resume slideshow
 
 

Friday Notes

1/15/2021

To All Bennington Public Schools’ Students and Families:
Here is a fun fact to kick-off our Friday Notes, January is named after Janus, the ancient
Roman god of gates and doors, symbolizing endings, beginnings, and transitions. He is
depicted with two heads: one head looking at the past and the other at the future. This
fact can be linked to many things in January like the beginning of a new year as well as
the beginning of the new semester for students. This reflection on transitions is very
appropriate as we review our path through the COVID-19 pandemic so far and look to
the future of vaccines for adults and the longer path of vaccines for children. We
continue to move through transitions with what we can and cannot do in schools as we
learn more about the virus.
Our final look at the name of January reminds us to look to the past as we celebrate the
birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, January 18th. Dr. King was an
American citizen who worked to advance civil rights and social justice through non-
violent protests. As we celebrate the work of Dr. King, we must recognize that the work
is not done and as educators, we must continue to open the door to the past for
students as they prepare to be the future leaders of tomorrow.
Bennington does not hold school on MLK Day to allow families time together to
celebrate this day. There are many opportunities in the Omaha Metropolitan area to
celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King. UNMC is hosting a virtual celebration at noon.
The Omaha’s Children’s Museum is open but reservations are required. MLK Day is a
national day of service and there are many opportunities to volunteer in our community
not only on this day but every day. The Open Door Mission is looking for volunteers
ages five and older to help sort and assemble donations. This is only one suggestion as
there are many more ways to spend the day in service to others.
The District plans to continue our level of education at Tier II, or Yellow, for the week of
January 18th. Our students have done a wonderful job at jumping right back into the
2020-2021 “new normal” with the return from winter break. Please continue to share
with them that they are the reason we can continue to provide in-person learning; their
resilience has been admirable. As a reminder, if you are wanting to keep current with our

COVID-19 numbers and resources, we are continually updating our BPS COVID-19
Dashboard to allow for just that.
On Wednesday, January 27th through Friday, January 29th, Bennington Public Schools’
will be offering free COVID-19 testing for High school students and staff. This resource
is made available, at no cost, thanks to the partnership with the Department of Health
and Human Services (DHHS), Department of Education, and the Operations Team with
Test Nebraska. Due to staff and time limitations, there is a set number of tests that can
be performed each day and this testing will be conducted on a volunteer basis. Students
and Staff are not required to take this free COVID-19 testing. To register, you can either
scan a QR code found on the district website or enter the link below on a computer or
other device connected to the internet. Hard copies of the registration and consent form
will be available in the high school office.
https://covid19testingne.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cJa8ezYYRQfZRCl?walk_in=tru
e
Bennington had its first cancellation of school due to severe weather today, so we will
make up the day on Friday, March 12th, for all in-person and remote learners. This day
will change from a Teacher Inservice day to a Student day. If you did not receive the
communication through our school messaging system please visit your NebSIS Family
Account which may be accessed at benningtonschools.org under your school parent
information. In student verification, you must agree to receive our automated calls and
emails.
I Love Public Schools Day is Wednesday, January 20th. This is a day to celebrate what
connects us as educators, students, and our community. There are many ways to help
us celebrate this day, there are some suggestions linked here, and great stories and
films about Nebraska’s public schools for you to enjoy at iloveps.org.
We will conclude this week’s Friday Notes with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” We are
fortunate to be part of the Bennington community who never hesitates to step up to help
others when in need. Generosity has been evident throughout the COVID pandemic
and the winter holidays just concluded. We hope you have a safe and enjoyable
weekend and MLK Day and we will see our students back in the classroom on Tuesday
morning. Thank you for your support!
Take care and stay Badger Strong!

1/8/2021

To All Bennington Public Schools’ Students and Families:

This has been an exciting week. We welcomed teachers and students back to begin the second semester. Ninety-five percent of Bennington students are learning in person, while about 5% are learning remotely. Most elementary and middle school students have finished the mid-year MAP-Growth tests with promising results. Experts had predicted a severe loss of learning with the school closures last spring and with many students learning from home this fall, but Bennington students are making positive progress in catching up. Our Math and Reading scores are not where they typically are at this time of year, but they are making up ground faster than typical growth. We are proud of our teachers, students, and families, who make learning a priority.

