Westside Community Schools

Basic Information

Address: 909 So. 76th St. Omaha, NE 68114
Phone Number: 402-390-2100
Superintendent: Dr. Blane McCann

Action Shots

Westside Community Schools
Westside Community Schools
Westside Community Schools
Westside Community Schools

* Click each thumbnail for a larger version.

Additional Information

Member Schools: Westside High School, Westside Middle School, Westside High School West Campus, Hillside Elementary, Loveland Elementary, Oakdale Elementary, Paddock Road Elementary, Prairie Lane Elementary, Rockbrook Elementary, Sunset Hills Elementary, Swanson Elementary, Westgate Elementary, Westbrook Elementary
Mission Statement:

The mission of the Westside Community School District, as an innovative educational system, is to ensure academic excellence and to serve the unique needs of all learners.

District Characteristics: Leaders and community members determined that District 66 would be guided by high principles of excellence, innovation, and community. For more than sixty years, Westside Community Schools has used those principles to realize its mission “to meet the unique needs of all learners.” Westside Community Schools is a district of “firsts” and has a reputation for sparking innovative ideas. It is the home to Nebraska’s first special education program and was the first to receive national recognition for its full-inclusion approach for students with special needs. It was the first in the state to implement full-day kindergarten and pre-school programs in elementary schools. In 2004, Westside was among the first in the country to provide all high school students with a laptop computer, and in 2008, the program was expanded to include eighth-grade students. Westside became a fully 1-to-1 school district during the 2014-15 school year with the rollout of iPads for every elementary school student and laptops for seventh-graders. Westside’s approach to staff compensation is also distinctive. Merit pay for teachers has been a part of the compensation system since 1971, and a program of differentiated staffing provides extended contracts beyond the school year to many teachers. The District pays tuition costs for graduate work and requires that all teachers earn a master’s degree within the first ten years of employment.
School Municipalities: Omaha, Nebraska and the surrounding metro area.
History:

In 1946, residents living on the western edge of Omaha sought a way to maintain quality education in their rural schools. The Boards of Education of Districts 19, 31, 46 and 65 met to decide whether combining resources would better address individual differences in children. After careful study, a committee of experts proposed a merger of the four districts into one. This group suggested that the districts use existing school facilities for students in grades K through 6. The committee also suggested that a new high school be designed and built with the specific developmental and academic needs of students in mind.

A series of joint meetings during the winter culminated in the merger of districts 31, 46 and 65 to form District 66 in March 1947 (District 19 chose not to join). The first three schools in the new District were Oakdale, Underwood Hills and Loveland.

The junior-senior high school opened its doors in 1952. The school was built on farmland near 87th and Pacific Street. The current high school still sits on that site today. District 66 named the school Westside after West Side Story, a popular musical at the time. The new name also served to unify the three former districts when District 66 became known as the Westside Community Schools.

Notable Alumni:

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts
Philadelphia Phillies Pitcher Darin Ruf
Nebraska Football Quarterback Ron Kellogg III
Pediatrician Dr. Michael Wilzcewski
WOWT Sports Director Ross Jernstrom

Other Facilities: Westside CAPS (Center For Advanced Placement Studies) Program
Athletics: Numerous varsity sports for girls and boys including football, softball, volleyball, golf, basketball, cross country, swimming and diving
Curriculum:

The Westside Community Schools implements the K-12 comprehensive standards outlined by the Nebraska Department of Education. As additional standards are established, it is our goal to continue to develop highly rigorous standards of learning. Student achievement of the standards is measured at all grade levels and in all courses through a comprehensive assessment system.

Academic Course Standards

Language Arts Standards:

Reading Standard: Students will learn and apply reading skills and strategies to comprehend text.

Writing Standard: Students will learn and apply writing skills and strategies to communicate.

Speaking/Listening Standard: Students will learn and apply speaking and listening skills and strategies to communicate.

Multiple Literacies Standard: Students will identify, locate, and evaluate information.

K-12 Math Standards:

Number Sense Standard: Students will communicate number sense concepts using multiple representations to reason, solve problems, and make connections within mathematics and across disciplines.

Geometric/Measurement Standard: Students will communicate geometric concepts and measurement concepts using multiple representations to reason, solve problems, and make connections within mathematics and across disciplines.

Algebraic Standard: Students will communicate algebraic concepts using multiple representations to reason, solve problems, and make connections within mathematics and across disciplines.

Data Analysis/Probability Standard: Students will communicate data analysis/probability concepts using multiple representations to reason, solve problems, and make connections within mathematics and across disciplines.

K-12 Science Standards

Inquiry, the Nature of Science and Technology Standard: Students will combine scientific processes and knowledge with scientific reasoning and critical thinking to ask questions about phenomena and propose explanations based on gathered evidence.

Physical Science Standard: Students will integrate and communicate the information, concepts, principles, processes, theories, and models of the Physical Sciences to make connections with the natural and engineered world.

Life Science Standard: Students will integrate and communicate the information, concepts, principles, processes, theories, and models of the Life Sciences to make connections with the natural and engineered world.

