dojo.

District Response to COVID-19 in Schools

Big picture

Daily Health Screener

We want to take this opportunity to remind all of you the importance of completing the daily screener and monitoring your child and household closely for symptoms. Daily temperature checks are a part of the daily screening process. Together we will make sure our students and staff stay safe and healthy.

If you or someone you live with are experiencing the following symptom(s).

* Two or more of the following: fever 100.4 or above, chills, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue in the last 24 hours


* One of the following - a new cough, new onset of shortness of breath, new loss of taste or smell


* You or someone you live with is waiting for test results for Covid-19 following symptoms a direct exposure to someone who tested positive

* You or someone you live with have been diagnosed with Covid-19 in the last 14 days

* You have been in close contact (6 feet or closer for 15 minutes or more) with someone diagnosed with Covid-19 without masks.

If you answer "yes" to any of these questions, you will be expected to stay home.

District Health and Safety Information

Click here to read more about district related health and safety information

Planning for Safety

Safety Protocols and School Wide Procedures and Routines

With the return of all students for in person instruction, we will continue to follow safety guidance of the Omaha Public schools to include the layers of safety precautions such as frequent hand washing and sanitizing, cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces, and mask wearing. We do know that in order to support the full return of students to five days a week of in person instruction, some modifications to some of our school wide procedures in order to do our parent to keep students and staff safe while at school.Please note much of the below information is a reiteration of school wide safety protocols, procedures, and routines. We will have many families rejoining us, so at this time, it is worth restating.


As we return to five days a week of in person instruction, Crestridge will continue to offer a staggered arrival. We have found our arrival to be a smooth process when students are prepared with their mask on, their coat nearby or on and their backpack in hand. We thank parents for remaining in their car and for making our arrival safe and successful. A note, if you are bringing a car rider, they should only be dropped off in the front of the building to ensure they may be supervised by a staff members. Below is a reminder of drop off times for students:

8:35-Bus students

Students will be instructed when to vacate the bus. If eating breakfast, students will proceed into the gym and join either the cold or hot breakfast line standing on an appropriately spaced dot. After they get their breakfast, they will proceed to class. If a bus student is not eating breakfast, they will go right to class from the bus.

8:35-Intermediate (3-5) Walkers/Riders

All students will enter through the front doors. If eating breakfast, they will proceed into the gym and join either the cold or hot breakfast line standing on an appropriately spaced dot. After they get their breakfast, they will proceed to class. If not eating breakfast, they will enter through the front doors and go directly to class.

8:45-Primary (K-2) Walkers/Riders

All students will enter through the front doors. If eating breakfast, they will proceed into the gym and join either the cold or hot breakfast line standing on an appropriately spaced dot. After they get their breakfast, they will proceed to class. If not eating breakfast, they will enter through the front doors and go directly to class.

Families with more than one child may come during either of the scheduled drop off times (8:35/ 8:45) to allow older siblings to assist as needed. We are asking our families' assistance in coming at your scheduled time. This will ensure that we have adequate staffing to support our students in maintaining safety guidelines.


We will continue with our curbside pick-up procedures as we welcome students back for 5 days a week of in person instruction. Our parents have done a fantastic job remaining in their cars and pulling up into designated pick-up areas as indicated below. Dismissal will also continue to follow a staggered schedule. All students will be loaded curbside by a Crestridge staff member. Parents are asked to display signs with students names and grade levels during dismissal. If you do not have your sign, please write your child's name and grade level on the sign, this speeds up our process of loading students.

As we all adjust to most of our students returning the dismissal process make take longer initially, however as time goes on we anticipate dismissal process will again become smoother and take less time. Thank you in advance for your patience.

Below details describe dismissal procedures for the 2020-2021 school year:


3:45 Bus Kids to the Gym

  • Students seats will be labeled and will follow guidelines for appropriate distancing

  • Students seating will assist in bus loading order based on student's stops

3:50 Buses will load

  • Students will follow bus supervisor out to bus.