The District plans to continue our level of education at Tier II, or Yellow, for the week of January 11th. We continue to appreciate your patience and grace with the ever changing quarantine expectations. Bennington Public Schools works closely with county health officials to ensure safety stays at the forefront of all of our decisions and we will continue to communicate any and all changes in expectations as we move through the second semester. We will maintain our practice of all of our safety protocols that are in place with emphasis on social distancing, wearing of face coverings, and continued good hygiene practices. Our goal is to do all we can to ensure limited to no spread of the virus in school. We have been one of the few school districts in our area that has provided the option of in-person instruction during the entire first semester and we feel these safety restrictions and the constant communication between families and their school buildings is what has allowed us to maintain a safe environment.

It is the month of January and winter weather in Nebraska can impact safe student travel to and from school. In the case of school closure, patrons will receive communication through our school messaging system. If you are unsure if you are registered to receive school messages through phone, text, or email, please visit your NebSIS Family Account which may be accessed at benningtonschools.org under your school parent information. In student verification you must agree to receive our automated calls and emails. You may also find school closing information on local media channels.

For the 2020-2021 school year, winter weather school closure will remain non-student contact days with no option for remote learning. BPS values our contact time with students and understands the importance of honoring every opportunity for learning. In the occurrence of school closures, student contact days will be made up. If needed, this year’s calendar contains five snow make up days. The first snow make up day is scheduled for March 12th, with three additional days added to the end of the year from May 19th through May 21st, and the final day is April 1st of spring break. 

Our first Wednesday early out of this semester will take place this coming week on January 13th. Just a reminder this is a staggered release with elementary dismissal at 11:40 AM, middle school dismissal at 11:50 AM, and high school dismissal at 12:00 PM. Please view the calendar at benningtonschools.org or follow the link 2020-21 School Calendar regarding all future early release dates, no school days, and snow make up days. Your student may pick up a sack lunch to bring home on early dismissal days, if you reserve a meal through the form principals send out each week of early dismissal.

We hope to share out more information in the coming days in regards to extra curricular activities and facility usage. As we lessen some of these restrictions, we understand we are opening our doors to a higher level of exposure to the virus. We will do all we can to allow greater participation of our community members while keeping safety and cleanliness our top priorities. This will be a slow roll out, so please continue to be patient during this time. Patience has been the theme of the 2020-2021 school year and one we do not see leaving us anytime soon.

We will conclude this week’s Friday Notes with a few thoughts on the unrest at our national capitol. Bennington’s curriculum explicitly teaches about the rights and responsibilities of being an American citizen. In the last couple of days, teachers did their best to answer students’ questions about the violence, honestly and without voicing personal and political opinions. In most classrooms, we continued with the business of learning our normal curriculum, but when and where students had questions, they were addressed. As Americans, we can be proud of our republic while being disappointed in some of our citizens who went beyond the bounds of their rights to disrupt our government. Dr. JoAnne Owens-Nausler spoke to Bennington’s staff on Monday and reminded us about the importance of the work we do with “our learners of today, who will be our leaders of tomorrow.” Thank you for your support!

Take care and stay Badger Strong!

1/3/2021

To All Bennington Public Schools’ Students and Families:

Welcome to 2021! We hope that you have had a relaxing winter break and that everyone has been able to stay healthy. It has been an unusual winter break for many as we limited our travel and missed getting to see loved ones in person. We celebrate the success of completing our first semester of learning and look forward to jumping into the second semester. Remember, staff will report back from winter break for inservice on Monday, January 4th, but students will not report back until Tuesday, January 5th.

