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EdNotes Express

Lincoln Public Schools Communication Services continues to look for the most effective way to provide you with information.  EdNotes is written and published specifically for the faculty and staff of Lincoln Public Schools.

If you have information you would like to include, please email Mary Kay Roth at mkroth@lps.org.

Lincoln Public Schools:Highlights of 7/28 Board of Education Meeting < New

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular Board meeting on Tuesday, July 28 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St.  The Board will hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, August 11, 2015.

Goals and priorities for Board/Superintendent

In the 2015-16 school year Lincoln Public Schools will likely focus priorities on the high school graduation rate, Community Learning Centers, the instructional technology plan and ensuring all departments in the school district are operating efficiently.

Lincoln Board of Education President Kathy Danek explained that these annual goals are seen as school district priorities for the superintendent as well as the Board, “in fact, a priority for each and everyone of us.”

The proposed 2015-16 annual goals and priorities discussed Tuesday are:

  • By 2019, develop, implement, and sustain district initiatives that result in an increased graduation rate, with a goal of 90 percent of on-time graduates that are career and college ready.
  • By June 1, 2017, develop and adopt benchmarks that ensure high-quality, sustainable, full-service community schools and communicate a strong vision for current and future partnerships.
  • By June 1, 2016, identify components and develop implementation strategies for the district's ongoing and evolving technology needs.
  • Initiate the following comprehensive reviews of programing designed to meet the unique needs of students, ensuring access and success for ALL:

o   By June 1, 2016, Special Education Programs

o   By June 1, 2017, Alternative Education Programs

o   By June 1, 2018, Enrichment Programs

Proposed ongoing priorities:

  • Keep our focus on learning to meet the unique needs of all students.
  • Continue to evolve The Career Academy to meet the needs of students.
  • Legislative advocacy.
  • Effective alignment of fiscal resources.
  • Effective stakeholder engagement.
  • Regular reporting to the Board on all strategic priorities.

The Board will take a final vote on the priorities at the August 11 meeting.

Newly annexed property

The Board assigns school attendance areas to property newly annexed to the city of Lincoln, establishing attendance areas prior to the sale of residential lots and allowing purchasers to know what schools their children will attend.

The city has annexed some parcels of land, which automatically brings these properties into the LPS District.  Proposed attendance areas for these properties are:

  • South 84th Street & Van Dorn Street: Pyrtle Elementary School, Lux Middle School, and East High School  
  • South 95th Street & O Street: Pyrtle Elementary School, Lux Middle School, and East High School  
  • South 70th Street & Rokeby Road: Maxey Elementary School, Pound Middle School, and Southeast High School  (and after new construction will shift to Sally G. Wysong Elementary School, Marilyn Moore Middle School and East High School)
  • Fallbrook Town Homes: Kooser Elementary School, Schoo Middle School, and North Star High School  
  • North 90th Street & Adams Street: Pershing Elementary School, Mickle Middle School, and Northeast High School  

The final vote will happen on August 11.  

Superintendent Update

Superintendent Steve Joel invited Board members to an all LPS staff Welcome Back Celebration set for 8:15 a.m. Wednesday, August 5, at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The event will feature remarks from Joel, inspirational speaker Manny Scott (one of the original Freedom Writers) as well as shout-outs for schools and departments.

Celebrations of success

The Board of Education celebrated Lincoln Public Schools being honored as a 2015 District of Distinction by the DA-District Administration Magazine.

Posted on July 28, 2015


Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra Announces 2015-16 Young Artist Competition

Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra invites young musicians to enter LSO’s 2015-16 Young Artist Competition. Funded in part by the J. Edmunds & Thelma D. Miller Fund at the Lincoln Community Foundation, the competition allows an accomplished young musician to perform with Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra as a featured soloist.

To be eligible, musicians must be 20 years old or younger on the day of the audition, must play an instrument, participate in an audition and submit an application with a letter of recommendation. The winner will have the opportunity to perform as a soloist with the orchestra at LSO’s Young People’s Concerts at the Lied Center and a family concert at Wesleyan’s O’Donnell Auditorium. The winner also receives the title of LSO Young Artist Winner for the 2015-16 season, a private rehearsal and coaching with LSO Resident Conductor, Dr. Tyler White, a $500 cash prize and media exposure.

"The Young Artist Competition is such a great opportunity for local music students to audition to solo with a professional orchestra,” said Barbara Zach, executive director of LSO. “In addition to the winner having the unique experience of rehearsing and performing with Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra, they also get the chance to become a role model for more than 4,000 4th and 5th grade students at our Young People's Concerts."

The audition panel includes LSO Music Director Edward Polochick, Dr. White and two representatives from Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra. Recent Young Artist Competition winners include Lukas McIlhaney, flute, from Wahoo High School; Jennifer Ahn, violin, from Westside High School; and Nicholas May, saxophone, from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Applications are available online at lincolnsymphony.org/about/employment-volunteer or by contacting the LSO office at (402) 476-2211. The application deadline is Wednesday, November 11, 2015. Auditions will be held Saturday, November 21, 2015 at 5:00 p.m.

Founded in 1927, Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra has a mission to enrich, educate and entertain current and potential audiences through the performance and advancement of symphonic music. For more information about Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra, visit lincolnsymphony.org or call (402) 476-2211.

Posted on July 22, 2015


LPS educators to be featured at TEDxLincoln event

Two LPS staff members will be presenting at the Oct. 1 TEDxLincoln event at Kimball Hall on UNL's downtown campus.

Sarah Staples Farmer, English teacher at Lincoln East High School, will address system/court involved youth, and how we can take on the challenge of true rehabilitation, providing emotional, social, and academic support for youth transitioning back to their communities and schools.

Rob McEntarffer, Assessment/Evaluation Specialist for LPS, will talk about the so called “education crisis” in America’s schools. He will shine a light on our perceptions and misperceptions of schools, assessments, and teaching and learning.

Posted on July 22, 2015


Benefit concert for Students Together Against Cancer

Students Together Against Cancer (STAC) will host their second annual summer concert on August 8, at SouthPointe Pavilions. The event is open to the public with an optional free-will donation. The band, Ashley and I, will take the stage from 5-5:45 p.m., followed by BluesEd from 6-7 p.m. The UNL Juggling Club will perform from 7:15-7:30, and Chase Dance with the B.O.Y.S. troupe will conclude the concert from 7:30-8. There will also be carnival games, face paint, henna tattoos, and a photo booth. The group hopes to top last year’s event, which raised over $600.

About Students Together Against Cancer (STAC)

Jeremy Payne started STAC in July 2012. In seventh grade, Payne was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and was forced to miss most of the school year while undergoing treatment. He beat the disease, but realized cancer’s impact reaches far beyond a person’s health.

According to a 2009 survey conducted by the Association of Oncology Social Work, 55 percent of cancer patients stated, “the stress of dealing with costs negatively affects their ability to focus on their recovery.” In many cases, patients are forced to choose between receiving treatment and paying utility bills. Payne wanted to find a way to alleviate additional stressors for cancer patients and their families so that they may focus solely on beating the disease.

STAC is the end product of Payne’s vision. What began as a club operating out of a dorm room at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln quickly blossomed into a 501(c)(3) non-profit with branches on three college campuses and several high schools in Lincoln. While organizations often fundraise for a cure, STAC’s goal is to help with the current situation. With a focus on utilities payments and groceries, STAC has donated as much as $400 to more than a dozen families in the Lincoln area.

