EXCELLENCE AND INNOVATION
Leaders and community members determined that District 66 would be guided by high principles of excellence, innovation, and community. For decades, 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 inclusive special education services 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.
In October 2022, we marked another first in the country; Westside Community Schools was the first multi-campus district in the nation to receive Unified Banner honors at all campuses. This honor recognizes an organization’s commitment to inclusion by achieving ten set standards of excellence developed by leaders in education and Special Olympics, including ongoing efforts to connect students with and without intellectual disabilities.