We start the second semester with safety continuing to be a priority. Health officials warn us about an expected spike in COVID virus cases and remind us to protect ourselves by practicing the three W’s: Washing your hands, Wearing a face covering, and Watching your distance (six feet from others). If you, or anyone in your household, tests positive for COVID-19, please continue to notify your building principal. Our goal is to do all we can to ensure limited to no spread of the virus in school. Continuous communication between our families and buildings will help us accomplish this.

We continue to work with health officials as new health measures are established. Quarantine lengths have changed with the new information learned about the virus and its spread, so please check with your school for return dates following an exposure or illness. The return to normalcy will only happen when the vaccine is made available to everyone and most people have received it; thus, we still have a distance to travel before we can relax our safety protocols. We will share information and community plans as we receive them. Until we are safely vaccinated, we will continue to enforce all safety measures in our school buildings.

We want to remind you that the 2020-21 School Year Calendar has been modified. On December 14th, the Bennington Board of Education approved the continuation of every-other-Wednesday early outs through the remainder of the school year. We do not foresee the elimination of remote learning during the 2020-2021 school year and these early outs are beneficial in the planning, preparation, and training for the delivery of a hybrid learning model. Please view the modified calendar at benningtonschools.org or follow the link 2020-21 School Calendar.

Students begin the second semester, third quarter, or fourth hexter on January 5th. Academic progress reports for third through fifth grade students are available online now. Middle and high school student grade reports will be posted on January 8th. Academic progress reports may be viewed in your NebSIS Family Account. This link is found at benningtonschools.org. Follow the link to your child’s school. You will find access to your NebSIS account under parents. This secure account requires a unique username and password. If you need assistance, please contact your building secretary.

It is noteworthy to highlight the extension of the USDA nationwide waiver of school meals. These waivers allow Bennington Public Schools to provide free meals to all students for the duration of the 2020-21 school year. Please remember these important facts…….

  • All a la carte purchases will be charged to the student account at regular pricing. This includes:
    • Extra servings of an entrée, milk, fruit, vegetable or bread
    • Milk for cold lunch brought from home
    • Second meals
    • Any single item that is not a meal
  • This program does not apply to adult meals.
    • Adult lunch $3.85
    • Adult breakfast $2.35

Contact Tracy Watsabaugh, Coordinator of Nutrition Services, if you have any questions about this program. twatsabaugh@bennps.org

We are excited to welcome students back for the second semester this week. Most families have chosen to send their students to school in person with approximately four percent of our students learning remotely to start the new semester. We appreciate your support and grace as we continue to maneuver through these uncharted waters. We are proud of Bennington’s students, teachers, parents, administrators, and staff who helped us complete a safe and successful first semester.

Educators will continue to hold high standards for teaching and learning, balancing love, compassion, care, and empathy with high expectations for achievement. Families have been very understanding and flexible as we move week-to-week through the year. Know that we are proud to be a part of the Bennington community and wish you and your family only the best.

We will conclude this week’s Friday Notes with the word hope! This word is commonly used to mean a wish. We have all said it. I hope 2021 is better that 2020! Most would say; how can it not be? Bennington Public Schools’ goal is not to “wish” for a better tomorrow; rather, we will work hard to provide all students educational opportunities in a safe, caring environment preparing them to meet the challenges of the future. Hope is only as strong as the strength of a person's desire to make a wish come true. Here’s hoping that we can all work together with Badger grit, intellect, integrity and work ethic to make tomorrow a better place for all of our community than today.

Take care and stay Badger Strong!