  • Students who are the last stop will load bus first and the remaining students will be loaded in order of their drop off

  • Buses will have seating marked to ensure appropriate distancing

*If not all the busses are at Crestridge by 3:50, we will save the front of the first bus cut out for a bus to pull up into. This area will be marked. Please adhere to posted signage.


Walkers and riders will begin exiting the building between 3:55- 3:58. Students will be lining up outside in the below designated areas.

Parents will have a sign in their car with the students’ names and grade level(s). We can use these signs to help radio one another about which student(s) to have ready to hop in the car. Parents that have 3-5 and K-2 students will be asked to proceed down Leavenworth Rd first to pick up their 3-5th grader(s) and then to go down Crestridge Rd to pick up their 2nd -Kinder student(s). If a parent only has K-2 student(s) they can simply proceed down Crestridge Rd.

Intermediate Information - Grades 3-5

  • 5th grade will line up along Leavenworth road on the sidewalk by the 2nd bus cut out. 4th grade will line up on Leavenworth Road between the sign near the crossing to 116th and the first big tree and 3rd grade will line up between the second tree and the stairs. We will can have these areas marked.

Primary Information- Grades K- 2

  • 2nd grade and 1st grade will line up on the sidewalk in front of Crestridge
  • Kindergarten will line up on the ramp coming out the kinder doors.

Face Coverings:

  • All staff, students and visitors must always wear a face covering while on campus to include district transportation. This includes arrival and dismissal times.

  • In the event that scholars forget or misplace their face coverings, we will have extra face coverings on hand
  • Students may choose to wear family- provided face coverings
  • Exceptions: Breakfast, Lunch, and Snack Time, Drinking, and Structured Physical Education Activities led by teacher

  • We ask the continued support of all of our families in practicing with your students how to properly wear the provided face coverings to ensure students nose and mouth are covered

Family and Friends of Crestridge Access to the Building:

  • At this time, parents, guardians, and friends of Crestridge will not be permitted in the building. This will include the first day of school in person.
  • To limit traffic and groups in schools and classrooms, parent meetings should be conducted virtually whenever possible. If meetings must be conducted in person, parents and guardians should arrange appointments in advance to allow planning for proper safety precautions.
  • In the event that an in-person meeting is required and has been scheduled, visitors will adhere to the directed health measures set forth by the Omaha Public Schools in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and local health officials to include:

    • Social distancing
    • Hand washing and hand sanitizing
    • Wearing of a facial covering
    • Frequent cleaning of equipment and areas

Hand washing and Hand Sanitizing
  • All Students will be provided time for frequent hand washing or hand sanitizing
  • Based on district guidelines, all students will wash hands prior to all meals and following meals
  • Teachers will use the CDC recommended hand sanitizer prior to transitions and as needed

Frequent Cleaning of Areas

  • Crestridge will adhere to district guidelines for cleaning throughout the school day with district approved products that are deemed safe
  • Nightly deep cleaning and sanitizing will occur in each classroom and throughout the building

Social distancing

  • Physical markers and building procedures such as designated play areas by cohort will assist in ensuring social distancing guidelines are followed
  • Classrooms will be structured to allow for 3-6 feet of physical distancing between students during instructional periods. Students will wear face coverings during classroom instruction.
  • To maintain 6 feet or greater of physical distancing during lunch, A-K learners will eat in the cafeteria and L-Z learners will eat in classrooms.

Reducing Transitions

  • During the 2020-2021 school year, recommendations have been made to limit the number of transitions for scholars.
  • Students will receive specials classes, with the exception of PE, within the classroom

Limiting Supply Sharing

  • Every scholar will have his/ her own supplies in the classroom
  • For materials that need to be shared, teachers and paraprofessionals will complete thorough cleaning before items are used by another student


  • Scholars will definitely go outside to enjoy recess, but classes will be assigned to zones outside to keep cohorts of scholars together
  • Crestridge will adhere to guidelines for permissible activities


  • Classrooms will take several scheduled restroom breaks during the school day to encourage safety guidelines are maintained and proper hand-washing occurs
  • The school has established protocols for individual student bathroom use as this is needed

Drinking Fountains:

  • All students are encouraged to bring water bottles labeled with their name for the 2020-2021 school year.