Earth and Space Sciences Standard: Students will integrate and communicate the information, concepts, principles, processes, theories, and models of Earth and Space Sciences to make connections with the natural and engineered world.

K-12 Social Studies Standards

Concepts and Skills Standard: Students will understand social studies concepts and skills.

Social Science Standard: Students will reason and justify their thinking about social science issues.

Communicating Understandings Standard: Students will communicate their social studies understandings.

Connecting Understandings Standard: Students will make connections using social studies understandings.

Belief Statements:

Mission

The mission of the Westside Community School District, as an innovative educational system, is to ensure academic excellence and to serve the unique needs of all learners.

Vision

Westside Community Schools will relentlessly pursue innovative educational ideals and promise to personalize learning for every student. We invite the challenge developing a community of learners who embrace a broader, richer definition of success.

Demographics:

The Westside Community Schools, also known as District 66, is an award-winning district located in the heart of Omaha. We serve students in pre-kindergarten through the 12th grade and recorded a district enrollment of 6,123 students K-12 for the 2015-16 school year.

Westside has a single high school (grades 9-12), one middle school (grades 7-8), one secondary Career Center (grades 10-12) and 10 neighborhood elementary schools. There are 10 locations operating a Before and After School Age program. Six of the 10 locations operate preschool and extended learning, full-day care for children 3 to 5 years. Two of the six full-day locations operate toddler programs for ages 18 months to 3 years. Almost 800 students are enrolled in the school-age child care program, and almost 400 children are enrolled in the early childhood program.