12/18/2020

To All Bennington Public Schools’ Students and Families:
And just like that, the first semester has come to an end. I am sure many of you cannot
wait to jump into 2021 and make 2020 a distant memory, but before you do that please
take some time to acknowledge all that has been accomplished. The patience and
grace you have provided our District during this time has been second to none. You
have allowed us to keep our buildings open for our students the past 87 days of the first
semester. There is no amount of praise that could express our gratitude to the
administrators, teachers, support staff, students and families of the Bennington Public
School District. Each and every one of you deserves this bit of reprieve that winter
break will bring.
While we all want to escape this pandemic and feel a little bit of “normalcy” during winter
break, we ask you to please continue to make safety a priority for you and your family.
During this time, it is as important as ever to continue practicing the three W’s: Washing
your hands, Wearing a face covering, and Watching your distance (6 feet from others).
If you, or anyone in your household, tests Positive for COVID-19 during this time off,
please continue to notify your building principal. Our goal is to do all we can to ensure
our students return to school safely in January. Continuous communication between our
families and buildings will help us accomplish this.
Today marks the end of the second quarter and the end of the first semester grading
period. Third through sixth grade student reports will be available at the end of the day
today. Middle and high school student reports will be posted after the first of the year,
on January 8th. Student reports may be viewed in your NebSIS Family Account. This
link is found at benningtonschools.org. Follow the link to your child’s school. You will
find access to your NebSIS account under parents. This secure account requires a
unique username and password. If you need assistance contact your building secretary.
We want to notify you that the 2020-21 School Year Calendar has been modified. On
December 14th, the Bennington Board of Education approved the continuation of every-
other-Wednesday early outs through the remainder of the school year. We do not
foresee the elimination of remote learning during the 2020-2021 school year and these

early outs are beneficial in the planning, preparation, and training for the delivery of a
hybrid learning model. Remember, staff will report back from winter break for in-service
on Monday, January 4th, but students will not report back until Tuesday, January 5th.
Please view the modified calendar at benningtonschools.org or follow the link 2020-21
School Calendar.
It is noteworthy to highlight the extension of the USDA nationwide waiver of school
meals. These waivers allow Bennington Public Schools to provide free meals to all
students for the duration of the 2020-21 school year. Please remember these important
facts…….
? All a la carte purchases will be charged to the student account at regular pricing.
This includes:
? Extra servings of an entrée, milk, fruit, vegetable or bread
? Milk for cold lunch brought from home
? Second meals
? Any single item that is not a meal
? This program does not apply to adult meals.
? Adult lunch $3.85
? Adult breakfast $2.35

Contact Tracy Watsabaugh, Coordinator of Nutrition Services, if you have any questions
about this program. twatsabaugh@bennps.org
Please continue to be careful with your health and protect your family by following the
safety guidelines. We wish all of our families joy through the winter holidays, whether
you celebrate Hanukkah, Yule, Las Posadas, Kwanzaa or Christmas, please take
precautions and stay safe so we can continue our education together into January and
beyond. Be on the lookout for District communication the evening of Sunday, January
3rd, consisting of information pertaining to our return to school on Tuesday, January 5,
2021.
I am sure all of us would like to package up 2020 and return to sender. Some have
written that the past year could be a lost year for education. To that we say; “bah
humbug”! Educators have continued to hold high standards for teaching and learning,
balancing love, compassion, care, and empathy with high expectations for achievement.
Families have been very understanding and flexible as we move week-to-week through
the first semester. Know that we are proud to be a part of the Bennington community
and wish you and your family only the best.
Take care and stay Badger Strong!

12/11/2020

To All Bennington Public Schools’ Students and Families:

Can you believe it? We have made it to the final week of the first semester. Not only are we entering this final week, but we are doing so with the majority of our students in-person and progressing. Take this time to acknowledge what an accomplishment this is. We know the demands that this pandemic has caused on staff, students, and families has been that of which we have never experienced, yet we have made it and we have accomplished so much. We hope to continue this trajectory into the remainder of the school year; yet, to do so we cannot become complacent or lax in our efforts.  

For this final week of school, we are thrilled to announce we are still in Tier II or Yellow. Please be aware that next Friday is an early release day. Elementary students will be dismissed at 11:40 AM, middle school students at 11:50 AM, and high school students at 12:00 PM. 

As a reminder, the guidance around COVID-19 is ever-changing. We have followed suit with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and their adjusted quarantine recommendations in regards to COVID-19 exposures; going from 14 days to 7-10 days. The CDC has implemented these changes based on research that has found the risk of developing the illness after 10 days, without showing symptoms, is less than 5%. Even with the quarantine dates being shortened, if you are exposed, you are still expected to self-monitor as well as wear a face covering for the entire 14 days. For further information and guidance on how we determine these quarantine dates, please visit our District COVID-19 Site.