Posted on July 22, 2015



Teachers become students with CLASS

“The kids will not have an issue with this.”

Perhaps that’s part of the reason more than 325 Lincoln Public Schools secondary educators became students themselves during a special training day this summer - as LPS prepares to enter the first phase of a new three-year Instructional Technology initiative in 2015-16.

Library media services coordinator Chris Haeffner further explained.

“Students can turn their work in digitally, you can respond to it digitally, and return it to them digitally, without having to print. It will require a change in the way we do stuff, and a change in the way we think about it.”

The Connected Learning for the Achievement of Students and Staff (CLASS) Bootcamp focused on implementing the student Chromebooks in the classroom by demonstrating best practices and tools available.

CLASS is perhaps better known as the initiative that will place a Chromebook computer with each student in third- through twelfth-grade over the next three years. Chromebook 11 from Dell will be distributed to students entering sixth grade and the focus programs (Arts & Humanities, Zoo School), the International Baccalaureate program at Lincoln High School, and The Career Academy this fall.

Topics during the bootcamp included Google Drive basics, intro to Chrome and Chromebooks for the classroom, Google Classroom, using Synergy’s new tools to communicate, and Hapara for digital classroom management.

Hapara, for example, is a suite of tools that helps teachers facilitate digital work done by students in LPS Google Drive, as well as allowing them to interact with and manage Chromebooks in their classroom.

When choosing between Google Classroom and Hapara, computing services application specialist Chris Pultz encouraged the group to find what fits them best.

“You have access to both of these tools. You can choose the one that fits with what you are trying to do, that feels most comfortable for you,” Pultz said. “Or, you might find you don’t have to choose. You may find you can use both of these tools, ebb and flow.”

By the end of the four sessions, staff were excitedly talking with their peers and team members about ways to implement the Chromebooks into their current teaching and curriculum.

“All of my students already use some kind of technology in the district, and I think the Chromebooks are going to be a nice addition to what they already use,” said Patricia Daberkow, a team leader in the LPS special education department.  “Some of my students have really struggled with writing for years and never really turned in complete projects or really struggle with completing any of their assignments. I think the Chromebook will offer lots of different opportunities, and their software, apps and extensions will support them so that they are able to complete their projects.”

Scott Middle School sixth-grade teacher Suzie Olberding added, “We are looking at all curricular areas. So let’s say we want our math students to research a famous mathematician, or our science students, or even going into social studies, the different elements of research we can bring into the classroom using the web through Hapara and through google classroom amazes me.”

Kim Ridder, also a sixth-grade teacher at Scott Middle School, was enthusiastic about the possibilities of being the first to introduce Chromebooks into the classroom, “This is just making everything better. It's not going to replace anything. It's going to make everything better for our students.”

The teachers agree that with these new tools, they will be able to use current classroom management techniques to increase student engagement.

“We have wonderful management techniques already instilled in the classroom,” said Rochelle Senkbeil, Lux Middle School sixth-grade teacher. “We are talking as a team to get some things in place too, so that if we have signals for the students, they are able to follow them and respect that when we are not using the devices, that they be where they are suppose to be - on task in the classroom.”

Lori Nakagawa from Lincoln Southwest High School added, “The idea that you can do selective or focus browsing I think is really positive. Just some of the features that make it easier for teachers to see what students have done, what they are working on, in real time I think is just important.”

Nakagawa continued on saying, “I also like that as far as the classroom management, in Google Classroom you can give the assignments and just have the papers there for ready access. So if they lose the paper it's there; and program, the name, and the title of the assignment. There's just a lot of things that it helps to make it easier for the teacher and the student and I think students will really respond to that.”

When asked about whether or not students will be ready to embrace the Chromebooks, Scott Middle School sixth-grade teach Mark Danley summed up staff perceptions best, “They're ready for it. I think there are a few kids that'll need to get caught up, but for the most part, it's the world they're in that we are trying to get caught up to. We're looking forward to it.”

 

Posted on July 22, 2015


White House recognizes LPS

In June 2014, the President launched the Nation of Makers initiative — a mindset that promotes dispositions and skills such as curiosity, collaborative problem-solving, and self-efficacy, with educators inspiring the next generation to invent, tinker, and learn vital skills in STEM education. One year later, the White House recognized Lincoln Public Schools during National Week of Making for creating maker kits that can travel between libraries within the district.

Last year, LPS media services started with approximately a dozen kits for schools to check out.  “Many of the librarians discovered what an exciting component this is,” commented library media services director Mary Reiman. “They are now taking it a step further and enhancing their school’s programs by creating their own unique makerspaces and kits, which is what we envisioned for the program.”

These kits can included simple items like ribbon, paper, crayons, glue, craft scissors, and paints; or more sophisticated items like robots, origami, Legos, die cutting machines, and erector sets.

This year, the district will also expand their kits by adding stop animation cameras and kits, 3D doodlers, magna-tiles and simple machines. “Makerspace is how to take the concept of what looks like play, but what really it is giving students an opportunity to be creative and use critical thinking skills while supporting all curriculum areas,” said Reiman.

Library media services coordinator Chris Haeffner adds, “In order to build a community of problem solvers, students need an environment where they can try without being afraid to fail. We all learn better from experience, and it helps build resilience when students can fail safely. That’s what makerspace is all about.”

In a release from the press secretary, the White House reiterates “America has always been a nation of tinkerers, inventors, and entrepreneurs. In recent years, the rise of the Maker Movement and growing community of self-identified ‘Makers’ is a huge opportunity for the United States...More than 100 school leaders of the K-12 districts and schools, representing more than 3 million students, are committing to an all-hands-on-deck effort to broaden participation in making, tinkering, and inventing.”

Posted on July 21, 2015


UNL College of Architecture Open House for high school students

High school students will have the opportunity to learn about College of Architecture academic programs, lunch with faculty and students, tour the College facilities, and participate in a design activity. To register for the Open House, visit admissions.unl.edu/CoA-Open-House. Check out the College of Architecture website architecture.unl.edu. Please register by September 28, 2015 to secure a seat.

Students who cannot attend the Open House are encouraged to contact us for a campus visit! Please contact Leslie Gonzalez, Admissions Coordinator leslie.gonzalez@unl.edu or call 402-472-9233.

Posted on July 21, 2015


Lottery is opportunity for kids

Eager students and their families took a break from summer activities to receive their string instrument at the Lincoln Public School District Office on Friday, July 17. Over 120 instruments lined the board room walls and tables as first-year string students, chosen through a lottery system that's been in place for approximately 17 years, picked up their rentals.

"We have a very limited number of instruments, and so that is one of the reasons why we do this lottery," said Lance Nielsen, district music supervisor.

In June, students enrolled in string music classes for the first time at LPS were mailed information about how to enter their names into a drawing for an opportunity to rent a stringed instrument from the district for one year for a one-time fee of $50. There are violins, violas, cellos and upright bass instruments for students to rent through the lottery system.

When the students pick up their instruments, school music instructors give each student important instructions about their new instrument.

"I can't open it until SAIL camp, because I will develop bad habits," said Ethan, a fifth grader at Humann Elementary, repeating the instructions. "I'm not to leave it in a hot car, not let my sisters get it, and to put it on the floor."

"It is a great opportunity to get our kids started," added Nielsen. "If students are not getting an instrument through LPS or the lottery, then they can get an instrument through a lot of our wonderful music dealers in Lincoln."