Backpacks and Lockers

  • Backpacks will be permitted and lockers will be used. Students will not share lockers during the 20-21 school year. Lockers are currently assigned so that students within the same cohort have a locker in between.
  • Students may still bring lunch from home.
Big picture

Quiet Hours

Our teachers have loved bringing families into their classroom communities with ClassDojo this year. As we prepare to welcome nearly all of our students back for in person instruction 5 days a week, it becomes increasingly important to protect our teachers instructional minutes with your children. At this time, I have asked all teachers to set quiet hours and to return to checking emails only before school, during plan time, and after school. Even superheroes like our teachers can’t always respond to messages immediately, especially while teaching and late at night and on weekends. After all, serving your children during the day and recharging is important!

Quiet Hours will be used by our staff to better communicate their availability. Parents can still send messages whenever it’s convenient, but they won’t expect a reply until later, plus teachers won’t receive push notifications about messages during Quiet Hours which will better allow them to focus on the needs of their students and the instructional task at hand. Below is a picture showing what you will see during teachers quiet hours.

Please note that the office is still available to address student or family needs that require immediate attention. Our office number is 531-299-1280. Additionally, if your issue requires technology support, please call 872-222-7011. There may be times that you have to wait for assistance, be assured a member of our team will reach out as soon as possible.

Big picture

Mark Your Calendar

Big picture

Upcoming Dates

Last week of the Family 3/2 Model

A reminder to families that this week (January 25th- January 29th) will be our last week in the family 3/2 model. We will see our A-K learners Monday through Wednesday and our L-Z learners Thursday and Friday.

PTO Meeting

Crestridge PTO Meeting Information January 2021

Time: Jan 27, 2021 09:30 AM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 278 390 4074

Passcode: Vikings

Picture Retakes

School wide picture retakes are schedule on Wednesday, January 27th for A-K learners and Friday, January 29 for L-Z learners. For students that are fully remote, families should contact the front office to schedule an individual time for your child. The office can be reached at 531-299-1280.

No School Reminder

A reminder that due to a district scheduled professional development and teacher planning day there will be no school on Monday, February 1st.

Full Return to 5 days a Week of In Person Learning

On February 2 we will welcome all students back for 5 days a week of in person learning!

Progress Reports

Progress reports will be sent home with students who attend in person or mailed home for remote learners the week of February 2nd. Should questions arise following your receipt of your child's progress reports, please feel free to reach out to your child's classroom teacher. Our goal is to always have proactive communication about your student's achievement and work habits.

ELPA Testing

All current and waived English learners (ELs) will be required to take the ELPA21 Summative between February 8 and March 19. The ELPA21 measures your child’s proficiency in reading, writing, speaking, listening to, and understanding English. ELPA21 defines “proficiency” as the ability to use the English language to communicate ideas, knowledge, and information.

You are an important partner in your child’s education. Here are some things you can do to help prepare your child for ELPA21:

  • Visit for information about how to access ELPA21’s practice tests, which are intended to help your child become familiar with the test questions.
  • Speak to your child’s teacher about which areas of English your child needs to focus on improving.
  • Set aside time every day to have your child read his or her favorite books to you.

Parent Breakfast

Bring your coffee and join us for parent breakfast on February 8th @ 9:30 AM. We love the opportunity to connect with families and provide information that can support student learning. This parent breakfast will highlight learning apps that we use to support student learning.

Spirit Week/ Valentine's Day Celebrations

To celebrate the return of all students in person and Valentine's Day, we will be having a winter spirit week where we celebrate that we are "Wild About Learning". The week of February 8-12 will be filled with themed spirit days and a virtual visit from Wildlife Encounters. We are looking forward to seeing everyone showing their school spirit this week!