January remote learning registration will remain open through Wednesday, December 16th at 6:00 PM. ALL families, even if the student(s) has chosen remote learning at any period in the first semester, must complete the survey to notify the District of their intentions. A commitment to remain remote through the next grading period and acceptance of the expectations outlined in the Remote Learning Expectations document is required. Please indicate your intentions on the 12-2020 Remote Learning Registration Form. Remote students demonstrating poor performance or disengagement during the first semester will need to hold a conference with their building principal as returning to in-person learning in January may give the student a better chance for success.  

Elementary families returning to in-person learning in January, whether on quarantine or full remote learning, are asked to drop off their school-provided technology from 12:00-1:00 PM on Friday, December 18th. There will be a table set up in each school entryway. Please place the Chromebook and charging cord on the table. This will allow the technology department time to return items to the classroom over winter break in preparation for the second semester. All other materials may accompany students upon their return. 

The District has been informed the intersection of Bennington Road and 156th Street will reopen for east/west and south traffic starting today (Dec. 11th). Local traffic can use North 2nd Street, Molley Street and Bennington Road to access 156th Street and proceed south or north instead of using Highway 36 and 168th Street. The 156th Street project Facebook page will provide additional information and notification regarding a construction schedule for the remainder of the 156th Street project.  (facebook.com/groups/K2BenningtonProject/).

Please continue to be careful with your health and protect your family by following the safety guidelines. We wish all of our families joy through the winter holidays, whether you started your Hanukkah celebration yesterday or wait for Yule, Las Posadas, Kwanzaa or Christmas later this month, please take precautions and stay safe so we can continue our education together through December and January. Know that we are proud to be a part of the Bennington community and wish you and your family only the best. We remain Badger Strong!

12/4/2020

To All Bennington Public Schools’ Students and Families:
December is a month of generosity in our community. Tuesday was a “Day of Giving”
and many organizations in the Bennington Community received generous donations to
assist them in their missions and good works. As we walk the halls in our schools right
now, we see the kindness of our community as food is being piled high for the Food
Bank in our elementary schools and through the abundance of clothing, toys, and coats
being gathered in our middle and high school. It does not seem to matter in our
community how, or if, you celebrate any of the many winter holidays, the common
message is to be generous with others. Thank you for your contributions to our schools
and the broader community through your time, talent, and treasure.
This week the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has adjusted their quarantine
recommendations in regards to COVID-19 exposures from 14 days to 7-10 days,
depending on the scenario. The CDC has implemented these changes based on
research that has found the risk of developing the illness after 10 days, without showing
symptoms, is less than 5%. The Nebraska Directed Health Measure (DHM) now reflects
this in their guidance. As a reminder, even though the quarantine dates are shortened, if
you are exposed, you are still expected to self-monitor as well as wear a face covering
for the entire 14 days.
The newest DHM provides two scenarios that families can choose to pursue when
placed on quarantine: (1) Receiving a negative test and completing a seven-day
quarantine. With this option, an exposed person who is not having symptoms can test
out of quarantine if a test is taken on day five (or later) of the quarantine period. If the
result is negative, the person may leave quarantine after day seven. Tests taken prior to
the 5th day will not be considered for returning early. (2) Completing the 10-day
quarantine, if an individual chooses not to get tested, they will then quarantine for 10
days from the last date of exposure and may return to school as long as they are
symptom free. Just as before, the quarantine period does not officially start until the last
date of exposure.