Posted on July 20, 2015


Q&A with Dolores Simpson-Kirkland, Lincoln Southwest

Dolores Simpson-Kirkland, guidance counselor at Lincoln Southwest High School, has been honored as recipients of the 2013 Yale Educator Award. The nominations are made by matriculating students. Of 210 nominees, was one of the 90 honorees chosen for the award. Simpson-Kirkland answered questions about her work.

What duties consume most of your time?

My duties revolve around the events that take place throughout the year. Counseling responsibilities based on the American School Counselor Association model at a school that operates on a block schedule are cyclical. Schedule changes based on academic placement criteria consume a significant portion of time at the beginning of each term.  Contacts and interventions with students; collaboration with teachers and families take place with ongoing regularity. Counselors must also respond to personal/social crises as situations arise.

How has the profession of school guidance counselor changed in recent years?

Since the time I became a school counselor (1995), I continue to learn to align my daily work with the standards of the American School Counselor Association and interact with students, families and colleagues with focus, intentionality and purpose. Counselors assess and review data on student progress and needs and provide interventions based on data results. It has also become necessary for us to become more cognizant of the myriad of personal/social emotional and economic struggles that students and their families are experiencing and resources that will assist students and families in meeting basic needs. We do not have the luxury of operating as lone rangers; we must collaborate with others so that we may implement our best professional practices on a daily basis. It has become necessary for me to learn how to incorporate advances in technology into my professional activities. 

When you schedule gets busy, where do you place your emphasis with the students?

I enjoy staying busy and when life becomes very busy, it is imperative for me to focus on student/family needs first, particularly in an emergency situation. I need listen to the student  so that I can be organized and have a plan to work in a compassionate, effective manner. I need to listen.  If a particular matter can wait for a while, I will make a note so that I remember (to the best of my ability) to get back to a student, parent/guardian or colleague in a timely manner.  

Can you give an example of how you can help a student refocus or get back on track or try a new path?

I continue to learn that there is no substitute for personalization -  listening to a student and not minimizing the concern that is presented. I understand that while adolescents may sometimes have a flair for the dramatic, if an issue is important to them, then it is important. I will ask students to share what they feel the problem or concern is; what have they tried to alleviate the problem; what was the outcome of their attempts; whether they are open to looking at other possibilities to improve the situation; what is their commitment to working to find a resolution to the concern and developing a plan to address the concern in a different and hopefully more effective way. Following up with students is critical to the success of the development of any plan to try a different strategy or path.  Instilling a sense of hope a critical step in this process.

How does a guidance counselor work with a student while they stay active in class and other activities? In other words, how do you help students with the whole picture of their education? 

It is important for the student and I to talk about the big picture. This can be hard for students to visualize when they are engaged in so many things and can have so many distractions. We will frame our conversations from the context of examining future plans and goals and how current academic and co-curricular activities will assist students with setting and reaching goals. This can be challenging for students that have not set goals for themselves; students that are not involved in any activities; students that appear to be over-involved in activities and students that are so academically focused that they do not see the need for being involved in activities that will expand their horizons and allow room for growth and maturation.  Planning and goal setting involve small steps in which students can see a purpose in what they are doing and why they are doing what they do. This is new territory for many students, although there are students who have their futures mapped out. Students will learn that life is fluid and subject to change at any time. Our job is to assist students in seeing and believing that life options and choices do exist.

How have the students changed you as a person or a professional?

The students with whom I have worked have had a profound impact on my life. I continue to learn that life is precious and that people are to be valued and treated with courtesy. I am learning to laugh more; empathize with the students and the concerns that they bring; exhibit patience; apologize when I am wrong and bring my best to each day's work. I am also learning to improve my technology skills (not my area of strength).

Posted on July 20, 2015


Southwest counselor honored for lifetime of leadership

Dolores Simpson-Kirkland, counselor at Lincoln Southwest High School, has received the Aaron Douglas Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. The Aaron Douglas Lifetime Achievement Award "recognizes leaders whose leadership has been transformative and who have mobilized and unified people, institutions or causes that have improved or are improving people's lives".

Aaron Douglas was the first African American to graduate from the University Of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. He went on to teach and was an integral part of the Harlem Renaissance movement.

In 2013, Simpson-Kirkland was given the Yale Educator Award.

Posted on July 20, 2015


Adams PTO honor by national publication

The Paul Adams Elementary Parent-Teacher Organization has received an Honorable Mention in PTO Today's 2015 Parent Group of the Year search. The Adams PTO was one of about 70 groups nationwide honored by the publication. For a full listing, visit http://www.ptotoday.com/pgy/#winners. 

Posted on July 17, 2015


Update on Bond Issue Progress

Posted on July 17, 2015


Highlights of 7/14 Lincoln Board of Education Work Session

Highlights of 7/14 Lincoln Board of Education Work Session

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a Work Session on the proposed 2015-16 budget on Tuesday, July 14 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office.

 

Highlights of Work Session

In the proposed 2015-16 General Fund budget, Lincoln Public Schools recommends keeping the total tax levy flat, which means a homeowner’s estimated property tax will remain the same (if their house valuation remains the same).

 

Board members Tuesday gave their opinions about keeping the tax levy flat.

 

Board member Barb Baier: “Maximizing our resources, I think that’s the best thing we can do with our taxpayers…I remember us in the past reducing the levy rate on the General Fund…And I know we try not to go and put stress on the classroom but in my opinion we did. Classroom sizes increased and I think it was a burden on our classrooms and our students….I’m glad that in the last three years we have gone and brought our levy up to the limit, and are maximizing what we do have available to us…I’m getting better reports from teachers about classroom size.”

 

Board member Matt Schulte agreed that LPS is a great school system, but was in favor of lowering the levy: “It seems like we could operate with a slightly lower reserve…I recognize some pressures that exist…But I feel like we could experience a $2 million reduction without hurting the great education we’re providing for our students right now.”

 

Board member Annie Mumgaard said asking about a potential levy decrease was a reasonable question, but that she landed with keeping the levy flat: “In my mind we need to do the best for our kids…And this budget to me feels like it’s the best education for our community…There are so many uncertainties, this is such a dynamic process…I think this is prudent for our youth.”

 

Board President Kathy Danek also believed in keeping the levy flat: “We are in growth mode, and I’m grateful to be in growth mode...Now we have a budget process that we’ve put in place to increase staff to handle these increased numbers of students…I think if we really believe that class size is important, and if we really believe we are going to continue growing, then we have to plan for those things.”

 

Highlights of Proposed Budget for 2015-16.