Monday, February 8th: “Wild About Crestridge”-wear Crestridge wear

Tuesday, February 9th: “Wild About Learning”- wear animal gear or camouflage

Wednesday, February 10th: “Wild About Our Wellbeing”- wear wellness gear

Thursday, February 11th: “Wild About Valentine’s Day”- wear red, pink, and white

Friday, February 12: “Wild About College”- wear college gear and Wildlife Encounters virtual assembly

Celebration Details:

On Friday, February 12th, Crestridge will continue with its tradition of Valentine's day celebrations. Wildlife Encounters will be joining us for a virtual assembly . For families who choose not to partake in the festivities, please be assured that we will provide an alternate location and activity in order to allow you student to remain at school.

At Crestridge we work hard to ensure that students’ minds and bodies are ready for learning each day. For our school-wide celebration, a healthy snack will be prepared by the OPS nutrition services department. In accordance with district guidance, we will not be accepting snacks this year. The provided healthy snack will be consistent with the intent of the district’s Local School Wellness Policy and will promote healthful eating among our students. We are committed to making our school the healthiest it can be so our students can do their best work.

Special Notes

• Due to local health conditions, we are unable to have volunteers to serve as a room parents.

• Please see above for more details

PTO Meeting

We look forward to our upcoming PTO meeting scheduled for Wednesday, February 17th @ 5:30 PM. We have had great attendance and have truly enjoyed seeing new faces and receiving input from our Crestridge families.

Virtual Parent Teacher Conferences

Parent-Teacher Conferences will be on held primarily on Wednesday, March 3rd from 4:15 to 7:15 pm and Thursday, March 4th 4:15 to 8:15 pm. We look forward to this opportunity to promote strong engagement and to keep families informed on their student's academic progress. All virtual conferences will be held via Teams. Teachers will be reaching out to families to confirm that fall conference times still works for the spring. If you have not yet scheduled your child's conference, please contact your child's teacher who can assist you in signing up for a conference time.

A kind reminder during conferences it will be imperative that teachers stay on schedule in order to respect scheduled times for all families. Each conference has been scheduled for a 15 minute window.
Omaha Public Schools District Calendar

Both the English and Spanish calendars are available by clicking this button.

A Note from Miss Rowland

Big picture

Hello Crestridge Families,

In our Counseling classes we have started a new unit, the Emotion Management unit. In this unit we will explore what happens in our brain when experiencing a strong emotion and learn specific skills to help calm down when experiencing those feeling such as anger, anxiety, frustration, etc.

When we discuss the different parts of the brain, I use the hand model pictured above. We refer to thumb as the “feelings” part of the brain (technically the amygdala) and the four fingers as the “thinking” part of the brain (technically the prefrontal cortex). When we experience a feeling that is uncomfortable but not too big, our thinking part has rational, helpful ideas of how to handle the situation that caused the feeling. When we experience a feeling that is a big, uncomfortable feeling, our thinking part “flips” or, in other words, stops thinking and we are guided by the feelings part of the brain. Ask your student to show you the hand model we talk about.

After we discuss what happens in the brain when experiencing a strong emotion, we start practicing the Calm Down Skills. These 5 steps help to get the thinking part of the brain working again in order to think calmly about how to handle the situation that caused the big feelings. When doing steps 1 and 2 (Stop-use your signal and name your feelings), I explain to students that these two steps begin to re-engage the thinking part of the brain and steps 3-5 (deep breathing, counting and positive self -talk) continue to help our body and brain calm down.If you would like to learn a little bit more about this, check out the YouTube video in the link:

If you would like more information about the Calm Down skills or if there is anything else you would like to be in touch with me about, please do not hesitate to contact me via phone (531-299-1286), email (, Dojo or using the counselor link below.

Be well,

Miss Rowland

Crestridge Counselor

Big picture
Big picture

Cold Weather Information

As the winter months inch closer, please remember that breakfast does not begin until 8:35. Students should not be dropped off prior to 8:35 am. This can become a safety issue once the temperature begins to drop.

An additional reminder that we make every effort to get students outside weather permitting. Recess will be outside unless the temperature with wind-chill falls below 25 degrees. We welcome snow exploration, however for the safety of students snow gear is necessary if children wish to play in the snow.

If you are in need of coats, hats, gloves, or boots please contact us at Crestridge. We have worked diligently with our partners to assembly a clothes closet to support with students needs and we are happy to help!

