Category Archives: Parents

Talented and Gifted Academy of Omaha

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Talented and Gifted Academy of Omaha (TAG Academy) is an original start-up company offering services to area talented youth.  The Academy was created to provide challenging enrichment opportunities for kids in areas such as robotics, computer technology (3D printing, coding, video game making, graphics, and more), higher order thinking, creativity, problem solving, performance arts, and studio/visual arts that do not currently exist in the metro area as an extracurricular option for motivated learners.

You can read more about TAG Academy and the courses they offer on their web page.   Also, check our their March flyer by Clicking Here.

Westside Community Schools does not sponsor or endorse the company described here.  The sharing of this information is provided as a community service.

Coding Bliss

Girls Only!

Coding Bliss is a monthly coding workshop for girls.  The goal is to make coding fun and accessible to young women in the community.

The event is held on the 2nd Tuesday of each month from 5-8 pm.

Check out more details at


  • 5-5:30: Networking
  • 5:30-6:00: Guest Speaker (Sandi Barr-Founder of Omaha Coding Women)
  • 6-8:00:  Coding Workshop-Introduction to HTML (led by Shonna Dorsey-co-founder of Interface Web School)


50 Books All Kids Should Read Before They’re 12

As a mother of 4 active boys, I often struggle to find balance with family time, church, homework, sports, and the day-to-day things that just pop-up.  I recently took my boys to Kearney to stay in a hotel where they could swim and go down water slides.  This was their incentive (OK…maybe it was a bribe) for reading their books and finishing the projects for Battle of the Books.

What I realized in the months leading up to this was that I have 4 boys with very different attitudes and preferences when it comes to reading.  We downloaded a couple of the books to my iPad which my 3rd grader seemed to enjoy.  My 1st grader is in-between picture books and chapter books and isn’t quite independent yet.  My 5th grader prefers non-fiction books about cars and sports, and my littlest one just wants someone to read to him.


This list of 50 Books Kids Should Read Before They’re 12 came in my email the other day from Common Sense Media and I thought it would be a great list to share with parents who may or may not know of some age-appropriate titles for their kids.  Check it out and leave a comment below.  What are some “must reads” for kids in your opinion?  Do you have any advice for motivating kids to read?

Science Olympiad Recap

Question: What do you get when you gather 110 students interested in science and allow them to think creatively, problem solve, experiment and collaborate?
Answer: Learning at its best!

The 2nd Annual WCS Elementary Science Olympiad was a huge success!  Throughout the day, students participated in a variety of events that challenged their thinking.

The Zoo School facilitated a Wildlife Safari event where students practiced their observation and inference skills.  The Barge Building event challenged students to create a foil structure that would float in water and support the most pennies.  Mystery Powders had students identifying substances based on their reactions to different liquids.  Other events included Rock Hound, Straw Tower, Mystery Boxes and Edible Vehicle.

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It was a great day thanks to the organization of Sheree Person-Pandil and John Thomsen from ESU #3.  We also had 9 amazing WHS students who shared their love of science by helping out at each event and facilitating a Science Bowl.


It’s so great to offer these types of opportunities to our students.  Seeing the level of engagement and enthusiasm from the students is what makes our job so rewarding!  Thank you to everyone involved in making this day a success!  Click on the link below to watch a short iMovie trailer of the day.

Click Here to Watch the Video

Nebraska Association for Gifted Parent/Community Presentation

“The Pivotal Role of Parents/Families in Advocating for Your Child’s Giftedness”

Each year in conjunction with the annual spring conference, the Nebraska Association for Gifted sponsors a parent/community presentation.  This year, the presentation will take place on Thursday, February 26 at the Kaneko Center at 1111 Jones St.

  • Thursday, February 26 from 7:00-8:15 pm
  • Kaneko Center 1111 Jones Street in the Old Market
  • Public is welcome with a $25 admission/family unit (fee is suggested, but not required)

Click here for a flyer with more information about the presentation.

2015 Block Kids


The Block Kids program was created in 1990 to introduce children in grades 1-6 to the construction industry.  During the event, kids are given a maximum of one hour to use their blocks and selected items to build a project that is in some way related to the construction industry.  This is a free event!

When:  The 2015 event will be held on Saturday, February 7th at 10:00 am

Where:  Metro Community College South Campus (29th and Q Street)  Industrial Technology Center, Room 120

Click Here for the Brochure

Click Here for the Registration Form

Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions


KitHub is a new company that is full of STEAM!

(Science Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math)

KitHub sells a monthly subscription for “kits” that contain everything a creative young innovator might need to build a project.  Check out their website at

Westside Community Schools does not sponsor or endorse the company described here.  The sharing of this information is provided as a community service.

My Brain Hurts!


Remind students that they “drive” their own brains,

and teach them useful learning strategies.

Check out this article about teaching students about their brains.

Memory talks are remembering to remember.

Check out this video about strengthening a child’s brain.

The prefrontal cortex is one of the areas of the brain that changes

the most dramatically during adolescence. 

Check out this video about the prefrontal cortex in adolescents.

Do you have any thoughts and/or resources related to brain development in children and adolescents?  Feel free to leave a comment below and share!

Engineering Learning Center

The Midwest is filled with innovation … why not allow the students who grow up here the opportunity to capture that and make something great?

Time for STEM provides opportunities for students who want to experience real life examples and projects in engineering.  Some programs include:

  • Electrical Engineer I & II
  • Aerospace Engineer
  • Social Media Engineer
  • Agricultural Engineer
  • Environmental Engineer

For more information, check out the website and course schedule.


Course Schedule:

Westside Community Schools does not sponsor or endorse the organization or activity described here.  The sharing of this information is provided as a community service.

Hour of Code

Every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science!

Many classrooms have already started the adventure of exposing students to the world of computer science through coding.  Some students are making their own video games using Pixel Press Floors and Hopscotch.  Others are using the curriculum on  and Khan Academy.  Scratch, Scratch Jr. and Tynker are other resources to check out if you’re interested in having your kids learn to code.  Leave a comment and let us know how your classroom and/or children are learning about computer science!

Make sure to check out the resources on the Hour of Code site at

Also, check out the Computer Science Education Resource Guide @