  • The 2015-16 proposed budget for LPS addresses a variety of factors:
    • Providing appropriate staffing, services, supplies and resources to address significant growth in LPS student enrollment. LPS estimates an increase of 900 more students for 2015-16 – following the past year’s increase of 1,200 students – growth that means LPS would teach almost 40,000 students in the coming school year.
    • Addressing the growing complexity and needs of LPS students.
    • The changing landscape of how we provide quality education.
  • A few highlights of possible additional funding provided under the proposed budget:
    • Additional support in classrooms and schools with: added teachers and staffing for regular education, special education, early childhood, English Language Learners (refugees and immigrants); added school social workers, treatment nurses, health technicians and computer support positions.
    • Resources allocated to opening The Career Academy, and early start-up costs for the new Sally G. Wysong Elementary School and the Bill Nuerenberger Education Center.
    • Continuation of the technology plan.
    • Phasing in the audio enhancement systems to all schools over the next three years.
    • Funding to accommodate increases related to more schools and more students – for instance, increases in utilities, facilities and maintenance, custodial services and more.
  • The 2015-16 proposed budget for Lincoln Public Schools totals $385.5 million – a 6 percent increase over the previous year.
  • According to the most recent statistics, LPS ranked 234th out of 249 school districts in Nebraska in per pupil spending – LPS spent $10,297 per pupil compared to the state average of $11,365.
  • The 2015-16 proposed budget is funded by several revenue streams including: property taxes (LPS estimates property tax valuation will increase about 6.5 percent this year), and state aid to education (anticipated at $127.9 million this coming year, $17 million more than last year).
  • The 2015-16 proposed budget predicts a revenue of about $396 million – of which about $10.4 million would be placed in cash reserve. Liz Standish, associate superintendent for Business Affairs, explained that putting money in cash reserve is wise budgeting – in anticipation of potentially reduced revenue streams in the coming years.

Further budget dates

The Lincoln Board of Education will hold a public hearing for the proposed 2015-16 LPS budget at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, August 11, at LPS District Office, 5905 O St.

 

Posted on July 14, 2015


Success in summer school means overcoming various obstacles

A high school diploma in Iraq, Siraj Beni-Lam’s birth country, wouldn't have meant the same to Siraj.

"I will tell you it's not worth anything, not worth the time," he said.

But the one he just earned in the United States — specifically from Lincoln North Star High School after completing three summer school classes — is worth a lot to him and his family. Siraj was one of 125 new graduates of Lincoln Public Schools who earned their final credits at summer school. Many students have to overcome obstacles, events that happened that made it tough to attend school and keep up with studies.

Siraj’s family came to the United States four years ago. They spent two years in California before coming to Lincoln. Siraj said he knew two words - hello and bye.

Siraj is the oldest of four kids, and he set quite the example for his siblings. He took three classes this summer, one in science, English and music, and finished in just a couple of weeks, all while continuing to work.

"It's a big thing, it's a huge pressure that is gone, and we are going to start a new chapter in college,” he said.

He hopes to be a pharmacist.

* * * * * * * * *

Math wasn't fun, and it certainly wasn't easy, said Donella Handy of Lincoln High School

Donella was one of 1,200 students to attend summer school, a place that she prefers because of the different pace of teaching and learning. That specifically helped her earn the final math credits she needed to graduate.

"I like how the teachers teach, and have more time to do assignments in class, more teacher help," Handy said. "And it's a shorter span of time."

She now hopes to attend college to earn credits and go to medical school.

* * * * * * * * *

Montez Calhoun had a couple of obstacles: in some classes he was lazy, he said, and just didn’t do the work. He fixed that this summer, completing his final classes required to graduate.

The other key obstacle: Take Charge, a financial business class required in LPS.

He didn’t know a lot about banking and finance, he said, making it hard to stick with the work required.

His advices to others: “Put in the little extra work; it really is a hard class. It takes extra time. We are still young, and won't know a lot about business, so just study a little harder.”

Calhoun plans to attend SCC in Beatrice to play basketball and earn credits to hopefully attend a four-year college.

 

Posted on July 09, 2015


Project allows students to observe behavior

A wide-eyed 2-year-old sucking on a slobbery cherry sucker was placed in a solitary desk in the hallway. In front of him on a plate is a large squishy marshmallow. He is told not to eat the marshmallow, and then his older cousin left him alone and stood in the classroom peeking out the doorway behind him. Will he leave the gooey temptation alone? 

Walking into room A101 at Lincoln North Star High School, there were 16 similar stations scattered around the classroom. All of them are designed to assist students in John Clark's summer human behavior class in observing not just any human behavior, but the intricate workings of a child's reasoning.

During this activity, each student designed a station for children between the ages of 2-13 that could test their cognitive skills, how they react to situations, and why. Questions ranged from math problems, to testing short-term memory, naming parts of the body, or to draw a house. At one station, the children were asked to tell the observer a story. This was set up to test imagination, complexity and coherence.

During the moral reasoning station, students are told a story about a loved one being ill. The loved one needs a medicine at the drug store down the street, but can't afford it, nor can they ask friends for assistance. What does the child choose to do? After the child's answer is given, the story changes. The loved one will die without the medicine. Now what will the child do?

The high school students brought their younger siblings and family members to class, the students then watched and recorded results as the children rotated through each station and completed each task. Their findings are then compiled and written into a report and shared with the rest of the class.

 

Posted on July 07, 2015


Surprise tunnel walk into retirement

Kahoa Elementary principal Russ Reckewey was surprised on his last day by a group of Kahoa Elementary staff and families as they escorted and cheered him into retirement. He was their principal for 16 years. Below is the video of the "tunnel walk".

 

Posted on July 03, 2015


LPS distance learning featured in national publication

Linda Dickeson's presentation on creative videoconferencing solutions during the Nebraska Distance Learning Association conference caught the attention of a national technology publication, which landed Lincoln Public Schools in the spotlight for two of the six ways videoconferencing is expanding the classroom. Dickeson is the distance learning manager for LPS.

T.H.E. Journal is a widely popular publication about technology in education. Writer David Raths contacted Dickeson after seeing her presentation slides in Slide Deck.  He also interviewed Marissa Wanamaker, German Teacher from Lincoln High School, about her work with students from rural communities. 

LPS was commended for making courses available to any student interested, no matter their location in Nebraska; and for finding unqiue ways to provide education to homebound students in our district.

Dickeson said, "The moral is, always upload your presenter handouts or slide decks...somebody just might run across them who wants to help you spread good news!"

The full feature in T.H.E. Journal can be found in the link below:

Posted on July 02, 2015


Wojtowicz awarded national fellowship

Lincoln Southeast High School teacher Zachary Wojtowicz has been awarded a James Madison Fellowship. The fellowship will cover up to $24,000 of course study towards a master's degree that includes a concentration of courses on the history and principles of the US Constitution.

The fellowship requires the recipient to teach American history or social studies in a secondary school for at least one year for each year of fellowship support. The award is intended to recognize promising and distringuished teachers, to strengthen their knowledge of the origins and development of American constitutional governmetn, and thus to expose the nation's secondary school students to accurate knowledge of the nation's constitutional heritage.

Wojtowicz was one of 51 total fellowships awarded; and he was in competition with applicants from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the nation's island and trust territories.

Posted on June 30, 2015


First faculty meeting, tour for teachers at The Career Academy

Learn more, including career pathways

Dan Hohensee has spent 31 years as a traditional teacher. In year 32, he's the director of The Career Academy, and last week he led the first faculty meeting of TCA.

Set for opening in two months, The Career Academy is a new venture of Lincoln Public Schools and Southeast Community College that offers specific career pathways for high school students across Lincoln.

As teachers introduced themselves to their new co-workers, it was evident the common theme of excitement involved immersing students in a curriculum on a topic they already enjoy.

These teachers possess a specific list of common traits: enjoy working with students, specifically at risk students; have a passion to help students find the career or college focus they want.

Students will take two hours of classes - in the morning or in the afternoon - in addition to classes at their home high school. Career pathways were chosen based on local business and industry needs, available resources and student interest.

“Education, employment and economic impact - both personally and for the community - are the guiding principles for The Career Academy,” Hohensee said.