Parent Corner

Hello! My name is Christy Jácome and I’m the Instructional Facilitator here at Crestridge. This is my 7th year at Crestridge, after having taught 6 years in Ecuador. My husband and I have two sons, Julián (4) and Gael (2). I am passionate about working with students, teachers, and families to ensure your children receive an excellent education here! I plan on using this space to share relevant and helpful tips for parents.

Tip #1: Infinite Campus Parent Portal

As progress reports come home in a week and a half, I would highly encourage you to sign up for the parent portal on Infinite Campus, the platform OPS uses for grades. You will be able to view your child’s grades, as well as review if your child has missing assignments. Within the next week you will be receiving an activation code via email in order to set up your parent account on Infinite Campus. If we don’t have an email on file for you, you will receive a ClassDojo message with the code.

Need help setting up your Infinite Campus account? Check out these resources here:

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions!

Christy Jácome

Work: 531-299-8216

Work Cell: 872-222-7011

Big picture

Yearbook Information

Big picture

Food Distribution Sites

OPS Meals 2 Go

As we return from the holiday break, the Omaha Public Schools Meals2Go schedule is as shown below:

Week of Jan. 4, 2021: Most students learn remotely

  • We will distribute Meals2Go on Jan. 4 and Jan. 6 from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Week of Jan. 11, 2021: OPS phases some students into in-person learning.

  • Meals2Go on Mondays and Wednesdays will return to the previous times:
  • Elementary: 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
  • Secondary: 8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Week of Jan. 18, 2021: OPS resumes the Family 3/2 model on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

  • Due to the holiday on Monday, Jan. 18, Meals2Go will be distributed on Tuesday, Jan. 19 and Wednesday, Jan. 20 at the original times.
  • Elementary: 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
  • Secondary: 8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

If you have questions about the Meals2Go program, please contact the Nutrition Services Office at (531) 299-0230 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Food Bank of the Heartland

The Food Bank for the Heartland is supporting our families during this time with pantry pick-up options. Please see the link below to visit their website to find out more information.

A Map of Food Distribution by Address

A thank you to the Latino Center of the Midlands for this interactive map to assist families in identifying their closest location for food distribution based on a family's address. Please click the link below to use this tool to identify your closes pantry.

Social Resources

Cox Connect2Compete Internet Access for Families

If you find yourself in need of assistance in attaining a home WiFi connection, Cox Cable offers their Cox Connect2Compete program for families in need. The program offers WiFi for $9.95 per month. Cox is offering special discounts for families due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Please see the link below:


Need help, but not sure where to turn?

People across our area face challenges every day and may not know how to find or access local programs that address them. That’s what 211 is all about: connecting our neighbors with nearby services that can help. If you are looking for assistance in finding a food pantry, paying for a utility bill, accessing safe housing or shelter, receiving counseling services and more, speak with one of our helpline specialists today. 211 is available 24/7 by phone or text. Your call is free and confidential.

Call 2-1-1 or text your zip code to 898211 to get in touch with a helpline specialist today.

Please see the link below for more information or to visit their website.

Latino Center of the Midlands

Affected by COVID?

Through the CARES ACT, the Latino Center of the Midlands is able to assist individuals and families whose lives have been directly or indirectly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Latino Center of Midlands is dispersing emergency COVID relief. You may be eligible for assistance with:

  • Rent/ Mortgage
  • Utilities
  • Food Assistance

Ready to apply?

Please visit the below website or call us at 402-733-2720 to make an appointment.

Want to Support the PTO?

The below are opportunities for you to give through your purchasing:

Other Resources for Families

District Level Support

If you have additional questions, please consider which of the following department below may best meet your needs.

Contact Student Information Services at for:

  • Current or past student proof of education
  • Pre-K and K registration or physicals
  • Questions about summer school

Contact the Student Placement Office at​ for:

  • Transfer requests
  • Questions regarding home attendance areas

Other Links for Families

Family Voice Survey

The Family Voice Survey that seeks to learn parents questions, concerns, and to hear parent input.Our goal is to provide accurate and update information to our families and to address parents questions and concerns.
Big picture