Academics: The 2015/2016 Reading, Math, and Science (Nebraska State Accountability) NeSA test results for Westside Community Schools are now available. On the morning of Friday, September 16, 2016, the Nebraska Department of Education publicly released the scores. Writing will be released at a future time. These tests are one-time, drop-in checks of student performance on state standards. It is important to note that not all of the state standards are tested on the NeSA exams and that no single test score can tell the full story performance of an individual student, school building, or district. The child’s teacher will continue to be the best source of information on how well an individual child is learning. Our district has embarked on a journey of using data to guide our decision-making. While not the sole determinate of student academic success, the district mission statement, belief statements, and strategic plan are validated through these scores as indicated below. Westside Community Schools NeSA results (percent of students proficient) for 2015-2016 are listed below by subject and by grade: Westside Reading Scores 2015-2016 Grade 3 – 91% Grade 4 – 89% Grade 5 – 87% Grade 6 – 88% Grade 7 – 87% Grade 8 – 84% Grade 11 – 82% Westside Math Scores 2015-2016 Grade 3 – 83% Grade 4 – 80% Grade 5 – 77% Grade 6 – 77% Grade 7 – 82% Grade 8 – 74% Grade 11 – 77% Westside Science 2015-2016 (only grades 5, 8, and 11) Grade 5 – 81% Grade 8 – 73% Grade 11 – 83% Results from NeSA assessments are mostly designed to provide comparative information on a large scale for how districts stack up in Nebraska and how schools stack up in individual school districts. These big picture indicators, when viewed over time, can help districts see if educational decisions (based on multiple sources of data) are helping to improve student learning overall. However, data from NeSA tests are only one source among many that Westside Community Schools uses to make informed academic decisions. National test results and the child’s classroom assessment results are just as important. These multiple assessments are listed on the Westside Schools’ Assessment Description informational page. To access this information please follow this link. The challenge for the Westside Community Schools, and all schools throughout the state, is to use assessment results to show improvement over time. While trend data is important, the goal of educators in the Westside Community Schools is to look from the big picture down to the individual student. The family of each student participating in the NeSA tests will receive a report on their child’s performance this Fall. Each test is broken down into multiple data points, including Performance Level, Scale Score and Percent Correct (Reading-Vocabulary and Comprehension, Math-Number Sense, Geometric/Measurement, Algebraic, and Data Analysis/Probability, Science-Inquiry, The Nature of Science, and Technology, Physical Science, Life Science, and Earth and Space Science). The Writing assessment is broken down into Performance Level, Scale Score, and Average Domain Scores (Ideas/Content, Organization, Word Choice/Voice, and Sentence Fluency/Conventions). Summary: We are very proud of the work of our staff as Reading, Math, and Science scores, for the Westside Community Schools, were above the state average of students proficient in almost every grade level. Some greater detail follows below: Reading (Grades 3-8 and 11): Above the state average in seven of the seven grade levels. 7th year of testing. Math (Grades 3-8 and 11): At or above the state average in seven of the seven grade levels. 6th year of testing Science (Grades 5,8, and 11): Above the state average in three of the three grade levels 5th year of testing. Westside Community Schools uses this data for multiple purposes, including: Providing feedback to students, parents, and our community. Guiding instructional decisions. Guiding curriculum development and revision. Measuring program success and effectiveness over time. Accountability to meet state and federal requirements. Data will be reviewed by each building through future data retreats in order to break the data down into more specific areas, including reading, math, and science indicators with highest and lowest performance. In addition, writing scores are broken down into four domains. However, it is important to note that at least three years of data is needed before solid trends in achievement can be determined. This data from NeSA, along with other assessments, will be used to guide the development of school and district goals for the 2016/2017 school year.
Assets and Achievements: Westside Community School District offers a highly regarded early childhood education program. The first early childhood center opened in 1968. By 1986, Westside’s program was declared one of twelve exemplary programs in the nation. Today the District’s elementary schools house two toddler programs, six half-day pre-school programs, and two full-day, five-day-a-week pre-kindergarten programs for four-year-olds. The District’s K-6 program provides students with challenging, stimulating curriculum presented in enriched learning environments. Content standards in all curricular areas guide instruction and assessment. Students develop strong skills in math, language arts, science and social studies and receive weekly instruction in Spanish, music, art, and physical education. Technology integration is part of daily life in Westside’s elementary schools. Westside Middle School, designated as a Blue Ribbon School by the US Department of Education in 1997, provides the District’s seventh- and eighth-graders with an exceptional core curriculum and robust electives, including up to two full years of German, French or Spanish. (Accordion here.) Team teaching, hands-on learning, and technology integration are emphasized by staff focused on meeting the academic, social, emotional and physical needs of early adolescents. Accelerated courses, gifted programming, and full-inclusion special education services support the success of all students. A rich extracurricular program gets all students involved in a variety of sports, arts, and personal interest club activities. Westside High School is home to one of the premiere college preparatory programs in the nation as evidenced by Blue Ribbon School awards in 1984 and 1996. (Accordion here) Westside High School’s unique modular schedule helps students develop as independent learners and allows students to enroll in an additional semester of courses over the course of a four-year program. Technology integration is extensive. Educators from across the U.S. and from foreign countries visit Westside’s model program of computer integration in instruction. Rigorous graduation requirements include demonstrations of proficiency in “Exit Outcomes.” In addition, all students must meet an 80-hour community service requirement and complete a senior project. Approximately one-third of all graduates earn a commended diploma. A strong list of AP and dual enrollment courses help prepare approximately 85 percent of each class to attend college. A full complement of competitive sports, activities, and clubs engage students in school life and encourage leadership and personal development. Students and teachers frequently receive local, state and national awards, and at all grade levels Westside students’ scores are among the highest on state and national measures of achievement. Parent, student, and community opinion survey data show high levels of satisfaction with the school district and its programming. Westside’s rich history and continued commitment to excellence, innovation, and community provide the foundation for our students to be internationally competitive.
Awards and Recognition: In 1946, three small rural Omaha school districts joined together to form one school district that would be guided by high principles of excellence, innovation, and community. For more than sixty years, Westside Community School District has used those principles to realize its mission “to meet the unique needs of all learners.” Modular Scheduling Westside High School’s unique modular schedule helps students develop as independent learners and allows students to enroll in an additional semester of courses over the course of a four-year program. Click here for more information. Special Services Westside Community Schools award winning Special Services program believes that quality instruction can best be met through collaborative school environments, whereby all educators realize the deficiencies of teaching in isolation and the enhanced student opportunities that can result from shared instructional strategies and collaborative decision-making. Instructional Technology Westside’s 1-to-1 initiative, one computer for every student, began at our high school building in 2004, when Westside administrators invited teachers to imagine what their school might look like if every student had 24/7 access to a notebook computer. In 2008 our board of education expanded our One-to-One program to include 8th graders at our Middle School. Sixty-three laptop carts provide a 2-to-1 ratio of students to notebook computers at our ten elementary buildings. Click here for more information. Professional Learning Westside Community Schools has a well-developed and well-supported professional development program designed to enhance, maintain, and refine staff skills. For more than 25 years, the focus of this program has been to improve learning for all students. Click here for more information. Early Childhood Westside Community School District offers a highly regarded early childhood education program. The first early childhood center opened in 1968, and by 1986 Westside’s program was declared one of twelve exemplary programs in the nation. Today the District’s elementary schools house two toddler programs, six half-day pre-school programs, and two full-day, five-day-a-week pre-kindergarten programs for four-year-olds. Outstanding Teaching Staff Westside’s approach to staff compensation is also distinctive. Merit pay for teachers has been a part of the compensation system since 1971, and a program of differentiated staffing provides extended contracts beyond the school year to many teachers. The District pays tuition costs for graduate work and requires that all teachers earn a master’s degree within the first ten years of employment. Click here for staff awards. Class Size Convinced of the positive effects of small class size on student learning and classroom environment, Westside Community Schools has made every effort to keep the number of students in its elementary classrooms low. Research is less clear about the connection between class size and achievement at intermediate grades, but at those grades, too, class sizes are relatively low. Graduation Requirements Rigorous graduation requirements include demonstrations of proficiency in “Exit Outcomes.” In addition all students must meet an 80-hour community service requirement and complete a senior project. Approximately one-third of all graduates earn a commended diploma. A strong list of AP and dual enrollment courses help prepare approximately 85% of each class to attend college. Click here for more information.

National Directories

Site Map