“Students interested in TCA should focus on getting the right classes their freshman and sophomore year at the home high school,” Hohensee said. “Free transportation, technology and books will be provided for students. There are 399 students ready to enroll, and more juniors and seniors may be accepted based on previous courses taken and pathways availability.”

Businesses and industries have donated about $1.5 million dollars to support the students and teachers in their field, and will be able to interact with students in the classes and at their location.

Some teachers are familiar to LPS:

Name, TCA courses (previous position in LPS)

Carol Mathias, embedded economics (Lincoln Northeast High School)

Michelle Fonck, embedded English (Entrepreneurship Focus Program)

Jenni Benson, resource teacher (Lincoln Education Association)

Bob Freese, residential construction pathway (Northeast)

Erin Miles, agricultural / biosciences (Lincoln North Star High School)

Joe Schlegelmilch, embedded psychology (Lincoln Southeast High School)

Tracy Weise, health science: EMT focus (Lincoln Southwest High School)

Isau Metes, embedded English (Bryan Community Focus Program)

Other teachers bring experience from teaching at other K-12 schools, SCC and various community organizations, including industry experience.

A ribbon cutting will be held Aug. 10, and the first day of class will be Aug. 12.

Posted on June 30, 2015


Schools and staff honored for their support

Junior Achievement of Lincoln honored schools, volunteers, community partners and teachers who support their mission of providing students with real-world knowledge and experience.

Jane Stavem, associate superintendent for instruction, was among the five who recieved the top JA USA Bronze Leadership Award. "Dr. Stavem is a strong advocate of Junior Achievement curriculum in the classroom and has been a strong ally to JA in promoting the impact it has on students," commented Jessica States, JA senior program and events director. "During the 2014-2015 school year, JA of Lincoln reached more than 24,000 students. We are grateful for Jane and her continued support."

Two of the three Educator of the Year awards were also from LPS. Nick Madsen, a high school business and economics teacher at Lincoln High School, has been teaching for three and a half years. He has utilized JA Exploring Economics every semester in his business classes. Madsen was nominated by his JA volunteer, Dustin Lottman of Farm Bureau Financial Services.

Angela Pierson-Aerni is a fourth grade teacher at Campbell Elementary School. She was a JA classroom volunteer herself while attending UNL. Pierson-Aerni has been a teacher for 16 years and has used JA programs for eight of those years. She was nominated by her JA classroom volunteer, Jeff Markey of Great Western Bank. 

Thirteen Lincoln Public Schools were also given the "JA Super School Award" — a new award presented to schools and principals who go above and beyond to ensure every student in their building participates in Junior Achievement programs during the school year. Schools receiving the honor include:

  • Brownell Elementary
  • Eagle Elementary
  • Humann Elementary
  • Hill Elementary
  • Holmes Elementary
  • Kloefkorn Elementary
  • Kooser Elementary
  • Morley Elementary
  • Norwood Park Elementary
  • Riley Elementary
  • Pershing Elementary
  • Saratoga Elementary
  • Sheridan Elementary
  • Zeman Elementary

Schools awarded the

 

Posted on June 26, 2015


Lincoln Public Schools: Highlights of 6/23 Budget Forum, Meeting

Lincoln Public Schools: Highlights of 6/23 Budget Forum, Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education hosted a Budget Forum on the preliminary 2015-16 budget, as well as a regular Board meeting on Tuesday, June 23 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will meet for a Work Session on Tuesday, July 14, and hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, July 28, 2015.

Highlights of Budget Forum on 2015-16 Preliminary Budget

Community members were invited Tuesday to the first of two Community Budget Forums held to collect public input and questions about the preliminary 2015-16 budget for Lincoln Public Schools.

Only one person spoke at the Budget Forum, asking Board members questions about a variety of topics that included cost per pupil, The Career Academy funding and federally funded programs.

The Lincoln Board of Education will continue to gather feedback and input over the next months, further discuss the budget and aim to approve the final LPS budget in August.

** A second Budget Forum is set for Thursday, June 25, 7-8 p.m., at Lefler Middle School, 1100 S. 48th St.

Board President Kathy Danek emphasized the value and importance of “saving for the future” – pointing out that a reduced budget levy translates to reductions in staff, higher class size and reduced opportunities for students

Summary of preliminary 2015-16 LPS Budget:

  • The 2015-16 preliminary budget for LPS addresses a variety of factors:

o   Providing appropriate staffing, services, supplies and resources to address significant growth (an estimated increase of 900 students for 2015-16; past year’s increase of 1,200 students), growth that means LPS would teach almost 40,000 students in the coming school year.

o   Addressing the growing complexity of student demographics and needs.

o   The changing landscape of how we provide quality education.

  • The school district will keep the total tax levy flat. That means the estimated property tax rate will remain flat – which means no change in your property taxes if your house valuation remains the same.
  • A few highlights of funding proposed for the preliminary budget:

o   Providing help to classrooms and schools with: added teachers and staffing for regular education, special education, early childhood, English Language Learners (refugees and immigrants); school social workers, treatment nurses, health technicians and computer support positions.

o   Resources allocated to opening The Career Academy, and early start-up costs for the new Sally G. Wysong Elementary School and the Bill Nuerenberger Education Center.

o   Continuation of the technology plan.

o   Phasing audio enhancement systems to all schools over three years.

o   Funding to accommodate increases related to more schools and more students (utilities, facilities and maintenance, custodial services and more).

  • The 2015-16 preliminary budget for Lincoln Public Schools totals $385.5 million – a 6 percent increase over the previous year. LPS ranks 234th out of 249 school districts in Nebraska in per pupil spending – LPS spent $10,297 per pupil compared to the state average of $11,365.
  • The 2015-16 preliminary budget is funded by several revenue streams including: property taxes (LPS estimates property tax valuation will increase about 6.5 percent this year), and state aid to education (anticipated at $127.9 million this coming year, $17 million more than last year).
  • The 2015-16 budget predicts a revenue of about $396 million – of which about $10 million would be placed in cash reserve.
  • The Board of Education has a work session set for budget discussion at 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 14, LPS District Office, 5905 O St. A public hearing for the budget is at 6 p.m. Tuesday, August 11, at District Office.

Highlights of June 23 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

Transportation Plan

The Lincoln Board of Education Tuesday approved a Transportation Plan for 2015-16, a plan that includes more than $635,000 in additional funding.

The increases will fund:

  • The transportation of students to the new high school Career Academy – to and from their home high schools.
  • Creation of new runs to serve special needs 3-year-old students enrolled in the Early Childhood Program.
  • Transportation for Voice students to reach new job sites that include Lincoln East High School, the Career Academy, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Lincoln Journal Star. The Voice program provides job opportunities for older students with special education needs.
  • Continued transition to serving homeless students with LPS bus service.
  • Add a bus route for Scott Middle School students to decrease the average bus ride.

In general, LPS Transportation will transport only those students who qualify under provisions of state law, including:  

  • Elementary and middle school students residing more than four miles from the school in the attendance area within which they reside.
  • Special Education students whose individual education plan (IEP) require transportation as essential to learning.  
  • Students who have been moved for the benefit of the district to relieve overcrowding, due to major facility renovations, efficiency in use of buildings and/or staff.  

In addition, the Board, at its discretion, may approve other transportation areas based upon unique circumstances and for the purpose of equalizing school enrollments and facilitating programs.  

