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Omaha Magazine

Westside Community Schools: Innovation, Community and Excellence

Aug 01, 2022 11:51AM ● By Kara Schweiss

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Westside Community Schools originated in 1947 as a merger of three rural school districts west of Omaha. As it celebrates 75 years, the district (still known to many as District 66) represents a diverse urban/suburban population at Westside High School, Westside Middle School, 10 elementary schools, and Underwood Hills Early Learning Center. Westside is known for innovation, community, and excellence, said Director of Communications & Engagement Brandi Paul. “Those three things really exemplify what the school district is always about.”

To begin with, innovation is “everywhere,” Paul said. 

“Teachers, students and even our support staff are given the freedom, creativity, and support to try new things, to think outside the box,” she explained. From flexible classroom space and co-teaching, to modular scheduling and a robust trades program at the high school level, “That innovation has resulted in some incredible things.”

A sense of community makes the district feel “like a little city in a big city,” with outstanding support from businesses, neighbors, and alumni, Paul said. Compared to 75 years ago, schools now have an increased sense of responsibility for children’s physical and mental health, safety, social, and emotional well-being—both in and outside of school. “We won’t be as effective as we want to be if we don’t address those main core components of how to treat the whole child,” she said.

As for excellence, “Everything from ACT scores, to inclusion and diversity, to our athletics and activities, to our alumni support and teacher and staff support, we want to be the best in everything we do.”

Westside Community Schools
909 S. 76th St.
Omaha, NE 68114

This article originally appeared in the August/September 2022  issue of B2B Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.  

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