When we return to in-person learning on December 7th, we will continue our level of
education at Tier II or Yellow. Local, state, and national health officials continue to tell
us that schools are a safe place for students and it is imperative we continue to stay
open. Although we remain open for instruction of students, we are limited in activities
available for students and extremely limited for spectators at these activities. You can
watch the Bennington High School Basketball and Wrestling teams on the Bennington
YouTube Channel for home events. We know it is not the same for either the athletes or
the spectators when friends and family cannot be there to cheer them on, but we are
very happy they are still able to participate.
We hope the BPS community recognizes the success we have had in attaining our goal
to proceed with in-person education as we approach winter break. With two weeks left
in the semester it is important for students to finish strong. Students will be participating
in formative and summative assessments to measure their academic progression.
These assessments assist teachers in identifying student performance levels and
developing pacing or content to meet the needs of the students. There is not much time
to turn things around if your student is struggling with a subject or course, so please
don’t wait to reach out to teachers. There may be opportunities for extra support that will
assist your student.
Remote learners will also be participating in end of the semester assessments.
Students in grades kindergarten through eighth grade will at a minimum complete MAP
Growth tests which will be scheduled by appointment. Middle and high school students
will have assignments, projects, and assessments to complete the semester or hexter,
so check communications carefully. The high school finals schedule was communicated
in this week’s Happenings.
In a remote testing setting we understand that it is difficult as a parent or guardian not to
intervene and support your student in completing assessments. Giving them assistance
alters the outcome of the assessment which may impact the support services they are
receiving and the ability to accurately measure their knowledge. A remote learner
should plan to identify a work space that is free of distractions, allows for independence,
and promotes the best outcome in measuring student progress.
All families will have the option to enroll in remote learning for the next grading period
after the winter break. Remote learners will also be asked their intentions for the return
to school in January (i.e. will they continue remote learning or will they return to the
classroom). Please complete the 12-2020 Remote Learning Registration Form.
Registration will be open from Friday, December 4th until Wednesday, December 16th,
at 6:00 PM. ALL families, even if the student(s) has chosen remote learning at any
period in the first semester, must complete the survey to notify the District of their

intentions. Remote students demonstrating poor performance or disengagement during
the first semester will need to hold a conference with their building principal as returning
to in-person learning in January may give the student a better chance for success.
Before registering for second semester remote learning, families should read and
understand the expectations outlined in the Remote Learning Expectations document.
Please continue to be careful with your health and protect your family by following the
safety guidelines. These coming weeks are important in the education of our students,
so we need to keep them healthy. Know that we are proud to be a part of the
Bennington community and wish you and your family only the best. We remain Badger
Strong!

 

 

 

 

Previous Friday Notes









Community

District

Contact Us

 
Activities/Athletics

Student Services

Notice of Non-Discrimination Bennington Public Schools
 
Students, their families and potential employees of the Bennington Public Schools are hereby notified that the Bennington Public School District does not discriminate on the basis of sex, disability, race, color, religion, veteran status, national or ethnic origin, age, marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical condition, or other protected status in employment, career or technical programs and activities as set forth in compliance with federal and state statutes and regulations. Any persons having inquiries concerning Bennington Public Schools compliance with Title II, Title IV, Title VI, Title IX, ADA and/or Section 504 may contact:

Dr. Terry L. Haack, Superintendent · 11620 North 156th Street · Bennington, NE · Phone: (402) ­ 238­-3044
Email: thaack@bennps.org
 
Bennington Elementary · 11620 North 156th Street · PO Box 309 · 402­-238­-2690 · fax 402­-238­-2185
Bennington High School · 16610 Bennington Road · PO Box 309 · 402­-238­-2447 · fax 402­-238­-2950
Bennington Middle School · 11201 N. 168th Street ·PO Box 309 · 402­-238­-3082 · fax 402­-916­-5823
Anchor Pointe Elementary · 17007 HWS Cleveland Boulevard · PO Box 309 · 402­-238­-2166 · fax 402­-885­-8604
Pine Creek Elementary · 7801 N HWS Cleveland Blvd. · PO Box 309 · 402­-238­-2372 · fax 402­-238­-2416
Heritage Elementary · 9950 Rosewater Parkway · PO Box 309 · 402­-238­-2095 · fax 402­-238­-3351
District Office · 11620 North 156th Street · PO Box 309 · 402­-238­-3044 · 402­-238­-2185