High schools selected for phase 2 of Technology Plan

As part of the regular update about the LPS Technology Plan, LPS officials announced the two high schools selected to receive Chromebooks in 2016-2017 (the second year of implementation): Lincoln Southeast and Lincoln Northeast high schools. Students in the other four high schools will receive devices in 2017-2018, the third year of the implementation.

The timing of the announcement this summer gives the high schools an entire school year to plan for the full implementation of student devices the following year.

Community Learning Center agreements

Lincoln Public Schools has continually worked with several local providers for services related to Community Learning Centers at various LPS locations – and the Board renewed agreements for the coming year. The Community Learning Center agreements involve the following organizations: Boys and Girls Club of Lincoln/Lancaster County; Cedars Youth Services; Clyde Malone Center; Family Service Association; Lincoln Housing Authority; Nebraskans for Civic Reform; Northeast Family Center; Willard Community Center; and the YMCA.

Celebrations of success

The Board of Education recognized Lincoln Public Schools as the recipient of the prestigious Green Ribbon School District Sustainability Award presented by the U.S. Department of Education – awarded to schools and school districts for work that includes environmental education, a focus on health and wellness improvement, and reducing environmental impact and costs. Those accepting the award were: James Blake, curriculum specialist for Science at LPS; Scott Wieskamp, director of Facilities and Maintenance at LPS; and Michelle Welch, LPS Wellness Coordinator.

Posted on June 23, 2015


LPS honored for communications efforts

Lincoln Public Schools earned five honors for its communications efforts from the National School Public Relations Association.

Awards are given a distinction of excellence, merit or honorable mention.

Social Media: LPS, excellence
Blogs: Supt. Steve Joel, merit
Publications: Community News, honorable mention
Video: Welcome Back 2014, honorable mention
Video: A first day with Gabe, honorable mention

Posted on June 17, 2015


LNS student wins 3 state championships in Microsoft Office competition

Lincoln North Star High School student, Brooke Lampe, placed first in three of the six events of the Certiport and Nebraska Department of Education's Microsoft Office Specialist competition held this spring. She won $250 for each 1st place honor, along with a Microsoft Surface, and free airfare for her and a chaperon to fly to Orlando for national competition. Since Lampe can only compete in one event at nationals, she will represent Nebraska in Word 2013 during the National Championships this week.

Lampe worked on her Microsoft Office Specialist certification through independent study at Lincoln North Star High School. "Besides the competition, Brooke also earned Microsoft Specialist certifications in Access and also took the MS Word Expert 1 & 2 and the MS Excel Expert 1 & 2, which wouldn't even be covered in our Advanced Information Technology class," commented Shannon Quible, instructor at LNS. "She's just a highly motivated and driven student, and this program let us differentiate the curriculum to meet her needs."

Thousands of Nebraska students age 13 to 22 were eligible to participate in one of six competition tracks by submitting a qualified, passing score on any of the following exams by May 20, 2015: Microsoft Office Specialist Word (2013 or 2010), Microsoft Office Specialist Excel (2013 or 2010), and Microsoft Office Specialist PowerPoint (2013 or 2010).

Invitations to the MOS U.S. National Championship were extended to the top champion in each exam track. During the 2015 MOS U.S. National Championship event, student competitors will take a unique competition exam in their track, further testing their knowledge of the applications. One winner per track will be named the 2015 MOS U.S. National Champion, and each will win an all-expenses-paid trip to compete in the 2015 MOS World Championship in Dallas, Texas August 9-12, 2015.

 

Posted on June 16, 2015


Students use video to learn about each other

The deaf and hard of hearing students from Prescott Elementary will be attending Beattie Elementary next fall. We used video to introduce the students to their new classmates, and in return Beattie showed them around.  See the videos and the students' reactions.

 

Posted on June 10, 2015


Lincoln Public Schools: Highlights of Preliminary Budget for 2015-16

Lincoln Public Schools: Highlights of 6/9 Work Session, Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a Work Session on the preliminary 2015-16 budget, as well as for a regular Board meeting on Tuesday, June 9 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The next regular Board meeting is set for Tuesday, June 23, 2015.

Lincoln Public Schools: Highlights of Preliminary Budget for 2015-16

Here are highlights of the preliminary 2015-16 budget for Lincoln Public Schools. The Lincoln Board of Education will gather feedback and input over the next months, further discuss the budget and aim to approve the final LPS budget in August.

  • The 2015-16 preliminary budget for Lincoln Public Schools addresses a variety of factors:

o   Providing appropriate staffing, services, supplies and resources to address significant growth in LPS student enrollment. LPS estimates an increase of 900 more students for 2015-16 – following the past year’s increase of 1,200 students – growth that means LPS would teach almost 40,000 students in the coming school year.

o   Addressing the growing complexity of the demographics and needs of LPS students.

o   The changing landscape of how we provide quality education.

  • Taking into consideration Lincoln’s taxpayers and the current economics of the community, the school district will keep the total tax levy flat. That means the estimated property tax rate will remain flat – which means no change in your property taxes if your house valuation remains the same.
  • The budget continues to focus on providing continued quality education. A quality education system is a long-term investment, not simply an expenditure – and our community, our businesses, our families, our students deserve a great school system.
  • A few highlights of possible additional funding provided under the preliminary budget:

o   Providing help to classrooms and schools with: added teachers and staffing for regular education, special education, early childhood, English Language Learners (refugees and immigrants); added school social workers, treatment nurses, health technicians and computer support positions.

o   Resources allocated to opening The Career Academy, and early start-up costs for the new Sally G. Wysong Elementary School and the Bill Nuerenberger Education Center.

o   Continuation of the technology plan.

o   Phasing in the audio enhancement systems to all schools over the next three years.

o   Funding to accommodate increases related to more schools and more students – for instance, increases in utilities, facilities and maintenance, custodial services and more.

  • The 2015-16 preliminary budget for Lincoln Public Schools totals $385.5 million – a 6 percent increase over the previous year.
  • According to the most recent statistics, LPS ranked 234th out of 249 school districts in Nebraska in per pupil spending – LPS spent $10,297 per pupil compared to the state average of $11,365.
  • The 2015-16 preliminary budget is funded by several revenue streams including: property taxes (LPS estimates property tax valuation will increase about 6.5 percent this year), and state aid to education (anticipated at $127.9 million this coming year, $17 million more than last year).
  • The 2015-16 budget predicts a revenue of about $396 million – of which about $10 million would be placed in cash reserve.

Comments from Board members:

  • Barb Baier: In favor of placing money into the cash reserve for sustainability, and student growth, but suggested spending additional money on: HVAC mechanical systems, as well as providing more equalization of playground equipment at elementary schools. She was particularly supportive of phasing in audio systems for all schools, and adding social workers.
  • Kathy Danek: Wanted to ensure that enough teachers were added to English Language Learners. She asked for the exploration of someday adding counselors to elementary schools. “I like this budget…and I’m also glad about adding the audio.”
  • Matt Schulte: Asked about the loss of grant money that necessitates the addition of Early Childhood teachers.
  • Annie Mumgaard: Asked about the currently unfunded Information/Data Security system.
  • Lanny Boswell: Noted the many opportunities for community input into the LPS budget.

** Your input is valued: Two Community Budget Forums are scheduled in June, which will both include a budget presentation as well as opportunities for comments and questions:

  • Tuesday, June 23, 5-6 p.m., LPS District Office, 5905 O St.
  • Thursday, June 25, 7-8 p.m., Lefler Middle School, 1100 S. 48th St
  • The Lincoln Board of Education has two work sessions set for Board discussion about the budget at: 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 9, and 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 14, both at LPS District Office, 5905 O St. In addition, a public hearing for the 2015-16 LPS budget is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, August 11, at LPS District Office, 5905 O St.

Highlights of June 9 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

Board approves Norwood Park construction project

The Board voted to move forward on a bid involving the renovation project at Norwood Park Elementary School, funded through the 2014 bond issue. The project involves Indoor Air Quality construction as well as additions that include the expansion of the administration area and new food service and cafeteria areas. 

Board approves grant application for homeless needs

The Board voted to submit a McKinney-Vento Grant application for approximately $45,000 to support children and youth experiencing homelessness. The LPS Homeless Outreach Advocate works with families experiencing homelessness to arrange transportation services for children to attend school, and works with families to provide other supports that create a more stable environment for children experiencing homelessness.

 

 

 

 

Posted on June 09, 2015


Miller receives Cornetet Award

Lou Anne Miller has received a Lucile Cornetet Individual Award for professional development from The Delta Kappa Gamma Educational Foundation. This award will enable Miller to attend the International Society of Technology Education Conference in June.

The Educational Foundation supports and encourages intercultural understanding and educational excellence. A bequest to The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International from the Lucile Cornetet estate was the basis for establishing the Lucile Cornetet Professional Development Fund in 2005. Cornetet, a long-time educator and Society member in Ohio, died in 2001.

Posted on June 09, 2015


Multicultural students honored

The Lincoln Public Schools Multicultural Education Department, in partnership with several community organizations, honored graduating seniors and other district students achieving academic success. For a complete list of students honored, please click on the corresponding link below:

African American Students Honored

Asian Students Honored

Hispanic Students Honored

Native American Students Honored

Posted on June 08, 2015


Dashing into robotics

Approximately seventeen 5th - 7th graders participated in the first session of the Summer Technology Program. The goal of the program is to provide upper elementary and middle level students a fun, exciting, and challenging opportunity to explore their interest in computers and technology.

There are various topics presented through the month of June in five different sessions with classes in the morning and afternoon. During the "Dashing Into Robotics" session, students work with Dot and Dash to move beyond two dimensional coding into a more intense three dimensional atmosphere.

"It's awesome we get to work with robots and scratch more than just in school," commented Zoey, future Culler 6th grader. "My favorite part was a competition where we put Legos on the robots to make snowplows and see how many cotton balls we could clear."

Other sessions this summer include working with GarageBand, MineCraft, Stop Motion Animation, Photoshop, and After Efects. For more information, or to register, go to http://wp.lps.org/stp/schedule/.

Posted on June 08, 2015


LPS to host Community Budget Forums

Lincoln Public Schools invites the public into the discussion about the preliminary 2015-16 budget for the school district.

Two Community Budget Forums are scheduled in June, which will both include a budget presentation as well as opportunities for comments and questions:

  • Tuesday, June 23, 5-6 p.m., LPS District Office, 5905 O St.
  • Thursday, June 25, 7-8 p.m., Lefler Middle School, 1100 S. 48th St

Work Sessions

The Lincoln Board of Education has two work sessions set for Board discussion about the budget

  • 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 9, LPS District Office, 5905 O St
  • 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 14, LPS District Office, 5905 O St

Public Hearing

In addition, a public hearing for the 2015-16 LPS budget is scheduled for

  • 6 p.m. on Tuesday, August 11, at LPS District Office, 5905 O St

For more information contact Liz Standish, 402-436-1635.

 

Posted on June 05, 2015


Mac McCuisition inducted into Hall of Fame

Longtime East High School athletic trainer Mac McCuisition has been named one of the four athletic trainers to be inducted into the Nebraska State Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame.

McCuisition has been the athletic trainer at Lincoln East High School for 24 years caring for thousands of student athletes. He has also been influential in the legal system being called as an expert witness to the Nebraska Supreme Court over head injury litigation in 1995 and 1996. He has also helped with medical coverage for the NSAA State Championship events. McCuisition is a veteran of the US Navy serving prior to becoming an athletic trainer.

The Hall of Fame Banquet will be held June 5th in Columbus, Nebraska. The award is given to individuals who have represented the profession of athletic training well especially in the state of Nebraska.

Posted on June 05, 2015


Eastridge students become book illustrators, complete with book signing

A two-year collaboration with the Teach A Kid To Fish organization and Eastridge Elementary School came to fruition at Firespring in southwest Lincoln.  Ten student illustrators along with art teacher sponsor Bob Reeker were honored at a premier book signing. The book was written by Rick Helweg, former Eastridge parent and Teach A Kid To Fish staff member. 

Karla Lester, Teach A Kid To Fish Founder, and Deb Dabbert, Eastridge principal were key members of the team. Others who supported the book were Nelnet, Peterson's Publishing, and the Dunlap Family. 

The first book in a series of six — books two and three are being illustrated by Holmes Elementary and Beattie Elementary — focuses on eating five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Books are on sale at Eastridge for $15 a copy.  All proceed benefit the Eagles' Nest, an outdoor natural play space.

Posted on June 02, 2015


Lincoln Southeast announces two new coaches

Lincoln Southeast High School announced two head coaching positions have been filled, and meet and greet events have been scheduled this week for families to meet each of them.

Brett Ruoff has been named to replace retiring swimming and diving head coach Doug Wilnes. Ruoff is from Texas where he competed for Texas A&M. He then taught Social Studies and served as the head swimming and water polo coach for the Bryan Independent School District in Byran, Texas before moving to Nebraska. Ruoff coached for the Heartland Aquatics team from 2007 – 2012.

Families interested in meeting Ruoff can do so on Tuesday, June 2, at 6:30 p.m. in the Lincoln Southeast Lower Commons.

Wrestling families are invited to meet new head coach Zach Schnell on Wednesday, June 3, at 6:30 p.m. in the Lincoln Southeast Lower Commons. Schnell is a former Lincoln Northeast wrestler and he also wrestled for Concordia University. He served as the assistant wrestling coach at Lincoln High and coached with the Northeast Junior Rockets and Cornhusker Wrestling Club programs.

Schnell replaces Jeff Rutledge who was recently named Lincoln East High School’s head wrestling coach.

Posted on June 01, 2015


Takako Olson awarded 2015 Leola Bullock Multicultural Award

Takako Olson, associate principal at Lincoln Southeast High School, has been awarded the 2015 Leola Bullock Multicultural Award, bestowed this week at the annual Lincoln Public Schools Multicultural Institute.

 

The Leola Bullock Award is presented by the Foundation for LPS – to an LPS employee who has been an innovative leader and made a significant contribution to fostering understanding of our multicultural society through developing and implementing school district programs.  The award is named after a woman who worked to increase racial understanding in the Lincoln community.

 

Olson has also served as the educational coordinator at Southeast and, prior to that, an English Language Learner program team leader and teacher.

Posted on May 28, 2015


Multicultural Institute: LPS urged to practice racial literacy

Lincoln Public Schools employees told stories to one another on Wednesday at Lincoln Southwest High School.

  • Stories from a 57-year-old who still remembers when she was five, and the ice cream man made a racially inappropriate comment.
  • Stories from someone whose family immigrated to America and looked like other folks who lived in Nebraska, “but as soon as one of us spoke, we didn’t sound the same and were categorized in another way.”
  • Stories of mothers who feared what might happen as their children grow up.
  • Stories of teachers who have encountered powerful moments with their students.

We tell our stories, and we practice. We must have the knowledge. But we must also practice.

This is how you begin your journey of racial literacy, the keynote speakers explained at the annual Lincoln Public Schools Multicultural Institute Wednesday: “We tell our stories, and we practice. We must have the knowledge. But we must also practice.”

When that trauma hits you in the heart in a moment of racial stress: Do you have appropriate responses? Do you have a comeback for this moment? How do you take care of yourself in the moment? If someone is slighting you because of your difference, how do you avoid internalizing the comment?

Superintendent Steve Joel welcomed Institute participants and underlined the work of multicultural competency for the school district. “But we have to start with ourselves, how we’re creating that understanding, assuring that we go to great lengths to learn about all the various cultures our students represent…We must promote acceptance in all of our classrooms…That’s the only way we will eradicate the anger in our country. We have to stand true to what we believe in public education.”

And that racial literacy begins with our stories – and practice-practice-practice, according to Howard C. Stevenson (author of If Elephants Could Talk: Promoting Racial Literacy in Schools). “We will make mistakes, but we need to move through that, and we can change how we interact day to day….It is essential to have awareness of what is happening in the moment of a stressful situation, and story telling is a way go get to that…But you have to start with yourself. We all judge the world from our unique perspective.”

You have to start with yourself. We all judge the world from our unique perspective.

When people share their stories of racially stressful situations, Institute speakers urged, “they need to get in tune with what they are feeling and how they’re doing….When you tell and retell your stories, pause and assess your body. How do you feel? Are you breathing? Where are you holding stress?”

The speakers said they believed that teachers and educators have particular power and influence in a young person’s journey of racial literacy.

“Our schools are socialization jungles of avoidant racial coping,” Stevenson said. “We need to make sure young people have the engagement skills they need to know when racial conflict arises. We need to help them resolve racial stress in everyday life…We tend to focus more on large-scale events and politics, but we must consider and think about what people do when someone is right in front of them.”

He urged participants to talk directly to children about the world they are going to face, “because we live in a world where people get training but don’t use the training…It starts with knowing yourself. It starts with practice.”

Stevenson explained that racial literacy involves a series of skills: reading, recasting and resolving racially stressful encounters.

  • Reading: Decoding racial subtexts, subcodes and scripts, accurately interpreting the meaning of what is going on.
  • Recasting: Reducing stress using racial mindfulness – reduces, recasts and reframes the negative meaning of racial stress.
  • Resolving: Negotiating toward a healthy conclusion, assertively communicating affection, protection, correction and connection.

Bottom line, Stevenson stressed: “Racial literacy takes practice. Practice?  Practice, we’re talking about practice.”

The other two keynote speakers who shared the podium were:

Valerie Adams-Bass: University of California, Davis
Keisha Bentley-Edwards: University of Texas, Austin

Posted on May 27, 2015


Board approves contract for superintendent

Highlights of May 26 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular Board meeting on Tuesday, May 26 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St.

The next regular Board meeting is set for Tuesday, June 9, 2015.

Board approves contract for superintendent

The Lincoln Board of Education unanimously approved a contract for Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent Steve Joel at the Tuesday evening Board meeting.

“This was a journey that started when Dr. Joel came to the school district and we have created a very transparent contract…that I would say even a sixth grader could read,” said Kathy Danek, this year’s Board president.

Danek explained that the Board sets annual strategic goals for the superintendent, noting “huge gains in the past five years.”

A base salary of $308,439 was approved for the superintendent for the coming school year, a 2.88 percent salary increase (the same percentage as provided in the teacher contract for the coming year).

This was the first official Board meeting with new Board members Connie Duncan, Annie Mumgaard and Matt Schulte.

The Board also approved an official evaluation for the superintendent. Highlights of that document include:

  • Board members noted Joel’s unwavering commitment to providing the highest quality education for all LPS students.
  • In a year with significant challenges that could have distracted from this core mission, Joel kept the focus on teaching and learning.
  • Board members noted the adoption of a district-wide technology plan and substantial progress toward fulfilling the promises of the 2014 bond issue, including the Career Academy.
  • Board members noted Joel’s solid reputation in the community and strong communication skills.
  • The Board appreciated the sustained progress toward a 90 percent on-time graduation rate by 2019.

Transportation Plan

The Board of Education considered a Transportation Plan for 2015-16, a plan that must be approved annually and includes more than $635,000 in additional funding. The Board will vote final approval of the plan at the June 23 Board meeting.

The proposed increases would fund:

  • The transportation of students to the new high school Career Academy – to and from their home high schools.
  • Creation of new runs to serve special needs 3-year-old students enrolled in the Early Childhood Program.
  • Transportation for Voice students to reach new job sites that include Lincoln East High School, the Career Academy, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Lincoln Journal Star. The Voice program provides job opportunities for older students with special education needs.
  • Continued transition to serving homeless students with LPS bus service.
  • Add a bus route for Scott Middle School students to decrease the average bus ride.

In general, LPS Transportation will transport only those students who qualify under provisions of state law, including:  

  • Elementary and middle school students residing more than four miles from the school in the attendance area within which they reside.
  • Special Education students whose individual education plan (IEP) require transportation as essential to learning.  
  • Students who have been moved for the benefit of the district to relieve overcrowding, due to major facility renovations, efficiency in use of buildings and/or staff.  

In addition, the Board, at its discretion, may approve other transportation areas based upon unique circumstances and for the purpose of equalizing school enrollments and facilitating programs.  

Meadow Lane renovation project

The Board voted to move forward on a bid involving the renovation project at Meadow Lane Elementary School – to fund an addition to the new building with additional renovations that would include a new library media center and new classrooms.

Posted on May 26, 2015


Final Words, Roxi Sattler, Lincoln East High School

Roxi Sattler has seen as the school library's role ebb and flow throughout her time as a school librarian at Lincoln East High School. Here why it fits her in our last Final Words video.

Also featured this week:

Final Words, Andrey Naidenoff, Lincoln Southwest HS

Final Words, Russ Reckewey, Kahoa Elementary

Final Words, Tiauna Lewis, Lincoln High School

Posted on May 21, 2015


Scott Middle School students create education themed masterpiece

After months of planning, designing, and creating, the stained glass club at Scott Middle School installed their final project in the middle school.  Led by science teacher, Paul Sisk, the students incorporated the core subjects of education.

Posted on May 20, 2015


Lincoln Board of Education: Highlights of May 18 organizational meeting

Lincoln Board of Education:

Highlights of May 18 organizational meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met on May 18 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. for their annual organizational meeting. The next regular Board meeting is at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 26.

The Lincoln Board of Education on Monday elected Board member Kathy Danek as the next Board president, and Lanny Boswell as vice president.

Board member Connie Duncan was elected as the new president of Educational Service Unit (ESU) No. 18, and Annie Mumgaard, as vice president.

New members sworn into office Tuesday for Board service are:  Connie Duncan, Annie Mumgaard and Matt Schulte.

Posted on May 18, 2015


Final Words, Tiauna Lewis, Lincoln High School

Somewhere between middle school uncertainty and state SLAM Poetry champion, Tiauna Lewis found her self and her voice thanks to a strong support system at Lincoln High School. Here's Tiauna in the third video of our Final Words video series. 

Posted on May 18, 2015


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